Eric Stoddard is a talented automotive and product designer (you can see examples of his work on his website, SpeedStudioDesign). He attended the Taipei Cycle show last week and I asked him if he could provide a bit of commentary for Bicycle Design readers. I think that as an avid bicyclist with a background as an automotive designer, he has an interesting perspective to share.
You will hear more about the show from Eric, but his post is focused on the International Bicycle Design Competiton that took place on the first day. A few of his pictures are linked thoughout the post (the one shown here is the 2nd place “Anytime” bike). In addition to the shots that are pointed out, I encourage you to check out his entire IBDC photoset here. Now without anymore from me, here is Eric’s commentary about the International Bicycle Design Competiton:
This is a serious competiton, with 938 entries from around the world, and sponsored by the major bicycle manufacturers and the Taiwanese government. The grand prize award was the equivalent of US $15,000, and both Giant and Merida awarded bicycles to the top contenders. There were 20 finalists whose work was on display at the show. Each finalist was required to complete a scale model, and the level of detail on some of the models was outstanding. The awards were presented by some of the biggest people in the Taiwan bicycle industry, including the chairmen of Giant and Shimano (Mr. Shimano!) and several government officials. This competition is seen as a direct investment in Taiwan’s future as the global leader in bicycles.
The grand prize was awarded to the “+X” concept by Kun Shao, Hong-Yu Sun, and Peng-Yueh Hsu. The +x was one of several “transformer” concepts in that it can be easily reconfigured 3 different ways, from upright to recumbent riding positions.
Both the second prize and the Giant award went to Larry Chen for the “Anytime” bike. (He was also last year’s grand prize winner!) While at first it appeared to be one of the more conventional entries, I really began to appreciate this bike the more I looked at it. The Anytime features an easily detachable “power pack” that contains an integrated motor, controller, battery and LED taillamp that clicks onto the frame and connects at the front chainring. I’ve been tinkering with electric bikes for awhile now, and I thought it was a clean and attractive solution. Overall, this bike was the most production ready of all the concepts. Personally, I preferred this one to the grand prize winner.
The Merida prize went to the “Winsolar” concept by Chun -Tung Chen and Kuoh-Siang Chen. The Winsolar features an integrated deployable solar panel and small wind turbines at the end of each handlebar, for the purpose of making this electric bike more energy-autonomous. While I thought the idea was quite innovative, I see some serious potential problems to making it feasible. First of all, current solar technology would require a much larger solar panel to be effective, making it difficult to stow inside the frame. Secondly, wind turbines cause aerodynamic drag, and I suspect the drag would negate any additional energy created from the small fans.
In addition to the scale models, All 3 of these concepts were built as full scale prototypes, and several additional prototypes were also shown from previous IBDC competitons.
There were several additional concepts I found significant that are worth noting. The 3rd prize “Metro Urban” by Surasith Tiyavacharapong was another “transformer” bike with a simple frame that could be inverted to change from a mens to a ladies bike. A clever detail was the “M” graphic that became a “W” for the ladies version. There were several concepts that explored different ways of making use of wasted space to allow them to haul cargo. The “Stronger” concept featured wheels that contained giant spherical water tanks for villagers in Africa to haul their water from the river. “Dressing” featured fabric inserts in the frame and handlebar that allow you to haul stuff while giving you the ability to customize its appearance. The “1=2” bike used hubless wheels to house storage containers for grocery shopping. The bike folds into a side-by-side configuration to transform it into a shopping cart. The “Tribo” concept by Simon Paez of Columbia is an attractive and innovative take on the velomobile tricycle concept, with weather protection and cargo-carrying ability. I thought this one was nice because of the way the frame and components were left exposed …It wasn’t pretending to be a car!