The French city of Bordeaux wanted to redesign their 10-year-old hire bikes. After an initial public participation phase (which seems to have involved an online survey and a request for ideas), they worked with designer Philipe Starck to develop The Pibal.
The unique feature? No crossbar, and instead a low footplate, enable you to ‘scoot’ whilst in heavy traffic. The first 20 test units are now in circulation, with a further order of 300 due in June.
The frame is aluminium, and the bike is manufactured by Peugot (allowing it to be proudly ‘made in France’).
It’s quite a striking design. I’d be interested to see how strong it is, given that the role of the crossbar is presumably to improve rigidity (although step-through frames are hardly new).
'Scooting' isn't normally all that difficult on a regular bike, but if this makes it more comfortable to stand up on, that might be enough of an improvement.
Anyhow, good on Bordeaux for trying something different.
Images: Philippe Starck/Peugeot (top) and AFP (bottom)
Has the advantage of making it impossible to ride the bike down a flight of steps (or indeed any road with traffic calming measures in place) which I’ve heard rumour has been a problem for some bike hire schemes.