Zooming Around On Two Wheels

Formidable Bicycle Design For Everyday Practical Use, A Cyclist’s Dream Come True

Meet Kasper Schwartz, the Danish product designer taking on the bike-world as he presents us with his super-intelligent quotidian bicycle, the RubyBike. “The project has been intended for sparking inspiration and dialogue, in relation to the general development of future everyday bicycles,” he tells us. “The starting point for the idea was to make a city-friendly everyday bicycle that is stylish, refined and full of character – but which is also practical, useful and durable, and adaptable.”

Kasper began designing the RubyBike for his final-year project in the Industrial Design Masters degree at The Royal Danish Design School in Copenhagen. Now he’s freelancing in his own studio in Edinburgh, where he spent a semester abroad as part of his degree. Oddly enough, it was here in Edinburgh – as opposed to the cycle-friendly Copenhagen – where the spark for bikes began to take shape: “I considered designing a bike,” he reflects, “but decided not to go forward with it due to the limited time of the project, so I chose to design a bicycle lock instead.”

Taking fearless, bold strides into its design and the London-based Boris-bikes can start getting afraid: they’ve got nothing on this beauty. The RubyBike comes equipped with an in-built smart system, foldable handlebars, an integrated mounting system for attaching bags and accessories, and – most of all – the ability for easy conversion into an electric bicycle. Not to mention that it looks fantastic, too. The smooth, sharp contours and quality of materials almost gives it the feel of a computer-animated toy. Streamlined to perfection, just looking at it can generate imaginary ecstasies of jumping on and taking off. In other words, we really want to ride this bike.

We spoke to the designer to find out more:

The Plus: Can you tell us a little about yourself and your artistic background?
Kasper Schwartz:
I was born and raised in Copenhagen. I’ve always been very fond of drawing and sketching, which I spent many hours doing in school. I began to be interested in cars and car design, which gradually broadened to include various types of product design like furniture, lighting, consumer electronics and home accessories, as well as graphic design and architecture. The past few years I’ve also become involved with photography, an area I find very intriguing and creatively appealing, and something I look to improve as I move forwards.

TP: What inspired you to make the RubyBike for your MA?
Growing up in Copenhagen means that bikes and cycling have always been very obvious thing for me. I had no particular interest for bikes growing up, but during my design school years it’s been an area I’ve had a growing interest in, especially after designing the Bike Lock in Edinburgh. When it came to deciding what I should do for my MA, it was quite clear that now was the time for me to design a bicycle.

TP: How did you approach the design initially?
I based a lot of my initial design ideas on various observations I made during my daily bike-riding through Copenhagen in the first semester of my final year. My observations were mainly of cyclists’ general behaviour in the city, as well as the overall composition of the city and the challenges and obstacles it holds for cyclists.

TP: Why are you interested in bikes?
I was not been particularly enthusiastic about bikes prior to my bike-lock project about 3 years ago, but this has drastically changed since. Now I see the importance of cycling as a crucial solution to the major transportation and environmental challenges many cities and countries are facing around the globe – and that is something that definitely also affected my interest in bikes.

TP: In your opinion, where’s the best place in the world to cycle?
Well, I’ve biked in quite a few cities around Europe, and I have to admit that my home town, Copenhagen, is still the best place – especially with the many and continuing improvements for cyclist that have been implemented in recent years.

TP: When do you hope the RubyBike to be finished and available for purchase, and how much do you expect it to cost?
For the moment, I don’t have any serious expectations for the RubyBike to be produced in any near future. But, if it were to be produced and sold, it would surely be in the high-end of a price scale, as the build quality, durability and level of detail are meant to be of a very high standard. So, around £1,500-2,000 would be my estimate. The market for bicycles is definitely changing and it’s not so uncommon for people to spend £2,000-3,500 on a racing bike nowadays.