Monday, February 1, 2016

Amazing Futuristic Bike Concepts

I spotted this article on Interestical (which for some reason keeps appearing to my eyes as InterTestical) about 10 Amazing Futuristic Bicycle Concepts. Man, I love stuff like this. Actually, I love to make fun of stuff like this. As usual - a lot of these "futuristic concepts" are little more than masterbatory design exercises posing as real innovations.

Folding Bike. 
No - there is no explanation or justification in the article as to why the folding bike makes the list. The article doesn't even mention a particular brand or model. Conceptually, folding bikes are hardly new or futuristic. The one pictured is sold through Mini dealers, though I suspect they are built by Dahon. I will attest that a good-quality compactly folding bike can be a nice thing, and some of the models available today are much better than what was available a couple of decades ago. But I'm still not sure why this was listed first.
Eco 7 Compactible Urban Bike
This one is listed by the editors as "a fixed gear style bike" that "compacts down to the size of a brief case." Noticing that the bike shown appears to have an electric assist motor built into the back wheel, and being curious how this bike could possibly fold so small, I did a quick search to find out more about the Eco 7. Turns out, the bike shown IS NOT the Eco 7 Compactible Urban Bike.
This is the Eco 7 Compactible Urban Bike:

The ACTUAL Eco 7 Compactible Urban Bike
It looks like it was made from an erector/meccano set - and even the wheels come apart into little sections. Yeah - that bodes well.

In any case, the mistake doesn't give much credibility to the article.
The City Pedelec 
This looks like a slightly more "modular" version of a Citibike, or other urban "bike share" cycle. "The gears, chains, and spokes are all hidden inside of the casing of the bike." Well - actually, not the spokes. Notice those 3 large plastic "spokes" that make up the wheels. It also has an electric assist motor. The editors say "The goal with the City Pedelec is to find its way into the rent-a-bicycle areas that major urban sprawls are beginning to employee."
"Employee"? They MUST mean "employ."
The Artikar
Described as a "low to the ground, reclined seated bicycle with four wheels where the rider has their legs poised in the air in order to pedal." What? Do they mean a recumbent? So, the Artikar is a 4-wheeled recumbent with a vaguely "car-shaped" neon light ring around the rider -- thereby making really stupid people think you're driving a car - or pretending to drive a car - while giving none of the benefits of actually being enclosed in inclement weather. The editors add that it's a "relaxing, aerodynamic bike that can be taken on the road without any major qualms." Unless you value your dignity.
Honda U3-X
Not actually a bike. It's more like an electric unicycle cross-bred with a Segway. Honda calls it a "personal mobility device." You see, apparently in the future, people will be too lazy to actually walk. The U3-X goes approximately 4 miles per hour, which is no more than a fairly brisk walking pace. Honda likes to think it "makes new strides in the advancement of human mobilization." I don't know if they meant that ironically.

If the U3-X is intended for people with mobility problems (which is hard to assume since all the photos on their website show only young, fit, and presumably able-bodied people using it) I think I see some concerns. What to do when navigating uneven sidewalks and crosswalks that are so common in most cities? Or stairs? Suddenly a person has to get off (if they don't get pitched off face-first) and lug this thing over the obstacles. No thanks. 
Taurus Seatless Bike
According to the editors, the Taurus is supposed to "appeal to those looking for the greatest work out possible on two wheels." No seat means no relaxing, and a better "core" workout. OK, but where are the pedals? Because it looks for all the world to me like it's got electric assist.
Bergmonch Folding Backpack Bicycle
Another folding bike concept - this time in a form that can be strapped to the user's back when not in use. No seat, apparently, so I'm guessing it's just for very short rides -- unless the intent is to give an intense core workout like the Taurus "bike" shown above. Who knows?
Furious Sports Bike
Like a lot of concept bikes, this one dispenses with many of the typical "old-fashioned" design ideas -- like down-tubes, or seat-stays. Notice that bizarre-looking raked out fork pointing out almost horizontally, while the steerer tube is almost vertical. The likely handling on that thing might explain the "furious" moniker. I'm not sure why the drive side is on the left, but that's the least of the issues. The editors tout the onboard computer that "tracks all of the traditional statistics that fitness enthusiasts would want to pay attention to."

ThisWay All-Weather Bicycle
Another "bike" meant to make people think they're in a car. The editors note a concern that this thing's roof might lead to balance issues. Maybe - Maybe not. But a "bike" this bulky definitely would not be something one could carry indoors with them. Like a car, it's best for people who can keep it garaged. The article doesn't mention electric-assist, but I don't think I'd want to try to pedal this thing up even a slight hill without it. Strangely enough, the InterTesticle article ends with the following inexplicable quote: "If ThisWay ever makes it to the market then it probably went t."
Boardman Theft Proof Bicycle
Here's what InterTesticle had to say about it: "Chris Boardman designed the Theft Proof Bicycle likely as a response to all of those broken frames of bicycles that litter urban areas everywhere." Seriously? As if one can barely walk through your average city without tripping over broken bicycles.
The bike is supposed to have electric assist, with solar cells, a fully-integrated on-board computer, and even some kind of fingerprint scanning device to keep the bike from moving unless matched up with its owner. This one is much more "concept" than "bicycle," as even Boardman's developers say that such a bike is at least a couple of decades from reality. "Until then," the editors conclude, "we'll just have to get by with our old lumps of metal in the garage." Speak for yourselves, folks.
Apart from the nondescript "folding bike," I wouldn't expect to be seeing too many of these things out on the roads, or on showroom floors, or anywhere else for that matter.


  1. It doesn't cease to amaze how hollow, thoughtless and unrealistic many bike concepts are. No designer seems to think why bikes are made the way we're all used to.

  2. Brooks: I have three Mercians but I also have a Brompton and I have to give it a plug here. The Brompton is the most practical, convenient, sensible, useful commuter ever, IMO.

    1. I don't have a Brompton, but I agree totally that a good quality folding bike can be a great thing. I do have a Bike Friday, and though it isn't really intended as a "folder" in the way the Brompton is, it does make a nice travel companion.