The truth is, people really do want to ride bikes. But our fear of flipping over the handlebars or running into traffic keeps many of us in our cars.
But a sleek black bike fit for Batman could change that.
The design firm MINIMAL has produced the BLACKLINE bicycle, a bike modelled after Chicago’s iconic elevated, or “L,” train and crafted to offer all the safety and utility one would want from a city bike/crime-fighting vehicle.
BLACKLINE, which recently won top honours at the Industrial Designers Society of America’s annual design awards, was originally constructed as part of The Bike Design Project, which brought together designers and manufacturers in Chicago, New York, Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle to compete in crafting the ideal utility bike.
BLACKLINE isn’t your typical dusty six-speed. It’s a bike built specifically for navigating a less-than-friendly cityscape, and keeping you safe while you do it.
Check it out below.
From the start, the MINIMAL team wanted to create a bike that served all the needs of an active city resident. It had to be durable, smart, and -- most importantly -- look the part.
Early sketches of BLACKLINE came together at the company's headquarters. It was at this stage when the particulars were hammered out, including the design of the frame, handlebars, and tires.
'Chicago streets can be tricky terrain to navigate,' states BLACKLINE's website. To compensate, the bike comes equipped with balloon tires that hold up against even the trickiest of potholes.
The finished product. BLACKLINE syncs with the rider's smartphone GPS to offer turn-by-turn directions through the handlebars' blinker system. The feature gives riders one less thing to worry about while navigating busy streets.
The Helios smart handlebar system is BLACKLINE's greatest feature. Together with the smartphone app, the front LED light can be set to speedometer mode and change colours as you ride. Riders can also send the bike a text message to receive a Google map pin, which assures riders the bike is safely locked up.
Storage was a top priority for MINIMAL. The front rack discreetly stores a U-lock that requires no lock to swap out, and rear racks have room for two waterproof panniers.
The 3-speed bike was originally designed to withstand the terrains of Africa, MINIMAL said in a statement to Tech Insider. It has since been adapted to allow for easy city riding with a keen eye still on making it through harsh Midwestern winters.
While BLACKLINE isn't currently in production, MINIMAL says it's not ruling out manufacturing a version for retail. In the meantime, the prototype will stay one of a kind.
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