Voices for the Future: Student Teams Bring a Different Perspective

It was an intriguing idea, for sure: Of course we invited the top professional frame builders from around the country – but why not open this contest up to a new level of creativity, perspective and idealism? Why not tune in to the next generation of designers, who are honing their chops in school right now?

The Student Competition at OM 2011 was an unmitigated success. Six student teams – from Oregon, Colorado, California and Rhode Island – brought some of the most imaginative and thought-provoking designs of the entire event.

A cornucopia of ideas came out of the student competition (listed in alphabetical order after the winner):

The winning team from the University of Oregon featured design touches to make life and riding on campus simple and easy, including hub gearing, a belt drive, airless tires and disc brakes. The bike’s modular design lets the rider configure it multiple ways – from racks and lights to matching-color pedals and handgrips.

Art Institute of Portland included a dual-position cargo configuration and a thoughtful step-through design so a rider can mount and dismount easily under full load.

The California College of the Arts design was based on mobile food/product delivery, with a modular rack system using insulated, natural-fiber panniers.

Pacific Northwest College of Art included a wooden sidecar passenger seat and a third wheel, with an open storage system capable of handling 8-foot lengths of lumber or metal stock.

Rhode Island School of Design included unique three-dimensional curved wood fenders, a locking center stand and the ability to carry a 5’ x 5’ sheet of plywood.

University of Colorado-Boulder took a whimsical, real-world approach to student life, with a “six-pack rack” and a “moustache bag” for small-item storage.

Joe Breeze, founder of Breezer Bicycles and one of the early developers of the mountain bike, summed up the event judges’ reactions to the student entries: “I loved the fresh eyes of the students – these designs show what they’re looking for in a bike. They represent 90 percent of the potential of who could be riding bikes in America. To see what they want in a bike was exciting.”