Quirky Moneyball Bicycle

A little over five years ago, Ben Kaufman won “Best of Show” at MacWorld for his mophie iPod case. He didn’t have an encore product for 2007, so he invited any and all to submit their ideas and introduced an iPod case with a built in bottle opener.

After selling mophie and kicking around a couple of other ideas, Kaufman started Quirky, a social site to develop crowdsourced inventions.

Late last year, Quirky teamed up with Sony Pictures to promote Moneyball, a film about the Oakland A’s dramatic success in 2002 when General Manager Billy Beane challenged the conventional wisdom to create a winning ball team with only a third of the payout of the other major players.

The movie is based on the book by Michael Lewis. The A’s is one of the poorest teams in MLB in terms of payroll. The conventional wisdom says stats developed in the 19th century predict player performance, and ball players are hired and paid on the basis of impressive stolen bases, runs batted in and batting averages. Beane evaluated the multi-million dollar salaries vs these stats vs actual results, and figured he could get better results from better players for less money by looking at less conventional metrics. Beane’s approach got results, and several teams have since adopted Beane’s “Sabermetric” approach.

Quirky Modus Drawings

When Quirky wanted to illustrate the “Moneyball” approach of challenging the conventional wisdom in a consumer product, they naturally thought to “reinvent the bicycle” with a team of people who might ride bikes but otherwise know little of bicycle design. What better example of a design that’s apparently hasn’t changed in over a hundred years?

The Quirky team were given 24 hours to reinvent the bike. The result of their brainstorm: The Modus City Bicycle.

Quirky Modus Top View

Features include:

  • Belt drive provides quiet, chainless movement and is easy to maintain.
  • 20 inch wheels for increased maneuverability
  • treadless tires for a smooth, easy ride across the urban terrain.
  • Multi-grip position handlebar is designed to easily adjust for a range of riding styles.
  • Aero-streamlined seat has an integrated handle to help lift your bike where you naturally grab it.
  • Open frame structure is designed specifically to receive a variety of clip-in, purpose-built accessories: A sleek briefcase for your everyday commute, a boom box (yes, that’s what they say, in an era of thumb size MP3 players and wearable speakers) for tunes while you ride, a powercell pack to drive your bike in electric mode, and many more.

quirky-modus-parts

One of the proposed clip in modules is a bike lock integrated into the frame (shown in blue in the photos):

Quirky Modus BIcycle

The promotional video talks about a live streamed launch event. I’m not sure if it’s happened yet or not…



More about Moneyball at Moneyball.Quirky.com. And see more about the Modus design at Quirky’s blog: Introducing Modus.

10 Comments

  • September 22, 2011 - 1:33 pm | Permalink

    It looks like a softride touring bmx fixie…

    I have to say I like the idea-generation mode, but I’m not convinced by the end result.  Problems I have:
    – Brakes/gears?  Or are they just unnecessary now?
    – Sizing?  How do you adjust the seat height?
    – Integrated “lock” – would not work if you remove the rear wheel
    – Fenders?  Or is this a “sunny days only” bike?
    – “Streamlined seat” – aren’t you sitting on it? (The handle is a decent idea though)

    I also have some questions on handling given the frame style… as well as durability given that if the bottom bracket gets smacked it looks like it might come off.

  • guest
    September 22, 2011 - 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, it seems like a great idea and all, but there’s a reason bikes have changed little in a century. Maybe if commuting a few short miles was all the riding I did, this could fit the bill, but I doubt this will become the standard for the next 100 years for a variety of reasons.

  • September 22, 2011 - 2:03 pm | Permalink

     I guess I also wonder what’s radically different – it LOOKS different, but all the different aspects of it have been used on other bikes before.

  • bikesgonewild
    September 22, 2011 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    …to add to the basic consensus…how many of these “wonderful new concept” bikes do we actually see riding around as production models ???…..

    …in the bike industry, they’re always looking for a new ‘angle’ to be able to sell product & if the big guys don’t see it, it prob’ly doesn’t stand much of a chance…

    …usually nothing more than “design website” fodder…

  • September 22, 2011 - 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Looks like it would break in a few thousand miles.

  • September 22, 2011 - 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Hey, look! Someone put trekking bars on a mini velo! I hope that’s not a quick release on the rear wheel, because it’ll render that bike lock completely useless. If it doesn’t, it’s only completely useless to theives who don’t carry an adjustable wrench.

  • September 22, 2011 - 4:14 pm | Permalink

    brompton does the handle already

  • September 22, 2011 - 6:12 pm | Permalink

    All sorts of dumb. At least they didn’t include a hubless wheel system like everyone else does when they feel the need to “reinvent the bicycle”. I know let’s reinvent the toaster!

  • Wlexxx
    September 23, 2011 - 8:33 am | Permalink

    Belt drive provides quiet, chainless movement and is easy to maintain.

    ==expensive, inefficient

    20 inch wheels for increased maneuverability
    =when is ‘maneuverability’ a big issue? never

    treadless tires for a smooth, easy ride across the urban terrain.
    =tread would not change that

    Multi-grip position handlebar is designed to easily adjust for a range of riding styles.
    =heavy Aero-streamlined seat has an integrated handle to help lift your bike where you naturally grab it.
    =rather be interested in ‘riding ‘ it – than carrying Open frame structure is designed specifically==to be  heavy and weak to receive a
    variety of clip-in, purpose-built accessories: A sleek briefcase for
    your everyday commute, a boom box (yes, that’s what they say, in an era
    of thumb size MP3 players and wearable speakers) for tunes while you
    ride, a powercell pack to drive your bike in electric mode, and many
    more.

    ==it;s all just bad answers seeking questions

    ==wle

  • Mark
    September 24, 2011 - 6:18 pm | Permalink

    The modern bicycle is influenced by UCI design regulations (as well as other pro cycling regulatory agencies) that require bikes to have a two triangle frame design.  Fairings, mismatched wheels, etc, are not allowed, and the public generally wants to ride what the pros ride.  There’s plenty of room for improvement and the quirky bike illustrates some potential design concepts, it was not intended to be a production bicycle.

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