The following passage was taken from my final year dissertation which I wrote whilst studying furniture design at Bucks University. Unfortunately cycling has had a lot of bad press recently due to the likes of Lance Armstrong and his band of dishonest chumps. They have damaged the reputation of the sport, making people quite rightly question performances; I believe it deserves a chance to rise again, to show its true beauty.
Sexy bikes, oh yes, bikes can be sexy. Some carbon fibre bikes are so hot and curvy that they have even been banned by the international cycling governing body (UCI). Their forms are organic, natural, flowing; they have more of a presence and a weight that tubular frames lack. Almost weapon like, the sleek, sharp, aerodynamic, penetrating leading edges cutting through the air like a knife, showing no respect for wind resistance. They are bordering on the menacing side, clearly stating what they intend to do, evoking completely different emotions than their tubular counterparts.
The carbon fibre solid disc and tri spoked wheels contradict the original concept of the mass-spoked wheel, but yet look in context when partnered with a monocoque frame. The rider’s position is also very much in harmony with his machine, lower, sleeker, wind piercing. An image which is enhanced by the lines of modern drawn out, teardrop section helmets and wraparound sunglasses. The tinted mirrored sunglasses shielding the eyes, concealing as with the monocoques what is happening within, hiding any emotion. These bikes have a very specific use and out of context they just like their riders look, out of place, their potential forgotten.
Hopefully, one day the higher powers will allow such slippery bikes back into competition. The recent advances in carbon fibre and mass production techniques permitting affordable bikes for the masses, ruling out the UCI’s original reasoning, opening up limitless shape possibilities; inspiring designers, riders and spectators.