Cinelli’s Laser must have caused a huge amount of derision when it was first debuted at the 1981 Milan Bicycle Show. Innovative design tends to have that effect. Paolo De Giusti is an Italian product designer who, like Andrea Pasenti and Antonio Colombo, are brave enough to push boundaries, and his 3D-printed concept most certainly does that.
To truly appreciate Paolo’s concept bike, you have to look at it in the context of the rest of his portfolio, which ranges from professional lighting systems, car show stands and ergonomic pens for BIC, to motorcycles and an Active Robotic Chair for Dystonia sufferers. His overall style can best be described as ‘retrofuturism’.
The colour palette of Paolo’s work is predominantly black and white, and is formed with sharp angles and robotic ergonomics. His 36/28″ wheeler may be confronting to traditionalists, but it’s not out of place with his other work. And, being a passionate cyclist himself, he knows what he’s talking about.
Paolo describes it as a ‘massive messenger bike’ and although today’s couriers might struggle with it, the Postale looks straight out of the dystopian futures of William Gibson’s Virtual Light or Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash. Constructed largely from 3D-printing technology, the science fiction reference is actually not that far off the mark.
Francesco Moser’s 1984 hour record bike is cited as an inspiration; the huge 36″ rear wheel is laced to a Nexus internally geared hub and is covered with neoprene, while the front wheel is of a more traditional circumference. The riding position is akin to a lo-pro pursuit bike and probably only comfortable enough to be ridden for about an hour.
The frame is designed with two isosceles triangles and is constructed from 3D-printed thermoplastic polymer ABS and PVC, as well as a few commercially available parts, like the Azzurro crankset and 100mm fat bike bottom bracket. The fork ‘wings’ were printed also, and the saddle is affixed to the frame, leaving no room for adjustment.
The Postale is unlikely to reach production, but if it it did, would most likely have to be constructed from an alloy, rather than plastic. Still, it’s a groundbreaking concept — design-wise — and will definitely create some healthy discussion. The Italians have again upped the bicycle design ante.
See more of Paolo De Giusti’s work on his website.