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May 04, 2011

The Prone : Minimalist NYC Bike Porn

The internet today brings us this photo of a bicycling duo photographed at last weekend's 5 Boro Bike Ride in NYC. The iconic backdrop is the Empire State Building.


Where do they mount the rear reflector, the child-seat, the rear rack, the saddlebags? This bike isn't for carrying groceries or text-books, it's for carrying a thumb-drive.

Although this is pitched as an impromptu "found" photo opportunity, it's really the public rollout of the Prone, a new bike looking for viral buzz. Clues include: (1) they're very clean and un-schmattered, (2) they've got coffee, (3) the pedal-crank on his bike is perfectly aligned with the down-tube (classic bike posing) (4) there's no way she's riding that bike in that skirt - her frame should be a step-through and/or it should have a skirt-guard, (5) you can't get a photo of two New Yorkers without seeing at least one cellphone, and (6) it seems unlikely he'd ride that bicycle for the 35-mile course.

It is a cool new frame that appeals to the urban minimalist aesthetic:


It's an intriguing design. Web-surfing bike enthusiasts wonder, what is that? So you look at the high-res version, hoping to see a brand name or a model name, and instead you see that the photo is designed to deliver the website address, the now-ubiquitous URL. This was known in web 1.0 marketing as "hurl the url".


They do a good job of providing some minimal specs: it's single-speed with a freewheel and a 3.4 gear ratio (90 gear inches), disk brakes, clipless pedals, steel frame. Future versions will include replacing the freewheel with a fixed-gear rig, possibly using a flip-crank instead of a flip-wheel to provide two gear combinations.

I'd like to suggest another upgrade: stick to the Minimalist theme by replacing the front fork with a Cannondale Lefty fork, which only has one fork-arm descending from the frame to the wheel.


Nobody's going to buy one of these to be their main-squeeze bicycle, it's definitely a "second bike" purchase. Of course, it's hard to sell a second bike on a minimalist concept, because then they'd have two bikes... Oops.

1 comments:

D@rius.tv said...

Hey, somebody just forwarded me this link. thanks for the space. (i'm the guy in the picture.) oh, it was 48 miles and i did ride the whole thing. You totally called the lefty project which is what i hope to ride in this year's tour on the fixie. I'll send you a better pic when it comes up. no coffee, same girl.

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