Almost Genius: A Beautiful Bike Frame That Requires Less Metal

A super-elegant solution to overbuilt bike engineering.

Almost Genius: A Beautiful Bike Frame That Requires Less Metal

There’s a good reason that the Victor Bike, designed by Christophe Robillard, looks so funky: The various bends allow it to use less metal, and less welds. Ergo, the bike frame is green, in a way.

Usually, bikes have two metal tubes (“seat stays”) running from the top of the seat tube to the hub; and another two metal pipes (“chain stays”) running from the hub to the bottom of the seat tube. But that basic design is a relic of industrial manufacturing capabilities of the mid-20th century. We do a lot more with metal these days, and that’s what Robillard did, using steel that was bent at an angle, so that the frame is made of less metal (since both the chain stay and seat stay are simple extensions of the frame).

Robillard also lavished attention on an integrated reflector for the front, and a gorgeously curved fender for the back, with another integrated reflector:

The frame’s only downfall is the seat tube–the hollow pipe where the seat-post is fitted to the frame:

Compare that design to something more traditional. The Victor has no traditional seat tube, that means you can’t adjust the seat height very much–and that means that the bike has to come in myriad sizes, or be custom made and fitted every time someone wants one. You could drill a hole in the frame, allowing a seat post that could travel up and down–but that would undermine all of the open, airy beauty of the frame. A tough problem to solve.*

*Check in the comments for a smart solution by reader Paul!

[Via DesignBoom]

About the author

Cliff is director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.