Form Trends covers the transportation design industry, not just car design. In this rapidly evolving – and challenging – age of mobility there are a lot of new modes of transportation being developed, all of which are relevant in their own right. From bicycles to yachts and VTOLs, there seems to be a mobility device to cater to every conceivable scenario. Personally, I’ve always been partial to cars and, increasingly, motorcycles.
Bikes – both traditional ICE motorcycles and electric motorbikes – are a means of transportation expression that usurps almost all other forms out there. If a car is like an extension of your persona, bikes are the tattoo on your arm. It sticks to you; it’s essentially part of you. No other form of transport becomes an extension of yourself as much as a motorcycle is – except maybe a horse, but that has its own mind and limbs…
The fact is, there is so little room to play with on a bike from a design perspective that every single element transforms it, enabling the user to showcase their personality through minute details more so than possible on a car, a boat or a plane. It’s incredibly individual, as depicted through the personalized two-wheeled examples I went to see at the recent Bike Shed event at London’s Tobacco Docks.
I’ve been to Bike Shed before, and I’m always fascinated by the creativity of custom bike builders. While a lot of the bespoke machines on show are heavily modified versions that started life as common, mass-produced motorcycles, they’re anything but standard after going through one of these custom shops.
And these bike builders not only tune the motorcycles’ performance aspects – engines, shocks, brakes, etc. – the color and trim and detailing jobs are spectacular as well, even if some examples aren’t anywhere near comparable to others.
Of course, these types of events not only draw the custom bike builder crowd but also an array of companies looking to cater to riders. Yamaha is one manufacturer that latched on to the custom scene early, along with BMW. Now Royal Enfield and others are getting into the action too.
Perhaps most surprising this year was the size of the electric motorcycle display, which featured the UK’s Arc Vector – a real marvel of design detailing right down to its wood veneer laminated carbon fiber bodywork – as well as a few other European bike manufacturers. It’s an area that’s seen considerable growth in recent years.
Here’s a massive photo gallery from Bike Shed 2019 below so you can have a look for yourself.