The CityBike (CityBike: A comfortable, safe, and adaptable electric-bike for everyone) project targets a new e-bike model that emphasises safety and comfort. The design is more inclusive of ‘forgotten’ customers, such as tourists, individuals with high-risk perception, older people or those with impairments due to injury. “Our goal is to design and prepare the production of a new electrical bike for use in urban areas. The main quality of the new bike is the flexibility in its frame so it can adapt to different users’ needs and body types,” explains Mr Ásgeir Matthíasson, CityBike project coordinator. Research has validated the concept, with evidence underscoring the ability to adapt the core design of a regular bike. Reinventing the bicycle Building on this, project work has realised a first-of-kind bike design: there is no chain. “Once the chain is gone, we are free to rethink what it means to be a cycle. We can move any and all of the parts around and configure them in just about any way,” Mr Matthíasson notes. This affords the rider maximum flexibility as well as reduced maintenance. Following production of the first full-size prototype, CityBike moved to 3D printing to print out models for testing. The team further improved the bike design through cooperation with the University of Reykjavik’s Biomechanical faculty, working together to analyse the stress of the body while riding the bike. Cycling into the 21st century Adding to its array of innovative features, smart devices such as GPS and remote locking can be integrated on the e-bike. “This gives the customer a better overview of their cycle, maintenance schedules, workout information, theft prevention and more,” underlines Mr Matthíasson. In addition to offering maximum flexibility, the cycle’s motor will draw a wider audience as a more attractive alternative to traditional bicycles. With cities become more and more dense, this has wider implications for the modal shift towards cycling. “CityBike will be at the forefront of the change to a more pedestrian and cycle-friendly city life style,” the project coordinator states. Project outcomes will thus also prove a valuable contribution to efforts aimed at overcoming European societal challenges in transport. Pedalling towards greater safety and EU support With ongoing research, the team is confident of the potential to effect changes to EU laws regarding pedal bikes versus mopeds on the basis on biomedical evidence and information on actual cycle usage. The e-bike will also sport optional safety features, which could become standard. These include wider, support wheels to facilitate balance and grip, and software to guard against sudden or weak acceleration, helping riders maintain their balance. Once the design is finalised and tests are completed, production will commence with two models initially. Long term, the plan is to cast the bicycle frame from recycled aluminium, meaning production can be carried out closer to the point-of-sale. This in itself promises a score of other benefits through job creation and more locally produced and sourced cycle manufacturing, thus also reducing the product’s eco-footprint. CityBike plans to attend tradeshows throughout Europe to demonstrate the cycle and engage with resellers, collectors and key stakeholders. “Our e-bike will change the way people get around and allow for a further range of travel than is currently possible – with CityBike “the last mile” will be longer,” Mr Matthíasson concludes.
CityBike, e-bike, bicycle, transport, bike design, cycling