Bicycle designers had a chance to show the world their ideas earlier this year by taking part in the Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010. The online contest was organized by e-zine Designboom and the Seoul Design Foundation, and received entries from 3,078 designers in 88 countries. The ideas included everything from bikes that doubled as shopping carts, to frames shaped like horses, to handlebar-mounted wind turbines. The grand prize winner, while not as entertainingly-outlandish as some of those concepts, was nonetheless pretty far removed from your garden-variety Schwinn. It’s called, simply enough, Bike 2.0.
Milan-based Danish designer Nils Sveje describes Bike 2.0 as the next generation bicycle... hence the name. At first glance, it looks pretty ordinary. Its very Spartan appearance doesn’t exactly turn heads, and in fact it's the lack of external features that gives away the fact that this is no ordinary bike.
Instead of a chain, the bike has a pedal-powered internal generator that’s wired directly to the rear hub motor. Instead of derailleurs, it has a stepless gearbox. Instead of brake levers and discs, it has a regenerative coaster brake. And, instead of shifters, it has two wireless rings on the handlebar.
Regular propulsion is achieved via the bottom bracket-mounted generator, that creates power which is sent back to the 500 W brushless motor. Using the “superconductor” (which one would assume is a capacitor), however, the rider can get power boosts when needed. An Intelligent Cadence Leveling feature keeps the rider pedaling at the same speed, via a continuously-variable transmission. The rider initially sets their desired cadence using one of the handlebar control rings.
Riders wanting more oomph – or less work – could install the seatpost battery, which directly powers the motor. The second control ring determines how much the rider uses or charges the battery.
The hydro-shaped aluminum frame has built-in lighting, and can be adjusted to fit different sizes of riders.
There’s no word on whether or not you will ever be able to buy your own Bike 2.0, but given how competitions like this are all about brainstorming and inspiring, you may at least see some of its features finding their way onto other bikes. In the meantime, check out some of the other Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010 finalists at Designboom.