When bicycles are designed by regular folks

See what happens when non-designers design bikes — it's not pretty

Custom Road Bike
You could ride this bike, right?

You could ride this bike, right? (click to enlarge)

From the fascinating experiment department comes this project from designer Gianluca Gimini. A few years back she started asking people to draw a bicycle from memory. Sounds simple, right? We all know what a bike looks like. Maybe not… Some of the resulting drawings were spot on, but most were not, instead littered with mistakes that would make them all but unrideable.

Here is the drawing that birthed the creation above.

Here is the drawing that birthed the creation above (click to enlarge).

Gimini picks up the story from here. “Little did I know that this is actually a test that psychologists use to demonstrate how our brain sometimes tricks us into thinking we know something even though we don’t,” she writes in an on-line post.

“I collected hundreds of drawings, building up a collection that I think is very precious. There is an incredible diversity of new typologies emerging from these crowd-sourced and technically error-driven drawings. A single designer could not invent so many new bike designs in 100 lifetimes and this is why I look at this collection in such awe”


That’s why Gimini decided to use a 3D drawing program to build realistic renderings of the bikes based on these sketches.

“I selected those that I found most interesting and genuine and diverse, then rendered them as if they were real,” she explained. “I became the executor of these two minute projects by people who were mainly non-designers and confirmed my suspicion: Everyone, regardless his age and job, can come up with extraordinary, wild, new and at times brilliant inventions.”


We couldn’t agree more. But let’s just hope the cycling industry doesn’t get any funny ideas. These are “standards” that don’t need to make it to market.

To see more of the amazing “bikes” from this project visit www.behance.net.

About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.

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