Last week we wrote about Erik and Mattis, and how Erik was designed as a daily companion in urban life. This time we delve into some of the ideas behind the design, and why we made the design decisions we did.
Erik is an interesting mix between the classic dutch bicycle geometry that affords a very upright riding position, snappy but yet stable steering, and a relaxed seat tube geometry that is conducive to accelerating from lights and keeping one’s head high. This without being so far forward so that you end up pedaling by pushing with your feet. This seat tube geometry keeps your feet forward and combined with the compact cockpit it allows the bike to get up to speed easily.
A relaxed fork geometry combined with the short cockpit and the short stem (much like the Dutch bikes mentioned before) provides really stable and comfortable steering while maintaining playful responsiveness in a manner that just brings a smile to your face.
Almost anyone will notice that these bikes have an asymmetrical open rear triangle. While many may believe that this was to make the bicycle look cool, it actually came about as the culmination of several solutions to different needs that allowed us a wealth of flexibility.
One point, that some people have a difficult time taking seriously, is that it really makes the bike easy to keep clean through a wet and grimy winter season in the city.
Let’s face it, grime isn’t just ugly it also makes your bike an unworthy companion and it’s hard on the hardware.
Erik’s open rear triangle just makes it really quick and easy to give it a rinse so you can enjoy the ride just that much more.
Another advantage to the open geometry was that we wanted to build a composite bike where our frame could not corrode; and we wanted to do so with what we have come to call “StoneWeave”, a mix of carbon fiber, basalt, and our recyclable epoxy resin system.
Making an urban bicycle meant it had to be tough enough to withstand the harsh realities of urban street life and that meant the frame needed to be thick enough to withstand hard knocks and impacts without cracking or splitting. So we needed to produce a frame with a relatively thick wall thickness and doing so with a traditional closed rear triangle geometry would probably result in a bike that rides like a tractor!
Our open rear end allowed us to make something solid without giving up that forgiveness that provides a comfortable ride.
An open rear also plays quite well into another one of our goals which was to utilize a Gates Carbon Drive belt system instead of a chain, more on this later.
Finally, we must confess that we do think its cool to make something that defies the bounds of tradition without the cost of compromise. A bicycle isn’t very complicated but it is sophisticated. Its sophistication relies on a subtle combination of ergonomics biodynamics, geometry, and mechanics. Too much of one or the other and the riding experience falls out of harmony and becomes yet another chore.