Bike Rumor mentioned this Peugeot B1K concept bike a couple of days ago (see more renderings there). Much like the flashy concept “fantasy” vehicles that are common in the auto industry, I doubt that this design was intended to ever be produced. More likely it was created to generate excitement and gain some needed attention for a brand that is poised for a revival these days. Though not intended for production, concept designs like this do serve a real purpose for designers (aside from creating flashy images for marketing). Cutting loose a bit and creating something that is purely conceptual from time to time helps to inspire the design team and (forgive me in advance for the cliche) “keep the creative juices flowing”. That creative energy can translate to a really nice, and saleable, product line down the road if the company chooses to puts the resources in place for the product development team to succeed.
It is pretty obvious that this exact bike won’t be coming to a bike shop near you anytime soon, but it is an interesting form which could indicate a very general design direction to come for Peugeot. They certainly need to do more to revive themselves than rebadge off the shelf steel, ti, aluminum, or carbon frames as some other older brands have done. One other old French brand comes to mind…I’ll let you guess which one . These days they make perfectly adequate bikes in the four materials I just mentioned, but there is really nothing special about any of the bikes, so they really have no choice but to compete solely on price in every category. It is kind of sad to see a brand with a long history and a well known name and race to the bottom like that with a low price strategy. Regardless of the design direction they choose, I certainly hope that Puegeot can do better.
I need to run now, but for a more thorough perspective on the importance of design in the bike industry, check out Chris Matthews’ recent “Bicycles & Business Design” post. As is always the case at Chris’ blog, the post is well written and insightful.