I can hardly believe that it's been a full decade since I started the Bicycle Design blog by posting one of my old marker renderings. Though I started with a few of my own sketches, what really kept me interested in blogging were the design submissions from others that I began to receive in those first few months. Over the past 10 years, readers have shared some great designs with the community here, so I want to take the opportunity to look back on this 10th anniversary of Bicycle Design and share a few of the top posts.
Because Bicycle Design was hosted on Blogger at bicycledesign.blogspot.com for the first 4 ½ years, very few posts prior to the February 2010 move are included in the Google Analytics data. As a result, this list heavily skewed toward the last 5 years, but with that caveat in mind, here are the top 25 Bicycle Design posts ranked by total page views:
The Smart ebike is a pedal-assisted bicycle conceived by former Mercedes Benz intern Hussein Al-Attar, which he developed for the company in 2010. Bicycle Design previews the 11-speed Shimano Alfine Hub, which compared to their 8-speed is about 90 grams lighter with 100% greater gear range. James Thomas speaks with the industrial designers behind the SRAM Red 2012 group of bike components, which incorporates new technology including trim-less front shifting and multi-link brake design. Will electric trikes like this replace cars on the road in the future? The Mando Footloose is a chainless electric bike. How does it work? Short answer: the cranks turn an alternator that generates power to drive the rear wheel. For his final project before graduation, design student Yojiro Oshima designed and made a wooden bike that incorporates the benefits of a beam frame and a standard frame. The short cantilevered seat beam was designed to "reduce large impacts" while the "seat stay and the chain stay remain as usual to assure the stiffness." Suspension for the road is not exactly a new idea, but the Swing Shock that SR Suntour launched at Eurobike brings something new to the table. The Alloy and Magnesium Swing Shock was designed to replace the rigid forks found on many urban and commuter bikes. It offers 30mm of travel at a reasonable weight of 2.87 pounds, and it has simple lines that visually work on an urban fixie or singlespeed. Pro triathlete TJ Tollakson's bike setup is ultra customized and surprisingly experimental. Designer of the Trimtab David Parrott explained that he designed the recumbent trike as a transportation design project created through the lens of "Slow Design". He points out that, "it's a 3WD, electric-assisted, lean steered delta trike with seasonal fabric skins & seating, an acrylic aircraft-style canopy, and flatbed storage." The Urban Arrow electric assisted bakfiets bike was nominated for a Eurobike award— the bike rides up hills with ease and has a cargo box made from lightweight, high density foam. The new Turbo, just launched in Spain, is definitely an e-bike that is aimed at changing the category's image problem. This is not an e-bike designed for aging riders who don't want to pedal hard, but for young urban professionals who want to ride a bike that is fast, high-tech, and good looking. The Rael road bike concept by Evan Solida features upside down brake levers that increase modulation and power when braking as well as a redesigned stem that makes it easier for riders to find their ideal sitting position. Two electric bike concepts released by Lexus and Volkswagen. Bikes created by Pinarello/Diesel and Rapha, geared toward the fashionable crowd. Thomas gives his thoughts on riding the Batavus BUB commuter bike. The Organic Transit ELF, a electric/human powered hybrid vehicle, introduces a crowd funding campaign on Kickstarter. Cannondale has certainly come up with some strange concepts for bicycles over the years, but sometimes deviating from accepted norms is exactly how products evolve for the better. Examples of off-road cruiser concepts for the beach or woods. Stephen Britt designs a pair of electric assist pedals: "These replace your standard pedals and provide you with assistance to get you up hills, or carry heavy loads. Each pedal incorporates a motor, gearbox, Li-po batteries and a control board. As you pedal the sensors detect your effort and provide assistance. They unclip and slot into a charger for charging, much like with a power tool." One year after a 7 pound custom fixie is made, Jason Woznick of Fairwheel Bikes manages to build a bike under 6 pounds. So where is the bottom limit for road bike weight? What happens when you ask a rocket scientist to build a bicycle? Apparently, you get the City Cycle, which at first glance looks like a cross between the Hopsworkfiets beer bike and a city bus. Casimir Sienkiewicz and his team at Caztek Engineering usually work on projects for the aerospace or medical industries, but they jumped at the chance to design and build a 14 passenger "pedal-powered pub" which will be used by City Cycle Tours of St. Petersburg Florida for tours of the city's historic waterfront. Thomas discusses the hype behind the sleek McLaren Venge road bike: "In the five years since I started this blog, I really can't remember a single bike release that generated so much attention on the internet so quickly." After working a bit with handicap aids during his education, designer Marius Hjelmervik became frustrated with the fact that many of the products, though well engineered, "look like something out of a hospital from the 60's". With his final student project at the School of Architecture in Arhus, Denmark, he set out to create an off-road hand cycle that "looks like a modern bike, with great quality and rider experience, but doesn't cost a year's worth of income." Bicycle Design looks back at the Black Hole, a hubless wheel design from the 90s. Do advanced electric assisting cycling technologies allow for a new way to cheat in racing competitions?
As I mentioned, there were quite a few posts that were popular from 2005 to 2009 that didn't make this list. The early guest posts by Mark Sanders and Michael Downes were quite popular (as was my feature post about Michael in 2006). Posts about the Cannondale Jackknife concept bike (2006) and the JANO dual bike (2007) were among the first to be picked up by large blogs like TreeHugger and Gizmodo to really cause a spike in page views at Bicycle design. Joules, the electric stoker was another post that spread around the web and drove a lot of traffic back to this blog. The most viewed posts by far prior to the 2010 switch to WordPress were those from the 2008/09 "Commuter Bike for the Masses" Design Competition that I staged here at the old blogspot site. You can see the six finalists and the winner from that competition here.
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Strida folding bike design by Mark Sanders
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Looking back, it really has been a great ten years. Thanks to those of you who have been reading since the beginning...and to those of you who just started.
This post originally appeared on Bicycle Design.