Impressive list of builders signed up for Oregon Manifest Design Challenge

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The list of entrants for the 2011 Oregon Manifest Design Challenge is now posted online. The builders, who will compete to build the ultimate utility bike, include some of the most innovative and respected builders in America today. In total there are 34 builders from 11 states and six student teams.

Last month we were at the event launch where organizers unveiled Levi’s as the title sponsor and introduced a trio of exciting “Creative Collaborations” (select bike builders partnered with leading industrial design firms).

In addition to those collaborations, below is the full list of builders and design schools that will test themselves in this unique challenge. The list has an intriguing mix of well-known names in the custom bike world, along with new names that you likely haven’t heard of before. Also of note is how some builders have formed teams to help approach the project…

    Ahearne Cycles
    Art and Industry
    Baylis Handmade Cycles
    Bilenky Cycle Works
    Boxer Bicycles
    Bronson Silva
    Chapman Cycles
    Cielo by Chris King
    d’Autremont Cycles
    Folk Engineered / Discovery Charter School
    Frances Cycles
    Hufnagel Cycles
    Ira Ryan Cycles
    John Cutter
    Manuel Saez and Horse Cycles
    Maxwell Cycles
    Pereira Cycles
    Quixote Cycles
    Retrotec/Inglis Cycles
    Sizemore Bicycle
    Team Joe Bike + Antload
    Team Littleford
    Team Simple Bike Co.
    Team Townsend Cycles
    Terra Nova Cycles
    Ti Cycles
    True Fabrication
    Tsunehiro Cycles and Silas Beebe/ID +
    Vimana Cycle
    YiPsan Bicycles

    Student Teams
    California College of the Arts
    Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA)
    Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)
    The Art Institute of Portland
    University of Colorado, Boulder
    University of Oregon

All builders will be working on the same set of criteria as laid out by Oregon Manifest. I have to hand it to the organizers, this event is shaping up to be something very special. There’s no way this amount of talent can come together and not come up with some amazing.

Learn more about each builder and team at

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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12 years ago

Very cool.
So how hard would it be to incorporate some sort of homegrown design competition? Have people send in their own designs and suggestions for the ultimate commuter/utility bike, and then take the most common elements, refine them into one design, and have someone custom build it to size in a benefit raffle or something?

12 years ago

Yes high interest here. Ahh ok. Sounds like a group validation / justification event. Seriously, if the judging were honest, I should be able to show up with a commuting bike with a backpack and should win, at least based on the most elegant/simple design. Well I would need to install a kickstand. But my easy on / off lights are on, the u-lock is in the backpack or pannier, fenders are on (of course), reflective tape is everywhere.

But based on the entrance fee, don’t worry I won’t be entering, some-one’s making some mullah and figured out a great business plan! (or more likely based on the amount legal wording, a team of lawyers was needed to write up the t&c’s and further muttle the hazy goals / purpose and or design considerations or criteria? well whatever it is.).

That this made some traction beyond framebuilding or art forums is understandable. After all it is entertainment, it is entertaining to look at some of the ‘un-elegant in-function designs’ and cool paint. I may check in after it is all over to see how un-inspiring and how little function beyond what is currently available, was thought up. But prove me wrong. More distinct design goal might be in order next time around. Keep in mind that design by committee rarely works: whether it be a contest, a plan, a budget, a government, or an actual physical component. Elegance is often the lack of.

12 years ago

Hey John, when you buy your car, do you also buy a trunk to tie onto the back? Lights that you have to remove every time you park? Padlocks to make sure nobody gets in? Can your bike carry plywood? Have you found a kickstand that doesn’t suck?

Why should I bother paying hundreds for a bike if I have to spend hundreds more on safety gear and storage that may or may not fit the bicycle?

The problem with your thinking is that your ideas aren’t elegant and simple, they are old and complicated and inefficient. You represent a world that is not designed for average consumers or commuters but for a niche market of bicycle enthusiasts that focuses more on racers and mountaineers.

The way to make obsolete things even more so is to keep pushing it like it always has been instead of making it relevant to contemporary needs and society.

Schwinn went bankrupt because it did not realize this.

You are the one here who is uninspiring, and you are the reason why people DON’T want bicycles.