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E-bikes, co-creation, and Disraeli Gears

Concept, Electric bike 2 935

I have been traveling for the past week, and will continue to do so next week, so I am a bit behind on the blog. I have quite a bit of unread email to get to as well, but today I want to quickly pass along a few of links that might interest many of you.

Ford electric bicycle conceptFord followed the lead of several other automakers by debuting an e-bike concept at the recent Frankfurt Motor Show.  According to AutoBlog Green, the Ford e-bike concept “features an aluminum and carbon fiber frame that weighs in at 5.5 pounds, a carbon fiber Giant SLR stem, Selle Italia SLR XC saddle, Mavic Elipse wheels, Shimano Alfine 11-speed internal gear hub and Shimano Rapidfire shifters.” The design is somewhat similar to the Smart e-bike that we saw last year (and more recently at Eurobike a few weeks ago). It will be interesting to see if this was just an attention getter for the show, or if Ford plans to follow Smart’s lead and put it into production.

Quirky Modus urban bikeThe social product development platform Quirky recently set out to “reinvent the bicycle in 24 hours” with an online brainstorm resulting in this bike by the Quirky design team. Yannig Roth wrote about the project on his blog, and I think his thoughts on the concept and process are pretty interesting.

Rishock is a electric Quadricycle with pedal assistance for daily use. Check out the website for more information and see it in action on vimeo.

Resilon rear derailleur from the 1950sIn addition to being a great album, Disraeli Gears is the name of a UK based website that covers the history of the derailleur. A friend sent me the link yesterday, and I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t seen it before. I could (and will) spend hours looking at the pictures and reading the sometimes funny but always informative descriptions of derailleurs from the past, like the 1950s British made Resilion shown here.

I could keep adding links, but I am out of time. More to come soon when I can find another break from work on this trip.


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  1. Nick F September 22, 2011 at 11:29 pm -  Reply

    As someone who participated in the Quirky event (I was there as a framebuilder, though I don’t usually work for Quirky) and is also neck-deep in the bicycle industry, I shared a lot of Yannig’s thoughts about whether or not it was really a “reinvention” of the bicycle. Certainly there have been some concept bikes that look similar, and others that function in many of the same ways. (Non-concept bikes, too – the Air Friday came to mind.) Ultimately though, I think the question of whether or not this concept was was a true “reinvention” of the bicycle is somewhat moot.

    In reality, bicycles are reinvented practically everyday…. by people of vastly disparate credentials: students, designers, corporations, random folks in their garages. A reinvention isn’t tremendously substantive though until it moves beyond the concept phase. As the many unproduced-yet-great designs that fill this blog illustrate… the crux of a new idea is probably not it’s relative merit, but whether or not it can be produced at a price point where people will buy it. Bikes are a tough sell, and distilling a game-changing feature down to the point where someone will pay for it is where the real reinventions can happen.

    I’m not saying they should have had smaller goals because without question the entire event was about entertaining and engaging the public, and I feel it was a success in that regard. Whether or not they reinvented the bicycle remains to be seen.

  2. Ghost Rider September 26, 2011 at 12:13 am -  Reply

    Ah, Disraeli Gears — the photographs and history are spectacular, but the real draw is the writing. Good stuff, James!

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