As a team of designers, engineers and cyclists based in Cambridge, UK, we’ve been inspired by the amazing cycling culture of our city. We love the way that cycling makes Cambridge feel more human and connected, and the sense of freedom it gives you.
Dave and Alex (co-founders) met in 2015 whilst studying in Beijing. Electric bikes were their fast and fun way of zipping between lectures, and sparked their interest in how ebikes could be used elsewhere. Dave, as an ex-Jaguar Land Rover engineer, had always dreamed of developing his own electric vehicle, whilst Alex’s study of transport policy had convinced him that our cities could be happier and healthier places to be. Together, they wanted to create a product that made city travel effortless, whilst fitting neatly into your lifestyle.
They moved to Cambridge, the cycling capital of the UK, to begin the FLIT story with just a few ideas on a piece of paper. Since then, the FLIT team has turned those early pencilled sketches into a simple folding bike, designed from scratch to be electric.
The story so far
Dave & Alex (Co-Founders of FLIT) met whilst studying in Beijing
Dave & Alex at the Great Wall
Electric two-wheelers were booming in China at the time, and we saw a real opportunity to develop an ebike for European cities. We wanted to design a folding ebike that could be taken on trains, undergrounds and buses: giving people lots of flexbility when travelling through the city.
We relocated back to the UK, to the cycling capital Cambridge to start FLIT.
David Turpin, an Industrial Designer, joined our team - turning Dave's engineering drawings into beautiful designs.
David designed the iconic 'pop phone'!
We were awarded the Department for Transport grant to build our first prototypes.
We were accepted onto the Accelerate programme at the Cambridge Judge Business School (the best in Cambridge!)
We built our first prototype, which we presented it at the Hello Tomorrow Conference in Paris!
Alex presenting our first prototype (you'll notice a huge difference to the current FLIT-16 design!)
Started the Design Council's Spark Accelerator programme.
Awarded a special commendation from the Design Council!
Began working with our manufacturing partner, a specialist aluminium frame manufacturer, in Taiwan
Alex, Dave and Joe at a specialist fork factory
Our first manufacturing prototype (which we named the FLIT-16, after its 16" wheels) was made!
Our second prototype - closer to the FLIT-16 design, but still lots to change!
Initial mechanical testing and tooling complete.
Our first round of prototypes built on tooling: Marengo and Maya!
Meet Marengo and Maya, the look is mostly there now!
We launched on Kickstarter!
Our launch campaign raised over 450% of its target, so we extended our pre-order offer to Indiegogo
Production begins with pilot manufacturing run.
Welding in the frame factory.
Pilot manufacturing run complete: meet Blaze, hot off production tooling.
Here are all of the design changes that we've made based on test rider feedback.
Mechanical frame testing complete and manufacture of frame parts begins.
Parts of the rear frame manufactured and ready for assembly
Dave in Taiwan to visit the factory and help out with the manufacture of our first batch of FLIT-16s
Dave's ride to work - not too shabby!
FLIT-16 batteries all boxed up and ready to go
Dave brings two demo bikes back to the UK for test rides.
Manufacture well underway - all CNC main frame parts complete
CNC-ed frame parts ready to go! This is part of the headset at the front of the bike. Not sure what CNC means? CNC milling is a process of gradually removing material from a solid block until you reach the desired shape. We have lots of complicated shapes in the FLIT-16 which CNC milling allows us to create.
Welding of the main frames begins
For some behind the scenes welding action check out our blog post here.
Welding up the rear swing arm of the bike (the part of the bike that swings underneath during folding)
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave is granted special permission to fly out to Taiwan so that he can oversee final assembly
Dave en route to Taiwan to visit our manufacturing partner
Painting and final assembly begins!
For a backstage tour of what happens during these final stages, have a read of our blog post here.
Hand-finishing marengo grey FLIT-16 frames
Assembly of first manufacturing batch complete!
FLIT-16 fleet begins its ocean voyage to the UK
FLIT-16 fleet arrives at our warehouse in Cambridge, UK!
The FLIT team with the first FLIT-16 fleet
Quality checking begins - we check and test ride every single bike to make sure that it's perfect before sending to customers
Delivery of first FLIT-16s to customers!
What better Christmas present! Alex hand delivered bikes to some of our local customers
All bikes from our first manufacturing batch delivered!
Happy customers all around the world.
Time to celebrate! Thanks so much to one of our customers who sent this photo all the way from New York City
If you missed out on our first batch, don't worry, more FLIT-16s are on their way. If you'd like us to let you know when new stock is available, you can sign up here.