Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Viks Carbon

Back in April of this year, I commented on an article from BBC Autos that looked at the supposed "10 Most Beautiful Bicycles."  I think an important qualification should be that they were the 10 most beautiful bicycles in the eyes of a bunch of automotive editors.

One of the bikes included on that list was this one - the Viks Urban Cycle (all photos from Viks):

 Here's what I had to say about it at the time: "Designed by Estonia's Velonia studio, the Viks is best described as industrial minimalist -- right down to its seat-tube-less frame design. Its shape is formed out of two large steel tubes that join together at the head tube. Given the extra wheel-following curve at the "down-tube," it seems like they've more than made up for whatever weight they lost with the lack of a seat tube -- while further reducing structural integrity at the same time. According to the designers, brakes would be very tricky to fit. In other words, this is better suited for hanging on the wall than actually riding."
Incidentally, I've often wondered why so many "futuristic" design-school re-imaginings of the bicycle leave out the seat tube - as if that one structural detail is somehow holding everyone back.

Well, the Viks is apparently still rolling, and I recently saw that they've released some new models that keep most of its unusual design aesthetic, while still retaining its lack of useful features. Like brakes.

Brakes? We don't need no stinkin' brakes.

For the company's first anniversary (or anniloversary, as they called it) they showed we don't need no stinkin' seatstays, either:

Apparently not for production, the company says that the bike shares most of the geometry, etc., from the original Viks, with the exception of the "invisible seat stays." Invisible seat stays? So that's what they're calling them. And the bike uses thicker frame tubes to compensate for the lack of both a seat tube and seat stays. "The frame flexes only to an extent of making the ride even more comfortable over small bumps and potholes." Yes, it probably does that -- at the expense of structural integrity. Keep in mind that these guys are designers, not engineers.
Looking at the original Viks design, one could probably have guessed that, despite the lack of a seat tube and other amenities, the bike would probably still weigh quite a bit. In fact, even the bike's designers at Velonia studios apparently described the weight as "an unimaginable amount." I don't know - I can imagine quite a bit.

But to answer the weight critics, the company has recently announced a new model for their "2nd Anniloversary:" The Viks Carbon. It is said that with its carbon fiber tubes (joined by stainless steel connecting joints) and carbon aerospoke wheels, the new version drops about 3 kilos, or over 6 pounds as compared to the regular version. Apparently, it still weighs about 22 lbs complete, though.

Now it's even more about style over substance. Carbon-style.
Browsing through the Viks website, I also saw this little styling exercise:
No - that's not really wood. It's only painted with a (fairly real-looking) faux wood grain. I know that wooden bikes seem to be all the rage these days, but the point of a faux wooden bike eludes me.
For people who want to look really good while sipping espresso, while their impractical style machine leans on the wall next to them, I guess the Viks is the way to go. Either that, or hanging it on the wall - I can't imagine much else a person would do with it.


  1. The handlebars are like those cut-down straight bars the fixie riders seem to like. Meaning: uncomfortable. Also uncomfortable would be the lack of stem so that you can't adjust drop or reach or angle of bars.

    And even more uncomfortable: If that carbon top-tube/seatstay joint were to fail, it's my guess that a shot to the crotch with jagged carbon fiber tube would be a pretty real danger. I'll pass on this one...

  2. Road bike design have reached its end form in late 80s. Now bicycle is like a knife or hammer: the concept remains the same for several thousands years. For a reason.

    If anyone in the future will invent completely new type of transportation, it'll be something that denies the gravity or friction. Or both. Until then, pump the tires, oil the chain.

    1. However, outside of UCI regulations there are plenty of different ways to make a human-powered wheeled vehicle, though, and material technology advances will make different approaches more feasible.

  3. I admire the persistence with an obviously stupid idea.