Bikes rock. They are just a bit hard to carry things on. If you have a car, you chuck anything in without thought. Whereas on a bike, you have to consider weather, weight, wind-bulk and all sorts of variables that might make life tricky.
So when the Oregon Manifest started a competition to improve the ‘utility bike’, we got a bit excited. They tee’d up all sorts of awesome bike builders, designers, thinkers and tinkerers to rethink the way a bike can carry you and your bits. And the results have just landed…
We’ve tried to pick out a few of the highlights, but this stuff is good enough that you should head over to the main website, or even follow some of the project thinking at the awesome Core77 updates that happened throughout. The talent pool was pretty all-time, and the results show that.
Tony Pereira took out the Best of Show award, for an electric assist bike that tries to ease the transition from a car to pedals. An enclosed carry pod, with expansion racks and lots of features, all contribute to an easier commuting transition.
University of Oregon team scored the win amongst student teams, with a modern feeling bike that incorporates a pretty epic fold-flat basket and integrated lock, light and belt drive (as well as a tonne of other tricks). As an example of the help involved, the UOO students were guided by industry guns from Ziba design and Nike’s Innovation Kitchen.
Rob Tsunehiro and Silas Beebe scored second overall, with a pedal creation borrowing the sort of features normally found on a giant motor scooter/cruiser. There’s a pillion seat, saddle bags and even a front platform, which would let you dink a whole football team and their gear back from the pub on a Saturday night.
The Oregon Manifest didn’t stop at a simple competition. Not only did they help partner creatives with mentors, they also set up 3 major collaborations between amazing bike builders and international design consultants (dang Oregon has some talent!).
Ziba × Signal Cycles
Fuseproject X SyCip Design
This collaboration created a cargo trike with some pretty amazing woodwork, that will carry loads (sorry). Fuseproject have done stuff like that Puma reusable shoe bag, and Jeremy SyCip knows a thing or two about customized rigs, so the result has lots of fun and features.
IDEO X Rock Lobster Cycles
Design firms don’t come any bigger than IDEO, having had a part in super-many-many seminal products over the years. Rock Lobster are nowhere near the size, but brought some hands on building nouse to the team. The bike has a bit of old school Euro utility to it, but adds crazy discreet modern features. The carry rack shines, as does the integrated battery between the double top tube frame. Battery? Yeah, this one is electric assist, and runs all sorts of computer brains to better respond to the user.
It’s been a pretty amazing project, and the results are well worth pouring over. Well done to Levi’s and all the supporters. Let’s hope we see some of these concepts redefining bike carrying over the coming years.