The in the GDR widespread MIFA folding bikes were often targets of ridicule and a lot of people didn't take them seriously. "You sit on it looking like a real fool" was a common opinion about the driving comfort of the little bikes from Sangerhausen. That the folding bikes weren't really popular in the years after the Wende, you could see on the East German roadsides: countless bikes landed on the skip. Often they were brand-new...But, these times seem to be over. In the meanwhile the folding bike becomes a cult object, especially young persons and hipster in the cities like the bikes.
As the VEB MIFA (Middle German Bike Factory) Sangerhausen presented the folding bike Type 901 in 1967 on the spring fair in Leipzig, they were following an international trend. Folding bikes were practical, you could transport them with each car and the production costs were limited. The little bikes you could get without waiting time and they enjoyed increasing popularity especially with campers, often only as a vehicle for getting bread on holiday.
At the end of the 1970th the modified version of the type 903 were launched at a price of 301 East German Mark. As a luxurious version the type 904 offers an extra carrier over the front wheel and a rim brake instead of a stamp brake.
A weak spot of the MIFA folding bikes always was the folding mechanism. When you didn't pull the tree in the right way, the central hinge could open itself while you were driving and the driver could hurt himself badly. Because of that some of the biker welded the hinge.
When the MIFA stopped the production of the folding bike around 1990, they had produced until then 3 million specimens. Actually the company stocks the folding bikes again. Whether the modern inheritances of the little bike out of the GDR ever reach the cult status of the original ones, is on the other hand the question.
(Translation: Valerie Holbein)