What A San Francisco Bike Looks Like: Ride To Work, Rides To Fun

When designing for bike-obsessed San Francisco, you need a ride that can take on the entire spectrum of uses.


From the onset of the Oregon manifest Competition, our team set a few general design objectives. Obviously we needed to satisfy the competition criteria; build the ultimate urban utility bike that satisfies San Francisco commuters and city cycle culture. But after observing the current commercialized bikes and even concepts from past competitions we realized that the bike frame wasn’t being pushed far enough. We decided our solution would redefine the bike both functionally and in construction.

Solution for San Francisco

With most of our team living and breathing the San Francisco cycling lifestyle, two things became very apparent: Everybody’s cycling needs are different and most depend on one bike to satisfy multiple use cases. The complex terrain and diverse lifestyles of San Francisco make a single cycling solution a challenging proposition. Just within commuting to work there are several different variables, hills along route, boarding a Muni bus or CalTrain, wearing a power suit as opposed to skinny jeans and a T-shirt. City cyclists rely on their bike to enable all the experiences the city has to offer. Biking is San Francisco is as much recreational as it is with utility. The ultimate San Francisco Bike needs to deliver a great commuting experience, yes, but the bike also needs to be able to service an after-work ride on the single track of the Marin headlands, and the same bike needs to comfortably carry a 12-pack to Delores park on the weekend. With this in mind the focus of our initial ideation was around flexibility of use.

Reimagining the Frame

Another internal objective was to look at our concept as if it were headed for production. One of the coolest aspects of this year’s competition is that Fuji bikes will actually be commercializing the winning entry. As a design firm, we are in the business of making things for mass production and we decided early on that we would take manufacturing into consideration. To help with this, we synced up with our friends down the street at PCH Lime Lab. They have offered their engineering talent and production expertise to help our concept push functional boundaries while keeping the solution grounded in reality. Tom Schoeniger has actually moved the 4130 Cycle Works shop into the state-of-the-art production facility at Lime Lab. The marriage of old world frame building techniques with cutting edge fabricating capabilities has made for an awesome collaboration and enabled our team to break the mold of traditional bike design.

About the author

Chris is Co-founder and partner at the San Francisco-based design firm HUGE Design.