Photokina 2014 highlights

Universal Bike – one frame to fit them all

By

July 4, 2014

The Universal Bike's frame can reportedly be adjusted to fit a wide variety of riders and ...

The Universal Bike's frame can reportedly be adjusted to fit a wide variety of riders and riding styles

Image Gallery (5 images)

One of the hassles involved in buying a bicycle is determining what frame size you should get. The size that works with one make and model isn't always the best choice for another, plus you might sometimes find that your particular measurements put you "between" sizes. Additionally, even if you get the frame dimensions right, you may discover that components such as the handlebar stem are too long or short. New York City-based Brooklyness wants to address that situation, with its one-size-for-everyone adjustable Universal Bike.

When they first get the bike, riders start by entering their height and weight, along with the length of their legs, arms and torso, on the Universal Bike app. They also select their desired ride style, from a list that includes road, touring, urban, fixie, comfort, pista and hybrid.

The app responds by displaying the numbers that the bike's frame length, seat height, seat angle, handlebar height and fork angle should be set to.

Users subsequently make those adjustments on the bike, tighten everything down, then get riding. If they're a child who's still growing, or if they decide that they'd prefer a different riding style, it's a simple matter of just entering new criteria in the app and redoing the adjustments accordingly.

The Universal Bike app

The bike itself features a carbon fiber frame and fork, 24-inch wheels, and the buyer's choice of a Shimano Nexus rear hub transmission (in three or seven speeds) or a single-speed/fixie configuration. The make of most of the other components is unspecified at this point.

The whole thing weighs a claimed 15 lb (6.8 kg) as a single-speed, or 19 lb (8.6 kg) with the Nexus hub.

Brooklyness is currently raising production funds for the Universal Bike, on Kickstarter. Assuming the financial goal is met and things go according to plan, a pledge of US$895 will get you a single-speed, with $1,195 for a 3-speed and $1,695 for a 7-speed.

You can see how the frame geometry is adjusted, in the pitch video below.

Sources: Brooklyness, Kickstarter

About the Author
Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben's interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that's designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn't so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth
Tags
11 Comments

Brilliant implementation of an excellent idea.

Really good pricing, too.

This deserves massive success.

Keith Reeder
4th July, 2014 @ 10:34 am PDT

What a terrible idea. Hopefully this fails in a ball of fire.

Unravelled
4th July, 2014 @ 05:20 pm PDT

Sorry, I'd be very leery of a $700 carbon fiber frame, especially one that needs all sorts of metal inserts to facilitate adjustment. The structural integrity of a composite frame that cheap would be suspect.

And 24" wheels simply limit tire choice too much. Should have stuck with the widely available sizes, 406/20", 559/26" or 622/700c/29".

Gadgeteer
4th July, 2014 @ 10:03 pm PDT

Wouldn't this work better as a measurement and adjustment tool, rather than a commercial bike? You drive this thing for a day (or rent it), adjust to taste, bike shop takes the measurements, and suggests the bike that comes closest?

I wouldn't want to ride on anything else but 28s or 29s (then again, I'm 6'2"), and I can imagine most people wanting a derailleur.

Joris van den Heuvel
5th July, 2014 @ 04:08 am PDT

I can see two situations where this is a good idea.

First it may benefit a child growing up where it can be of benefit that the bike can the "grow" with that, secondly it may work for situations where bikes are be shared between people like a bike rental or so. Still the same money will buy more than one traditional bike or a nice bike and different size frames.

However as a way to provide a perfect fit for an individual buying a bike then it is a terrible idea. The right bike frame size isn't just about getting the right geometry and distances between seat/pedals/handlebar and the angles to match the bikes purpose. When a frame is right then it brings to optimum stiffness and flex where it is needed for the minimum amount of weight and a one-frame for all simply can't do that. All the places where one can adjust there is gonna be extra weight, flex or both.

In short other than the two scenarios I suggested to begin with the only time this is a good idea is never.

Something else not regarding the concept as such. Seems a bit strange that going from a 3-speed to a 7-speed is costing so much, so maybe there is more stuff being different with those two versions.

BZD
5th July, 2014 @ 12:54 pm PDT

shoes , like bicycles come in different sizes for a reason.

making a clunky system like this seems like a good idea if you planning on selling millions of the same model bike (shoe) to every in the public.

people like choices in shoe size just like bike size. if you had to make a shoe adjustable to fit everyone, it would have a lot of bizzarre and clunky adjusting mechanism features subject to wear and problems adding complexity and weight and points of failure to the shoe/bike.

this 'sale' attempts to minimize the extra costs of weight on the bike by using carbon fibre---which only adds much to the cost.

i don't even believe the claimed weight of this bike. most likely it must be double checked, but either way, a great increase in bike cost results from attempting to accomodate the increase in weight by simply making the frame carbon fibre.

it does seem like interesting aproach, however people also buy different cars and shoes for different types of riding and different occasions.

i cannot think of too many reasons people woulndn't just buy different bikes rather than one bike that awkwardly tries to do many different things.

perhaps if they sold this bike with an electric motor . a very fancy one that was integrated into the bike,----they could sell this bike as a one size fits all electric bicycle rather than multisize electric bike (which makes it far more expensive to sell electric bicycles by having to offer different sizes ) .

however, in that situation you are essentially going to be building something pretty damn expensive to begin with .

i cannot really see a bike like this being stocked or sold at any conventional bike shops.....

zevulon
5th July, 2014 @ 08:18 pm PDT

Could all of you successful bike design experts who are putting this down actually articulate WHY, instead of being contrarian simply because you can?

The geometry argument doesn't wash - seems to me that geometry is catered for in scope adjustments - and these days, carbon fibre can be used to an extraordinarily high standard at reasonable cost because of improvements in manufacturing techniques.

And drawing an analogy with shoes is a bit silly: try an analogy with a car, where you adjust seat height and distance; pedal height and distance; and steering wheel height and distance.

Or even with a BICYCLE, where the amount of adjustment available is already huge - this just extends on existing principles.

So - ANY chance of something more cogent than "I don't like it because I don't like it"?

Keith Reeder
6th July, 2014 @ 03:31 am PDT

I suppose one of the main reasons of dislike is actually a matter of aesthetics. To the designer: explore the possibility of getting rid of that front adjustment by moving it *inside* the top tube, between the seat tube and the down tube; the head tube would be attached to a slide inside the top tube. It would probably need another adjustment for the fork angle though...

Oh, and try trimming down that price a bit :)

Good luck!

morphick
7th July, 2014 @ 05:14 am PDT

the only ''problem'' that ''universal size frames'' solves, belongs to the manufacturer

i don;t care if they have to build and stock 100 sizes of frame

if they have one that fits ME for a price i like, then i have no problem to be solved

and they do

so i don;t need this

plus it has a million other problems

like the steel inserts to avoid crushing carbon fiber

weight

weird looking

small wheels

$750 frame means $1500 bike

i can get a really good bike-store conventional bike for that

so why bother with this..?

wle

wle
7th July, 2014 @ 09:41 am PDT

If this bike is so easily and completely adjustable why are the riders in the video riding with their seats 4 inches too low?

Greg Mixson
7th July, 2014 @ 05:30 pm PDT

@Keith Reeder: It doesn't take being an expert to realize why a one size fits all has drawbacks compared to something that is made to size.

Imagine the same concept with shoes, lets says a shoe was made to worn for people needing size 7 to 11. Anyone with feet smaller than size 11 would need some sort of inlay and they would also have carry more shoe on their feet than if they had shoes made for their size - the same principle applies with the bike.

Or we can pick another example - the marvelous food processor found in many kitchen cupboards. Those machine can slice, hack, mix ingredients into a dough and properly heaps of other things - however they are rarely as good at any of it as machines build especially for each task. Even if they do something well they will usually be cumbersome to use, clean and possibly fragile at the same time.

BZD
12th July, 2014 @ 06:20 pm PDT
Post a Comment

Login with your gizmag account:

Or Login with Facebook:


Related Articles
Looking for something? Search our 28,557 articles