From day one, Biomega has been a brand built on design. In fact, we were founded by a designer. And we can put a well-known designer’s name to each model that has ever featured in the Biomega line-up since 1998.
Pick up any coffee table book about bike design and you will not only find Biomega bikes but a reference to our creators. This is highly unusual but says a lot.
Although Biomega is a prime example of a brand conforming to the Danish design tradition, the first designer on the team was actually the Australian, Marc Newson. Marc is now best known for his association with Apple but he was also responsible for the Biomega MN-01, regarded as one of the 50 bikes that changed the world – another was the Penny Farthing.
The MN-01 featured a revolutionary zig-zag frame made from superplastic aluminium. This set the blueprint for Biomega’s future: an unapologetic emphasis on appearance but not style over substance.
Future models saw a collaboration with KiBiSi, a superstar Danish partnership of designers and architects whose expertise is employed by the likes of Poulsen lighting and Royal Copenhagen pottery. Interestingly, the KiBiSi line-up included Jens Martin Skibsted (the original founder of Biomega and urban mobility expert) and Bjarke Ingels (the architect responsible for the LEGO House).
KiBiSi designed the OKO e-bike, whose architectural form and silhouette seems hardly surprising when you consider the background of the team.
The launch of the OKO created a tsunami of interest. Here was a unique bike with an ultra-light, monocoque, carbon fibre construction, integral mudguards, belt drive, hidden battery power and wiring. Unprecedented, in many ways.
Like every Biomega model, the OKO conforms to four, very important and consistently observed design principles.
We always set out to design one, unified Biomega product. Most bikes are branded frames carrying a multitude of off-the-shelf components. Every single item that goes to make a Biomega is designed to work with the overall concept of the bike – even the wheel nuts were re-designed by Biomega because existing ones did not suit the design specifications.
Motorists are well aware of comfort levels and have an expectation of performance, reliability and safety of their vehicle. Biomega designers think the same should be true when someone rides a bike. A Biomega drives like no other bike because it was designed, as far as possible, to the kind of standard you would expect from a car.
You very often see bikes abandoned in the street. Broken and rusting machines that have out-lived their useful purpose even though they are just a few years old. The Biomega OKO is designed to last as long as twenty years – twice the life expectancy of a good quality washing machine. Although the carbon fibre frame is, technically, everlasting.
A Biomega bike is never anonymous. You can recognize the shape and silhouette at a distance. No stickers on frames, just an unmistakable look. Something the manufacturers of bikes costing ten times the price cannot confidently say. We are proud to design products that people stop and stare at. There is nothing wrong with looking good. And besides, a bike is a very healthy personal statement. And a Biomega is distinctive because it is understated, not because it is vulgar.
Are these four principles rigid, uncompromising and hard to live up to?
Yes, yes and yes.
But it’s because we do live up to them that a Biomega is a Biomega.