A.N.Design Works A-Lee 645
A.N.Design Works is a Japanese brand whose bikes are influenced by life in Tokyo, a metropolis packed with more than 30 million people. In such a dense urban environment there arises both a need to stand out and to fit in. The A-Lee is designed to do both.
At first glance the A-Lee 645 looks like other contemporary singlespeed city bikes—color matched components, deep-section rims, riser bar, etc. Upon closer inspection its main design feature is revealed. With just a few turns of a 6mm hex wrench, the frame folds neatly in half. This serves to allow cyclists to bring the bike onto public transportation and facilitates storage inside a small apartment. It also means that the bike fits easily into the trunk of most automobiles, which could really be a boon to suburban commuters.
Aesthetically, the A-Lee 645 isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but it can’t be denied that each color scheme stands out in a crowd. I do wish they could have matched the gold tone a little closer on the different components, but I suspect that doing so would have increased the retail price, which is a very reasonable $398.
A-Lee 645 rides like you would expect with no surprises. Unlike folding bikes with small wheels that transmit every bump straight to the rider, the 700×28 tires do a great job of soaking up road vibrations. The high-tensile steel frame might not sound exciting on paper, but—for the money—it definitely does the job. And really, you’re not going to be racing or doing tricks on a folding bike, so performance isn’t really the primary design consideration.
Around the bike, the components are all on par with those found on other entry level bikes. The saddle stands out as pretty attractive, and it’s comfortable as well. The grips, on the other hand, look good but are far too soft for serious riding. I have to admit, I’ve rather enjoyed having a bike with a kickstand for a change. And I was pleasantly surprised with the brakes, which offered good stopping power right out of the box.
Speaking of the box, the A-Lee 645 comes fully assembled and includes everything you need, including 5mm, 6mm and 15mm wrenches. The A-Lee 645 fits riders 5’ to 5’ 9” tall. The A-Lee 653 is the same bike, only larger, and fits riders 5’ 5” to 6’ 4”. Each model is available in several color schemes.
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