CHI-BLACKLINE-The-BLACKLINE-urban-utility-bike-1160x730The Bike Design Project by Origen Manifest challenges five teams based in cycling-centric cities in the United States to redefine the utility bike.  Each team is required to build a fully functional prototype and at the end of the development period, cyclists are invited to vote on the winning project.

That bike will be then be produced in a limited run through the a partnership with Fuji and will eventually be available in retail shops. Drop past the break for an overview of the entries and then vote!


CHI: Blackline


Constructed from 4130 steel, the Blackline bicycle blends classic construction with seamlessly integrated electronics.


The custom Helios handlebar conceals an integrated LED headlight and internal GPS Sensor. The sensor allows you to track the bikes location and syncs with the side blinkers, to give you turn-by-turn directions, and alert drivers to your movements. All of these systems can be charged via a USB port located on the stem cap.


The bike also incorporates tool free removable cargo supports in the front and rear. The front rack has bungee cord tie down mounts while the rear is compatible with most panniers.


An internally geared three speed hub gates drive drivetrain is virtually maintenance free and shrugs off adverse weather conditions.

NYC: Merge


Built by a team in NYC, the Merge was designed with tight quarters and space constraints in mind. Most of the features are stored inside the frame and the nimble handling make it easy to navigate the congested city streets.


A USB charging cable, lock cable, spring mounted pannier, and fenders all disappear inside the frame when not in use.

PDX: Solid


The Solid is a 3D printed titanium commuter with a smartphone app that pairs via bluetooth to guide riders via curated routes that expose them to new districts and sights.


3D printed titanium handlebars look awesome!

The bike communicates directions via haptic feedback and self regulating light sensors keep drivers aware of your movements.


A dynamo front hub charges the integrated GPS module, which also helps keep tabs on the bike in case it’s stolen.


An Shimano Alfine Di2 11 speed hub provides maintenance free performance.

SEA: Denny


The most Jetson-esque of any of the bikes featured in the design competition, the Denny features several sci-fi features like an ET worthy lighting system, auto electronic shifting, and a minimal fender design straight out of art school sketch book.


My favorite feature is the removable handlebar lock system. You can either remove part of the bar to lock the bike, or remove the handlebar entirely to lock the bike through the frame in more high risk areas.


The front rack has a cargo net system to hold items in place. Underneath the black rack is a removable battery, which powers the electronic pedaling assist, and integrated lights, and can be removed for charging.

Auto on/off lights on the the bike keep you visible, and lights integrated into the sides of the front rack act as blinkers, which can be activated via pushing forward on the brake levers.

SEA-DENNY-The-fender-is-designed-to-remove-water-from-the-tire-by-disrupting-the-flow-with-rubber-bristles-1160x730The minimal fenders keep the freshman stripe at bay without adding the weight of a full fender set.

SF: EVOSF_HUGEx4130_evo2-e1406408269862-1160x730

The EVo utility bike is a hybrid designed to perform equally well on well paved streets or light fire roads, to allow you to take advantage of all the places a bike can take you.


It also features a plug and play rack system, which allows you to easily convert it to hold grocercies, a child seat, or whatever else life demands.


Front and rear lights are integrated, as is a removable cable lock.

Now that you’ve seen the contenders, head to the Oregon Manifest website to vote for your favorite!



  1. While many in the industry will laugh at this or pay little attention – with a population of 7 billion and growing, cars are going to be displaced out of necessity. Major cities around the world have adopted the bicycle as a primary mode of transportation.

    Cool to see some designers thinking out of the norm and focusing on what will be, the bestselling (at least in quantity) bike sector.

  2. Why do all of these bikes look like they were cobbled together by overzealous college students out of whatever bits of reclaimed scrap and iPhone parts just happened to be lying around? I don’t understand why a modern utility bike must necessarily be made pretentious in its design, instead of just looking like an ordinary bike (albeit one with those nice modern utility features added to it).

  3. These are all awful, terrible bikes, designed by people who appear to have very limited understanding of what makes a bike practical and useful.

  4. While they have some good ideas, the design of each bike is lacking. You need to mash them all together to get what you want. The Merge’s rack system looks great. The Blackline’s side lights are well integrated. The Solid has the correct drivetrain.

    The racks on the Evo and Blackline will break as soon as you hit a bump. None of the bikes have fenders nearly long enough to keep a person dry. The Blackline is going to be a whippy ride.

  5. I like each of these bikes for different reasons. One ride around town here in PDX and you’ll see little personal touches like these already being employed. The city bike truly is a pedegree all its own, and its neat to see these innovators take it to the next level. Combining the latest tech. , and manufacturing available.

    Haters gone’ hate…errybody got they own ride 😉


  6. I appreciate the input and thought that went into all of these, but my ideal commuter is a rusty, sh*tty looking bike that runs great and no one would ever want to steal.

  7. I agee with Adam

    And it would be helpful if it can be repaired with spare parts you can get at every bike or maybe hardware store.
    I welded my previous old banger and reenforced the frame…try to do that with printed Ti.

    Still..none of my bikes look as spaced-out as the ones above. The contest as such is supa!

  8. I’m loving the handlebars and fender on the Denny! The method of turn signals, awesome. 99% awesome except for the front rack. If they made that flexible like the blackline or evo, you’ll be all set!

  9. Call them what you will, no one wants to see a post on repurposed 1982 Peugots. Bring on the future! New ideas will bring new riders into the fold. I applaud these designers for thinking out of the box, and for valuing form as well as function.

  10. I especially like the Portland offering — it has a sort of gravel grinder/adventure bike look-and-feel without being overly slavish to convention.

    As a SF resident, I am not so sure about modular add-ons given that the local style is to transport gear in large bike messenger inspired backpacks, which suits me just fine. It may have made even more sense just to design a bike that incorporates a suitably wearable bag into the frame!

    I also have this sneaking suspicion that the symmetrical frame design was more of an advertising/marketing/source-distinguishing consideration rather than a functional one (these techies and their logos, you know).

  11. Proprietary racks, lights, locks, stems and bars don’t belong on a city bike. Things don’t need to be overly complicated or expensive to be good. A beat up cross bike with discs, fenders, rear rack and flatbars is more suitable.

  12. Here in the crumbled infrastructure of the NY metro suspension is as necessary on-road as off. My Badboy ultra with headshock & suspension seatpost is the only roadbike I’ll ride.

  13. Ilikeicedtea: thumbs up.

    I agree with Ben that parts shouldn’t be proprietary, but there aren’t a lot of bike companies taking their urban utility bikes anywhere near this level. Integrating locks, lights, and cargo solutions doesn’t have to be expensive or ugly, but someone should try to do it better.

    Concepts like these are what stretch the public imagination. Without these, the first bike that integrates a couple features and has some sort of interesting tube shape is going to be laughed off the shelves. The same way car manufacturers push the envelope on concept show cars so that when it’s made five years later it won’t look so outrageous, Oregon Manifest needs to keep bike companies pushing themselves to make BETTER bikes, not just different colors of the same hybrid with shimano’s newest groupo.

    great post and i hope to see more like it.

  14. I’m all for pushing limits and innovation, but that is not what I see going on here. These bikes are not an improvement on current design. I suppose they look “interesting”.

  15. i just built up a chinese carbon rigid with schwalbe supermotos, comes in just under 20 pounds, it is the ultimate bike

  16. Mix DENNY and EVO and you have a winner.

    EVO is Great concept but DENNY has smart handlebar/lock.

    All bikes are really interesting but Overall I would buy EVO if it’s priced reasonably.

  17. Lots of great ideas, some of them should be brought to mass market bikes.
    Hello Merida, Giant, Specialized,… THIS is what engineering is about.

    But wait, there´s already better innovation for mass market: carbon and 650B….

  18. When the best thing that has been said in these comments is that the designers took the it (whatever “it” is) to the next level (whatever that means), there isn’t really a lot of good to say about the design of these bikes. Yeah, they might have some interesting touches here and there, but these are embarrassing bikes like the Giant Sports Utility Bike (SUB) of a few years ago. It was expensive and unique and had okay components, but it was just a silly machine that was supposed to look like a bike from the future. I suppose that that bike also had its it on another level, too. Level 5, I think… while we’re all puttering around on level 3 or 4 at the best. We just can’t beat that boss that will let our it go to a level higher… the NEXT level!

What do you think?