The INgSOC concept bike looks nothing like any bike you’ve ever seen before.

A removable battery pack behind the seat runs an electric motor. The rider can choose to sit back and let the bike do all the work, or switch to a mode that just helps make pedaling easier.

It’s the shape of the bike that really makes it different. The bold design “acts as a critique of many widely accepted conventions within the cyclist culture,” Kim says.

“The conventional bicycle construct has been reworked and refined in a way that deals with functionality and performance--mainly the removal of wheel-chain-pedal drivetrain.”

Though the bike is a concept, Kim says that as an experiment he and the other designers have spent time actually building the frame using hybrid digital fabrication techniques. The next step, he says, will be making a prototype.

2014-02-14

Co.Exist

This Crazy Electric Bicycle Looks Like Something A Superhero Would Ride

This concept bike—meant to “act as a critique of many widely accepted conventions within the cyclist culture"—looks nothing like any bike you’ve ever seen before.

A typical electric bicycle tries to hide the motor inside. Some have clunky, bulky frames, and some, like the new Faraday Porteur, manage to disguise all of the gadgetry so the bike looks as much like a classic ride as possible. And then there are ideas like this one: The INgSOC concept bike looks nothing like any bike you’ve ever seen before.

The bike, originally designed a few years ago by Edward Kim, Benny Cemoli, and Stephan Mora, was never intended to be made. Kim compares it to a concept car that's not ready for the real world. Instead, it was meant to get people thinking. “It attempts to give a glimpse into the future of bicycle design and technology by choosing to let go of many aspects of practicality for the sake of expressing an idea,” he says.

Like some other electric bikes, the INgSOC gives a choice of modes. A removable battery pack behind the seat runs an electric motor. The rider can choose to sit back and let the bike do all the work, or switch to a mode that just helps make pedaling easier. Or—if someone wants to actually get some exercise—they can switch to pedal-only mode. As they ride, some of that energy will be captured to go back into the battery pack and power lights and a smartphone dock.

It’s the shape of the bike that really makes it different. The bold design “acts as a critique of many widely accepted conventions within the cyclist culture,” Kim says. “The conventional bicycle construct has been reworked and refined in a way that deals with functionality and performance—mainly the removal of wheel-chain-pedal drivetrain.”

Though the bike is a concept, Kim says that as an experiment he and the other designers have spent time actually building the frame using hybrid digital fabrication techniques. The next step, he says, will be making a prototype.

“That effort will include involvement of engineering, testing of the ergonomics, structure and materials, safety features, cost concerns and many other considerations which can push this design towards a more practical state," he explains. "The success of those efforts is yet to be measured, but regardless of the results, it's important not to underestimate the value of concept design, which essentially aims to innovate and allow the designers and consumers to dream outside of reality.”

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12 Comments

  • Cory James

    Well - it definitely made me think about how navigating on a bicycle definitely won't be a phone taped to my frame in the future!

    janitorltd.com

  • Mike Hall

    Visually I like it, it does what a concept should.

    Pragmatically for a more socially significant project I think some exploration of users of electric bikes of the future could be considered.

    If the target of sustainable transport for all were the goal then it should be accessible for normal people in normal clothing. This design looks cool because it is based on an aggressive sporting geometry - that is easy to do.

    Less easy to do is make the utilitarian look cool and attractive to masculine buyers as well as accessible to those who may wish to ride in, say, a dress. That would be a great challenge to flex your design muscles on.

  • Walt Stawicki

    I would like only to know if they have a supplier for a reliable bottom bracket motor as this seems to employ. Thanks for not allowing us a simple way to communidate with the "designers, btw! I always love that facilitation thing!

    waltinseattle is @ gmail

  • What do industrial designers have against spokes?

    Having "design-y" wheels that add another few grand to the cost ain't what makes it cool, let alone a viable concept.

  • Steve Whetstone

    I think industrial designers hate spokes because they are clutter and visually distracting and ugly and collect dirt, and make a lot of wind drag, etc. But I agree with you the inefficiencies of a spoke free wheel are a problem for transmitting power well.

  • Igor Gjurovski

    I learn something from the last few years of reading articles about "cool" concepts... More the concept is "cool", more don't have a chance to see the light of the day...

    "The bike, originally designed a few years ago by Edward Kim, Benny Cemoli, and Stephan Mora, was never intended to be made." - Then why they bother and why they are wasting their time to design something like that?

    Can they just design something which can be manufactured and useful? You mentioned Faraday Porteur bike? Sorry but with $3500 I can buy 10 electric bikes in China...

  • But it is not about it seeing the light of day. It is to provoke the norms of what is and what could be made. Like a fashion show isn't for clothes that are to be made but to show off the inspiration for new material and ideas. Most of the conceptual work that happens in-house within large design companies is actually to help the other departments think outside of the box. That being said, I'm not saying I like this particular concept, but it's not about that either. Conceptualizing is about having a pretty pure idea and just throwing it out there. Some times there are parts of it good enough to end up in the deal deal. Look at the car industry, a new car takes 3-5 years of production from sketch to street and costs billions. There is no room for failing. Hence concept departments who can help exploring "crazy" ideas which can later be applied to a real model if successful.