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Cannondale Jackknife at Fiets Rai

Concept, Student Design 7 892

I first posted renderings of the student designed Cannondale Jackknife concept bike back in January of 2006. Since that time, the post has consistently been one of the most popular archived pages here on Bicycle Design. Over a year later, it still gets quite a few hits every week. A few of the hits stream in from an old Treehugger link, but most of the hits come from Google searches that originate in western European countries. Obviously there is a lot more buzz about the bike in Europe than here in the U.S., so I am hoping that some of you European readers can tell me what you are hearing about it.

Just recently, I ran across this picture of the Jackknife prototype from the 2006 Fiets Rai show in Holland. Can anyone who attended the show let me know what was being said about this concept bike? I assume that Cannondale Europe is just using it as a show bike to generate attention, but I am curious if they are actively developing any elements from it. If any of you have heard anything, let me know.

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  1. Brad February 16, 2007 at 1:49 pm -  Reply

    So is the driveline actually functional? I ask because it was designed to have a “hydraulic drive system” or something similiar, but I wasn’t sure if it was just fancy design lingo for “we didn’t want to clutter up the design with something so messy as a chain.” Basically, is it rideable?

  2. James February 19, 2007 at 12:40 pm -  Reply

    Brad, I don’t know for sure, but I assume that this is a non-functioning prototype. This seems to be a “blue sky” concept that would rely on near future technology to work. Not that hydraulic drivetrain systems don’t exist, they are just not ready for production. As one of the bike’s designers suggested in a comment, google “liquid drive” to get more information.

  3. torgny April 12, 2007 at 3:25 am -  Reply

    Hi Brad and James, the Jackknife is a concept bike designed by students Philippe Holthuizen and Rodrigo Clavel (Elisva Design School, Barcelona). The brief was to explore what an urban bike could look like 8-10 years from now, so like many concept cars, it incorporates technology that is not production ready, like the hydraulic drive-train. The main thing for us was to come up with fresh ideas that can inspire future Cannondale designs, and the best way of achieving that is to let designers use their imagination. Best regards, Torgny Fjeldskaar, Director of Industrial Design, Cannondale Bicycle Corp.

  4. James April 12, 2007 at 7:59 am -  Reply

    Thanks for the comment Torgny. As I have said in past posts, I admire Cannondale’s willingnesses to take some design risks, not just with concept bikes, but also with a few products on the market. It is great that you are sponsoring student design contests as well. The relationship is good for the students and good for Cannondale. Keep up the great work.

  5. raymond August 9, 2007 at 2:56 am -  Reply

    if a lefty chaindrive is possible even if its a single speed…i think it will sell…very nice bike..congratulations for job well done…


  6. Anonymous June 29, 2008 at 1:51 pm -  Reply

    In regards to the hydraulic drive system… industry term is hydrostatic drivetrain… it’s been used in several areas in heavy industries.

  7. da bishop April 22, 2010 at 3:28 pm -  Reply

    the rear end has been developed into the cannondale “on-bike” which has a conventional chain.

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