In recent times, automobiles have taken the world over by storm. A car has gone from being a luxury to a necessity. Eventually, it became a mobile fortress that occupies a principal position in our streets. At the same time, it has contributed to the immensity of the urban toxic waste that is draining our cities. While technological advancement has affected every industry, its impact on the automobile sector has been more pronounced. It continues to cause several disruptions in the traditional business model. The environmental impact of the industry, meanwhile, comes to light. Consequently, consumer values also change with a demand to accommodate sustainability within their lifestyle. During this shift of gears, designers envision newer trends in bikes as the future of urban transportation.

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The Wrath of Urban Congestion – Principal Position of the Automobile on Streets _ © Mark Dwortzan, MIT News

The Growing Market for Bike Design

Urban traffic has continued to haunt many of the daily commuters. The last few decades saw the population in our cities inflating in exploding numbers. Metro cities, especially, have gone through a tremendous transformation as the hub of economic growth. Simultaneously, they have become the hub for congestion. The distance between home and work is increasing day by day. At such a time, transportation seizes the indispensable hours in the life of an urban dweller. Consumers started to express the dire need for improvement in public transport systems. Countries, cities, and local bodies took up initiatives to deliver the same. But as the global pandemic hit, all of this failed! 

The large-scale disruption in the urban environment provided riveting opportunities to re-imagine transportation. Hereon, the market for bike design started to boom. The high-powered two-wheeler alternative allows a respite from the crowded buses and trains. At the same time, the compactly designed bike rescues the streets from the heavy car congestion. Regardless of its contribution as a sustainable mode of commuting, it also proved to be an efficient way of maintaining the much-needed social distance. The realization is leading to a cultural shift globally in consumers as well as cities themselves. Hence, they strive to adapt to the renewed and improved means of transportation

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The Growth of the Market for Bike Designs _ © Bert Fabian / UNEP

Major Trends Shaping the Industry – The Environment-Friendly Alternatives

The global transition from conventional fossil fuels is swaying every industry. The automobile sector, again, is not very far behind. Electric vehicles are often known as the transport of the 21st century. Nowadays, continuously more brands are getting on board with the concept. The go-green initiative has pushed several others to do so. Therefore, electric vehicles are starting to enter the market at affordable rates, opposed to a few years back. The newly gained popularity makes the eco-friendly bike the most significant upcoming trend in the industry. There is a sizable room for improvement through an increase in battery life while reducing the charging time. Moreover, they can allow immense speed and range. All in all, the segment of e-bikes has a lot to offer to the automotive design industry.

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Emergence of the Electric Bike _ © eROCKIT / startupselfie.net
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The Increased Use of E-Bikes in All Sectors _ © Clean Air Asia

The Increase in Safety and Comfort

While being a convenient mode of transport for several decades, the dangers posed by the motorbike have only recently come to light. Numbers suggest that motorcyclists are more prone to road accidents. It is because they are often hard to spot, especially on poorly lit roads. Hence, the newer technology acknowledges the hazard while designing the bikes. It increases the options for illumination to ensure the required safety while adding to the aesthetic value. Adjustable lights are one of the most talked-about upcoming trends in this sector of automotive design. It would enable the rider to adjust the lights to make traffic signals on the road. On top of it, they can control the lighting from their smartphones!

To further combat the risk of accidents, bike design incorporates even more advanced technology. The most common trends include motorcycle stability control, the anti-lock braking system, and the side view assist. The integration of such features minimizes most of the obstacles faced by a motorcyclist. They increase the comfort through different seasons and at all times of the day. Their connection with smartphones can even alert the drivers of upcoming dangers like potholes and road curves. Hence, the appeal for a connected motorcycle may increase in the coming years. With technology like the motorcycle approach indication, left turn assist, traffic jam warning, and adverse weather warning, a “smart” bike is sure to hit the market. 

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Control-based Illumination Options for Newer Bikes _ © Motorcycle LED Lights

Design and Ergonomics

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Retro-inspired Designs for Motorcycles _ © 2020 BMW R nineT Pure / Don Williams

For a long time, one believed that a heavier bike could provide better speed and power. However, newer technology defies the conventional stereotypes in bike designs. Designers envision more futuristic models with a sleek look. At the same time, the classic motorcycle look has not lost its charm. Hence, some brands also opt for retro-inspired designs. Improved technology and illumination options further add to the aesthetic factor in bike design. While transforming the look, designers also consider better ergonomics for the comfort of the riders. It could be the defining characteristic in the future of bike designs. Therefore, newer models incorporate features such as the correct seat height and rider position. A more ergonomic design could lead to easy long hours on the road. It consequently encourages more commuters to opt for it. 

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Brands Opting for Sleeker Designs with High Power – Self-balancing Bike by BMW _ © BMW / extremetech.com

Other Upcoming Trends in Bike Design

Various other trends in the automotive industry have a profound impact on the bike system, the rider, and even the urban environment at large. For instance, liquid-cooled motorcycles affect all three. They regulate the internal temperature and have the ability to self-cool. At the same time, they reduce the loud noise and the heat experienced by motorcyclists, especially during warmer weather. The upcoming trends do not stop at the bike. Designers grasp the role of the helmet as well. They amalgamate the two to form a complete set, where one interacts with the other. In the future, helmets may have innovations such as voice control, noise cancellation, Bluetooth connectivity, and HD cameras. The re-imagined transport could accelerate living conditions in the dense urban centers. Designers consider all the factors to urge more people to go for bikes as a great solution for traffic and congestion.

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AR Helmet – The Future of Bike Riding _ © iC-R, Intelligent Cranium Helmets 
Author

An architecture student who finds architecture to be a continuous process of pushing boundaries, to make the world grow around and about it. She strives to read and understand the dialogue that occurs between architecture and the lives of people connected to it.

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