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Bicycle Design releases finalists for Commuter bike design. What’s missing?

Posted Jan 14 2009 6:55pm

Late last week, the blog Bicycle Design released the finalists for its competition to design a new commuter bike for the masses. The winner of this contest will win a Cannondale Bad Boy Disc.

Finalist Rick Marlands folder concept. With integrated lock, lights, and fenders this comes closest to meeting all the needs of a commuter in my opinion.

Finalist Rick Marlands folder concept. With integrated lock, lights, and fenders this comes closest to meeting all the needs of a commuter in my opinion.

It’s a pretty cool idea to see what the general cycling populace would come up with it they could design a bike. Unfortunately, I don’t think too many of us actually ride our bikes for transportation because most of the finalists missed including some design features any transportation bike worth it weight would have.

Here’s a quick round up of what components are included or strangely missing from a transportation bike for the every man.

- Fenders. Only two out of six bikes have fenders of any kind. Unless you want a rooster tail mark on your back, these are a must.

- Lights. We do a little better here with three of the six having integrated lights.

- Racks/baskets. Two of the six sporting racks. When is the last time you commuted and didn’t need to carry something?

-Integrated lock- Back to square one with one of the six incorporating a lock into the design.

Some of the concepts put forth are interesting, some silly, some viable as a real product. But none of the bikes have a complete array of the features a true transportation cyclist would need for the task at hand. It makes me wonder if the designers tried actually riding for transportation before designing their bikes.

If you are going to make a prototype to improve on a design or replace the current norm, you should at least provide all the solutions to problems the old design succeeded in doing then improve from there. It is unfortunate that even these creative designers like much of the American bike market have not put thought into the entire package when it comes to its actual application. Of course, when the prize bike for designing a commuter bike isn’t particularly well designed for commuting, I guess we should not be surprised.

All of this makes be appreciate all the more how well designed the Dutch bike is to its task. Evolving over years, it accomplishes what many fancier, more modern bikes do not: get you where you want to go in your regular street clothes, carrying your stuff, all while keeping you dry and well lit at night.

Time to go back to the drawing board.

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