Thursday, September 29, 2011

What is the 'ultimate utility bike'?

Fuseproject Bike Full Length photo

On the heels of the Oregon Manifest Construction Design Challenge 2011, Oregon Manifest aims to find out what bikes we like. They attracted a big batch of entries - 31 altogether - yet the judges' winning pick also set off a web storm of criticism. This year's group of entrants included a trio of special collaborations. IDEO and Rock Lobster, Fuseproject and Sycip, and Ziba and Signal teamed together to show what would happen when bike builders conspired with renown industrial and product designers. Now the show's organizers want to know what we all think. Take a look at the three collaborations' resulting bicycles here and register your vote over here.
The Local utility trike bike photo

The Fuseproject Local trike shown above, designed by Jeremy Sycip and Yves Behar, puts cargo carrying up front, is just 40 pounds total weight and has an ingenious built-in front u-lock to make it less awkward to park a three-wheeler. In a perhaps shameless bit of product placement, it has Fuseproject's own wireless Jawbone Jambox speaker on-board.
The Faraday bike photo

The IDEO/Rock Lobster Faraday takes electric-assist to a whole new level of pretty. The leather-trimmed Faraday has the e-bike battery fitted into the top frame tube, and wiring and electronics run in the down tube. Because the run time is short (30 - 40 minutes), the Faraday can be quickly re-charged in just 10 minutes. And the cargo isn't neglected here - the front rack is integrated into the frame for smooth hauling. Very strong and practical integrated LED lighting front and back, too.
Detail on the Faraday bicycle photo

The Fremont bike photo

Ziba/Signal's Fremont bike lets you carry your cargo carrier with you - the sidecar, with a smart integrated canvas bag (it has a locking mechanism to keep it attached) can be literally folded on top of the back rack when not in use. The roomy bag can also fold flat to allow for other bulky parcels in the sidecar. The lower-slung mixte frame on the Fremont is meant to make it appeal to both men and women, as step-though is easier than on a diamond frame. Last but not least, the Fremont has a handy, integrated braided cable lock and extra pin mechanism that locks the steering.
The Fremont cable lock detail photo

Tall Guy Rides the Fremont photo

So, which bike could you see as a cargo-hauling car replacement? Vote here.

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