Oregon Manifest Design Challenge – Winners announced

The 2011 Oregon Manifest Constructor's Challenge Winner

The Oregon Manifest Constructor’s Design Challenge held their annual contest in search of the ultimate utility bike for everyday transportation made by boutique builders. We looked at the winner in a little more detail, and were critical of some points.

Patricia: It seems they’ve found… a scooter?? Well, maybe not quite that, but almost. This year’s winning design reminisces of old-school motorcycles and features a stereo system, a front-rack lockbox made of carbon fiber and… an electric pedal assist engine!

Lawrence: Hmmm. Well, at least the electric assist motor would certainly be an advantage to win the race that each of the builders were required to participate in as part of the contest! But is that… that’s not cheating is it? I wonder how much race performance scores you?

Patricia: As far as I understand it, the designs are required to complete a road trial to ensure the bikes actually work. But no points or advantages are awarded to those who complete it faster. I may be wrong… But, in any case, Tony Pereira stated that his main objective while building his hot pink bike was “to get people out of cars, introducing amenities that drivers have grown accustomed to on the road”. So I guess the engine may be coming to Pereira’s design from this line of thought, not so much to make this design the fastest in a race against the rest of the bikes competing for the OM award. Maybe it’s just because I don’t fall into that category of people who needs to get out of their cars, but I must confess I am not a big fan of the electric engine and… well, this design is not my favorite.

Lawrence: I’m curious to know more about the constraints used in the contest. Let me get this out right away: Pereira is an awesome builder, and he makes great bikes, but I feel like this defies the most interesting constraint that a bicycle designer must face…. limited Watts and human power. Introducing the electric assist makes it as much a bicycle with motor as it makes it a scooter with pedals. It’s a hybrid electric scooter really, and the motors, cool as they are, aren’t innovative in the year 2012. I’m also confused by the contradiction of parts: Steel frame with carbon box, Retro, relaxed styling with race-tech Shimano cranks. It’s not my favorite, either…

We both preferred the runner-up design (seen below) made by Tsunehiro cycles which featured retro-reflective powder coating, kids back seat with built in handle bars, internal hub and hoards of storage. What do you think? Check out more on the website: http://oregonmanifest.com/ All in all, the contest features some amazing builders, with sick skills and even if some of the bikes aren’t completely our preference, or we have some gentle critiques, the results were inspiring and very interesting. Maybe someday we’ll enter a bike…

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