Is Canyon’s Eco Speed a vision of the future? It sure looks like a bike from the future, with outlandish styling concealing a fully integrated electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, disc brakes and front and rear suspension. But could it really be the sort of bike we’ll all be riding in the year 2025? And would anyone want to?
The Eco Speed concept started life in 2014 when design graduate Alexander Forst started studying the future of e-bike design, and found Canyon a willing partner in his plan to conceptualise the Eco Speed.
The Eco Speed is an e-bike, with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain which powers an electric motor. The technology works by mixing hydrogen with oxygen, and will be sufficient to provide a 500 watt boost according to the concept brief.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology is state-of-the-art stuff. It’s being trialled by some automotive companies at the moment and could power the cars of the future, touted as a low-cost and sustainable alternative to current fuel sources by its advocates. But are we years away from seeing this technology on a bicycle?
Maybe not. A Chinese company debuted the PHB, a hydrogen fuel cell (link is external)powered bicycle back in 2007, and in 2014 Australian researchers successfully built the Hy-Cycle e-bike (link is external)that on just $2 of hydrogen can go for up to 125 km.
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The Eco Speed design maximises integration. The disc brakes for example are attached directly to the spokes of the wheels. Up front is an “Up-Side-Down” suspension fork with all the working parts fully enclosed. The top tube is flexible and provides comfort, reminding those of a certain age of the Soft Ride mountain bike from the 1990s.
That the Eco Speed looks like a marriage of a bicycle and jet fighter is no accident. It has been designed to be aerodynamic with wings replacing the handlebars. The handlebar position can be adjusted for height with an integrated air cylinder that, via the pressing of a switch, raises the handlebars so the position can be adapted to different riders. The wings remain fixed when steering, only the handles at the bar ends move when turning.
If this bike went on sale in 2025, would you be buying it?