Bicycles

The Bike Design Project seeks the ultimate urban commuter

The Bike Design Project seeks ...
Pensa/Horse Cycle's Merge is designed for the mean streets of New York City
Pensa/Horse Cycle's Merge is designed for the mean streets of New York City
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Pensa/Horse Cycle's Merge is designed for the mean streets of New York City
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Pensa/Horse Cycle's Merge is designed for the mean streets of New York City
The Merge features integrated dynamo-powered lights
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The Merge features integrated dynamo-powered lights
The Merge's retractable cable lock
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The Merge's retractable cable lock
The Merge's retractable rear fender
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The Merge's retractable rear fender
The Merge's USB smartphone-charging port and phone-holding pouch/U-lock holster
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The Merge's USB smartphone-charging port and phone-holding pouch/U-lock holster
The Merge's retractable spring-loaded rear rack
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The Merge's retractable spring-loaded rear rack
MNML/Method's Chicago-designed Blackline
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MNML/Method's Chicago-designed Blackline
The Blackline's cargo system can be configured for a variety of scenarios
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The Blackline's cargo system can be configured for a variety of scenarios
The Blackline's Helios handlebar
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The Blackline's Helios handlebar
The Helios features a headlight, turn indicators, a USB charging port, plus GPS navigation and location tracking capabilities
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The Helios features a headlight, turn indicators, a USB charging port, plus GPS navigation and location tracking capabilities
The Blackline's belt drive and sealed 3-speed SRAM hub transmission
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The Blackline's belt drive and sealed 3-speed SRAM hub transmission
The Blackline's removable rear rack
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The Blackline's removable rear rack
Industry/Ti Cycle's Portland-designed Solid
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Industry/Ti Cycle's Portland-designed Solid
The Solid features haptic feedback in the handlebar
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The Solid features haptic feedback in the handlebar
Using the accompanying "Discover My City" app, riders are taken on tours of Portland, guided by buzzes in the bars
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Using the accompanying "Discover My City" app, riders are taken on tours of Portland, guided by buzzes in the bars
The Solid's belt drive and hydraulic brakes
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The Solid's belt drive and hydraulic brakes
The Solid features a 3D-printed titanium frame
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The Solid features a 3D-printed titanium frame
The Solid also features dynamo-powered sensor-activated lighting, electronic shifters, an embedded GPS module to track it if it gets stolen
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The Solid also features dynamo-powered sensor-activated lighting, electronic shifters, an embedded GPS module to track it if it gets stolen
Teague/Sizemore Bicycle's Seattle-designed Denny
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Teague/Sizemore Bicycle's Seattle-designed Denny
The Denny's rubber bristle-based rear fender
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The Denny's rubber bristle-based rear fender
The Denny's integrated front rack
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The Denny's integrated front rack
The Denny's square-shaped handlebar that comes off to act as a lock
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The Denny's square-shaped handlebar that comes off to act as a lock
It can also work as a lock while still mounted
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It can also work as a lock while still mounted
The Denny also features an electric assist motor and automatic gear-shifting
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The Denny also features an electric assist motor and automatic gear-shifting
HUGE Design/4130 Cycle Works' San Francisco-designed EVO
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HUGE Design/4130 Cycle Works' San Francisco-designed EVO
The EVO's retractable cable lock
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The EVO's retractable cable lock
The EVO's various quick-release modules
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The EVO's various quick-release modules
The EVO features a lugged symmetrical steel frame that should be quick and easy to assemble
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The EVO features a lugged symmetrical steel frame that should be quick and easy to assemble
The loading and unloading of cargo is made easier by a fork lock function, which keeps the front wheel from turning sideways when the bike is parked
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The loading and unloading of cargo is made easier by a fork lock function, which keeps the front wheel from turning sideways when the bike is parked
A detail of the EVO's interchangeable front rack
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A detail of the EVO's interchangeable front rack
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Although many people may think of commuter bicycles as being the boring frumpy cousins to fancier road and mountain bikes, lately we've been seeing more and more models featuring all sorts of intriguing innovations for life on the streets. Recently, non-profit group Oregon Manifest invited five design firm/bike-builder teams representing five US cities to create prototypes of the ultimate such bike. Members of the public are being invited to vote for their favorite, with the winning bike getting produced commercially by Fuji Bicycles. Here's a look at the contenders.

Blackline – Chicago

Conceived by the MNML design house and built by Method Bicycles, the Blackline utilizes a Helios handlebar that features a headlight, turn indicators, a USB charging port, plus GPS navigation and location tracking capabilities.

The Helios features a headlight, turn indicators, a USB charging port, plus GPS navigation and location tracking capabilities
The Helios features a headlight, turn indicators, a USB charging port, plus GPS navigation and location tracking capabilities

It additionally features a belt drive, sealed 3-speed SRAM hub transmission, and a cargo system that can be configured for a variety of scenarios.

Merge – New York City

The product of a collaboration between the Pensa design firm and Horse Cycles, the Merge's big feature is the fact that it can stay sleek and compact when you just wanna rip around, yet it sports several utilitarian features that can be pulled out from within its frame as needed. These include a spring-loaded rear rack with bungee cord, a rear fender, and a cable lock.

The Merge's retractable spring-loaded rear rack
The Merge's retractable spring-loaded rear rack

It also has integrated dynamo-powered head- and tail-lights, along with a USB smartphone-charging port and phone-holding pouch/U-lock holster.

Solid – Portland, Oregon

Designed by Industry and built by Ti Cycles, this model features a 3D-printed titanium frame and handlebars, along with haptic feedback. Using the accompanying "Discover My City" app, riders are taken on tours of Portland, guided by buzzes in the bars.

The Solid features a 3D-printed titanium frame
The Solid features a 3D-printed titanium frame

Other features include dynamo-powered sensor-activated lighting, electronic shifters, an embedded GPS module to track it if it gets stolen, and a detachable rack with an integrated lock and strapping system.

EVO – San Francisco

This entry comes from HUGE Design and 4130 Cycle Works. One of its big features is a frame which can quickly and easily accept various quick-release modules, such as front and rear racks, a child seat and a cargo box. The loading and unloading of cargo is made easier by a fork lock function, which keeps the front wheel from turning sideways when the bike is parked.

HUGE Design/4130 Cycle Works' San Francisco-designed EVO
HUGE Design/4130 Cycle Works' San Francisco-designed EVO

It also has integrated lights, a retractable cable lock, and a lugged symmetrical steel frame that should be quick and easy to assemble.

Denny – Seattle

Perhaps the most unusual-looking of the bunch, the Denny was designed by Teague and built by Sizemore Bicycle. Its features include an electric assist motor, automatic gear-shifting, an integrated front rack, and a square-shaped handlebar that comes off (or stays on) to act as a lock.Along with an ambient light sensor that automatically turns on the head- and tail-lights, it also features a brake light, turn indicators, and safety lights that illuminate the road around the bike.

Teague/Sizemore Bicycle's Seattle-designed Denny
Teague/Sizemore Bicycle's Seattle-designed Denny

If you want to vote for your fave, you can do so up until noon PST on August 3rd via the link below – you can also read more about the bikes there, along with seeing videos of them in action. The winner will be announced on the 4th, and should begin showing up at Fuji dealers sometime next year.

Source: The Bike Design Project

13 comments
Milton
The modular aspect of the SF bike is way cool! Quick-attach whatever luggage rack you want in no-time. and one other thing: That Portland bike is sooo bad-ass looking!
wle
this is why it should be illegal for "designers'' to get near a bicycle yet they can;t resist would be different if any of them ever rode a bike apparently they are too busy ''designing'' junk like this that solves problems no rider really has retractable usb port! phew - why on earth retractable cable locks that could be cut with blunt nose scissors retractable fenders - why retract at all? when would you not want them? they aren;t even decent fenders i'm really shocked they have not figured a way to have the brakes and gears controlled by a stupid APP let's see if i am wrong the market will speak if any of these is ever produced or sells more than 25 units, email me for a $20 bill, free shipping included wle
wle
i forgot to comment on the ''printed frame'' A. collapse waiting to happen B. they went to all that trouble and it;s still ugly? C. cute model though, i assume to distract from the awful ''design'' D. ''printed" why? just b/c it;s trendy now? wle
Bruce H. Anderson
Interesting designs, all. I hear it rains in Portland. Maybe that is why the Portland-based design has proper fenders.
HenryFarkas
None of those bikes is the one. The ideal bike should be a recumbent. There's less air resistance, and the seat on a recumbent is way more comfortable than any seat on the bikes pictured above.
ddavel544
Would much rather see the focus on light weight, and Electric bikes. That is the future. The 'Merge – New York City' shows a clever hide in the frame rear rack. But why? Keep the rack permanent, and more stream lined. Fenders keep rain and gravel from flying up from wheels, no need to ever retract them. The 'EVO – San Francisco' - has the loading and unloading of cargo made easier by a fork lock function. Why, will most riders be carrying over 50 lbs. of 'cargo'? Not to mention its butt ugliness! Only one worth a vote is 'Solid – Portland, Oregon', but i don't need the "Discover My City" app...pleease!
Gadgeteer
All of these are triumphs of style over substance, gimmickry over practicality. Cable locks that can be cut in seconds. Rear racks that can only carry small loads on top, rather than in side baskets. All use the standard diamond frame. Step-through would be more practical for urban use. None have the crank forward design popularized by Electra which provides more comfort and the safety of being able to put feet flat on the ground at any time. Typical "design" competition with emphasis on designers rather than engineers.
Gregg Eshelman
There are some interesting features on these bikes but they all lack the main thing in a commuter bike. COMFORT! I guess the designers of these bikes love the feeling of getting repeatedly kicked in the crotch and having an aching back from having to hunch forward and a sore neck from having to arch it up so they can see the next pothole that will deliver another boot to their crotch. A comfortable bike allows the rider to sit upright with their weight supported on the butt. There have been well padded, split seats with pivoting halves for many years. Put a power generator in the seat if you feel the need to innovate.
Keefe
@wle I will take your $20 bill anytime. Useful or not, I believe there are enough people who will pay for such designs.
wle
@wle I will take your $20 bill anytime. Useful or not, I believe there are enough people who will pay for such designs. =ha ha. yeah lemme know when fuji [their ''partner'']] is selling any of these things wle