Roel Verhagen Kaptein

Out of the Netherlands comes this unusual design for a streamlined commuting recumbent.

Recumbent bicycles aren't for everyone, what with the loss of balance control, difficulty in starting and the sometimes cruel put-downs from the non-recumbent masses. But for someone who loves the ungainly contraptions, here is one that's a little bit different – muscled and formidable like a motorcycle, with a classic racing fairing to match.

The City Speeder, which was recently featured on the great site Bicycle Design, comes from the conceptual workshop of Roel Verhagen Kaptein, an industrial product designer from the Netherlands. Kaptein whipped up these renderings of his curious recumbent for the International Bicycle Design Competition in Tapei, hoping to impress the world with a new kind of commuter bicycle. He writes:

The city speeder is a recumbent bike made for commuting in a fast and comfortable way. The streamlined body makes the bike fast and keeps you comfortable and dry. The streamline baggage compartment can hold your backpack, suitcase or can be used as a child seat. The design layout makes that you can use all standard parts for the driveline.

The City Speeder's boxy exoskeleton looks tough enough to take a couple hard knocks from zig-zagging urban traffic, and those super-thick wheels should make riding over bumpy pavement or gravel a cinch. However, a couple of Bicycle Design's commenters are pointing out what they perceive as flaws:

Gunnstein Lye: As a recumbent cyclist I’d say this could work well as a bike, but I would not want it as a city bike. Bents are generally not very good in start/stop situations, slow moving traffic, and manouvering tight spaces. High bottom brackets and high seats as on this one makes it worse. On the open road it could excel, though. I have a bike with very similar geometry and love it for long distances. In the city I use an upright (wedgie) bike.

And:

Impossibly Stupid: I don’t understand how it’s supposed to keep you dry. The only thing that is covered is your legs, but only from the top. And, as I’ve mentioned before, every time I see a seat like that with zero air flow, all I can think of is the rivers of sweat that would be flowing down my back and pooling in the seat.

For what it lacks in an ability to keep a butt dry, though, the City Speeder makes up for with its unusual appearance, quite unlike anything else on the road today (save for maybe this “Flevobike Electric Greenmachine”). Similarly rejiggered recumbents are something of an obsession for Kaptein; he also has designed a flattened “Evolution Bike” and a classic chopper that looks like a Harley fighting with a giant praying mantis.

 

Images from the portfolio of Roel Verhagen Kaptein.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Coronavirus

    The Post-Pandemic Urban Future Is Already Here

    The coronavirus crisis stands to dramatically reshape cities around the world. But the biggest revolutions in urban space may have begun before the pandemic.

  2. Perspective

    In a Pandemic, We're All 'Transit Dependent'

    Now more than ever, public transportation is not just about ridership. Buses, trains, and subways make urban civilization possible.

  3. A pedestrian wearing a protective face mask walks past a boarded up building in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. Governors from coast to coast Friday told Americans not to leave home except for dire circumstances and ordered nonessential business to shut their doors.
    Equity

    The Geography of Coronavirus

    What do we know so far about the types of places that are more susceptible to the spread of Covid-19? In the U.S., density is just the beginning of the story.

  4. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

  5. Illustration: two roommates share a couch with a Covid-19 virus.
    Coronavirus

    For Roommates Under Coronavirus Lockdown, There Are a Lot of New Rules

    Renters in apartments and houses share more than just germs with their roommates: Life under coronavirus lockdown means negotiating new social rules.

×