Innovation and technology are words very rarely attributed to the urban bicycle. In the bicycle industry, those two terms are regularly associated with road and racing bicycles, introducing new types of wheels, light-weight builds, and specialized geometries. But, Levi’s Commuter wants to change the focus.
Last week began The Bike Design Project pushing to spark innovation and creativity in the urban cycling community. The project was a competition to partner high-level design firms with American bicycle craftsmen and create the “Ultimate Urban Utility Bike – the next wave bicycle for the everyday rider.” Five teams were recruited in five of the most dominant urban cycling cities: Seattle, Chicago, New York City, San Francisco and Portland. Each design team worked with a bicycle company to create their own ideas of the perfect urban bike. The winner of the competition will partner with Fuji Bikes to put the design into mass production, debuting on the dealer’s retail floors in 2015.
Why a utility bike you may ask? Well, Levi’s Commuter believes that the bike revolution is not going to come in a niche, specialty bike. They want it to be born on the streets, and for the everyday rider. “Most people want to lead healthier, more sustainable lives, but don’t consider themselves ‘cyclists.’ The Bike Design Project is aimed at these citizen riders – kickstarting the creation of new bike options that meet their everyday needs and provide a better transportation experience.”
Each team presented a prototype of their bike along with a video description publicly announced on June 25th. The online voting began and today the winning bike was announced.
The winning team was from Seattle. TEAGUE paired up with Sizemore Bicycle to create an “all in” cycling solution. The bike, named Denny, includes a removable handlebar that also works as a lock. It also has automatic gear shifting, electric power assist, integrated storage, turn signals and head and brake lights, and a removable battery for charging on-the-go. The team's overarching goal was to make riding carefree, “The Denny bike is about returning the rider (and ourselves) to those early days of carefree riding, when cycling was just about ‘get up and go’ freedom—the reason we all fell in love with bikes in the first place.”
The other teams and bikes presented some solid features, including the use of 3D-printing to create titanium frames and handlebars. You can visit the website to see the other bike designs and check out the video below to see the process behind creating the Denny. Look out for the bike in 2015 for when it hits retailers, and let’s hope that this can be a momentous innovation in urban cycling.