Bicycling has become big business, especially in America’s largest metro area where whole communities now commute via pedal power. But what bike is best for commuting? A contest begun by the Oregon Manifest aims to find out, with five teams from five cities attempting to build the best all-around commuter bike…and you get to pick which one gets built.
Designers from Portland, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Seattle were teamed up with bicycle builders from their respective city, and given the task of designing and building a bicycle that meets all the needs of a daily commute.
The city of Portland came up with a bike called “Solid” which utilizes a number of 3D printed components, a touch screen GPS, and a sturdy titanium frame.
The Chicago team meanwhile came up with a design they call “Blackline, which also has a sturdy frame which would allow it to double as a cargo bike. It also has GPS-enabled LED side blinkers so you can keep both hands on the handle bar.
Seattle meanwhile designated their bike “Denny”, giving it an onboard computer that automatically adjusts the gear-changing electronic assist unit on the front wheel in response to Seattle’s hilly terrain. It also has a whole host of lights to make night time biking problem-free.
Though the San Francisco bike, called EVO, lacks a hill-assist feature, it does have a number of extra attachments that make customizing your bike a breeze. It also has room for your favorite six-pack of “beverages” as my high school English teacher Mr. P was fond of saying.
Finally there’s New York’s “Merge”, which focuses on a compact design with a built-in rear cargo rack and offering bikers a USB plug to charge their smartphones on the go.
These designs all have their strengths and weaknesses, and there are a lot more pictures and videos over at the Oregon Manifest website. So pick your favorite and go cast your vote! Me? I gotta stick with my East Coast crew and vote for the Merge, though Seattle’s “Denny” wins the runner-up prize to my heart.