Kalkhoff’s visionary concept bike could be the commuter of tomorrow

Could this commuter be the future of urban travel?

Kalkhoff is one of the leading brands in urban electric bikes and, as part of its design development and graduate programme, Rik Maes, an industrial designer from Ghent University, worked with the Kalkhoff team to interpret the brand’s existing design language and take it to the next level, imagining the bike we may be riding in just a few years time.


The concept bike features a triple drive system that combines a traditional bottom bracket motor system with additional hybrid motors in both front and rear hubs.

The bike also uses regenerative braking, with energy stored in a dual battery system, which stashes batteries in the top and down tubes.

The rear end features a rear damper with automatically adjusting sag, and the bike is envisioned to feature additional sensors to monitor traction at both wheels.

Integration also plays a big part in the design of the bike with an integrated smart lock and integrated lights, which are all connected and controlled via your smartphone.

The other key element of the bike — and something that Kalkhoff seems very interested in pursuing generally — is wireless charging. A bike with no ports or junctions exposed to the elements will be a bonus to any electric commuter bike.

Kalkhoff Concept 2020
The Concept is designed to have three power units, one in the BB, and one in each hub.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate media

The smart tech within the bike, which Kalkhoff calls the ‘Freedom’ concept, is also designed to communicate with urban traffic lights (turning them green when you approach if it’s safe to do so) and communicate with other smart vehicles on the road. We can undoubtedly see this becoming part of the future of urban traffic.

It may all be wishful thinking at this point, but you can already see some of the surface shaping and design in Kalkhoff’s current range, and when the tech catches up with Maes’s imagination, maybe we will be commuting on bikes like this in the next decade.

Tomorrow’s World, Kalkhoff edition

Kalkhoff concept from 1976
The Concept 2020 isn’t Kalkhoff’s first concept bike, it also has this Colani concept from 1976.
Warren Rossiter/Immediate media

Sitting alongside this modern-day slice of future thinking was another Kalkhoff concept bike from 1976.

This Colani concept bike was from the mind of Luigi Colani, with the idea of making an elegant, lightweight bike that at its heart was faster than anything available at the time.

We’ve no idea how quick the bike was, but the Colani concept is now a much sought-after rarity among collectors.


Be sure to click through the gallery above for all of the details on both bikes.