For this year’s Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Challenge, an additional category was opened that paired design houses with builders. The point of the contest is to reimagine the bicycle into the ultimate utilitarian commuter bike, something that could replace the car and make transportation and errand running easy and fun. Three collaborations were introduced: IDEO x Rock Lobster, FuseProject x SyCip and Ziba Design x Signal Cycles – and all three came up with some very interesting cargo/commuter bicycles.
Above is the Ziba-Signal Cycles Fremont, a step through mixte with integrated rear rack that folds open to create a sidecar. They’ve already filed a patent for the design, which allows for small cargo to be placed on the rack or larger cargo to ride shotgun. It includes folding, weatherproof pannier bags that open up into the large sacks shown here. They can easily go into and out of the store so you don’t need to decide between paper or plastic, and they’ll lock to the bike (and lock closed), so you can leave them on board for quick trips into and out of the coffee shop, etc.
Roll through the break for pics and more design conscious cycling goodness…
FUSEPROJECT x SYCIP DESIGN
FuseProject, based in San Francisco, CA, paired up with nearby builder SyCip Design to create this three wheeled drifter. The concept started life as a sidehack ( <- watch the video at that link ) but morphed into a front trike for better stability. It also simplified the drivetrain layout. In a CNET article, Sycip says the steering requires flipping your balance against what you’d normally do, leaning away from the turn to keep the outside wheel planted. He also said it was incredibly fun on the gravel road downhills, drifting into and around the corners like crazy.
FuseProject, started by uber designer Yves Behar, also designed the Jawbone Jambox, which is what you see attached to the canvas stretched between the front triangle. He’s ordered several of these bikes for his office and for personal use, and this was the least expensive of the three collaboration bikes to produce, so perhaps we’ll actually see this one offered as-is from Sycip.
Two of the design requirements are that the bikes contain front and rear lighting and an integrated lock. SyCip’s has a U-lock built into the frame so it can just roll directly up to a pole or bike rack and lock into it.
IDEO x ROCK LOBSTER
The Constructor’s Challenge is about more than just building a bike. They also have to ride it. A lot. And carry cargo. Some of that riding is uphill, and given that all of these bikes are well more than 30lbs without cargo, IDEO and Rock Lobster had the brilliant idea of putting a motor on theirs. Called Faraday, the (unfortunately tall) e-bike hides its electronics well. The front hub is the motor, and the doctor’s-office-green thing stuck between the top tubes behind the seat tube is the battery.
The bike’s name is an homage to 19th century scientist Michael Faraday (not the Lost character) whose inventions led the way to electric motors. It’s pedal-assist, the 24-volt, 250-watt motor won’t carry you along on its own. It’s activated by the stealthy little thumb lever on the left grip.