For nearly 20 years, Denmark-based bicycle brand Biomega has worked to export Scandinavia’s alternative-transit culture to the wider world, in part by recruiting acclaimed designers such as Apple’s Marc Newson and Karim Rashid to make bikes that are just as covetable—and recognizable—as luxury automobiles. "If the bike industry wants to compete with cars," says Biomega cofounder Jens Skibsted, "it needs to be able to assert itself by creating brands."
The company’s latest product—an electric bike dubbed the OKO—was concocted by KiBiSi, a design powerhouse led by Skibsted, world-renowned architect Bjarke Ingels, and industrial designer Lars Holme Larsen. The high-end e-bike is geared toward commuters who are considering a switch from four wheels to two. Forged from carbon-fiber material, the OKO cleverly hides its machinery—battery, motor, wiring—within a seamless frame, making it look like a regular bike. The quiet, 350-watt motor helps you pedal, boosting your own efforts by as much as 20 miles an hour for up to 40 miles per charge.
Skibsted hopes the OKO, which starts at $2,295, will be especially appealing to design-conscious urbanites. "Expressing lifestyle via the objects you surround yourself with is very much accepted in cities," he says. "It’s important that there are objects for the self-aware urban dweller who cares about commuting in style and in comfort."
A version of this article appeared in the April 2016 issue of Fast Company magazine.