If you've ever brought a bike along on a flight or packed up the parts to ship across the country, you know that trying to move a bike around is expensive. It also tends to slightly offset some of the environmental benefits of riding, since a box holding a bulky frame takes up a lot of space on a delivery truck. That's why this new design concept shrinks down a bike so it fits in a backpack.
"Conventional bikes are awkward in every way except when you ride them," says Amit Mirchandani, managing and creative director for Lucid Design, the India firm that designed the new bicycle. "The Kit Bike is so small when disassembled it fits in a bag you could carry as a backpack. When you assemble the bike, you get a full-size bike that is comfortable to ride."
The bike frame is made from hollow aluminum tubes that twist together and can be secured with a key. Since the frame attaches only on one side of the wheels, the bike can be assembled and disassembled while it leans against a wall. When it's not in use, the parts and wheels can each be stowed in sections in a custom-designed bag.
"We tried to make assembly as simple as possible," says Mirchandani. "We could make it even simpler, if we were to take this idea further, by clearly marking connectors with graphics. I would imagine that you would need very little mechanical skills to put this together. We believe it would be easier than most flat-pack furniture."
In theory, someone could even pack up the bike for an occasional commute on the train or bus, even though it was originally intended just for longer trips. "We did not envision this as an everyday disassembly bike for commuters," Mirchandani says. "Having said that, we don't imagine anyone taking longer than 10 minutes to assemble or disassemble the bike so if you needed to do it every day it would still be possible, and you wouldn't have to break it down all the way."
The bike is just a concept, so it's hard to say what it would actually be like to ride--and if a frame like this could hold up to the road. But it's an interesting idea.