The Project

The present FP7-SST research deals with the possible synergy of the bicycle and all other forms of transport, public and private, for a sort of "fluid", seamless, individual urban transport.

It is an idea circulating at least from the seventies, gaining popularity in recent years, but not yet matched by a bike technology able to deliver on the "vision".

Currently available models, some excellent products, fall into a weight and dimension bracket that hasn't improved in over thirty years: 12-15 kg and in average over 150 cubic decimeters (litres), as a large suitcase.

BIKE INTERMODAL has set out to challenge those two parameters, aiming to improve significantly on them, seeking a "threshold level" of weight and volume below which the original "vision" would be met, possibly expanding the number of the "intermodal bikers".

Halving, for instance, the weight with respect to the average (and the project's structure could conceptually be further reduced) would make the bike appealing also to women, for which the current weight is well above the pain line, and help men, too.

Cutting down to "briefcase size" the volume, could in turn allow a care-free storage everywhere. In addition the public transport operators could consider this bike a "quantité négligeable", without limit to its admmittance onboard, whereas the current "suitcase size" poses a serious threat if more than a certain number of passengers would carry one aboard







The crucial innovation of the project is a completely original, new way of making a hinged bicycle frame which combines light weight (due to a precise allocation of material), strength (through a pre-tensioned space-frame), high compactness when folded down (by means of members that adapt to one another) and automatic opening-closing (drawing from modern robotics, automated car tops, landing gears and suspension linkages). 

The resulting improvement over the state of the art is double. A factor of 5 in the compacted volume of the bicycle, that is, 20 cubic decimeters (litres) vs. an average of 100 litres. A factor of 2 to 3 in weight, that is 6 to 4 kg vs. an average of 12-14 kg, depending on technology.

In order to obtain significant improvement, a new "bike-design method" had to be put in place, due to the often conflicting requirements of production, ergonomics, power-transfer, solidity and street regulations, or more classically "cyclistic" ones -tyre and seat know-how, brakes, suspensions and the like- couldn't have been dealt with without the use of the most advanced tools of computer-assisted design, multi-link robotics algorithms, and optimization software.

The design innovation has been extended to the area of the power-assistance ("pedelec") as our Research partner, Maxon Motor, well-known maker of miniaturized electric motors, is working on a radically new concept of "in wheel", direct-drive motor, following the same method of "less volume, less weight".



The BikeIntermodal project has evolved through various stages of development.
















Tecnologie Urbane s.r.l.

 Florence - Italy