Of nearly 500 entries from 30 countries, ingenious new bikes took home four of the 10 gold titles (the others went to apparel) handed out by the iF International Design Forum. Yet several other designs also won prizes for their technical and aesthetic inventiveness. Here’s a look at some of the bikes that break away from the pack – and the innovative trends they deliver.
1. A minimalist pedelec: eCycle from COBOC
One of two electric bikes to take home a gold in 2013, the eCycle is actually a pedelec, with a motor designed to provide assistance to a cycler pedaling uphill or into strong headwinds. eCycle earned the judges’ admiration for its light, minimalist integration of the drive components that are hidden in the frame. Designed by COBOC of Heidelberg, Germany, this single-speed urban cycle weighs just 14 kilograms.
2. A city cyclist’s e-bike: blueLABEL Charger by Riese und Müller
The other e-bike to take home a gold, the blueLABEL Charger runs its cables in hidden recesses to maintain the clean lines a chic city cycler desires. A carbon belt, rather than a traditional metal chain, enhances the futuristic look of this German design. Riders have the option to pedal as fast as they like, or let the motor take over and cruise at 25 kilometres per hour.
3. A compact ride: the B25 by Klever Mobility
This e-bike’s unusual frame is optimized for commuters, with small wheels for agility in high traffic. Taiwan’s Klever Mobility engineered a low step-through to make hopping on and off easier. An extendable rear rack ensures this is a great choice for running daily errands.
4. Serious cargo capability: Pino Porter by Hase Bikes
The uneven wheels and extended front end of this bike by the Waltrop, Germany, company serve a double purpose: when cargo bags are clipped in place, the rack can support up to 80 kilos of payload. When not in use, the cargo bags stow behind the seat, revealing space for a second, recumbent cycler, turning the bike into a tandem.
5. Stealth cycling: Sweep MGN by Bergamont Bicycles
Stylish and easy-handling, the Sweep MGN by Hamburg’s Bergamont Bicycles is designed for the hippest of urban cyclers. Its belt drive unit and disc brakes, not to mention the full-body matte black finish, make the Sweep a stealthy cycle for stalking the metropolis.
6. Modern-vintage – and sustainable – styling: Vigour by Roetz-Bikes
Although it’s undeniably eye-catching, especially with details that harken back to the pathrunners of the 1920s, what truly sets Vigour apart is its pledge to sustainability. Amsterdam’s Roetz-Bikes designed many of the components for long life and reusability, while others are recyclable or biodegradable, like the handsome fenders made of FSC-certified beech.