The velocipede – a precursor to the penny-farthing – may have been a common sight during the Victorian era, but (parts of East London aside) you’re unlikely to spot one in the wild nowadays – it has simply been superseded by more efficient, more comfortable and more practical designs.
But chemical company BASF asked the question, “What if the velocipede was designed today, using the most advanced techniques and materials available?” And then answered that question by making one.
Dubbed the Concept 1865 (after the year in which BASF was founded, and the velocipede introduced), the device features very little metal. Only the brakes, axles and motor are metal, in fact, with the rest of the materials coming from BASF’s labs. The pedals are made from “Ultrason”, the tyres from puncture-proof “Infinergy” and the frame from specially-formed carbon fibre fabrics.
While it can be pedalled like the original velocipede, the Concept 1865 has an electric motor for assistance; its battery is concealed within the removeable seat. There are also LED lights concealed in the forks, which keeps things more streamlined.
The velocipede, which was developed in collaboration with design agency DING3000, is staying a concept only for now, so don't expect to see one trundling down your local high street any time soon. Shame.