August 6, 2014

Kit Bike: A bike in a bag by Lucid Design

The Kit Bike, a concept created by Bangalore-based Lucid Design is a bike composed of 21 parts including tires, belt (drive belt), seat, pedals and locking joints, that can be dismantled to fit inside a stylish leather backpack.

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The bike is certainly an exercise in minimalism, from its crisp, white form to the restricted use of materials. It’s made almost entirely of aluminium (machined parts, hollow tubes), with rubber tires and belt, formed-leather seat and cork grips, and steel hubs. The project received a Red Dot 2014 Award last month.

Amit Mirchandani, the Creative Director behind the project sent over some seriously slick images of the concept – and that’s the operative word when talking about it. Lucid have no intentions of manufacturing the bike, it was simply a “blue sky design exploration” to push themselves to think without restrictions. “We like to do pro-active projects here at Lucid. We wanted to design a bike, and brainstormed around issues that we faced with our own bikes, or bikes we’ve had in the past. We liked the idea of easy assembly, or assembly all from one side. We liked the idea of the least amount of materials, the simplest configuration for a bike, the most optimal riding position and a minimal modern style,” Amit told Kyoorius.

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The Kit Bike can be seen as a response to folding bikes that exist in the market, which tend to be extremely complicated in their engineering and construction. It was designed to make problems of shipping and traveling with a bike, a thing of the past, without compromising on the quality of the ride. Once disassembled it turns into a full-sized bicycle.

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As a concept it certainly grabs your attention, but we wanted to know how this might translate into a manufactured, functioning product. We posed a few questions and raised some of our doubts around it’s ease of use and safety, to Amit.

How long would it take to assemble and disassemble the bike?
We imagine it would take about 10 minutes. So the bike is not for everyday assembly and dismantling. Rather for initial shipping, and for use when traveling to a destination and requiring a bike when you get there. Naturally if someone wanted to do it everyday, they could and they wouldn’t have to break it down or build it back up all the way and that would save time.

If this bike went into production, would it still be structurally sound?
We believe so, but ultimately this is something we would have to test. We like aluminium as it is light and cost-effective and the thickness of the tubes can be altered to create the right combination of properties – stiffness, comfort, structure and strength. If we were to further engineer the bike we may have to consider carbon tubes or titanium tubes, however we didn’t want the bike to be unaffordable.

How do the joints work – do they need screws or other components to hold them together? If so, can they be unscrewed by hand?
The hollow tubes are welded to machined aluminum U blocks. When inserted into the locking joints that hold the bike frame together, a rotating mechanism can be twisted with an inserted key to create a secure lock.

Our idea was to have simple on and off states for the screws. One single turn of the key 90 degrees would secure the lock between two parts. So if the turn wasn’t completed and locked you would know as the bike wouldn’t hold together when lifted up. We would further enhance the use of the bike if we were to take the idea further, with clear graphics that denoted an unlocked and locked state as well as what parts fit into what parts.

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Read more about the Kit Bike and Lucid Design at lucid.co.in

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