As of this Friday night, the rules of utility bike design might be changed forever. At least that’s the hope of the entrants and organizers of the Oregon Manifest. The Manifest has challenged a field of the best and brightest builders and designers in the country to create the “ultimate modern utility bike” and the big reveal happens this Friday night in Northwest Portland.
The murmurs I’ve heard from entrants and organizers are enough to make even the most jaded bike industry veteran excited.
The Oregon Manifest (OM) began as a handmade bike show in 2008. The next year they introduced the Design Challenge aspect of the event, which seeks to not only promote independent builders and American craftsmanship, but to push builders to innovate. This year organizers have taken things to an entirely new level, introducing collaborative teams and broadening the event into the product design world.
This year, nearly 40 “constructors” from 11 states (only 14 are from Oregon) are participating along with six student teams. There are also three “Creative Collaborations” teams which meld the bike building prowess of accomplished frame builders with the product design skills of leading global design firms including IDEO, Ziba, and Fuse Project.
BIKE CRAFT. DESIGN. INNOVATION. from oregon manifest on Vimeo.
The bikes will be judged against a detailed criteria by an esteemed panel that includes: Tinker Hatfield, VP of Innovation Design and Special Project, Nike; Rob Forbes, Founder of Design Within Reach and PUBLIC Bikes; Joe Breeze, founder of Breezer Bicycles; and Bill Strickland, Editor of Bicycling Magazine. The panel will be moderated by Rob Sutphin, President of United Bicycle Institute.
I’ll have a lot more coverage in the coming days; but for now, see a rundown of the schedule below and start planning for the weekend:
Friday, September 23rd
See the Bikes, Meet the Builders, View the Field Test Route!
7 to 10pm
Pacific Northwest College of Art (1241 NW Johnson)
Join us in the PNCA Commons as we grandly unveil the entries in the Constructor’s Design Challenge to design and cycling fans. Each entry and its builder and/or team will be here, showing off their final design. Come admire the entries, meet the makers, and perhaps discover the next-wave utility bike!
Also debuting will be the three Oregon Manifest Creative Collaboration bikes, devised by our three design firm and bike craftsmen partnerships. You’ve been reading about them on Core77 for months – now see the final results of these most interesting collaborations!
Finally, the Oregon Manifest Field Test ride route will be revealed. Find out how and where we’ll be putting the entries through their paces on this rigorous course back to Portland.
Saturday, September 24th
Constructor’s Design Challenge Field Test
Start: 50 miles outside Portland City limits
Finish: Chris King Precision Components (2801 NW Nela Street)
The moment of truth! 40 entry bikes and the three Creative Collaboration bikes and riders will be whisked off to the field test start point 50+ miles from Portland, and make their way back to the finish line at Chris King Components Headquarters. Each bike and rider must complete the on-road/off-road course and pass through checkpoints where we’ll test mandatory features outlined in the design criteria. The Field Test requires riders to keep a brisk pace that will stress their bikes, and demands a well-crafted, expertly assembled rig in order to complete the route in good time. Our judges will be on the course, sizing up true functionality on the road.
First riders expected in at approx. 3pm
Field test produced by our friends at Cyclepath
Constructor’s Design Challenge Awards Gala
2:30pm to 7pm / 6pm: Winning Entries Announced
Chris King Precision Components (2801 NW Nela Street)
Craft, design, innovation, and FUN! The Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge Awards Gala will be one helluva party, celebrating the achievements of our entrants and of the three design firm/builder Creative Collaboration teams. Who will take the win (and the accompanying $3000 in prize money)? Did every bike survive the Field Test? How did the student entries match up to the seasoned builders? Find out here as each entry and rider rolls over the finish line.
Friends and fans are invited to join us in viewing the final riders pedal in, watch the judges make their final evaluations, and celebrate the tremendous efforts aimed at future everyday cyclists!
This is an afternoon of music, entertainment and unexpected surprises.
Venue Host and food provisions: Chris King Precision Components
Beer provided by Hopworks Urban Brewery
This is really going to be amazing. Stay tuned for full coverage!
In the meantime, peruse OregonManifest.com where you can learn more about the Design Challenge criteria, see photos, videos and profiles of the constructors, and much more.
I hope someone remembers the utility of bike trailers.
Trailers? Perhaps you don’t remember Parlee’s entry in 2009 (http://www.rapha.cc/oregon-manifest-steve-francisco-style).
If you’ve been following the Manifest blog on Core77, it’s pretty clear that there’ll be some creative solutions: http://bit.ly/rtho8X
I can’t wait to see what’s been cooked up!
Is there a CLIF notes for this thing?
Good question, since the OM constructors list seems incomplete. For example, Clever Cycles isn’t included in that list but Todd has a page which does a great job of framing their entry: Our strategy? Cheat. Go Diana!
Clever’s entry is being built by Jonathan Reed (Quixote Cycles). Here’s Jonathan’s write-up on the contstructors list: http://oregonmanifest.com/constructor/quixote-cycles/
Oh, thanks! (and getting back to LP’s Cliffsnotes…)
It’s not incomplete really… It’s just that some of the entrants ended up doing their own collaborations, outside of the official event. Stay tuned for more…
Yeah, go Diana!!!
If they somehow manage to improve on the utility of a $450 Trek/Spec/Giant hybrid (with fenders, rack, and lights), then I’ll be really impressed. Until then, these are basically extremely attractive, handmade dream machines. Which ain’t that bad, really. I just wouldn’t leave one locked up outside the Plaid Pantry at night!
So how much money do we pay to see shiny bikes? If I have to ask………….? what what?
doper, entry is free…especially if you bring some dope
Free entry, shiny bikes, sounds like good times.
Can anyone explain what the “Manifest” means in the title?
Originally it was just a play on the “mani,” as in hand-made, and “fest,” as in festival. It also has come to mean the manifest of requirements in the Design Challenge.
I still don’t get it. But I like it. Especially this part —
WHY A UTILITY BIKE?
The two-wheeled revolution won’t come on the saddle of a race bike or a specialty bike. The utility bike is the transportation mode of the future for millions of Americans who want to live healthier, more sustainable lives, but don’t think of themselves as “cyclists.” The key to realizing this future is thoughtful, innovative bike design that fills multiple needs and fits into their lives.
Maybe it would help if you had a subtitle for the event, like “America’s Utility Bike Design Competition”
No ‘cutters’? drop ins…? show up just to show off?
I got your utility bike right here…just not the $300 entry fee or corporate backing… (?) Dang it.