Oregon Manifest's goal is to prompt the design of the perfect urban commuting bike - and in the process, give talented bike frame crafters and bike form designers the chance to show their skills.
Last held in 2011 (see our slideshow of the entries), this year's competition was planned a little differently from the first one. Five design teams in five cities (Portland, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, and Seattle) were paired with bicycle builders in their cities...and the competition was on.
On Thursday July 25 at five parties in the five cities the teams revealed their entries. And starting today, the public gets to vote on which bike should really be called 'best' commuter bike made.
Then Fuji will produce the design for general sale.
In friendly cycling city Portland, Oregon, the team consisted of builder Ti Cycles and design firm Industry. The features of this bike, called "Solid," include a titanium frame - with many of the designed components 3-D printed - as well as handlebars with electronic gear shifters and what is termed "haptic GPS navigation" (haptic is touch-enabled) integrated with a smartphone app called DISCOVER MY CITY.
In San Francisco, Chris Harsacky from Huge Design and Tom Schoeniger from 4130 Cycle Works formed the basis of the S.F. team, and their design brief included a bike easily capable of hauling a 12-pack to local Dolores Park as well as riding to work or fun on the steep city hills. The EVO has a series of easily attachable and detachable accessories, and integrated front light and locks.
In Chicago, Minimal, a Chicago design firm, and Garry Alderman, a local frame builder who works under the name Method Bicycle, teamed up to make a bike sturdy enough to brave winter's like last year's "polar vortex." The Chicago team's bike, called Blackline, has some very slick LED side blinker lights (GPS enabled) and a double kickstand on its steel cargo-ready frame.
NYC's team consists of design firm PENSA and Horse Cycles. This team's bike, called Merge, has a compact design, an integrated USB phone charging station, and a retractable rear rack that contains its own set of lighting.
And in Seattle, design team Teague and Sizemore cycles paired up to create a very snazzy bike they call "Denny." Denny has an onboard computer that automatically controls gear-changing assist in the front wheel - very handy for Seattle hills - and sensor-based always on lights that dim or get brighter based on conditions.
So don't wait - vote for your favorite of these five fine bikes. Voting concludes August 3 and the winner will be announced August 4. Fuji Bikes plans to offer the winning bike in spring 2015. Videos of the five bikes in motion available here.