Cannondale's Quantum Leap in bicycle design: the ON concept
By Emily Clark
October 7, 2007
October 7, 2007 The bicycle has evolved into a reliable and vital mode of transportation over two centuries. Early forms emerged as early as 1791 when one Monsieur de Sirvac is said to have added a second wheel to a child's hobbyhorse to create the "velocifere" and the “draisienne” – which was propelled by riders pushing their feet on the ground - was invented in Germany around 25 years later by Baron von Drais. The basic design platform we recognize today took shape at the end of the 1800’s with the addition of major innovations including pneumatic tyres, derailleur gears and hand-operated cable-pull brakes, but if this radical prototype from urban solutions company Cannondale is any indication, the continuing evolution of the bicycle as we move into the 21st century might yield some very surprising results.
The ON concept will be the culmination of the Cannondale “Quantum Leap” project – an exercise in futuristic bicycle design that began unofficially in 2004 when the company's Industrial Design team started a project with graduate students from the Elisava Design School in Barcelona, Spain. The idea was to create a new type of bicycle for the urban rider with a focus on both aesthetics (ie. creating a highly distinguishable bike that looks like nothing else) and new technology including a revolutionary folding frame, maintenance free hub gear, single sided Headshok fork and a unique single-sided drive train. The case closed drivetrain technology provides clean, user friendly, maintenance free, and internally geared performance.
The team has been working with the Jackknife concept (see photos), designed in 2005 by Philippe Holthuizen and Rodrigo Clavel under supervision from Cannondale’s Industrial Design department. The first rideable prototype was completed in June 2007 and has a foldable co-moulded carbon and aluminum main frame housing, internal cable routing and fixing points for the all new “Righty” urban specific single-sided suspension fork.
Component manufacturers SRAM came on board in October 2006 committing to the development of the drive train that includes a custom rotor and SRAM’s iMotion-9 nine speed gear hub.
The project was officially launched in August of this year but at this stage the development is still in the prototype phase with no confirmed production plans as yet. Gizmag will be following progress of the project and eventual release of the innovative new design - stay tuned.