Evolution: Still Going Strong
Looking at the bikes that most people ride, you could be forgiven for thinking that the basic design is settled: Two triangles to make up a diamond-shaped frame, drive wheel at the back, steering at the front, rider sits atop the whole structure.
Turns out that this shape - the “safety bicycle” design of the 1880s - was just one of many possible designs. It was settled as THE shape when manufacturers of such upright bicycles lobbied the UCI in 1934 to ban other more efficient designs from competitive races. Just like their “UCI Approved” frames of today, what the UCI expressed in 1934 had a huge impact on the industry as a whole. Effectively, their ruling (expressed in technical terms, with the height of the bottom bracket, relative position of the saddle, etc) effectively defined the bicycles we ride today.
But there are alternatives - providing that you don’t want to race!
Hubless seems to be a popular innovation. I’ve no idea why, but if that’s what floats your boat…
Of course, there’s recumbents… The caption for this first one has to be, “assume the position”:
Or on this one, “remember to pack your light sabre”:
Or these, that look more like something from the opening credits from The Six Million Dollar Man (there’s a reason that manufacturers of traditional upright bikes didn’t want to have to compete against these…) :
Enclosed, three-wheeled velomobiles:
Then there’s tall bikes - not the most practical, but they tend to make people smile:
Sail-bikes. Hmmm, with the right sail design, you could tack into the wind!
As tested by Amsterdamize:
But my personal all-time favourite has to the the mono-wheel. Practicality be damned - I want one!