The idea of building a bike without a seat tube is certainly nothing new, but the introduction of a few new tri bikes that threw some conventional designs out of the window ahead of the Ironman Worlds got us thinking about a resurgence of the alternative frame design trend. Then over the weekend we were in Vienna to have a look at the newest of the urban and lifestyle cycling shows. At the Wiener Fahrradschau (that’s the Vienna Bike Show, the new little brother to the original Berlin show) we were greeted by a few new bikes in the #seattubeisdead vein, and curiously in four different materials/constructions. The first that really caught our eye was this urban bike that pairs a swoopy brazed steel frame with some neatly integrated lighting from tiny German outfit Urwahn Bikes. But there were also a some welded stainless bikes, even a laminated wood frame, and the carbon bike that brought the topic up to start with…
The Urwahn started out as an engineering project. The builders wanted to see what it would take to build an aero shaped frame able to withstand life pounding the city streets without a seattube. Early prototypes of the project featured largely webbed tubing junctions, but as time and experience built they developed the frame with more smoothly transitioning reinforcements, most notably around the headtube and seat cluster.
The result is a sleek looking bike designed for an urban city lifestyle that works with single speed, fixed, and internally geared hubs. As the project progressed, Urwahn has continued to evolve the bike, adding belt drive compatibility with a detachable driveside seatstay, and now smoothly integrated lighting. The LED lights’ lenses snap into place inside the smoothly sculpted steel frame and use rechargeable batteries.
The frame gets an eccentric bottom bracket to tension the belt or chain, uses a hidden integrated seatpost clamp, and is flat mount disc brake ready. This bike in particular combines a belt-driven single speed rear with the two-speed Kappstein Doppio planetary gear crankset for added versatility. Clearly not an overly practical bike, but it’d be hard to argue that it isn’t unique. UrwahnBikes.de
AOI Cycle’s bikes are certainly built with a little more practicality than the other no-seattube bikes here. Welded from stainless steel tubing in Taiwan, the polished bikes get neatly designed features like internal cable routing and accommodation for everyday commuter function with full rack and fender braze-ons.
Even though the also drop the seattube for a unique aesthetic, they still retain a classic look, which isn’t hurt by the spec of nice polished alloy components and natural leather saddles and grips. Of course for everyday usability, AOI is happy to build you up a complete bike with matching polished metal fenders and traditional or porteur style racks. They can even build your stainless commuter with 20″, 24″, 26″, or 700c wheels depending on your choice, and a range of single speed, internally geared hubs or even a e-bike hub. AOIcycle.com
Aceteam has a very different approach to dropping the seattube. Their laminated wood Slim Wooden E-Bike pairs a massive ash frame to a very basic components and then tosses in a FlyKly Zehus+ motorized rear hub. At a claimed 16.5kg, it’s probably good that the single speed has a motor to help get you around. For those looking to go for an e-bike commuter, the FlyKly Smart Wheel is an interesting solution as it puts everything from motor to battery to electronics inside the hub for a clean and simple look. Aceteam.de
The new Cervélo P5X was the bike that got us thinking about the #seattubeisdead club again at the beginning of October. And oddly enough it was at the Vienna show too. While it seemed a bot out-of-place in a hall of metal frames, custom city bikes, and urban commuter clothing and accessories, the presence of the carbon super bike with all of its crazy storage compartments and aero features tied up our little concept article. Is the seat tube dead, and if so what material should our new seattubeless overlords be riding? Cervelo.com