IDEO's Adam Vollmer with "Faraday" at Checkpoint 2 of the Oregon Manifest
I suppose I was trying to be a bit coy with that last teaser shot from Oregon Manifest, which included the silhouette of the IDEO × Rock Lobster entry in the foreground, but savvy Googlers have most certainly turned up the full image sets from my fellow journalists Jay Greene of CNET and Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.
IDEO collaborated with Santa Cruz, CA-based Rock Lobster on an e-bike that can only be described as elegant: the frame itself is distinguished mostly by its double top tube and the beautifully welded front rack, but there's more to "Faraday" than meets the eye. Insofar as IDEO is involved, many of the key design features remain invisible: a custom algorithm controls speed based on rider feedback and internally-routed cabling runs connects the motor and lights to a discreet "brain" at the seatstay cluster.
Photo by IDEO
Photo by IDEO
Moreover, the signature aesthetic touches of the frame belie functional utility as well: the top-tube holds the Lithium ion batteries—reportedly the same as those in the Chevy Volt—while the front rack can be swapped out for other cargo units such as a trunk or child seat. (It's worth mentioning that the same is true of Fuseproject × SyCip's "LOCAL" design; in fact, Fuseproject is supposedly developing additional ideas for bringing their vehicle to market.)
In short, IDEO has elevated the electric bicycle with the clean lines of Paul Sadoff's frame design, where the wood and leather detailing maintain a classic feel alongside decidedly modern color scheme and cutting-edge technology. Brains and beauty, the "Faraday" has it all.
While I regrettably neglected to take additional detail shots of this highly photogenic bike, my new friend Jonathan of BikePortland has a series of photos to illustrate these additional features, including the removable front rack and lights...
Maybe it's an electric bike with human assist...