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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 single speed 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 6 mm 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.

The A-Lee 645 rides like you would expect with no surprises. Unlike folding bikes with small wheels that can transmit every bump straight to the rider, the 700x28 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 5 mm, 6 mm and 15 mm 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. Check out

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