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Cannonball's Go Bike: From Concept to Prototype

Greener cars, like this one [www.sundance.tv] (and greener driving ideas) are great, but bicycles have always really gotten our motors running. Considering they’re the world’s most energy-efficient form of transportation –using just 35 calories per passenger mile — and that they don’t pollute, it’s pretty safe to say that they’re our favorite way to get around. As the technology continues to improve, new and better concepts are introduced, getting us all excited about better bikes and the possibility of spreading the gospel of the self-powered two-wheeler even further. One concept in particular, Cannondale’s Jackknife, caught our eye, so we were happy to see it go from drawings on a page to a prototype that works.

This concept bike (a non-ridable full-scale foam model designed by students Philippe Holthuizen and Rodrigo Clavel under supervision of Cannondale Industrial Design) was launched with much fanfare [www.treehugger.com] due, in large part, to its innovative and radical design which included a hydraulic drive-train. For storage and easy handling in elevators and on public transport, the bike is also foldable (rendered below). The folding mechanism shows a pretty unique and highly-innovative approach, with the central tube twisting through 180°.

When going from concept to prototype, the bike switched monikers, from “Jackknife” to “On,” and a few other changes were made; the new bike employs a custom made drive train that although not hydraulics-based like the Jackknife, it is innovatively enclosed and fitted to a single rear fork (can you call it a fork if it only have one tine?). The whole story of the concept’s development is quite fascinating; check out their site [www.cannondalecommunity.com] for the details.

As much as anything, this story and this bike are why TreeHugger digs the two-wheelers so much. It uses modern technology to make something that was already good even better; something that was already green ever more so. Following this paradigm, bikes could be cooler, easier to ride, more efficient and easier to store than ever, taking on the design problems of a less-than-perfectly-efficient propulsion system and less-than-perfect use of space (bikes, for all of their bonuses, remain bulky and unwieldy, making it tough to do things like get them up and down stairs and store them out of the way in small apartments) and solving them both in a sleek, eye-catching, future-thinking design. Here’s to hoping this isn’t the last we see of the Go.