Welcome to the Future, The Penny Farthing Re-imagined

When Steampunk and the 21st century collide with a little help from the imagination of a team at BASF, the worlds largest chemical company, this centuries most highly over engineered penny farthing was born. The inspiration of the project originated from the chemical companies founding year – 1865, which is when Karl Drais first put pedals on “Dandy Horse” and introduced the world to the bicycle. 

Using two dozen different polymers, BASF and design partner DING3000, have rethought and updated every facet of this historical marvel.Penny Farthing 1865 to Today
The original velocipede was limited because it used a direct drive system. The lack of gears meant the  front wheel was often enlarged as close to the riders inseam as possible, which put the rider above the front wheel and made it difficult to dismount.

The e-velocipede remedies this issue by using an electric powered rear wheel, whose battery is stored in the detachable seat. The seat itself uses a special plastic to dissipate vibration, insulate the battery from the elements, and provide superior cushioning and wear life. e-velocipede future plastic bike LEDs
Integrated LEDs in the seatstays and fork provide ample light for night excursions. The carbon fiber reinforced fork is filled with two types of foam to ensure a pleasant ride. Future Plastics Penny FarthingThe rims are produced from a thermoplastic which is valued for it’s toughness, light weight, and ability to absorb energy. The material has been used to replace metals in places like battery carriers and crash absorbers.

Stopping power is provided by carbon fiber reinforced fabric embedded in a reinforced polymer, in order to withstand high heat and still offer a good braking surface.

If you can think of it, the BASF team already did it. Seriously. Want the full details? Check out their PDF on the Concept 1865 here for all the cool details.

Via Urban Velo


Seraph - 10/30/13 - 2:45pm


Bob - 10/30/13 - 2:59pm

Yet another wheelsize??? And right after they shoved 27.5 down our throats? I guess the real question is, will it work for enduro?

Bob - 10/30/13 - 3:02pm

Yet another wheelsize??? And right after the industry shoved 27.5 down our throats? I guess the real question is, is it good for enduro.

Segg - 10/30/13 - 3:03pm

“Want the full details?”

Clay - 10/30/13 - 3:06pm

These will be the only acceptable fixies in Portland, now.

John - 10/30/13 - 3:35pm

Ciclavia! i’d totally rock that thing!

wheelz - 10/30/13 - 3:50pm

Looks rad. I’d ride one as a commuter.

carl - 10/30/13 - 4:10pm

WAIT A MINUTE… when he locked that thing up did you see him actually lock it to anything? Me neither. Maybe it just locks the wheels…. and if the rear wheel is motorized and has gears, why is he pedaling? I’m so confused….

rico - 10/30/13 - 4:23pm

Steampunk? Really? It looks like they put some time and money, into this project, too bad they had to do that corny theme. Just do a normal looking bike if you want people to use it. Noone will want to look like a goof.

Velo - 10/30/13 - 4:40pm

Is it available with an 11-speed internal hub?

Ike - 10/30/13 - 4:42pm

I appreciate the design exercise, but seriously, they invented the “safety” bike for a reason.

scentofreason - 10/30/13 - 4:44pm

Don’t you all worry, 5 years from now we’ll see some rad footage of a plaid wearing huckster type rocking some serious north shore trails (all while thumbing his nose at the guy on the mtb unicycle…)

James Zuidema Jr - 10/30/13 - 4:54pm

Yeah, I would hate to look “like a goof” as they do on those Segway things. Anyway, as an avid penny farthing rider, I think it is cool to see a company digging up its roots if you will. All the car companies are doing it, why is it a bad thing when another industry wants to? Great concept!

plebs - 10/30/13 - 5:14pm

But… is it better? I’m still waiting for a proper hydraulic drive with fluid lines inside the chainstays and a CVT, possibly regenerative braking as well.

Human Cyclist - 10/30/13 - 5:22pm

I like it, would potentially increase visibility of cyclist. Looks high, bit like riding a horse!

LanceAndre - 10/30/13 - 6:18pm

When did so many cyclists get so d*mn stupid? Did any of you watch and listen to the ad? They said IF the original inventor of the bicycle had today’s materials… gesh… if they had used a safety bike it would look like any $7k bike at your local shop. God, I think this will be the last time I read the comments section.
Oh, and BTW that was the ORIGNAL tire size, long before 26″, 29″, 700c or 650… (lol).

Hell, I think its actually a really good idea! no chain, gears, one less bearing set, safer for visibility… there just that endo issue to worry about.

Psi Squared - 10/30/13 - 8:22pm

Apparently a number of people are confused about what a “concept bike” is. If you follow the link you’ll eventually end up at the Ding 3000 website. There you’ll learn that Ding3000 is a design company, and their intent with this bike design had nothing to do at all with bringing the bike to market.

I think it’s a pretty cool exercise in design.

jon thomas - 10/31/13 - 12:21am

What is the standover height? Looks like about -5.”

IvanMTB - 10/31/13 - 1:49am


Bit tricky to refer to history of chemistry. Especially if you have in your ekhem… portfolio this bit about manufacturing Zyklon B used for exterminating millions of people in concentration camps.

Oh… And also using of slave labor…

Apart of that interesting concept, but I prefer safe bike.


Champs - 10/31/13 - 2:32am

Weird, because BASF doesn’t make a lot of things…

JimmyZ - 10/31/13 - 2:50am

I want to expose myself to design company publicity scheme pitches. They can’t all be oblivious to the uselessness of their “ideas”. How does a salesperson withstand their mark telling them every problem with their product in verbose detail? I don’t just want to have a chuckle; this is a social skill applicable to less extreme settings.

Psi Squared - 10/31/13 - 6:04am

JimmyZ apparently didn’t read what Ding 3000 read about the purpose of the video. That’s ok because JimmyZ’s style of commentary is popular with all the junior high and high school kids.

Nick - 10/31/13 - 9:27am

can’t do wheelies? not for me

C Dolamore - 10/31/13 - 9:50am

Heck, someone has to ask it…..so I’ll volunteer…..

Can you fit mudguards?

Damien Mcnamara - 11/17/13 - 2:52am

Hi, I’m a penny farthing racer and steampunk from Oamaru, NZ. Could you make those bigger wheels, just the front wheel, not the bike itself, in a 51 inch size?

SK - 12/26/13 - 1:24am

Looks like a lot of design went into an……old design!!! I would never ride this but there are companies making penny farthings so there is a market for them .

Would be better with a freehub with direct mounted cranks.

Any technical data on THIS website would be great as the link isn’t working for me.

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