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Jruiter + Studio’s City Simplicity bike

Concept 14 577

Last week, Joey from the design firm jruiter + studio sent me this concept bike that they recently developed to “simplify inner city personal transportation”. The stripped down 29” wheeled concept bike has very few parts overall. Joey explains:

“Our project, simplicity in inner city bicycling, was at first glance a fun aesthetic opportunity in new trends, color, and materials. Our target lived / worked in an inner city environment with minimal space. Bicycling at this level is more about fashion and culture than speed and performance.

After the first few brainstorm sessions we knew there where bigger opportunities. The project ended up rethinking what a “frame” meant, getting ride of basic key components, and creating a new type of compact bicycling.

The final design came down to a frame system and a really difficult rear hub. Everything else is rider preference.”

My first impression of this design was that it looked like an updated version of something out of Archibald Sharp’s 1896 book, “Bicycles and Tricycles”. The idea of adding cranks and pedals to a boneshaker, hobbyhorse, velocipede, or whatever you want to call it is certainly nothing new, but I think it is interesting to see a modern take on it.

In his email, Joey acknowledged that this design isn’t for everyone:

“Before all of the bike fanatics get all fired up, we know this bike doesn’t solve everyone’s personal transportation dreams. Performance wise, the bike is on the slow side, quirky, and fatiguing over longer distances. Consider it a cafe racer with the performance of a beach cruiser. The positives are easy quick turns, huge power to the rear wheel to go over curbs and other cityscape structures, and great start / stopping / sitting situations. “

One thing is for sure; this bike has been spreading around the design blogosphere the last couple of days. Read more about it here, here, and here, just to name a few places.

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  1. Andrew November 4, 2009 at 1:28 pm -  Reply

    Simplicity, but front suspension? Hmmm…

  2. Likit November 4, 2009 at 1:39 pm -  Reply

    How do you pedal with your legs extending backwards from your hips? This is why bone-shakers, even those with 2 equal-sized wheels, put the pedals on the front wheel, with the rider seated almost at the mid-point of the wheelbase. Steering was rather awkward and the rider needed to keep his feet out of the spokes.

    Chain drive was a major advance. There is very little mechanical loss. Chain drive also solved the gearing problem that had lead to the high-wheeled ordinary.

    No, I think these designers need to be riders and not base their oh-so-clever designs solely on "cool" appearance. Ultimately, functionalism laid bare is the highest design ideal.

  3. sgt renfrew November 4, 2009 at 4:26 pm -  Reply

    Well, bicycle design is mature and the classic diamond frame is hard to improve on, so if you want to get links on the intertubes or impress your design school teacher you have to do something "cool" and impractical like this (I think its goofy, not cool, but then most of what passes for cool these days is pretty goofy). Few if any of these conceptual "improved city bikes" will ever be made, thankfully.

    "Consider it a cafe racer with the performance of a beach cruiser". In other words, it's a posey piece of junk.

  4. andersonreed November 4, 2009 at 5:51 pm -  Reply

    a few major issues:

    1. without a downtube you are basically just counting down until you rip off the headtube.

    2. gearing?

    3. replacement parts?

    4. where do you lock it up?

    i appreciate the 'concept' of a simpler bicycle but the execution is weak. a simpler bike should create fewer problems for the rider over the course of the bikes use, not more. a city bike should not just be good for going over curbs, but should be convenient to use. it should place the rider in an upright riding position, and should be able to lock up easily.

  5. aelazenby November 4, 2009 at 6:19 pm -  Reply

    It looks like it could be a fun ride. Kind of looks cool as well.

    However, my gonads are pleading with me to never to attempt to ride such a thing.

  6. Anonymous November 4, 2009 at 6:42 pm -  Reply

    Dang guys, that is a lot of negative comments you are putting out. Yup this ride is all about looks, not function. It clearly state that in the first paragraph. If you do not comprehend creating for the sake of a fun visual exercise then please do not make too much noise expressing your lack of understanding.

    And, if you are going to comment about mechanics be sure that you know what you are talking about. Unicycle style wheels with internal gears currently exist, as do the rest of the parts on this bike. Dwntubes have nothing to do with how well the headtubes stay on. Consider many mountain bikes. The hole in front of the seat would probably work well for a lock.

  7. lalahsghost November 5, 2009 at 2:22 am -  Reply

    This looks like what BSNYC states is one of those design bikes that are made just to be posted around on the internet to swirl attention to the designer.

    Diamond Frame = Necessary in any fashion. Chain Drive is questionable, but still every efficient. Hubs? Whatever floats your boat… There are too many benefits to both cone/cup or cartridge bearings for whomever you speak to.

    This bike is not for comfort. It would not be fun to ride. Look at how the legs extend or lack thereof… Like the other readers said, My cock is afraid of this bike, but so are my quads. I also don't like the terribly short wheelbase (hub to hub) combined with the seating/leaning angle. Hell, the leaning angle itself is non conducive to citygoers. Look at the dutchbikes. Upright seating for town, unless you are a in a rush to get somewhere.

    Gah…. Shoot me now. I could rage about this thing for hours, but I am wasting my own time now…

  8. Captain November 5, 2009 at 4:52 pm -  Reply

    I'm surprised at all the negativity. Visually it's very striking, which is great for a fashion bike. Throw in the internal gear hub mentioned in the comments and maybe even the pedals in the front and it might be practical enough for a fashionista. Put in a hinge or two to make it folding and then I think it gets really interesting.

  9. Will November 9, 2009 at 11:31 pm -  Reply

    Can I get a painting of this to put up on my wall. I think that's the farthest I'll take it…

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