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Oregon Manifest winner and a fast cargo bike

Commuter, Concept, Electric bike, Utility / Cargo Bike 8 1221

Tony Pereira and his winning bike- via Oregon Manifest

I am back in the U.S. after another busy product development trip in China. I worked long days on this trip, and the 12-hour time difference always hits me harder when I return home, so I am not up for writing much of a post this afternoon. My brain is fried, but I want to quickly mention the Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge results before the week is out.  Tony Pereira, who also won the first Manifest in 2009, took the top prize last Saturday with a custom electric assist bike which features a big black box on the front rack.  The box is lockable, includes USB ports for charging devices on the go, and houses an integrated sound system. From the little bit I have read so far, those all seemed to be details that the judges liked, giving this bike the edge over the others in the competition. Honestly, I don’t know much more about it than that, so I will reserve my comments until I read more about all the entries.  

You can find out more about the winners, and runners up, at the Core77 blog and at this Bike Portland post which features quite a few pictures from the event.  Also, check out the three bikes (really 2 bikes and a trike) that resulted from the collaborations between design firms and framebuilders…and be sure to vote for your favorite Creative Collaboration on the Oregon Manifest website.

One bike that I am curious about is the cargo bike built by Vimana Cycle (pictured here…I think).  A reader, Deb, left the following comment about that bike in response to an older post about the completion:

“I was at the Manifest on Saturday and was wondering about the rider who rolled across the finish line first, number 27. The officials put the bike and rider off to the side and not a word was said about them. It was a very interesting looking cargo bike and I heard several people in the crowd asking what was going on. I stopped and chatted with the rider for few minutes and he said the bike was built by Vimana but had been disqualified from the competition because it had not been finished in time for the judging. It just seemed kind of odd like the officials didn’t know what to do with a bike and rider that had clearly made the 50 mile test and rolled in far ahead of the rest of the field. The bike was obviously a well built and capable cargo hauler. And apparently fast. The crowd seemed surprised that a cargo bike finished first. Anyone have a clue what that was about?”

As she said, it was disqualified after the 51-mile field test and was not eligible for the judges to vote on, but I would love to hear more about the cargo bike that placed first in the race. If you know anything about it, fill me in with a comment.

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  1. Dave September 30, 2011 at 7:00 pm -  Reply

    That cargo bike wasn’t finished in time for the first day of judging. There is a later comment in one of the BikePortland stories that explains it. The builder was allowed to join the challenge, but wasn’t judged since the entry wasn’t finished. The rider missed the lunch stop turn-off and chose to continue riding to the finish instead of turning back. All of the other entries stopped for lunch (and some additional judging) at that stop and waited for the stragglers to catch up. So the rider who skipped the stop had a big lead because of this.

    • James Thomas September 30, 2011 at 8:38 pm -  Reply

      Ahhh…the lunch stop makes sense. Thanks for the explanation.

  2. aleix October 5, 2011 at 10:44 am -  Reply

    this was probably the worst design in the competition. I think it is really unfair for the rest of participants who really thought about integrated solutions, this is frankly a shit proposal, sorry to say.

    • Philip Williamson October 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm -  Reply

      I had wondered about that bike, too. The decision makes sense – if you don’t make it to the judging, you don’t get judged. I wish I’d been at the lunch stop this time.
      @aleix – what was so bad about it? Metrofiets good, this bike bad? I’d take it over the white trike side-hack (which finished, and was cool).

      • Chris October 8, 2011 at 4:32 am -  Reply

        Ah yes, The bike wasn’t finished in time for the judges the day prior to the field test and was disqualified. It is also true that my rider missed his lunch and had to huff it in without the needed calories to put even more distance between him and the field. It is also true that he took a wrong turn and put over sixty miles on during that field test while other who came in later only did the 50. His GPS batteries died and he lost site of the other riders and was lost for at least as long as they were enjoying lunch. He is a strong rider, the bike is fast, but it also wasn’t a race.

        This bike was designed more for the end user, my rider, than the actual competition itself. It just seemed to fit for the competition at the time. My rider owns Green Cycle Services in Eugene, Oregon and needed real solutions, not conceptual solutions, to address the specific needs of the real world in which he uses his bike everyday. Not to discount all those really well thought out solutions found on the other entries that may or may not prove out to be true as was mentioned by “aleix.” I figured that addressing the issues my rider faces everyday would be a good way to approach the competition.

        Solution: look at the cargo deck I built. See that extra rail that skirts around the lower part of the deck. It gives the operator the ability to use any kind of tie down system he or she needs to secure any number of objects to be hauled. The deck also allows for several different types of cargo boxes to be mounted, open boxes, locking boxes, a dump box (dirt hauler), child hauler, a fat stereo box with big loud speakers, etc. The bike was actually built around the deck and the many different cargo hauling systems it can support.

        Solution: the entire frame was built with cargo securing in mind. The steering is tucked in well above the lower frame tube in case a strap or rope needs to be wrapped all the way under the bike.

        Solution: the steering rod was place on the left away from curb so it is harder to catch and damage.

        None of these features were done by accident. The rider/owner has many years of experience in using this type of a bike for portage, and I implemented as much into this design from his wish list as I could. All the obscure little things he could never find on existing designs that make a real users life easier.

        Solution: the drive system is just another Gates belt system and a Shimano Alfine gear hub. Yes exactly, but look again. The user of this bike bases his business, bike cargo hauling, in the south side of Eugene, Oregon. Need I say many hills, some very steep, long, and all Oregon sized ones. Unfortunately, the 24 tooth Alfine/Nexus CenterTrack cog offered by Gates really doesn’t cut it. I needed to give him lower gears so he could huff his loaded bike over Eugene’s 30th Ave hill. Since Gates doesn’t offer a 28 tooth cog for a CenterTrack belt system, I had to machine one, or roll my own so to speak. And since I was already at the mill and lathe I decided to create one with an offset to extend that narrow 42mm chainline everyone constantly complains about, which keeps one from using the belt and Alfine on a 29er. Look again and you will notice the 104bc 4 bold MTB crank with its 50mm chainline, and, yes, I can make it work on a 29er with big fat tire too. So the result was a cargo bike with a new CenterTrack system that has low enough gears to push a 400 pound load up and over a mountain yet slip it in to 11th gear and it will fly (like a Vimana). That was two solutions in one.

        The length, the gearing, the cargo hauling system, the steering, and many other features were lost to the judges and public because this bike didn’t get finished in time to fit the rules of the competition. I am sorry about that and apologize to the world for not having the opportunity to share what makes this bike different, but I made the choice to forgo the deadline and finish the bike correctly. And it is done correctly. And the paint is real pretty too.

        I guess sometimes the rules of the game, deadlines and other limiting factors, can hinder the creative process to the extent that something that might just be significant is simply overlooked and it becomes more important to punish the loser. And one needs to ask in the end who is really the loser?

        • Cyclorama Dot Net October 12, 2011 at 7:48 am -  Reply

          Chris, Thanks so much for that explanation of the design. It’s really interesting. I ride a bakfiets as my daily and many of the issues you mention are those I encounter with mine. Awesome bike BTW.


  3. Sean May 22, 2012 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    What, no love for the student creations? There were two rather interesting and compelling designs out of two schools in specific, CCA and the University of Oregon. I was excited to see that young enthusiasm and the student groups willingness to break away from the norms of cycling design, approaching each project with a blank slate and developing solutions.

    Honestly, the U of O’s team brought more to the table than many of the professionally designed and built bikes at the Oregon Manifest.

  4. ed July 28, 2014 at 11:24 pm -  Reply

    That Vimana bike is still getting daily use. It also tows a trailer I built that regularly handles 400 pounds.

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