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Bikes are a universal mode of transport in the Netherlands and almost everyone owns at least one. With his new design named Minute, industrial designer Elian Veltman aims to change our ideas about the classic bike design.

By Cassandra Pizzey / 27-02-2014

The iconic bike we ride today was conceived in the 19th century and has remained pretty much unchanged since then. Comprising two large wheels and a steel frame, variations can be found in the classic omafiets or grandmother bike, fixed gear bikes inspired by racing bikes, or the musthave for any parent on the go: the bakfiets.

Dutch designer Elian Veltman of Elian Cycles has come up with a new type of bike named Minute (pronounced with a French accent) which aims to make us rethink our preconceived ideas about the city bike. Instead of two large wheels, this design at a glance made us think of a foldable bicycle. 

Two small wheels are connected by an elongated, sporty steel frame which is finished with fashionable elements such as a straight handlebar and leather seat. According to the designer, bikes were historically used to cover great distances and needed to cover rough terrains. Nowadays we use our bikes almost exclusively in the city, on flat tarmac roads and to cover short distances as quickly as possible. 

Minute is described as ‘A small bike for great minds’ and a ‘commuter’, but looking at the small wheels that somehow seems doubtful. The bike, however, is based on the Asian Mini Velo and has been designed to be durable, light weight and agile. Small wheels shouldn’t prove a problem speed-wise either as the designer points out most land speed records were broken on small wheels. 

Reading through the descriptions it is clear that the Minute was created as a replacement for the traditional, citybike with features such as a sturdy steel frame, two-speed gears, and front coat rack. 

Veltman himself has a history in automotive engineering and proclaims “Building bicycles is part of my DNA. My great-grandfather was the owner of a bicycle shop.” He used to help out repairing old bikes at the shop, which is how he got the idea for new bikes. Already popular is the sporty Commuter bike which allows people to get around town quicker with foot-shift gears and the slightly more outlandish Cargo bike featuring a large steel frame at the front made for moving around precious cargo.

Enthusiasts will have to wait a little longer yet before they can ride their new and improved bike, as Veltman is selling the first hundred by pre-order on the brand’s website, ready for better weather in May. The bikes will be handmade by the designer and numbered as limited edition pieces, and there are still plenty of number to choose from.

To see the bike in action around the streets of Amsterdam, take a look at this short film