Cannondale Dutchess – the result of Industrial design

Meet the Cannondale Dutchess; the result of a graduation project at the Delft University of Technology in assignment of high-end bicycle manufacturer Cannondale.

There is a revival of the city bicycle as a mode of transport in congested cities around the world. And Cannondale is eager to serve the high end of this new market. This elegant commuter is designed with young urban women in mind, who care about their looks, health and the environment, but don’t want to be bothered with technical details or bicycle maintenance. To fill this desire of a carefree and stylish ride this bicycle design was approached from a fashion and automotive point of view. Although the looks of this bicycle are of a deceiving simplicity, the underlying technical details are far from that.

Dutchess refers to the typical Old Dutch bicycle, the Omafiets, but integrates its form elements in an innovative way. The rear fender acts as a structural part of the frame; it holds the carrier with a load of up to 50kg. The eye-catching arch connects the whole bicycle from handlebars to taillight both structurally and visually. At the same time it expresses the sturdiness, comfort and ease of ride of the ‘Omafiets’.

Striking transmission

What she didn’t inherit is the weight; loyal to the Cannondale philosophy the weight of the complete bicycle is kept under the 14kg by the integration of parts and functions. The integrated transmission with the gears in the rear hub means the bicycle can be ridden in formal clothes and at any speed. The hub brakes are completely integrated and hydraulics makes them self adjusting to compensate brake pad wear. Because the brake lines are fully integrated into the frame the brakes can double act as wheel locks. The lock in the handlebar stem locks up the oil flow and keeps the wheels locked. The adjustable handlebars allow for different riding positions from upright to extremely sportive and they can be folded together for easy storage. They also can be used to secure the bicycle to a fixed object with the same lock that is used to lock up the wheels. Both the headlamp and the taillight are integrated. The concept also contains a modular luggage solution, kickstand and a pedal assist, but these were not (yet) incorporated in the prototype.

High up and well visible, the bicycle rider sits on a pedestal compared to other road users. While car drivers are tucked away in metal boxes and pedestrians go up in the crowd, the Dutchess’ cyclist peddles by gracefully. By this rational a bicycle could well be considered a fashion accessory