A local design firm and bike builder team up to create a bicycle specifically targeted to the challenges of riding and storing in tight confines
While Citi BIke has become as much a common feature of the streets of NYC as the iconic yellow cab, the bike share model isn’t one most people would want to own. It has some nice features like the built in rack and integrated lights, but their heft, and size can be challenging to maneuver through crowds of people or cars.
Brooklyn -based industrial designer Pensa and custom bike-builder Horse Cycles teamed up to create Merge, a prototype bike inspired by variety of challenges specifically faced by urban bicycle riders in New York City.
The goal of the design was to create a compact and nimble bike with all the features cleverly integrated into the frame. Like a true two-wheeled Swiss army knife; cargo, lighting, security and a few other functions are seamlessly integrated and easily usable when a rider requires them. The design team put an emphasis on keeping everything compact to facilitate navigating tight confines on the street or when carrying the bike up a few flights of stairs to stow in a small apartment.
One of the coolest features is a USB port above the front headlight which is linked to a small generator in the front wheel. A mobile phone or small tablet can be recharged via the port while the bike is being ridden.
The rear storage rack is also really smart. An aluminum frame pulls out from the back of the frame and expands to create a storage platform. An integrated bungee cord wraps around the cargo and gets secured to a hook on the frame. Below the rack is a flexible fender which can be pulled out and used with the storage rack or by itself.
The bike can be secured with a cable incorporated into the frame. A custom frame pouch holds a u-lock and the riders phone securely against the frame.
Merge was built for the 2014 edition of The Bike Design Project by Oregon Manifest. The competition pits five design and builder teams from cycling-centric cities in the US to create the ultimate urban utility bike. The competition encourages the teams to problem solve for riding issues specific to their home cities. Voting is open to the public from July 28 – Aug 2, 2014 and the winning bike will get manufactured in a limited run by Fuji Bikes. Check out the other entrants and vote here.