If you've not yet seen the Bicymple project, take a look at the project over at Bicymple.com.
The Bicymple project is extremely unique. There's no chain, there's a minimal amount of parts to the bike and it pivots as you ride! Don't take our word for it though, view the video on the right.
We loved the project so much, we reached out to them and asked if they'd be interested in participating in an email based interview. Josh over at Bicymple got back to us very promptly, see the interview with his replies below:
Interview with Bicymple
What gave you the inspiration to create the Bicymple?
First and foremost, the inspiration to create the bicymple is my lifelong passion for bikes in general. I love to ride and I really believe that bicycles are fantastic. As far as the actual design of the bicymple, it came from an exercise in removing as many pieces as I could from a 'standard' bike. A couple of years ago I built up--mostly from used parts--a single speed bike with a coaster brake. It was so brutally simple, with no external brakes or derailleurs, that it got me thinking about how far I could go in the direction of simplicity. Removing the chain was the next step, so it had to be done. It's an exercise in functional minimalism and is actually quite fun to ride--remember when we rode bikes just for fun?
How long did it take you to bring Bicymple from being just a concept to production?
I'd say from the time I finalized the initial drawings until I was actually riding the first prototype was about a month or so. We're still not in mass production mode, so it's been about a year since the initial prototype was under way.
What audience are you targeting with the Bicymple (if any?)?
There are a few groups in the cycling world that I think the bicymple is ideally suited for. The first group is those people looking for a really minimalist bike that takes up less space than a standard bike and want something unique. I've gotten countless request from college students and city dwellers who are interested in it for exactly those reason. The second group is the bike aficionados who love bikes like I do and are fascinated by the alternative design and the unique riding possibilities it presents. There's a misconception out there that I think the bicymple is a replacement for the current 'standard' bike design and that's simply not the case. I own several bikes and each has its own purpose. I find myself riding the bicymple for two purposes. The first is when I just need to ride a short distance--to meet friends at a restaurant, for example.
I'll lock the rear steering and cruise happily along my way. The second is when I want to ride for fun. I'll release the rear steering and can play with it for hours like that. I think that's one of its greatest features--it's got tricks up its sleeve and can behave to two vastly different ways just by turning a knob!
The front of the bike has a QR code which is pretty quirky! Where does it go to?
Yeah, it's amazing that putting a QR code on the head tube of a bike can ruffle some people's feathers so severely! The QR code goes to a dynamic redirect page on the bicymple web page. By setting it up this way, scanning the same code can take you any number of places that we choose.
At this moment, it redirects to the Facebook page and allows viewers to easily connect with us. In the near future it will likely redirect to a promotional video that showcases the unique capabilities of the bicymple.
Odds are good the final production design may have a more traditional head tube badge, but we'll likely still integrate the QR code in somewhere.
Weight is quite an important aspect for day-to-day bikes; is there any focus on the weight of the project?
To some extent, of course. However, since the frame itself is so minimal, the significant weight is in the other components.
Since there’s no chain drive, what sort of speeds can the Bicymple reach?
In its current configuration with the direct-drive freewheeling hub, the max speed is in the 11-15kph range, which is a bit slow. We're developing an overdrive hub system to address this. It will be a sealed, zero maintenance unit and will be capable of reaching speeds on par with the average single-speed bike. We are exploring multi-speed freewheeling hub options (currently, none exist that we're aware of), but that's a long way off and certainly nothing we can even begin to promise.
How’s it handle bumps in the road?
Just like any other bike when the rear steering is locked. When it's unlocked you're probably not in the same riding mentality, so bumps seem much less of an issue.
Where can you currently get hold of it?
We're going to be making them available through the crowdfunding site Kickstarter in the coming weeks. At this point, we'll be funnelling sales through that channel.
Any word on pricing yet?
Not yet. Odds are very good that there will be multiple price points depending on component spec and other custom options.
Any final words?
It's been really fascinating to see people's reaction to the bicymple.
It's been overwhelmingly positive and the number of requests we've gotten from people all over the world is staggering. I think that most people really get the idea behind it and like that it's an alternative to (and not a replacement for) the established traditional bicycle design. They realize that "design" is about more than a cold, soulless drive to find solutions for problems. To me, life in general--and certainly design--is about far more than just solving problems. That just seems too narrow a view and doesn't leave space for unique solutions, fun solutions, or solutions that tap into something more than just the rational, objective side of the brain. Besides, looking at life as nothing more than a series of "problems" sounds pretty miserable to me! It's clear from the overall reaction to the bicymple that many, many people around the world feel the same way!
Thanks for the opportunity to talk about the bicymple! I very much appreciate it! Stay tuned for more developments in the coming weeks!
If you have any further questions for Bicymple, shoot them an email: firstname.lastname@example.org