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.
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.