Shifting gears

Best known for his Strida bike, British industrial designer Mark Sanders’ more recent If folding bike is due for UK release in April. With full-size wheels and Sanders’ patented ‘integrated folding’ system, the bikes can be wheeled along like a suitcase when folded.

Sanders is attempting to reach consumers ignored by the performance-fixated industry by focusing on ergonomics for commuters. He says,  ‘Like most decisions in the bicycle industry, cycling posture is heavily influenced by cycle sport, but is this appropriate for everyone?’

Nick Foley - Etta bike prototype
Nick Foley – Etta bike prototype

Nick Foley, a student at New York’s Pratt Institute, has been riding his semi-recumbent Etta bike prototype (pictured above) around the Big Apple for the past few months. Foley’s objectives were safety and functionality combined with decent aesthetics. The upright sitting posture enables a wide field of vision while LED integrated lighting (that can’t be stolen) makes it highly visible. The bike also has amazing storage capabilities. Foley hopes to complete a refined version for April’s New Amsterdam Bike Show.

Christophe Machet - Camioncyclette
Christophe Machet – Camioncyclette

Royal College of Art student Christophe Machet designed the Camioncyclette (pictured above). ‘Most cargo bicycles are transformed regular frames, with added baskets or boxes,’ he says. Conversely, the basket was the starting point for Machet’s innovative frame. 

Jukka Kalliomäki - Gnome bicycle
Jukka Kalliomäki – Gnome bicycle

Finnish student Jukka Kalliomäki, currently studying at Sweden’s Lund University, has created a drive-train Gnome bicycle that comes in three forms: the San Francisco model has electric assistance for travelling uphill; the Paris frame is foldable for use in a high-density environment (pictured above); and the Amsterdam has mudguards and a more aerodynamic driving position to cope with wind resistance.

London’s Boris bicycles – design hit or miss?

In Anna Norman’s print feature on bike design, published in Design Week today, industrial design Mark Sanders criticises the ergonomics and aesthetics of Barclays Cycle Hire bicycles. Here is Design It partner Jim Dawton’s view:

‘The bikes look great – apart from the rather blobby handlebars. The docks are wonderful – apart from the difficulty with getting the bikes out. The website has a comfortable feel – although the instructions are ambiguous and the service experience horrendous. But there are two design points that are crazy – the rear mud guard is only 3/4 length, so your back gets covered in black muck when the roads are wet, and the bell (which doesn’t work very well) is below the handle bars on half the bikes and above it on the other. It’s never in the right place when that pedestrian steps out. At least the bikes don’t go fast enough to injure anymore, which is the best aspect of their design.’

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