Two bicycles have made their way into this years Designs of the Year exhibition. Both the Donky cargo bike and the Mandoo Footloose chainless e-bike have been nominated for awards in the transport category, and will feature in the upcoming Design Museum exhibition.
The Donky is the brainchild of British industrial designer Ben Wilson. His idea was to create an affordable and practical town bike with practical load carrying ability, with a footprint small enough to store easily.
The square-section top tube of the Donky frame runs for the entire length of the bike's wheelbase and allows for placement of two removable racks – one front and one rear. Both racks are secured with a quick-release system and can be rotated and mounted vertically, to offer alternative mounting options or storage convenience.
In order to keep the bike compact, Wilson opted for 20in wheels. The complete build uses a selection of durable, low maintenance components that can be repaired or replaced easily. The Donky bike is currently available at £499 from Donky but is undergoing further development, with plans including front and rear child seat options in the pipeline.
The Mando Footloose is an intriguing design from British designer Mark Sanders, and has been produced by automotive parts manufacturer Mando. This bike ticks about every 'alternative' box, being a folding, hybrid e-bike.
But it's the drivetrain that really sets it apart. The Mando does away with the conventional chain drive of most bicycles. In fact, it does away with any obvious physical connection between the cranks and rear wheel. Instead, the cranks turn an alternator that generates power to drive the rear wheel.
On a full charge and with no assistance from the rider the bike will put out power for about 30km. You can increase this figure by up to 50 percent by pedalling to charge the internal battery.
The Footloose also features an ECU (electronic control unit) in the centre of the frameset. This is used to communicate with integrated sensors, to recognise the bike's speed and the slope of the terrain. In turn, the bike adjusts resistance at the crank and distributes power to the rear wheel accordingly. The ECU also shows the usual cycle computer-like functions, such as distance, speed, battery status and amount of electricity produced.
A single-side swingarm frame and fork combination allow the entire bike to fold up into a portable package. Cleverly, the rear wheel is still exposed, allowing the bike to roll once folded. But considering the 21.7kg (47.8lb) heft it's necessary too!
The Mando Footloose will be sold in Europe from mid 2013.
Both of these bikes, plus lots of other intriguing designs, will feature at the the Designs of the Year 2013 exhibition, from 20 March to 7 July at the Design Museum London.