“Meet the future — the future mode of transportation for this weary Western world. Now I’m not gonna make a lot of extravagant claims for this little machine. Sure, it’ll change your whole life for the better, but that’s all.”
— Bicycle salesman in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, 1969
The basic design of the bicycle hasn’t changed appreciably for well over a century — since adoption of the “safety bicycle” in the late 1880s, the kind that Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman) rode in the movie.
A bike from that golden age of cycling wouldn’t look much different from a modern bicycle. Both have front and rear wheels of identical size, a rear-wheel drive powered by pedals and a chain and inflatible rubber tires.
But the look of two-wheeled transport is undergoing a profound transformation, judging from some of the designs submitted for the international Seoul Cycle Design Competition 2010, organized by design magazine designboom in collaboration with the Seoul Design Foundation.
“They came up with everything from bikes that double as shopping carts to folding bikes, solar-powered electric cycles, and bikes made from recycled wood.”
Among the entries, reported cnet news, was the Bikoff, “created by Marcos Madia of Argentina in hopes of convincing urban office workers to ditch their cars and commute via bike. The compact, foldable bike features a removable briefcase incorporated into the lightweight frame.”
Another entry was the Lunartic, designed by Luke Douglas of Britain. The Lunartic — the reverse of a 19th-century penny farthing — is a compact urban bike with a small front wheel and a large hubless rear wheel with a toothed belt drive.
Check out cnet’s gallery of images and a video of the Lunartic in action.