Five leading design studios have partnered with five bicycle craftspeople to envision the ultimate urban mode of transportation. Their concepts are now open to a public vote, with the winning prototype destined for production.
The Oregon Manifest, based in Portland, is a nonprofit organization that dreams of the day when riding a bike will be part of everyone’s daily routine. To spearhead that vision, the group has launched The Bike Design Project, an ambitious and inspiring competition that has invited five teams in five American cities to engineer the ultimate city bike.
Each team is a collaboration between bespoke bicycle makers and creative studios that are well-known for their visionary work – including branding design studio MNML of Chicago and Huge Design, a successful industrial design studio based in San Francisco. Now realized as functional, ridable prototypes, the bikes are touring each city, in hopes of attracting online votes, with polls open until August 3. The winning design will be announced August 4, and will go into production, with the help of Fuji Bikes, and hit retail outlets in 2015.
1 Blackline by MNML and Method Bicycle
Blackline takes its name from the iconic elevated train lines of Chicago, where the renowned branding studio is based. The bike sports Helios smart handlebars with an integrated LED headlight and side blinkers; its cargo systems help store a U-Lock.
2 Merge by Pensa and Horse Cycles
New York’s Pensa and Horse Cycles worked together to craft a bike specifically for their city, and aimed to improve on a cyclist’s ability to safely navigate crowded streets. Merge is compact and nimble, but it also has useful built-ins, including a rear rack that can snap open or retract quickly, and a USB charging port.
3 Solid by Industry and TI Cycles of Oregon
Solid is the first 3D-printed titanium lifestyle bike ever, and its form is inspired by Portland’s particular laid-back lifestyle that combines a taste for modern aesthetics and love for hand-craftsmanship. The bicycle also comes with an Industry-created app that provides riders with five customized tour routes through the city and outer regions.
4 Evo by Huge Design and 4130 Cycle Works
Evo, by the two San Francisco studios, is a hybrid that leverages the utility of a city bike with the strength, endurance and form of a mountain bike. Among its best features is a front fork lockout, which allows riders to securely lean the handlebars against a wall for stable loading and unloading. Cargo elements can also be added or removed easily for added versatility.
5 Denny by Teague and Sizemore Bicycle
Crafted in Seattle, Denny is designed to give riders a happy, carefree experience, so it is loaded with such easy-to-use features as a quick stop handlebar lock system, automatic gear shifting, electric power for peddling assistance, and auto-on lights that react to natural lighting conditions. It also sports safety lights that flood the road so that the bike simply can’t be missed by cars.