Bicycles

Is the Denny the ultimate commuter bike?

Is the Denny the ultimate comm...
The Bike Design Project-winning Denny on display in Las Vegas
The Bike Design Project-winning Denny on display in Las Vegas
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The Bike Design Project-winning Denny on display in Las Vegas
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The Bike Design Project-winning Denny on display in Las Vegas
The Denny's integrated cargo net-equipped front rack ...
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The Denny's integrated cargo net-equipped front rack ...
... and the removable battery located underneath it
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... and the removable battery located underneath it
The headlight, activated by an ambient light sensor
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The headlight, activated by an ambient light sensor
One of the signal light strips (yellowy-green), along with two of the road-illumination strips (white)
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One of the signal light strips (yellowy-green), along with two of the road-illumination strips (white)
The tail light also has a brake light function
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The tail light also has a brake light function
The Denny's belt drive and Alfine hub transmission
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The Denny's belt drive and Alfine hub transmission
The rubber bristles that serve as a fender substitute
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The rubber bristles that serve as a fender substitute
The handlebar remains in place while riding ...
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The handlebar remains in place while riding ...
... but can serve as a lock when parked
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... but can serve as a lock when parked
View gallery - 10 images

In the Bike Design Project, which took place earlier this year, non-profit group Oregon Manifest invited five design firm/bike-builder teams representing five US cities to create their own take on the "ultimate urban commuter bike." Members of the public were then asked to vote on their favorite, with the winning prototype going on to be produced commercially by Fuji Bicycles. Last Friday we had a chance to get a close-up look at the winner, called the Denny, at Interbike in Las Vegas. Among its unique features is a handlebar that can be removed and used as a lock.

The Denny represents Seattle, and was created by that city's Teague design firm and Sizemore Bicycle bike-building company.

It utilizes a Shimano Alfine rear hub transmission, that shifts gears automatically based on the rotational speed of the front wheel – the faster the wheel starts turning, the higher the gear that's selected. Things are made easier by an electric motor in the front hub, which automatically kicks in to augment the rider's own pedaling power.

Lights are also a big feature on the Denny. Not only does it have head- and tail lights that come on automatically via an ambient light sensor, but it also has front signal lights that are activated by buttons adjacent to the brake levers, a brake light function within its tail light, and strips of LEDs which illuminate the road ahead of and to either side of the bike – that last feature is mostly to help the Denny be seen by motorists, as opposed to aiding the cyclist in seeing the road.

All the electronics are powered by a removable battery located under the built-in, cargo net-equipped front rack.

The rubber bristles that serve as a fender substitute
The rubber bristles that serve as a fender substitute

Instead of regular fenders, which can sometimes be kind of clunky, it utilizes a cluster of rubber bristles that lightly brush against each tire – the idea is that these will cause rain water to shed off the tire before it can spray up onto the rider. Won't those bristles just wear away over time, though? Well yeah, they will, which is why Sizemore is currently looking into longer-lasting alternative materials.

... and yes, the square-shaped handlebar can be removed from the stem (by flicking a lockable mounting lever), pulled apart into two pieces, and then used to secure the bike by locking those pieces back together again with part of the frame inside of them. If riders are in more of a hurry, they can also just leave the bar attached to the stem, and simply lock it to a nearby object such as a sign post.

The handlebar remains in place while riding ...
The handlebar remains in place while riding ...

... but can serve as a lock when parked
... but can serve as a lock when parked

Other features include the use of a belt drive instead of a chain, and mechanical disc brakes.

The Fuji-built commercial version should be available sometime next year, at a price that has yet to be determined. In the meantime, you can see the prototype in use in the video below.

Sources: Sizemore Bicycle, Teague

SEA: TEAGUE X SIZEMORE BICYCLE'S DENNY

View gallery - 10 images
6 comments
zevulon
brushes create friction and must be replaced.... belt drive and disc brakes needlessly increase the price of the bike , where conventional v brakes and a normal chain with a chain cover/grill would do. belt drives also dramatically incraease the cost of the frame AND they incrase the cost of fixing the bike if anything goes wrong with the belt.
a chain does require cleaning and maintanance, but is easy to fix and is standard. also , chains are slightly more efficient than belt drives on a bicycle.
there's a lot of unecessarily different and expensive stuff on this bike. and it doesn't really improve anything....
Slowburn
Looked good except for the the silly fender replacement and the weak point introduced into the frame by the X made solely for cosmetic reasons.
Rehab
Fantasic design and smooth styling. For someone who can make use of their bike on a daily bases this would be worth every penny.
owlbeyou
Like so many things that are produced these days...over designed.
It looks good, but it's probably quite expensive and heavier than it needs to be. Gimme simpler, lighter and affordable.
gomike
I am shocked and amazed that a video put forth by a bicycle designer and bike manufacturer would show the majority of the cyclists NOT WEARING HELMETS. Someone should pull the video and replace it! Showing the safety features of the new design and neglecting the most basic safety requirement for responsible biking, one which is in fact required by law in several jurisdictions, is just plain irresponsible.
Bicycle Helmet Requirements in Washington Currently, there is no state law requiring helmet use. However, some cities and counties do require helmet use with bicycles. Here is a list of those locations and when the laws were enacted.
Location Name Who is Affected Effective Date Aberdeen All ages 2001 Bainbridge Island All ages 2001 Bremerton All ages 2000 DuPont All ages 2008 Eatonville All ages 1996 Fircrest All ages 1995 Gig Harbor All ages 1996 Kent All ages 1999 King County All ages 1993, 2003 updated to include Seattle Lakewood All ages 1996 Milton All ages 1997 Orting Under 17 1997 Pierce County (unincorporated) All ages 1994 Port Angeles All ages 1994 Port Orchard All ages 2004 Poulsbo Under 18 1995 Puyallup All ages 1994 Renton All ages 1999 Spokane All ages 2004 Steilacoom All ages 1995 Tacoma All ages 1994 University Place All ages 1996 Vancouver All ages 2008 All Military Installations All ages N/A
Bruce H. Anderson
The lack of fenders is really puzzling.