Replacing your car with a bicycle is a difficult, and for some of us, an impossible transition. The safety and efficiency of a vehicle is often too much to give up, even though saving money on gas, getting exercise and producing fewer carbon emissions sound appealing.
But designers and engineers at Seattle-based Teague are convinced that their latest creation will remove the barriers to becoming an everyday bike rider.
As part of The Bike Design Project competition put on by Oregon Manifest that includes four teams from other cities, Teague teamed up with Sizemore Bicycle to build a bicycle of the future focused on safety, security and convenience.
We had a chance to visit Teague’s office in downtown Seattle, and the result is pretty awesome. There are a number of sweet tech-related features of their bike, named “Denny.” Perhaps the most impressive is an onboard computer that measures resistance and automatically shifts gears based on how hard you are pedaling. Combined with a front-wheel assist motor powered by a detachable battery, this enables riders to more easily get up and down hills.
“These are two fairly complicated and robust systems that the rider doesn’t have to think about at all,” said Teague technical director Warren Schramm. “They just get on the bike and pedal, and it just works.”
The bike also has fully integrated turn signals, along with head and brake lights that react to natural lighting conditions — meaning, when it becomes darker, the lights automatically brighten.
There’s also an innovative handlebar that doubles as a U-lock system. It can be used as a quick-lock, or completely removed to secure the wheel and frame to a post. This removes the need to carry an extra bike lock.
Finally, for those that ride in the rain, the bike has a unique fender design with rubber bristles that disrupt water and keep your back dry.
The inspiration for Denny came largely from the unpredictability of riding a bike Seattle. Whether you’re making a quick summer ride to Pike Place, or trekking up and down the hills of Queen Anne in the rain, Denny was designed to fit all Seattle biking needs.
The Bike Design Project encouraged teams to create the “Ultimate Urban Utility Bike,” aimed at citizen riders who want to lead healthier and sustainable lives but may not consider themselves cyclists.
“We’re trying to get people on to bikes and out of cars,” said Teague designer John Mabry.
You have until Aug. 2 to vote online for your favorite bike. The winning design will be announced Aug. 4 and move into production with a planned retail debut in 2015.
Check out “Denny” in action below. We’ve included videos of the four other competing designs as well.
Denny, built in Seattle by Teague and Sizemore Bicycles:
Solid, built in Portland by Industry and Ti Cycles
Evo, built in San Francisco by HUGE and 4130 Cycle Works
The Blackline, built in Chicago by MNML and Method
Merge, built in New York City by Pensa Design Studios and Horse Cycles