On course in style
Though the Corona crisis is currently slowing down entire sectors of the economy, the bicycle industry is picking up speed – fast. According to a press release of the German Bicycle Industry Association (Zweirad-Industrie-Verband) 2020 has seen a strong rise in demand, the industry is experiencing "a real run on bikes, e-bikes, components and accessories". At the same time, the range of products on offer is also diversifying and manufacturers are becoming more creative. There have been new developments regarding materials, technologies, manufacturing methods, handling, riding experience, custom fit and aesthetics. The following selection presents outstanding models including pedelecs with a Tesla-feeling, one-off bikes from the 3D-printer, folding marvels, design icons and city bikes that will also make your home look more attractive.
A frame tailored to fit yours: That is the slogan of Superstrata. The American firm located in Silicon Valley makes cycles and pedelecs from carbon fiber that are tailored to suit their user. This is made possible by a 3D printing method that allows the Californian firm to produce a single body that does not need adhesives, welding, or screws; it is simply printed in one piece. Thanks to this unibody design half a million combinations are possible so that the bikes can be tailored in terms of height, weight, arm and leg length and riding position. Bye-bye joints and welding seams! Instead pure design, extreme sturdiness and a remarkably light product.
The pressed bikes Leaos has made in Italy boast a no less fascinating manufacturing method. The bikes owe their sleek design to product designer Harry Thaler, who previously made a name for himself in furniture design and architecture. During his studies the trained goldsmith from the very North of Italy, designed a chair of thin aluminum sheet that is sold by Nils Holger Moormann. The frame of the pressed bikes that come in a standard and electric version are an advancement of this simple technique. They are composed of two pressed aluminum halves making the bikes with 15 kilos both lightweight and very sturdy. In the e-bikes, the hollow space between the two sheets is used for the removable batteries. In terms of appearance this material innovation has a lot to offer, too. The projecting sections of the two spot-welded aluminum halves makes for a distinct appearance.
The media have variously dubbed them the “iPhone among bikes” or “E-bikes in keeping with the Elon-Musk philosophy”. They’re referring to the electric bikes made by VanMoof a firm founded 2009 in Amsterdam. The reason is not only their stripped-down look but also the sheer number of technical refinements: electronic gear shifter, hydraulic brakes, key-free locking mechanism, integrated theft protection, interactive display, a turbo boost acceleration button and various app features. The electronics are tucked away in the horizontal sections of the frame that sports flush-mounted front and back lights which lend the S3 and X3 models a truly dynamic, almost iconic design language. No less dynamic is the marketing by VanMoof founding duo Taco and Ties Carlier, who have set themselves the ambitious goal of revolutionizing urban mobility. One thing is clear: In terms of design these electric city bikes with their matt, scratch-proof varnish are definitely revolutionary. In terms of weight and battery power, models come in at cira 19 kilograms and 504 watt-hours.
Those who want an electric bike but have no desire to forgo the classic BMX-feeling might find what they are looking for at Frankfurt startup turbospezial. The recently launched E-BMX cruisers revive happy memories of this cycling sport so popular in the 1980s. The original bikes with low saddles, heavy tread tires and padded bars were ideal for daring stunts on hills and halfpipes. By contrast, despite its “turboesque acceleration and outstanding nimbleness” the E-BMX Cruiser is intended more as a city bike. According to the manufacturers the specially designed saddle not only makes for excellent comfort but also conceals the battery making it invisible. Accordingly, it will go unnoticed that a sporty look and a comfortable E-riding experience need not be incompatible. The E-BMX Cruiser weighs 19 kilograms and is also special with regard to the drive: turbospezial uses high-quality motors that are otherwise used in cargo bikes. In addition, the placement directly on the crank ensures a direct response of the motor.
Fine riding feel
Apropos the 1980s: This was a time when mountain bikes were developed especially for men argue the manufacturers at Santa Cruz, who since 1999 have been developing mountain bikes for a female clientele under the brand name of Juliana. They can certainly be said to have introduced a little diversity to the bike market even though they are not entirely free of clichés. The product line is named after American world champion racing cyclist Juliana Furtado, who would like to ensure that her fellow female cyclists get the “most powerful, comfortable and attractive mountain bikes”. What is interesting is that according to the manufacturers women do not need specific frame shapes. However, in test rides with groups of females the women did help inform a number of details. The result: bikes that seek to make a subtle difference as regards the size of the chain rings, saddles, and handle-bars.
A tokyobike should be beautiful enough to hang in your living room according to the label by the same name. The firm has achieved not only this but also much more. Set up 2002 by Ichiro Kanai in a quiet suburb of the capital and initially intended for local use, the delicate city bike can now be found on urban streets around the world. A selection of mudguards, carriers, baskets and various wheel sizes underscores the trend topic, referred to here as “Tokyo Slow”. The design of "Bisou" is especially relaxed with its sloping top bar for easy mounting and dismounting. But the range also includes balance bikes and bikes with stabilizers. And the firm even offers a fast sports model with straight handlebars and 650C tires. What all tokyobikes have in common is a clean, minimalist look and an unusual choice of colors including ivory, blue-gray or yellow.
A former professional cyclist and a product designer, who previously collaborated with firms such as Louis Poulsen, Bang & Olufsen and LG is behind the elegant yet practical pedelec E-motion by Movea. At just under 13 kilos it is not only very lightweight but thanks to its small wheels is also fairly compact making it easy to stow away. Moreover, the bike itself also boast a smart storage solution: Thanks to the secure front rack beneath the handlebars you can keep an eye on your belongings during your ride. Danish manufacturer seeks to appeal above all to sporty city dwellers, commuters, but also caravan and boat owners. And thanks to its attractive design it also proved to be spot-on among the jurors of renowned design awards. They honored its excellent design and voted it the best city bike in 2020.
A quick fold
Cyclists wanting something even smaller and lighter might opt for a Vello model. Weighing in at just 8.9 kilos and 11.9 kilos for an electric version the bikes by the Vienna-based company ensure really pleasant handling. Once folded the compact bikes can be wheeled onto the train or placed in a car’s trunk, making them especially useful when combined with other means of transport. Another point in their favor: According to Vello founders Valerie Wolff and Valentin Vodev unfolding them takes all of five seconds. This speed is down to a patented folding system under which a magnet connects the back wheel to the frame. As a unisex model and with adjustable handlebars the bikes can be adapted to riders of different sizes and stature. And the mini two-wheeler can also bear heavy loads.
Those people who want to take time familiarizing themselves with cycling might do well to contact Swapfiets. The Delft-based startup supplies bikes on a rental basis. Customers pay a monthly fee in return for a fully functioning bike. The company has also started leasing scooters. However, in contrast with other sharing firms Swapfiets customers also get repairs, theft protection and a replacement model included in the monthly fee. With their concept the young founders Dirk de Bruijn, Martijn Obers and Richard Burger have turned the bike into a service. And are busy populating European cities. They can be easily recognized by the bright blue front wheels. This will also remain in the recently revamped version of the "Power 7" model, an E-bike that seeks to appeal to all ages and tastes. The frame comes in white, green, black, gray and even in bright Ferrari red. Service with style and safety that makes for an alternative to the car more attuned to the times. A look at the facts: the bike weighs 30 kilograms and has a battery output of 504 kilowatts. Service with style - and certainly a contemporary alternative to the car.
Schindelhauer is currently presenting a limited edition in nougat brown: the four classic models "Ludwig", "Lotte", "Friedrich" and "Frieda" are each being offered 50 times in the new colour.
Damskø Bikes from Amsterdam offers refurbished vintage bicycles and offers support in choosing frame size and style - sustainably conceived and charmingly implemented!