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It’s been a great ride

Its-been-a-great-rideIt is hard to pinpoint the exact reason that I started this blog in 2005. I could say that it was to showcase the work of industrial designers in the bicycle industry, or to give students a place to share their bike related ideas and concepts, or maybe the idea was just to generate discussion and get people thinking about the potential of bicycles, and other types of human powered machines, to change the world for the better. Over time, I believe the blog has served all of those purposes, but when I quickly put together that first post over eight years ago, I wasn’t thinking any of those things. The fact is, this blog was something I started one day on a whim, and I never imagined that it would ever last so long… or reach so many people.

In 2005, it wasn’t easy to find content about the design of bicycles on the web. The Bicycle Design blog filled a niche, and I like to think that it played some small role in generating the level of interest in bicycle design that we see today (that may or may not be true, but I still like to think it, so don’t burst my bubble). These days, blogs like Core77, Dezeen, Fast Co. Design, designboom, Yanko Design, and many others post bike related content on a regular basis. Every year it seems, there are more and more outlets for industrial designers to share their bike related work, and that is definitely a good thing. I feel like the end of Bicycle Design will leave a small void on the web, but I think it is one that can be filled by many of the other excellent design blogs out there (and by new ones as well).

If you just discovered Bicycle Design or haven’t looked back in a while, I encourage you to explore the 8+ years worth of archives. There really is some great stuff in those archives, so I want to again say thanks to all you who have shared links, contributed your designs, participated in the competitions, or added to the discussion over the years. You guys all made this experience a great one for me… and I really do appreciate it.

Outside of my design job, my focus will now be on other projects. After all these years, I don’t think I can quit blogging entirely though. My new blog at JCTdesign.net will be a place for me to occasionally (likely very occasionally) talk about design, my projects, and anything else that interests me. I will also continue to be active on Google + and on Twitter at @JCTdesign (and yes, I’ll continue to post about bikes and human powered transportation in those places). So this is not really a goodbye post… just moving on to a new chapter. Thanks again to all of you for reading and contributing to Bicycle Design for the past 8 years! I hate to end with a cliché, but it really has been a great ride.

Update 2/20/14: For anyone interested in only the bike related posts on my new blog, I have created a Bikes and Active Transportation category. There won’t be nearly as much bike design content as you were used to here, but I do plan to post a bit of it (starting with coverage of NAHBS next month).


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Two innovative approaches to bicycle manufacturing

velo-ecologique-recyclage-petVelo-Design is an excellent blog by French designer Johann Paquelier. If you didn’t already guess it from the name, the topics that he covers are very similar to those found here…basically anything related to bikes, design, and innovation. In a recent post, Johann featured frames by Jaun Muzzi that are made from recycled plastic water bottles. See the Velo-Design post for more (in French, but Google translate does a pretty good job with it).

Worlds-first-3D-printed-lightweight-titanium-bike-by-Renishaw-for-Empire-Cycles_dezeen_4Recently, we have a seen a few instances of 3d printing technology being used for lugs and frame components. Dezeen recently featured the world’s first 3d printed complete frame though. According to Dezeen, British bicycle brand Empire Cycles has collaborated with additive manufacturing company Renishaw to build the world’s first 3D-printed metal bike frame.”  Read the original article for more information and to see pictures of the complete bike. Definitely an interesting project… and a trend that we will see a lot more of in the near future.


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Alfa Romeo 4C IFD bicycle

Alfa Romeo 4C IFD bicycle designApparently the Alfa Romeo IFD 4C Bicycle made the rounds on all the auto blogs last fall, but I had not seen it until I received a few images from the folks at Compagnia Ducale. Along with the designers in the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, Compagnia Ducale designed the carbon fiber frame to compliment the style of the Alfa Romeo 4C sportscar. IFD in the name stands for “Innovative Frame Design,” and they explain a bit of the symbolism in the design here:

“The style of Alfa Romeo 4C inspired the dynamic and fluent lines of the frame that reveal a stylized  ‘4’. The section of the frame recalls the letter ‘C’ and introduces a world premiere carbon fibre semi-tube section, the same as the frame of Alfa Romeo 4C.”

Alfa Romeo 4C IFD bicycle designUnlike many bikes that are seen at auto shows, this is one that they are actually producing. The bikes will be made in Italy and will range in price from €3,500 to €9,000 for a limited edition run. That is definitely not cheap, but it is an interesting design that would certainly stand out on your next group ride. After all, how many other 15 pound sporty road bikes do you see with C profile tubes and integrated lights?

Alfa Romeo 4C IFD bicycle sketches

Alfa Romeo 4C IFD bicycle

Alfa Romeo 4C car and bike

Posted in Road.

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Don Bicicleta, a gentlebike from StandBikeMe

don-bicicletaThe latest bike from Valencia, Spain based StandBikeMe is Don Bicicleta, a gentlebike with tones of personality and a cool mustache.”  Don Bicileta looks great, but it is not exactly a new bike. The 30 year old Orbea mixte frame was repurposed by the folks at StandBikeMe  into a hip and very unique urban bike. They explain that the mission of their project is to “rescue and customize old and forgotten bicycles.” After an interview process with a potential customer, they create a new design based on a recycled older frame, and build it according his or her tastes, preferences, and measurements. Trends in art, design, and architecture are all considered to create their one of a kind handmade custom creations…or re-creations

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To find out more about this bike and to see some of their previous projects, like 25 seen below, check out the StandBikeMe blog (in Spanish). You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (which is where I first spotted the mustached face of Don Bicileta).

25-by-StandBikeMe

Posted in Commuter.

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Wooden e-bike by Kasper De Backer

Wooden e-bike by Kasper De Backer  While searching for web images of furniture and lighting from the Masion & Objet show in Paris this afternoon, I happened to run across this wooden e-bike designed by Kasper De Backer. De Backer is a product design student at Howest University in Belgium, and set out to create a sporty, unisex design with rental or bike share applications in mind. Noticeably missing are the pedals, which he apparently felt were unnecessary on an electric bike (not sure I agree, but I do think that SOME sort of foot support is definitely needed). Despite the lack of pedals, I do like the overall form and the way the battery integrates into the wooden frame. Blog-EspritDesign.com (in French) has many more images of this e-bike concept, as well as a similar project by De Backer’s classmate Robrecht Lambrechts.

It’s far from a thorough list, but I also noticed a few other bike related products that will be displayed at Masion & Objet this weekend (Bookman’s bike accessories,  the Ciclotte exercise bike, and fashion accessories from BikeCap to list a few).  If you are in Paris this weekend and you run across anything else bike related at the show, let me know. I would love to be there to look myself, but it’s not meant to be this year.

Wooden e-bike by Kasper De Backer


Posted in E-bike, Events, Student Design.

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Primavera and Bike Art in Greece

Soon after I posted Dimitris Niavis’ electric trike concept last week, I noticed a couple of other email submissions from Greece that were sent at roughly the same time. Either it’s a coincidence that all three messages arrived at once, or bikes are a really popular subject with Greek artists and designers at the moment. I’ll just assume the latter.

Vasileios-Zygouris-balance-bikeVasileios Zygouris presented a handmade prototype of his latest balance bike concept, Primavera, at the Greek Design = Good Design Exhibition late last year. Despite the name, this was not his first balance bike design.  His predecessor to Primavera, created in 2012, featured a colorful/patterned main frame with light wood details.  Check out the other projects on his website while you are there… including a couple of additional bike related ones.

Bike-art-EXHIBIT (1)I mentioned the book Bike Art- bicycles in art around the world by Kiriakos Iosifidis in a past post.  A second volume in the series is due out at some point, but until then Kiriakos is continuing to promote the work of bike artists and designers from Greece and beyond with shows, seminars, and exhibitions. The latest BikeArt exhibition is taking place now as part of Thessaloniki 2014 European Youth Capital City. See a few more images from the event below, and follow the BikeArt.gr Facebook page to stay up to date on all of their events.

Bike-art-EXHIBIT (2)

YPOGRAFES (3)

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Hipster fixies in China

fixie-bike-shop-chinaI spotted these neon colored fixies hanging in a small bike shop in Dongguan, China yesterday. I have noticed more and more young people riding bikes like these over here (where they are produced of course), and they certainly stand out among the Flying Pigeons and other dusty black workhorse bikes and trikes that are typical in southern China.

I have been traveling in Asia since the start of the year, and haven’t been able to access email attachments for some reason. I had a few posts from readers that I had hoped to share, but those will have to wait until I am back in the US next week. As usual,  I don’t have Twitter access here either, but you can find a few of my photos, like the one above, on my Instagram account if you are interested.

Update 1/16: The Atlantic recently published an interesting article about fixies in China. Read “How Fixed-Gear Bikes Made Cycling Cool in China” by Celeste LeCompte for her thoughts on the trend and its impact in a country where bicycles are increasingly viewed as a symbol of poverty.

 

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2013- The year in review at BicycleDesign.net

2013- The year in review at BicycleDesign.netIn keeping with the tradition started in 2009, it is time for a year end recap of activity here at Bicycle Design.  For the first time since I started the blog eight years ago, readership was down a bit from the previous year (the blog had just 953,053 pageviews in 2013, compared to 1,236,847 in 2012). Since I took a 2 month break from blogging starting in September, most of those views were in the first ¾ of the year, and it is no surprise that the numbers were down overall.  Another factor in the decline of direct visitors to the blog though has been the growth of mobile users. Views from Google Currents/Newsstand are not factored in to those 2013 numbers, but that is the fastest growing way that people are finding and reading the content here at Bicycle Design these days.

As usual, Google, Facebook, and Twitter referred the most traffic, but Pinterest moved way up in 2013. Google +, StumbleUpon, and Reddit continued to drive quite a bit of traffic as well. Other than those sites though, the top 15 websites that referred traffic to Bicycle Design in 2013 were:

  1. urbanvelo.org
  2. core77.com
  3. organictransit.com
  4. stahlrahmen-bikes.de
  5. londoncyclist.co.uk
  6. fatcyclist.com
  7. gizmag.com
  8. bikerumor.com
  9. bike198.com
  10. yorokobu.es
  11. peopleforbikes.org
  12. bentrideronline.com
  13. steephill.tv
  14. theatlanticcities.com
  15. treehugger.com

The top 15 most viewed posts in 2013 included several older ones that were also top posts in 2012. There were several new ones that rose up though, including the 31 post, which was ahead by a significant margin. In order, the most popular posts for 2013 were:

  1. Wooden bike by Yojiro Oshima
  2. Mando Footloose: a chainless hybrid e-bike
  3. Organic Transit ELF
  4. Drymer: a Dutch electric assist trike
  5. The Smart ebike by Hussein Al-Attar
  6. Specialized Turbo e-bike
  7. A collection of concept bikes
  8. The design of SRAM Red 2012
  9. Rael road bike concept 2.0
  10. Trek Sasquatch and Sand Crawler Cruisers
  11. E-Trike by George Cooper
  12. Vote for the winner of the ISUDA bike share design competition
  13. Is TJ Tollakson the Graeme Obree of triathlon?
  14. Viks and Elektrokatze- steel is still real
  15. Canyon Urban Concept Bike

Thanks to all of you who read the blog in 2013, and especially to those of you who linked to posts or contributed content. Have a happy New Year, and stay tuned to see what 2014 brings for Bicycle Design.


Posted in Commuter, Concept, E-bike, Events, HPV, Road.

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