Mezzo is a small bike manufacturer based in East Sussex, which has grown in popularity over the last few years as a result of its development of its top quality folding bike range.
Facing stiff competition from the likes of Bromptons and Dahon, Mezzo has now broken into the market and firmly found a place for itself with its range of three bikes that each incorporate numerous design features that make them stand out from the other bikes on the market.
All of Mezzo’s models are made with standard-sized parts, a very useful feature because it means replacement parts can be purchased more quickly and often at less cost than specialist parts. The bikes also use a unique folding system so that whereas the other bikes on the market fold in the middle of the frame, Mezzo bikes fold around the wheels and the frame remains solid. The result is a compact, easily movable folded bike that does not suffer from any lack of stiffness or solidity when being ridden.
The bikes all have very stylish designs, which has been one of the reasons for their success. Despite being folding bikes, an effort has been made to make them look as desirable as possible, and for this reason Mezzo bikes have developed a large following amongst commuters and other fans of folding bikes.
However, one of the main criticisms in the folding community is that Mezzo’s bikes are geared too much towards speed and style, without putting enough emphasis on function and solidity. These complaints would not be made if it weren’t for the slightly high price tags of the newest model, but sales of the new model will prove if Mezzo got it right or not.
In terms of quality, Mezzo’s bikes really are up there with the best. Its ‘Ride and Revise’ programme has allowed the designers to perfect the designs of the bikes through constant testing and development and, to increase the credentials of the bikes, each design has been put through the DIN Plus test in Germany, which is one of the most gruelling tests available to determine the quality level of a bike.
D-10: 10-Speed Derailleur
The D-10 is the latest addition to the Mezzo range. It is set to hit the stores in September, but although it is not yet available to the public it has been reviewed by a number of bike and gadget magazines, and so far sounds like it is going to build upon the success of the previous two models.
Billed by Mezzo as a “new breed of sports folding bike”, it is certainly one of the most stylish and speedy folding bikes on the market. Its ten gears put it one gear up from its predecessor, and the increased speed will be welcomed by the commuter in a rush.
It includes a number of features that are staples of the Mezzo range, including the folding process which does not affect the main tube, but it also goes one better, to develop the range and keep Mezzo surging forward into the folding bike market.
Its specifications include a 6061 aluminium frameset, stainless steel spokes, Mezzo 16” x 1 3/8” tyres with Kevlar puncture protection, a monocoque frame, self-locking catches and a Mezzo 56T chainset.
Its state-of-the-art features and high-quality design lead not only to more stable handling when travelling on the open road, but also to more precise steering when riding in urban areas. However, although early reviews have been favourable and commented on the stylish design and quality of the engineering, the problem comes with the cost. At £845, the D-10 certainly doesn’t come cheap and, although 350 grams lighter than the D-9, and with an extra gear for increased speed, this does not really make up for the extra pounds.
D-9 bikes can be found for as little as £500, and the general consensus is that although you will be getting a better bike with the D-10, it will not be £345 better.
Despite the criticism, there is no doubt that the D-10 is right up there amongst the best folding bikes on the market. With its great handling, its highly-adjustable design and its ability to weave effortlessly through the traffic, it will surely be the envy of all other folding-bike owners as they commute through the busy streets of cities across the world.
The D-10 is available in anodised black.
D-9: 9-Speed Derailleur
The D-9 is the predecessor to the D-10, and is widely regarded as one of the best folding bikes on the market (until the D-10 is released, that is).
The D-9 may not be quite as fast as the D-10, but it certainly provides enough speed from its 9 gears as you could want whilst negotiating a busy city road. It provides a comfortable ride, firm steering and great balance, all three of which are essential features when it comes to folding bikes.
When riding the bike, you will find yourself forced into an upright position. This contrasts with the head-down position on most bikes, and places the emphasis not on speed but on providing you with a higher level of awareness when travelling through traffic.
The folding procedure is highly rated for its speed and efficiency. Reviews provide a figure of between 20 and 30 seconds to fold the bike down completely once you have got used to the technique, and so although at 10 kg it is not the lightest of bikes, it is certainly one of the most convenient.
The general consensus of Mezzo fans is if you don’t want to splash out on a D-10 then you won’t lose anything by sticking with this older model.
The D-9 is available in black, silver, pink, blue, sand, charcoal, green, and red
The RRP is £645
I-4: 4-Speed Hub Gear
The I-4 was the original Mezzo bike to hit the stores, and it created a real buzz on its release, through its stylish design which differed from the slightly more clunky models available at the time.
The I-4 is the cheapest model in the Mezzo range, and the other two models have built upon the features pioneered in this model, but it still represents a very decent design that would provide a great introduction to the world of folding bikes.
The I-4 is designed to be tough so that it can be used on a daily basis, and it also requires very little maintenance. It’s simple, strong and efficient, and will suit the needs of many commuters.
The only real difference between this and the D-9 is the form of gearing. Although the I-4 may be better for climbing hills, it is certainly not as fast as the other models. However, if speed is not your thing and you will not miss the sportier feel of the D-9 or the D-10, then this could well be a better budget option for the folding-bike novice.
The I-4 is available in charcoal, sand, green, red, blue, and black
The RRP is £599