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Globike, a roundtail, and other links

Concept, Road Bike 22 758

I am feeling a bit jetlagged after the long flight from China, but I want to pass along a few interesting links before I will be off again later this week. I’ll be traveling light (without a computer) this time, so don’t expect any updates on the blog next week. After a little time off, I am sure that I will have a backlog of post ideas, so look for new content here sometime after Easter.

Globike, is a city bike by Torino, Italy based design firm ZAAFDesign.  According to the designers, Globike is “inspired by ergonomic principles enjoying comfort with style. Particular attention has been placed on the analysis of energy needed to produce movement. The form has been studied in order to obtain the optimal positioning of the saddle’s height and depth.” You can read more about the bike, which features a carbon frame with a titanium seat tube, on ZAAFDesign’s website.

Make: Live, the streaming show and tell by MAKE magazine will be all about bikes this week. The topics sound pretty interesting. You can find out more at this preview post, and plan to tune in tonight, Wednesday, April 13th at 9pm ET/6pm PT.

This construction toy concept by Walter Scheublin allows children to “build their own bikes, karts and other constructions. The set consists of tubes and connector pieces that can be assembled to a frame and an axle system that provides for working mechanisms.” Looks like fun…and not just for kids.

Freshome recently posted a nice looking wooden wall rack for displaying a diamond-framed bike. Each 718 Bedford Ave Bike Rack is custom made from birch ply and veneer to fit the front triangle of your particular bike. Thanks to Kim at Full Circle for the tip.

Finally, I want to mention this “roundtail” road bike created by Canadian internet entrepreneur Lou Tortola. According to the designer, this new frame that debuted at the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show last week, “dramatically increases comfort, while retaining the lateral stiffness and pedaling efficiency of traditional diamond frame bicycles.” What do you think about this idea? A couple of people have mentioned that they have seen something similar before, but I didn’t see it in Sharp’s book or any of the other historical sources I could think to check. If you know of a link to something similar, I would love to see it.

Update: You can read more about the bike and see better pictures on the website at

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  1. suganick April 13, 2011 at 4:32 pm -  Reply

    The roundtail roadbike kinda makes sense but definitely needs some refining, the circle is a great idea but the overall frame shape is poorly execute. Think about all the potentials with adding innovative solutions on the front end vs. just slapping on a new shape to the rear triangle. To finish it all of it mine as well have square rims.

  2. Ron Callahan April 13, 2011 at 4:50 pm -  Reply

    I got the press release on the roundtail and it had fully made the rounds by the time I got around to thinking about posting about it.

    It’s an interesting concept, but the “circle” seems to be massively overbuilt, using tubing that looks closer in diameter to the seat tube than to what we typically see with seat and chain stays.

    I also have to wonder if the dropped chain stay would interfere with shifting. At the least, I think that there would be a lot of chain slap against it.

  3. Ethan F April 13, 2011 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

    I was oddly enough at that show for a little bit and saw the round-tail. Its defiantly eye-catching, but as stated above it defiantly needs some refining.

    It was however, built by Taylor Bicycles which have built some very nice frames over the past few years… And of course it was a really nicely built frame, but the concept is lacking and the over all execution is hideous.

    Ron the rear end was made out of a oval tube, and the picture is a bit deceiving as far as tubing dimensions. But your right it looks like crap and a round tube would be much cleaner.

  4. Mike April 13, 2011 at 6:28 pm -  Reply

    I thought the roundtail was an April fools’ joke. I pine for the day when suspension seatposts become acceptable in road bike design and we can stop trying to build butt dampening into the frame. The MTB world cracked this nut years ago — roadies all seem to think that the only suspension posts out there are the pogo sticks that ship on hybrids, but there are good products that do with a small polymer element what everybody seems to want to do with a huge amount of metal or carbon.

    The italian rig is pretty, but that high headtube junction isn’t realistic.

  5. shaun wallace April 13, 2011 at 6:51 pm -  Reply

    I saw someone holding this bike at the Gran Fondo on the Sunday. Different, but is there really ANY vertical compliance that would improve comfort? I very much doubt it.

  6. Impossibly Stupid April 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm -  Reply

    Oh how I hate designers when they talk BS. A lot of lip service paid to “comfort”, but nothing about the underlying design changes any fundamental part of the layout’s contact points (seat, pedals, handlebars) compared to a standard diamond frame.

    • Mike April 14, 2011 at 10:10 am -  Reply

      Stipulated, but let’s stay on topic here. Most of us are pretty happy with the position and range of adjustment of the contact points on a standard diamond frame, and those who aren’t are riding recumbents.

      • Impossibly Stupid April 14, 2011 at 10:57 am -  Reply

        Uh, that’s exactly what I acknowledge when I point out that these designs aren’t specifically engineered for comfort. They are mere visual tweaks, and while the riding characteristics might change a little bit if you replace the lower triangle with a hoop, you might be able to get the same result by adding a much more simple suspension to the seat post.

  7. Wytze April 14, 2011 at 5:15 am -  Reply

    I just imagine that moment where the designer realized “oh oh, but where do I attach the front derailleur?” From the looks of it, that moment came much too late in the design process 😉

  8. mommus April 14, 2011 at 5:18 am -  Reply

    The Globike – How can a ‘design firm’ embark on something like this without any consideration for engineering or practicality? Just draw a snazzy shape in 3d… yep that looks ok… what shall we make it from? hmmm… dunno… carbon fibre I guess. Those forks look silly and are ludicrously thin at the axle. Even solid steel would struggle to do the job there. I like their cleaning products though!
    The Roundtail bike is an interesting approach to designing some suspension into a frame. I personally think it would end up heavier than a standard diamond frame, and would be quite expensive to make, but it’s different.

      • mommus April 14, 2011 at 8:42 am -  Reply

        I love the swan bike! very pretty. This doesn’t seem to complete the circle though, so would be a bit more flexive?

        • mommus April 14, 2011 at 8:44 am -  Reply

          actually, that’s bollocks. It connects at the bottom bracket.

  9. Paul Wujek April 14, 2011 at 8:47 pm -  Reply

    Off hand, aside from agreeing with others on the inherent ugliness of the design, if the frame is compliant and not adjustable, then it must be tuned to the weight of the individual as built, otherwise it will be unridable for the majority of riders.

    So all-in-all not a very good design.

  10. Jack April 20, 2011 at 4:13 am -  Reply

    The roundtail looks horrible, don’t think that’s a functional bike. The big frame looks just on the picture heavy like steel.
    But i like the Globike.. simple and nice

  11. Steve Boehmke April 25, 2011 at 2:41 pm -  Reply

    Hi Guys, Steve here from RoundTail… interesting comments, and thanks for your feedback… the truth is, rings are scientifically proven to be way more vertically resilient than a triangle of the same material. Go to our website and check out the Finite Element Analysis – – our frame soaks up a bunch of the edge off bumps and road vibration. Just wait ’till we make a 29’er mountain bike! That’s going to be a great application for the design. See you on the roads and trails…

    • Andrew April 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm -  Reply

      I appreciate the scientific approach, but I wonder if a more effective way to get 0.026″ (0.7 mm) of vertical compliance would be to go from 23C to 25C tires and let the pneumatic suspension take over.

  12. Lou Tortola April 25, 2011 at 3:59 pm -  Reply

    You know, if I look at the bike from the angle of the thumbnail on this post I can see why some of you may think it is not attractive. That fact is… the bike in real life looks much better than this thumbnail. It looks more like what you see on the website: but even better in reality. And it rides like a dream.

    It was exhibited in a room of 400 cyclists at an event recently, and the consensus was that the bike is super cool and a work of art. OK, as the designer I admit that I’m biased… But I am telling all of you that most people who see it in real life love it. I am very proud of the ROUNDTAIL. We did do F.E.A. analysis of the 1880 Swanbike, (we had to for our Patent application) and it does not compare in achieving the same results. Do come to Interbike and see it. I promise you, it will make a different impression on you in real life.

    Check out other images at:

    The people in San Diego who saw the bike and photographed it over and over were impressed. I take their reaction as a confirmation we “have a winner here” (and those are not my words, but words I heard a number of times…)

    Lou Tortola
    inventor of the ROUNDTAIL

    PS: Here is what happened last Thursday: I was on a 50k ride on my own, with the very bike you see on the site. I could see at some distance ahead, a rider was in front of me. I chased him down and finally caught up, it was a professional road racer also out for a ride. When he saw my bike beside him, he yelled out: “What kind or pedals do you have on that?” To which I replied “Speedplay of course!”. He immediately stopped and got off his carbon fiber. bike and said “lets switch, I want to ride that bike”. Of course I complied, and as soon as the racer got on the ROUNDTAIL he sprinted away so fast that in an instant he was gone. I caught up to him at the next stop sign 1k or so away. He was waiting for me. “So what do you think?” he replied “wow! it rides great, fast response, good acceleration, great handling. I love it!”.

    It is really easy to comment on things you see from a distance, good or bad. I can tell you from experience it takes a lot of hard work to think about something and create a reality of your vision and bring something new into this world to celebrate life and a sport you are passionate about.

    • Mike April 25, 2011 at 7:24 pm -  Reply

      Not sure why you believed this guy when he said he was a pro:

      Seriously though, going forward you need Steve and not Lou doing PR. This post smells like vapor. And I’m sorry, but this design is ridiculous. Whoever settled on this rear cable routing path should not be allowed near a 5mm hex wrench, much less a CAD workstation. Bare cable rubbing against the inside of the tube is bad no matter what the tube is made of, though I also find it especially egregious that you spend so much time touting the merits of the design on your web site without clearly stating what material the bike is actually made of. Good luck gentlemen, you’re going to need it.

  13. Jay September 21, 2011 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    I can’t believe how many people criticise and denigrate this design without RIDING THE BIKE! If you read(and watch,on Youtube) comments by people who have ridden the bike they LOVE IT! I can’t wait to ride one.I think bikes need new ideas and this looks like a good one to me.

  14. Lou Tortola June 7, 2013 at 9:31 pm -  Reply

    RoundTail Update, Almost two years later… Many roundTails sold in a number of Countries.. Only addicted customers who give the bike rave reviews, they post videos like this on their own:

    This is what happened at interbike, comments by bike people there who actually saw the bike and road it.

    But after that:
    Check out over 200 videos of real people seeing the real bike.. doing real rides..

    Reviewed by Bicycling Magazine.

    “It’s speedy and quite rigid-feeling, with responsive handling.”
    On the road, it feels pretty good—more so than I expected. My first impression was that the ride feel was pretty “normal;” my subsequent impressions grew increasingly positive. The frame feels very stiff: zippy and efficient. It’s speedy and quite rigid-feeling, with responsive handling. On my initial ride I was even tempted to try out a local cyclocross course—it has that kind of ride, the kind that will tempt you into foolhardy behaviour.

    Ask any one who has seen the bike up close or ridden the bike… It is here to stay:
    The carbon frame rides like a dream.

    I am very proud of my RoundTail design. My advice to would-be bike innovators… It can be a very mean world out there! There are so many people who too have invented bikes… Worked as hard as you have to launch things, risking everything they have to build a better world, and like most of them above here they know their stuff and they will quickly put you in your place. Listening to these voices may not give you a real push to help them ride the next innovation; the next M.T.B., then next Carbon bike, the next Electra, the next Roundtail. I for one can tell you, nevertheless it is all worth it, I am loving every minute of it. I ride a RoundTail, and could not imagine a world without one, the best thing now, many months after the launch, is that I am not the only one who feels this way. Ride the bike, see the bike, then please judge the bike. With thanks.

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