[BikePortland.org is an official media partner with the upcoming, five-week Oregon Manifest event that will celebrate bike builders from across the nation, bike advocacy, and much more.
Stay tuned for more coverage of builders, events, rides, and more.]
Portland just might bear witness to the Next Big Thing in transportation bikes.
The Design Challenge is based on what were known as “technical trials” held in France in the early 1900s. In those trials, builders built frames and components to achieve specific goals and that would have to stand up to actual riding (as opposed to making a bike for to be displayed at a bike show).
Top builders from all over the country — including Independent Fabrications (Massachusetts), Circle A Cycles (Rhode Island), and Richard Sachs (Connecticut) — will participate in the event. Young builders, like Portland’s Ben Farver of Argonaut Custom Bicycles, will go against legends of the craft like Oregonian Mark Dinucci, who’s coming back from a 20-year building hiatus to compete. The event will also pit one-man shops against much larger and well-established brands.
Another exciting aspect of the Design Challenge will be to see what builders like Richard Sachs — who’s known for his specialty in road and track bikes — will come up with when forced to build a bike for transportation and city riding.
Local builder Tony Pereira says the idea was “to drive innovation.” It was through events like this, he says, that French builders came up with and perfected many major innovations we now take for granted, including; derailleurs, multi-speed drivetrains, forged aluminum parts, cantilever brakes, brake levers, and so on.
Bicycle Institute, will be one
of four judges.
Pereira is looking forward to the event and is interested to see what innovations might sprout up. “The idea,” he says, “is to see if we can come up with a better bike.”
Four judges from a diverse background of bike building and product design will decide which builder gets the Grand Prize — a custom-tailored, bespoke suit by tailor Timothy Everest (valued at $3,500 dollars).
The judges are:
- Rob Forbes — Founder of Design Within Reach and Public Bikes
- Sky Yaeger — Designer of Swobo bikes and industry revolutionary
- Ron Sutphin — President of United Bicycle Institute
- Bryant Bainbridge — Product creation, Specialized Bicycles
They will judge the bikes on a specific set of design considerations including; handling, integration, presentation and execution, load carrying, security, portage, utility, and more.
All builders (19 at last count) will present their finished creations to the judges at a public event on October 2nd. After the final judging, bikes will be entered into a race (meant for fun) that truly tests their mettle (some builders will ride their bikes, others will designate a stand-in).
Learn more about the Oregon Manifest at the official event website. For all the details on the Constructor’s Design Challenge, download the event press release (PDF, 76kb).