The Denny, a next-generation concept bike developed by noted Seattle design firm Teague and custom bike builder, Taylor Sizemore, recently won the 2014 Oregon Manifest Bike Design Project, an annual competition to create the ultimate urban utility ride. The Denny beat four other innovative offerings from design teams in New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland. It will now be produced in a limited run by Fuji, available in 2015. Standout features include removable handlebars that double as a bike lock, integrated brake and turn signals, minimalist fenders, and electric motor-assist with automatic shifting.
We spoke with Taylor Sizemore—of Sizemore Bicycle—about the Denny and what to expect in the future.
THE CLYMB: Oregon Manifest is all about driving fresh innovation in the urban commuter market and the Denny is packed with innovative features. Which one do you think will have the most impact on the industry after the production version comes out?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: It’s hard to say. Some features wow the audience and others are just simple ideas that make a huge difference. For the sake of cycling, I hope some of the lighting concepts we used catch on. Specifically that bicycle and component manufactures start to create lights that highlight the presence of the bicycle. Seeing the road is great, but that’s been done. Now it’s about creating lighting that helps drivers see a human on a bicycle not just a blinding point of light.
THE CLYMB: How collaborative was the design process?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: At our very first meeting prior to them even choosing me as the bike builder, I said that if I was going to work with them, I wanted to be as involved as possible in the design process. The fun part isn’t building the bike. It’s figuring out how to meet a person’s daily biking needs.
THE CLYMB: What was the most challenging problem to solve?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: The handlebar lock was very difficult to overcome. A traditional handlebar slips sometimes, even when tightened. So creating a handlebar that could be easily removed, yet would stay solid in its locked position was a challenge. Let alone creating a system where the brake levers didn’t have to be mounted to the handlebar. There is a lot going on there.
THE CLYMB: What are you most proud of?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: The fenders—easily. They are my own project: A universally mounted fender that removes water from the tire by disrupting the surface tension. However, the version on the bike is one that Teague created specifically for this project.
THE CLYMB: Were there any design ideas that didn’t make it to the final version that you’d still like to see?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: There’s always room for improvement. One thing we didn’t get to do was a kickstand. Someone needs to figure out a good kickstand and put it on Kickstarter. But please do a good job!
THE CLYMB: What about the other entries? Were there any design features that made you say, “Why didn’t we think of that?“
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: The removable racks on the Chicago and SF bikes were really nicely done. I liked them a lot. But we decided early on that we wanted to make ours permanent. So it’s always there when you need it.
THE CLYMB: Who gets to keep/ride the prototype?
TAYLOR SIZEMORE: Teague paid for everything and provided a lot of the talent I don’t have, so the bike stays in their office. And rightfully so!