Intro from James- This is a guest post from Andreas who writes about cycling in London on his excellent blog London Cyclist. I mentioned him previously when he put together a great list of top 50 cycling blogs, which happened to include Bicycle Design in the #11 spot. I have been extremely busy catching up since my trip, so when Andreas told me that he had an idea for a guest post, I jumped at the chance. You hear from me all the time anytime, so I figured a fresh perspective on the subject of bicycle design would be a welcome change. Andreas didn’t disappoint, so without further ado here is his post about future bicycle designs:
How would you like to cycle across a lake? Or cycle at 60km/hour with the power of the wind? What about taking a more leisurely approach to cycling and lying down while you cycle? All of these are possibilities in the following five bicycle designs that we could one day see next to the Trek section in the bike shop.
This revolution to the folding bike concept is the brainchild of Czech designer Josef Cadek. What makes this bike so different is the large circular frame design that provides the base for the rest of the components to fold into. The design solves the two oldest dilemmas faced by bicycle owners; where should I store my bike and how should I transport it?
The bike is likely to be built out of molded plastic to keep the weight and price low. The designer stated that he didn’t want to use materials such as carbon fiber because it makes the bike too expensive and exclusive. It is hoped the Locust may be on sale before the end of 2010 and with a low enough price point it could see widespread adoption.
The Di-Cycle can go over land and water. If you do the latter however you are likely to get a bit soaked as it has no exterior shell. What makes it possible to travel on the water is the white base, which is filled with air making it extremely light. The Di-Cycle concept belongs to GBO Design however they have not made any plans known about possible commercial availability of the Di-Cycle.
The Zockra is the one bike from this list that you can get hold of now through their website in France. The seating position not only provides us cyclists with a welcome break from the saddle but also it better utilizes the muscles needed to pedal, thus increasing speed. Couple this ideal riding position with the reduced wind resistance and you should be able to reach some pretty impressive speeds. The bike is built using carbon material for lightness. I would say the Zockra is not very suitable in a city environment where motorists are unlikely to spot you at that low level but fantastic for more rural locations. As for the price tag – you can expect to pay around $4,300.
If you have ever had the pleasure or dread of walking into a gym then you may well have tried the elliptical trainer. The ElliptiGo is a cross between that and a bike. The experience can be likened to running on a bike. The benefit being that you can do your workout outdoors and unlike running there is no impact to the knees. I’m unsure about how the ride will compare to that of a normal bike but the designers have tested it on some pretty epic bike rides with promising results. The bike is due to start appearing on the streets of America before 2010, with an estimated price tag of $1950.
Combine the power of pedaling with the power of the wind and you have one very high-speed vehicle. The Ventomobil has been raced a number of times and has reached speeds up to 60 km/h. Unfortunately its unlikely you will ever be overtaken on the roads by one of these as there are no plans to put it into production.
The truth is that futuristic designs such as these come up frequently but rarely reach the mass production stage. I believe the biggest step forward is the Locust. It takes portability to a new extreme; it’s a kind of a James Bond bicycle, though it doesn’t come with a rocket launcher. It may help reduce the section of the pie that is the non-cyclists – the people that say they don’t cycle because there is nowhere to put their bike. It is great to see that innovation is still coming in the field of bikes as it is far too easy to accept the status quo of the current designs. It seems to be an area accessible to new designers as many of these have come out of university leavers and design competitions. Hopefully, we will one day see the current style of bikes relegated to the museums and exiting fresh new designs take their place. Which one would you most like to ride?