Brooklyn may already have CitiBike, but the Bike Design Project, a multi-city design competition, has pitted designers in cities across the country against one another to design the ultimate city bike (with a ‘y’). The cities in the running are exactly the ones we’d expect—Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Chicago, and New York City. (Does anyone bike in LA?)
Each team from each city created a fifteen-second video ad for their bike design (as well as a longer, more informative one), which offer a little hometown flavor. As with all design competitions, you sort of wish they all would win just so you could have your pick. Portland’s bike is made of 3D-printed titanium, while New York’s is a Swiss Army knife of retractable features, including a USB port that can charge a phone using power generated by pedaling. San Francisco’s is a KitchenAid mixer on wheels, with front and rear ports to attach baskets, panniers, and even a kiddie seat. Chicago’s model has GPS navigation as well as tracking, for when you just can’t remember where you parked. (Or for when your bike’s been jacked.) By far the sleekest is Seattle’s, which has “electric pedal assist,” handlebars that detach to become a bike lock, and LED turn signals.
Obviously we’re biased toward MERGE, the entry from Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa and Horse Cycles, but we have to hand it to our mid-/western rivals—the competition is stiff. The winning bike will be announced August 4th, and could be in bike shops in all five cities by 2015.
Follow John Sherman on Twitter @_john_sherman.