Earlier today, I posted a photo of a curious rectilinear bicycle design, wondering aloud about its origin. A few astute commenters were quick to point out that it "looks a whole lot like" Danish designer Michael Ubbesen Jakobsen's BauBike (pictured throughout, unless otherwise noted), which dates back to 2009, when it made the rounds from the Salone to DMY, where it garnered a well-deserved jury selection.The BauBike is inspired by Bauhaus design. It is constructed around the geometric shape of the square and the equilateral triangle. The design is stripped down to clean lines and raw material...
The design follows a set of formal rules, limiting the geometry to straight lines in a pattern of 60 and 90 degree angles in proportions following the principle of the golden section.
By limiting the form with a fixed set of design rules and stepping away from the traditional function-oriented approach to the design process, this project transcends the border between design and art, raising fundamental questions about the nature of the bike as design and as a lifestyle accessory and introducing a much needed playfulness on the bicycle scene.
In other words, someone saw fit to replicate the design with just a few modifications, detailed below. While imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, Michael was reportedly unaware that his design had somehow resurfaced Down Under. He politely acknowledged the "strong inspiration from my bike," noting that "a few details [are] different from the Baubike, but the overall aesthetics are truly taken from Baubike." (For his part, Nick of Saint Cloud has not responded to me as of press time.)
Due diligence aside, I'll proceed to try and spot the major differences here.First off, the obvious stuff: Michael's design is slightly more relaxed, despite a shorter effective top-tube length; the mystery bike has noticeably different geometry, with a steeper head-tube angle and tighter rear wheel clearance (i.e. a larger seat-tube, um, square). The seatpost clamp is also mounted differently (though the saddles themselves are quite similar).
Furthermore, the BauBike draws its function from an interchangeable rear rack feature, which can be swapped between a cargo bed and a passenger seat:"The open-end piece above the back wheel offers the possibility to customize the function of the bike to whatever need you may have. The different accessories can be placed in the tube and can easily be changed if needed."
Detail of the "open-end piece"
The BauBike has 60° split towards the top of the seatstays (as well as the chainstays and fork), which appear to bend at a lower point in the mystery bike.
Detail of the rear wheel... so that's the secret to the nut-less fork ends...
Additionally, the handlebars are different (see below); along with the saddle that is presumably farther forward relative to the rest of the frame, the BauBike lends itself to a more upright riding position.
Detail of cockpit & steering column
Nevertheless, even the most objective analysis must acknowledge a debt to the BauBike: the "panhandle" silhouette simply seems too similar to be a coincidence. (And I can't help but note the irony in the fact that the gentleman from the first post is holding a brand new U-Lock... you know, to safeguard his sweet ride from potential thieves.)