Monday, 9 February 2009

Paper Bicycle: One seriously cool bike

This all new city bike was originally designed for use in the british Royal Mail. From May 2009 anyone can buy their own "Paper Bicycle", and I'm sure they will. Who can resist such a classy, clean and simple design?
I can not pinpoint the exact reason why, but my heart rate actually increased several beats the instant I discovered this beauty a few weeks ago.

Photos by Simple City under a Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons Licence

Has it to do with the sophisticated simplicity of the low slung lines, with gear and brake cables hidden within the steel frame tubes? The bold and striking chaincase, who actually covers the entire chain and drivetrain - and even features a large, printable cover? Or was it simply because I am a bike geek with a crush on cool city bicycles?
Hard to say.

The prototype in action. Photo by Ben Cooper under a Creative Commons 2.0-licence

Whatever: The designer Nick Lobnitz (mechanical engineer and silversmith!) and his scottish firm Simple City sure knows a thing or three about city cycling, though. He is already well known for his Carry Freedom trailers, an award-winning, urban, foldable bike trailer system launched in 2003. Six years later he is out with a city bike I love for a number of reasons:

- It has a unique, almost timeless visual identity: Thanks to a low-key design, along with a distinctive, customizable chain case
- It's super low on maintenance: Gears and brakes are internal, with no need for regular fettling to adjust or re-adjust.
- It's possible to ride even in dresscode mode: The fully enclosed chain and the front and rear mudguards keeps you clean.
- It's hard to break: The steel tubes are robust, reliable stuff, and the tires are puncture proof.
- It's simple: One size fits all, gears shift with a twist of the hand, stable and safe steering feel makes everybody able to ride

The other side of things. Photo by Ben Cooper under a Creative Commons 2.0-licence

The tubes that loop along each side of the frame not only provide the framework for the chain case, they are also double sided for a reason: An original rear rack will mount into the rear end of the tubes. The rack is still not pictured in the press material, but I guess it will appear soon. The two tubes will also hide any future electronic equipment needed to make the Paper Bike an electric bike, and finally: The large side panel is there for you to personalize with any kind of print or logo.

Nice work, and a truly nice bike.
Now, if it was only available in Norwegian bike stores...

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