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Canyon Urban Concept Bike

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  1. Andy September 4, 2013 at 2:17 pm -  Reply

    It’s good to see concepts with lights and fenders, but as usual I have big doubts that integrated parts will ever work. That stem is rather useless since it has zero adjustment, and can’t be replaced for $30 like all others.

    The locking concept is neat. I don’t know how a niche company could convince municipalities to install their proprietary locks, but if someone figure out that huge hurdle, it would be great to ride around lock free if enough places had it set up.

    The basket… please. I work at a bike shop that deals in real transportation bicycles among other things. Someone asked for a basket once this year… literally once. A specialized proprietary one isn’t going to happen.

    • James Thomas September 4, 2013 at 3:03 pm -  Reply

      Andy, good point about adjustability of the stem/bar position (and the light beam direction). That is definitely an issue that they will need to address if this design moves beyond the tradeshow concept bike stage.

      Regarding front baskets, I personally like them. I have a wire mesh basket that I clip on to an old mountain bike that I ride for short trips. Front baskets are practical for shopping, and I think that they are becoming slightly more accepted here in the US (though many people still think they are only for ladies’ bikes). In this case though, since Canyon does not sell bikes direct in the US (yet), this is mainly a concept for the European market where basket use is pretty common.

  2. Barry September 4, 2013 at 2:25 pm -  Reply

    Looks nice. Like the lock integration. Stem integration looks cool but just like Andy, I have doubts regarding the zero adjustability….
    Integrated lights are a good thing and SON is simply perfect, as is the belt drive.
    So, bike looks cool and has got some neath features but some drawbacks as well

  3. Nicholas Hardrath September 4, 2013 at 2:26 pm -  Reply

    This is a fantastic solution in many ways- I’ve always leaned towards vintage bikes for commuting (and high end carbon or steel/titanium for racing). This integrates good aesthetics and fantastic function. I can envision myself commuting on this to work and then stopping at the grocery store on the way home. It eliminates the need for a bulky pack-pack, strap on lights and U-Lock which is fantastic. Hopefully the price tag isn’t on scene for a commuter bike (under $900 in my mind).

    • Andy September 4, 2013 at 2:31 pm -  Reply

      Nicholas, like most designs here, it will likely never have a price tag because it’s just a visual experiment. A SON generator hub sells for between $280-450 depending on the model. Integrated parts mean very low production numbers, and bulk pricing goes out the window. So budget more for several thousand dollars…

  4. Nicholas Hardrath September 4, 2013 at 2:36 pm -  Reply

    Andy- you are exactly correct. Here was to hoping a product like this would come to life and would be affordable to the masses! I recently read that 1.6% of American’s ride bikes, not sure if that was a commuting number or generic number- either way it was cited by Gary Fischer and he thinks we can double that number several times in the near future. I would buy something like this in a heartbeat and show people how easy it is.

    • Andy September 4, 2013 at 2:42 pm -  Reply

      Likely that statistic was about trips done by bicycle. In some great bike friendly cities where cycling culture is everywhere, they get several % of trips to be by bike. I think 5% is usually a great number, though a few cities may be above that now too. Unfortunately, even where I live which seems very bike friendly sees only 0.7% of trips done by bike. We just love our cars in America!

      I have great news for you. You can still get all the functionality of this bike and more from parts currently available. Under $1000 and the options are a little more limited, but you can still find many bikes for a reasonable price and add fenders, LED lights, racks to carry everything. I bought a frame and built it up from new parts to make my ultimate do-everything bike for around $2500 instead of buying a second car for the house. Maybe that seems like an expensive bike, but I use it year round and it was way cheaper than buying a car! Just watch Craigslist and you can spot $100 steel frames that make great candidates for new parts to convert it into a stellar commuter.

  5. logan September 4, 2013 at 4:38 pm -  Reply

    The integrated, non-adjustable bar/stem combo makes it a non-starter, even though there are some good ideas throughout the rest of the design.

  6. Impossibly Stupid September 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm -  Reply

    I’m going to echo a lot of Andy’s pessimism. Integrated lights will never make sense to me so long as bike makers look at them as a way to jack up prices even higher than bike light prices have already been jacked up (when compared to things like flashlights). A damn red LED flasher for the back shouldn’t even cost $5; now *what* do you want me to pay for one I can’t even pull off of the bike and use for jogging at night?

    That basket is so tiny as to be worthless. I doesn’t look like it would hold a gallon of milk and a sack of potatoes, and that’s barely the *start* of a shopping trip.

    The locking system is garbage. We’ve covered similarly lame frame-only concepts before. Unless you’re building in “integrated” wheels, I’m going to want a *functional* security system. Only local councils filled with non-biking do-gooders will be dumb enough to support such a thing.

    QR codes are idiotic. They barely made sense in the era of dumb phones. Really, it’s nothing more than a prominent serial number, which would better be human-readable and thus easy enough to OCR with a smart phone or type in to any online registration database. If you’re the type of person who likes to pretend it is going to help in any way if your bike gets stolen, that is.

    • Andy September 5, 2013 at 9:54 am -  Reply

      I hate to see my comments called pessimism… more just reality. As other commenters have pointed out, this is olympic track geometry, no adjustability, and a dinky front box. The belt, split seat post, and integrated locks make it “design worthy” by being different – even though these features have been seen over and over again yet still aren’t mainstream. I wonder why…

      • Impossibly Stupid September 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm -  Reply

        Oh, I’m right there with you on the “pessimism” label, but that is the reality of our current snowflake society. Anything that isn’t a positive (like this, friend them, follow that) is too harsh for the constitution of people these days. Bad designs should be ripped apart, and companies offering them should be ridiculed and bankrupted. But, being a nice guy, I’ll just say we’re being a bit pessimistic. 🙂

  7. Barry September 5, 2013 at 1:39 am -  Reply

    Apparently, you are not a big fan of this bike, Impossibly stupid? 😉
    I think that integrated lights are a good thing. Here in the Netherlands and especially in the cities lights are ripped off all the time. This goes for about anything that isn’t locked tight to the frame. So the more integration the better I’d say… That doesn’t mean I do not agree with you on the cost thing… Afterall I’m still dutch…!

    • Impossibly Stupid September 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm -  Reply

      Integration is better, but only when it *is* better! I don’t want a bike that has a light that won’t work at all if the generator goes out, or can’t be removed so that I can see well enough to fix a flat.

      I have long thought that bikes should have a standardized electrical system of some sort (e.g., 5V USB-compatible). Only once *that* is in place should manufacturers start talking about integrating electrical components. Everything else is just expensive lock-in.

      • Andy September 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm -  Reply

        By standardized USB, you mean one of 17 or so different connectors? 😀

        Current generators typically produce 3 watts at 6 volts. Unless you have a “no tail light” version that does 2.4 watts. The 6v is good for charging gadgets that otherwise require 5v to run.

        I’d vote for 0 integration. If there’s one thing I’ve learned with buying and selling bikes is that no one cares about integration. “This bike comes with racks, fenders, lights…” Who cares if you already have your own, or only ride without carrying stuff on nice days. The moment you add fancy integrated features is the moment that you create more reasons for someone to get turned off by the design. Experience also shows that added enhancements are usually low quality but high replacement cost.

        • Impossibly Stupid September 5, 2013 at 5:40 pm -  Reply

          I care less about the connectors than the utility of the voltage/amperage standards. It was cars/motorcycles that gave us the 12/6 volt conventions, but I see no reason that bikes should follow it. Most of my gizmos can be charged over USB one way or another, so it would make a lot of sense to move bikes to that standard.

          That way, you’d also be just fine with zero integration. Because, if all bikes had the same kind of electrical systems, you could just take a light off your old bike and plug it into your new bike. Same for electronic shifters, smart phones/GPS, and anything else you want to use while you bike. A little bit by way of economies of scale would go a long way.

  8. Milessio September 5, 2013 at 6:12 am -  Reply

    The many thousands of urban hire bikes (Velib, Bixi) don’t have adjustable handlebar stems. Those bikes are also only one size, so is it really an issue?

    The integrated front lamp is ok. LEDs last forever, so replacement shouldn’t be an issue. It won’t need expensive casing, battery or high power LED, so it wouldn’t have to be expensive. Its placement does however restrict how much can be carried in the basket/box, but heavy & bulky items are normally better carried at the back.

    Unfortunately the rear light prevents the use of rear racks, child seats etc.

    The integrated locking idea is very restrictive & expensive. An universal shackle lock fixing point on the bike would be much more useful.

    A(n) RFID tag applied under the clearcoat might be a better alternative to a QR code?

    • Andy September 5, 2013 at 10:05 am -  Reply

      Milessio, yes there are a few hundred thousand bike share bikes with limited adjustability. I’ve ridden ones from Bcycles (in Boulder) and Bixi (in Montreal) and can confirm that they do indeed suck. They are useful for riding on flat ground for short distances, but they are designed to suck on purpose. These companies don’t want people on light bikes going fast, so they designed 42lb beefy aluminum bikes that aren’t comfortable for riding more than the 30 minutes that most of these systems allow (without incurring large fees). These are most definitely not bikes that people choose to purchase for commuting.

      LEDs may last “forever” but there have yet to be any integrated into handlebars that have proven their value. LEDs get very hot if they aren’t cooled by air around them, and putting that whole unit inside the handlebars or stem will kill it much faster. I’m sure it can be done, but you’ll need a heat sink or air channels to do it. Not surprisingly, that part of the design is missing.

  9. art September 5, 2013 at 9:32 am -  Reply

    Unfortunately, the average utility cyclist is looking for both comfortably high bars and standover clearance. Starting with an Olympic track bike is not the way to get there. Also, the lack of rear rack eyelets is a deal breaker.

  10. BubbaNicholson September 7, 2013 at 3:02 am -  Reply

    Another easy option might be basket as hollow fairing covering the front wheel entirely. Sadly, no dashboard gps, turn signals, etc. When will all the dang clamps disappear?

  11. Torgny F September 9, 2013 at 5:29 am -  Reply

    I believe some of you are making the mistake of judging this concept bike automatically thinking YOU are the target customer. There’s many sub-categories of urban bikes, and that’s obviously because people have different needs and tastes. Some of the things you point out as flaws may actually be less relevant or even good for other people.

    For instance, there are millions of people in Europe who do their (commonly single-household) grocery shopping on the way home from work. They tend not to buy very much, just a little bit of fresh stuff every day, perhaps some milk (1 litre, not a gallon;-), perhaps a small bread, some fruit etc, so for them it’s not necessarily better to have a huge basket, as they very seldom need it.

    Integrated lights: Again, for many people this can be a good solution, because of the theft protection it offers. Some detachable lights are small and easy to bring along if you park your bike, but in terms of light performance they tend to suck, and the bigger ones are less convenient to detach and put in your pocket. Canyon’s solution may lack adjustability, but there are other solutions out there (like e.g. the Cannodale HeadSight which I happened to work on some years ago), which have angle adjustment, but as far as I know they’re (still) too pricey to compete with the non-integrated lights.

    Geometry: There are PLENTY of people who ride urban bikes with an aggressive geometry like this Canyon concept. Go anywhere in Europe and you’ll likely see all sorts of fixies, singlespeeds and converted MTBs where the handlebar is considerably lower than the saddle. True, we may only be talking about 10 or 20% of the total market, but that’s still millions of people over here. So should it be deemed as a flaw if that many riders actually seem to prefer a riding position like this? Personally I don’t find the geometry of the Canyon concept aesthetically pleasing, but that’s a completely different story;-)

    If Canyon were to produce this one day I would not buy it myself, but it’s still great to see companies doing concept bikes, because it gives engineers and designers more freedom to explore new design solutions, very much like the automotive industry do with their concept cars. It really helps trigger innovation. Who knows, perhaps this Canyon concept inspires someone to do a better one next year? The hardcore cycling community tends to be very critical towards concept bikes, because we already “know what works and what doesn’t”, but don’t forget all the OTHER people out there, to them things like integration and new aesthetics may have a much higher value that it has to us…

  12. Human_Amplifier September 12, 2013 at 7:53 am -  Reply

    Fabulous reply Torgny – you nailed the ‘designers dilemma’, and especially the common myth that personal knowledge and preferences can be a perfect match for others (especially coming from armchairs :-). Like you I simply want more people, blue-ocean people, to experience the joy of human-powered personal transport and that means many variants.

  13. CANTBELIEVEIT December 31, 2013 at 12:25 am -  Reply

    You guys do not get it! It is a concept bike not a production bike. Love how on these forums everybody always gets off subject.

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