Bikes Reenvisioned: Seoul Cycle Design Competition Short List


The bicycle has come a long way since 1817, when Baron Karl von Drais introduced the Laufmachine (aka draisine) to the public. In the 1860s two Frenchmen named Pierre Michaux and Pierre Lallement added pedals (called the velocipede), and in 1885 J.K. Stanley invented the chain drive, allowing for rear wheel drive. As to be expected, modern designers are still tinkering with two-wheeled human-powered locomotion, which gave the Seoul Design Foundation in Korea reason to organize the Seoul Cycle Design Competition. Judges have recently announced their short list from 3000 participants. Click through for some of our favorites.

The Lunartic, designed by Luke Douglas features different wheel sizes, a toothed belt drive, and a hubless rear wheel. Douglas explains, “The gyroscopic effect of a large wheel helps it travel faster and more contact with the road provides a stable and comfortable ride, whereas small wheels save space, weight and are more maneuverable.”

Another design on the shortlist is Eungi Kim’s Horsey . In Kim’s words, Horsey is simply “an attachable bicycle ornament/accessory which makes one’s bicycle look horsey!The kit can be placed on any bicycle. Kim continues, “I wanted to give a special look to bicycles so that people would care about cycling not only as transportation but also as a lovely pet.”

Sunn Beam by Garret Belmont targets “the serious beach bum.” The long hollow tube running down the middle of the bike holds a beach umbrella and a folding chair. The “balloon tires” sport a 20″ diameter, which won’t get stuck in the sand. And if you’re coming back after dark, an LED headlamp and taillight are powered by the rear hub.

Portability has become a new goal for bike designers. Bikoff by Marcos Madia, an industrial design student from Buenos Aires, Argentina, puts a bicycle in a sleek black suitcase, perfect for an eco-friendly commute. The briefcase itself even slides in to the bike for easy storage.

Ridenpush by You ho Jeon of Korea combines a bicycle with a push cart to make a pragmatic tricycle. Apparently in Seoul, elderly people collect recyclable waste, which could easily be transported in this combination vehicle.

Recumbent bikes are nothing new, however Jean Davignon’s minimalist approach with City Recumbent isn’t your standard three-wheeled rental. Riders steer the bike by pushing the black handles forward and back, rather than turning them left and right.

The appropriately-named Sideways Bike by Michael Killian of Ireland features two independently steerable wheels, allowing for some unique movement that Killian compares to a snowboard. It looks pretty tricky to get the hang of, and we wouldn’t want to make cross any traffic coming from the right, but it’s certainly unique.