Oregon Manifest: Read what builders consider ‘key design features’ for utility bikes

Team Metrofiets explains the highlights of their entry to the panel of judges as the Oregon Manifest competition continues in Northwest Portland today.
(Photos © J. Maus)

As you might have gathered by my two stories and photos today, the Oregon Manifest is not your average bike show. In fact, it’s a completely different approach than what you might be familiar with if you’ve been to, let’s say, NAHBS.

The builders at this show (called “constructors” around here) were given an assignment many months ago to build the “ultimate modern utility bike.” But they don’t just make the bike, polish it up and show it off.

Dave Levy explains his entry to the judges.

All the entries are judged by a panel that includes Joe Breeze, MTB legend and founder of Breezer Bicycles; Bill Strickland, Editor-in-Chief of Bicycling Magazine; Rob Forbes, founder of Design Within Reach and Public Bikes; and Tinker Hatfield, product innovation guru at Nike (the panel is moderated by United Bicycle Institute president Ron Sutphin).

Each builder and team was required to give a two minute presentation to the panel about how their bike met the detailed criteria laid out by show organizers. Each entrant also wrote up a list of their bike’s “Key design features.” Those lists now hang on each bike as they await the throngs of visitors at tonight’s big public unveiling (7:00 pm at PNCA NW 13th and Johnson).

I snapped photos of a few of the key design features lists and thought some of you might like to read them. It’s a neat look into what some of America’s top bike builders and designers feel should be essential parts of the “ultimate utility bike.” (If you want to view these larger, check them out on Flickr.)

“Lockable storage”

After judging, the bikes will undergo a 50-mile “field test” tomorrow. It’s not a race; it’s just a chance to see how the bike performs in the wild in real-world conditions. Stay tuned for photos and coverage.

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