What would it look like if a bike and a Swiss army knife had a baby? Probably something like the Brooklyn-based design firm Pensa’s latest creation, the Merge bike. It may look fairly minimalistic, but this two-wheeled masterpiece has lots of hidden features including a phone charger, storage rack and even a pop-out fender. Read on to see where the Merge is hiding all these little gizmos and how it could change the way we ride.
Inhabitat stopped by Pensa’s offices in DUMBO earlier this month for sneak preview of the Merge. Mark Prommel, creative director at Pensa, told us that the inventive new bike was designed in collaboration with Horse Cycles founder Thomas Callahan. The frame itself is made of Chromoly steel with carbon wheel forks. Prommel explained that the bike is just modern enough while still maintaining the classical double diamond bike frame that’s existed and evolved over the last 200 years. You’ll still find many modern touches including laser cut triangles on the sides to let the signal lights leak out for drivers and pedestrians to see.
“We thought it was a little arrogant to come in and say ‘no the bike should be this’ and we’re going to reinvent this whole new icon,” Prommel said. “At the same time we were able to take some of the geometry and extend those through what would be the normal junctions to create these four access points.”
Riders will be able to find these four access points at the back and front of the bike. Just below the front headlight, there’s a hidden USB port to plug in a smartphone. Riders can slip the phone into a Mer bag strapped to the side of the bike, which also includes slots to slip in a U-lock. Both the lights and phone charger are tied to a dynamo hub located on and linked to the front wheel.
At the back of the Merge is a handle attached to the rear light, and pulling this out reveals a storage rack that riders can throw a bag on. Meanwhile, the lower tube underneath the storage rack contains a stretchy bungee cord to tie everything down. In this same compartment, there is also a pull-out fender made of a flexible polyethylene and a spring steel spine to help keep riders dry when it’s wet outside.
“We create[d] something where when all the functionality is hidden inside, it does not look like anything is missing.” Prommel said. “This is a complete form on its own and it’s beautiful, and then as you need them things start revealing themselves.”
Next up, Pensa will enter the Merge bike into the Oregon Manifest the Bike Design Project to represent NYC. The competition includes a round of online voting that starts today and once a winner is picked, Fuji Bikes will fund a short production run of the top design. So if you want to see the Merge become a reality, make sure to vote for it here.
Check out even more images of the Merge on our Flickr Stream!
Images © Kevin Lee for Inhabitat