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The most bonkers concept bikes ever to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world

Ever gaze into the distance and wonder what the road bike of 2035 might look like? Don't worry if you don't, it’s something bicycle designers appear to do quite often if this collection of concept bikes is anything to go by.

Concept bikes are designed to be attention grabbers, they very rarely go into production. Which is a shame as some of these look like fun. Some of the designs are clearly bonkers for the sake of it, but some do look like a lot of time has gone into them and could actually work.

In no particular order, here are some of the maddest and most interesting. 

Specialized fUCI

specialized fuci concept bike 1.jpg

specialized fuci concept bike 1.jpg

What happens if you ditch the UCI’s restrictive rules governing road race bicycle design and let your imagination go wild? This Specialized fUCI, if you’re the company’s creative director Robert Egger.

“The UCI really caters to a very small population,” says Egger, “but there're so many other people out there who couldn’t care less about the UCI. They don’t follow the racing and they don’t even know all the limitations that are put on bikes for the UCI riders. So, my feeling was let’s design a bike for someone who really just wants to go fast on a road bike," said Egger. 

Canyon Eco Speed

Canyon Eco Speed

Canyon Eco Speed

Canyon’s recent Eco Speed concept bike is an e-bike powered by a hydrogen fuel cell and featuring disc brakes, a concealed drivetrain and front and rear suspension. Looks like something Robocop would ride doesn't it?

Cannondale CERV

Cannondale CERV concept bike

Cannondale CERV concept bike

Cannondale has produced some controversial bikes over the years.  The CERV (Cannondale Ergonomic Race Vehicle) pointed to a possible future of road bike design. It features on-the-fly adjustable geometry so it could swap from an aggressive race bike to a comfortable endurance bike.

GT Mileno

GT Concept Cargo bike load bay

GT Concept Cargo bike load bay

There’s a lot more interest in utilitarian and cargo bikes these days, and this novel GT Mileno could transform from an urban road bike, with electronic shifting and hydraulic drum brakes, to a cargo bike with a module that bolts to the front of the bike. It has two powered wheels to ease the strain when fully loaded.

Lexus Hybrid Bicycle Concept

lexus-hybrid-bicycle-concept.jpg

lexus-hybrid-bicycle-concept.jpg

There have been plenty of slightly bonkers concept bicycles from the car industry, and we probably haven’t seen the last of them. This from from Lexus back in 2010 combined a carbon fibre frame with small wheels and an electric motor and regenerative braking.

Cannondale On concept folding bike

Cannondale-On-large.jpg

Cannondale-On-large.jpg

Cannondale again, this time a concept folding bike that isn’t small like a Brompton, but more akin to a regular sized road bike. The hinge is button operated and it folds in half to make it a portable size. We've come a long way since 2007 when this bike was first shown, but there are some similarities with the new Slate...

HMK 561 carbon fibre electric bike concept

Ralf Kittmann HMK561

Ralf Kittmann HMK561

This sleek looking bike featured a carbon fibre frame but uses the conductive properties of the frame material as a power distribution network to supply electricity created by regenerative braking to motors between the rims.

Cube Urban Street Concept Bike

Cube Urban Street Bike concept

Cube Urban Street Bike concept

Urban bikes have always interested bicycle designers when it comes to concept bikes. The Cube Urban Street concept was a folding bike small enough to fit in a rucksack, but which is the size of a regular road bike when folded out. The lights were fully integrated into the frame with a front wheel dynamo powering them.

The bike inspired by a Porsche 911

slide-porsche-next-design-challenge-top-25-part-2-bike-2.jpg

slide-porsche-next-design-challenge-top-25-part-2-bike-2.jpg

David Schultz, Senior Lead User Experience Designer for Microsoft, took inspiration from the 911 and came up with this urban commuter described as a “fast, lightweight, simple, tough and timeless” design - it certainly looks all those things.

BMC Impec concept bike

bmc concept.jpg

bmc concept.jpg

Swiss bike brand BMC isn’t afraid to think outside the box, as this creation from a couple of years ago proves. It’s created by the company’s Impec advanced research and development lab and is perhaps how road race bikes would look if there were no UCI rules. Disc brakes, a low-slung aero frame, concealed drivetrain and an integrated computer head unit are the key features of this bold design.

Mazda concept track bike

Mazda Kodo bike Stefania D'Alessandro-Getty Images for Mazda Motor Co 2.jpg

Mazda Kodo bike Stefania D'Alessandro-Getty Images for Mazda Motor Co 2.jpg

Another car manufacturer dabbling with bicycle design again. This striking track bike from Mazda was apparently created from a single sheet of metal for a very sleek and minimalist design. One of the more realistic concepts we’ve seen over the years.

J.Ruiter inner city bicycle

jruiter01.jpg

jruiter01.jpg

Urban bikes come in all shapes and sizes, and this one, designed by a design firm in Michigan, redefines what we normally expect to see in a bicycle. It looks like a shrunken mountain bike,  there’s almost no frame to speak off, pedals attached directly to the rear wheel and a front disc brake for slowing down.

Chris Boardman Intelligent Bike Concept

chris boardman concept.jpg

chris boardman concept.jpg

In 2009, Chris Boardman unveiled an intelligent bike concept that would be clever enough to track calories burned as you ride, with a solar-powered motor when you need some assistance and a full carbon fibre frame with spoke-less wheels and puncture-proof tyres. This was his vision for bikes that we’d all be riding in 2029.

Canyon MRSC Connected project bike

Canyon Project MRSC connected (8).jpg

Canyon Project MRSC connected (8).jpg

Canyon showed a glimpse of a fully connected future with its MRSC bike a couple of years ago, and actually some of the technology might be closer to production than you think. It has on-board telecommunications and it’s fully GPS-enabled so it knows where you all and tracks your rides, and can be used as an emergency call system in the event of a crash.

Scott futuristic aero race bike

scott concept bike.jpg

scott concept bike.jpg

Maybe one of the more realistic looking concept bikes in recent years, this one from ex-Scott designer Julien Delcambre looks ready to ride. With a low profile frame clearly designed to be fast in a wind-tunnel and with hidden brakes and very deep section wheels, it sure looks rapid. The next Foil aero road bike perhaps?

Specialized S-Works Shiv aero tandem

Specialized concept tandem (CC BY 2.0 Le Rouleur Lent|Flickr).jpg

Specialized concept tandem (CC BY 2.0 Le Rouleur Lent|Flickr).jpg

Specialized concept tandem (CC BY 2.0 Le Rouleur Lent|Flickr)

Specialized showed this marvellous hunk of two-rider insanity at the 2010 Eurobike show. It has a concealed shaft drive connecting the two cranksets and the all-in-one seat/seatpost/rear handlebar units can be removed so it can be customised for each rider. Specialized design honcho Robert Egger has apparently ridden it with Fabian Cancellara as stoker, which must have been like strapping on an engine.

Concept 1865 e-Velocipede

Concept 1865 e-velocipede bike_rear.jpg

Concept 1865 e-velocipede bike_rear.jpg

Another recent concept this one, we saw it at the Eurobike show. It’s a collaborative project between plastics giant BASF, product designers Ding 3000 and carbon magicians THM Carbones, and is basically a carbon fibre penny farthing.

Cannondale inline skate bicycle

cdale300.2.jpg

cdale300.2.jpg

We’ve saved the most bonkers concept bike for last here, and take a bow Cannondale. We don’t think this concept has ever been bettered. If you ever wondered what a bike would look like if spliced with an inline skate, well here is your answer. The best of both worlds? Possibly not.

What makes this bike truly bonkers is that Cannondale didn't just mock it up and plonk a guy on it for photos.This is a rideable prototype. Well, in theory anyway. Cannondale's director of product marketing told BikeRumor: "This was a prototype that sought to increase aerodynamic efficiency by eliminating the big rotating front wheel, but in doing so, it also eliminated a major source of bicycle stability. The only person I ever saw successfully ride this for more than a few meters was champion trials stud, Libor Karas."

Which is your pick?

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

7 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter [1975 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

This should have been an April 1st article just to get people guessing.

Most of these are fugly as hell, but I like the idea of single sided forks - no more removing the wheel for punctures.

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BehindTheBikesheds [2015 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

The lemon peeler

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BehindTheBikesheds [2015 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

sofa cykel

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BehindTheBikesheds [2015 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Please change the title to 'maddest concept bikes that we've seen in the last couple of years'

How typically narrow minded.

These were all 'concept bikes' at some point, below is a recumbent from Miles and John Kingsbury, inventor of the 'Bean' that broke the hour record for a self propelled vehicle in 1990 (46.96miles).

'The london', the Dursley Pederson, The Diamant 'Handy Bike', Moulton APB, 'sofa-cykel', schwinn 'Lemon-peeler' and a few more.

some of these 'future' bikes are just copycat of old designs

 

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BehindTheBikesheds [2015 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Looks like Specialized have copied this colour wise

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BehindTheBikesheds [2015 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Here's a recent concept bike that is now being built.

 

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matthewn5 [1201 posts] 2 months ago
2 likes
BehindTheBikesheds wrote:

Here's a recent concept bike that is now being built.

An old idea and a good idea:

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But wait, there's more:

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