"I just wanted a folding bike for my son, but could not find a single one," says Dušan Manďula, head of the development team of the 1.PN, a special tools production company based in Prešov, eastern Slovakia.
"But I realised that thanks to our production experience we could manufacture it ourselves." The company has made a name for itself with the decades-long production of components for car makers such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Manďula says, he came up with the idea on April 1, but it was not a joke at all.
Thus the Sharvan Bike was born, a folding design in the vein of expandable inline skates.
Its name - Sharvan - is a phonetic play on words. It comes from a dialect word "šarvanec", which means a lively boy and the English expression "share one". The latter part is especially telling as the bike was designed to accommodate everyone regardless of their age, height, weight, or even personal taste for that matter.
Or in other words, parents no longer have to fear that a child will outgrow their bike – they can grow together.
As the frame covers on the bike can be changed, you can mix and match them to suit pretty much any occasion and outfit. Moreover, if you want your bike to be truly one-of-a-kind, you can design your own personal frame cover.
Thanks to the adjustable handlebar and extendable frame, the bike can be adjusted to fit a small, 120-centimetre child or a towering, 200-centimetre person. Moreover, its foldability allows for it to be taken onto a tram or stored in the back of a car.
Literally a transformer in the form of a bike.
The design uses modern technology through and through. The frame is not welded, but instead is designed as a compact unit and produced with injection moulding technology using carbon fibre composite materials. The process takes just a moment. Additionally, instead of the usual steel chain, a drive belt is used, offering a quiet ride and maintenance-free use.
The main parts are entirely made in Slovakia, as is the development and assembly. The company promises that the bike can withstand many long years of active use.
At the EXPO 2020 World Exhibition in Dubai, the Sharvan bike coloured in white, blue and red was the official means of transport of the Slovak pavilion. In 2021, the bike received the National Award for Design.
A year later the designers presented the technology at the MSV International Engineering Fair in Brno, intriguing visitors. Also, the bike placed third in the Technological Innovation category of the Innovative Act of the Year competition. Although the story of the Sharvan Bike is indeed successful, it is still at the beginning. The designers have already several modifications in mind, including an electric version.
The bike is more proof that good and innovative ideas do come out of Slovakia.
Photo: Sharvan Bike