09 October 2008

The Holbech Bike Pit Bike Rack

Holbech Bike Pit
After all the talk of the New York bike rack competition, this product falls into my inbox. A Danish design company has developed a bike rack that just may be perfect for the urban landscape in cities. True to the unwritten principles of Danish Design it is simple, elegant and practical.

It's called the Bike Pit. [No relation to Brad Pit]

Holbech Design, in Denmark's second cycle city Odense, developed this standalone rack. It is a fantastic new twist on providing secure, theftproof storage of bikes in public spaces. It is functional and flexible and made out of glass-blown, rust-free steel that has a lovely finish.

Like many Danish companies, Holbech Design is committed to the environment and all the materials are Danish which, apart from reducing unecessary C02 through transport, ensures that the company enjoys complete quality control of the components and the overall product. That is... until cities all over the world start ordering them and having them shipped all over the place but hey... :-)

Here's how it works... you slide your bike into the rails and then slide the metal seat cover firmly down onto your seat. The attached wire is run through the bike frame and through the slot on the post. Using your own lock, you secure the bike.

You can't nick it and you can't even steal the wheels. Quite brilliant. This is something I could see on the streets of North American cities.

Holbech Design has various suggestions as to placement of the racks on the streets. Above is a 10 bike solution. See the other ones on their website.

So... what does the esteemed Copenhagenize panel - even the whiny, pessimistic ones :-) - think of this puppy? Would it work on the streets where you live? Do you like it? Does it live up to the requirements of a bike culture in your town? Should I order a few hundred for you and send the bill to your city hall?

New Bike Racks
Meanwhile, back in Copenhagen, the new Concert House at Danish Broadcasting is getting ready to open and the bike racks have arrived. They just need to install them and then the show can go on. A lovely sight... hundreds and hundreds of bike racks, just waiting for bikes.


Kristoffer said...

Sorry but even though the Bike Pit looks nice it seems a bit stupid. You can just lower the sadle and steal the bike. Otherwise you have to lower the sadle completely, and then raise it again...

Zakkaliciousness said...

There is a wire running through the frame and locked to the post, so even if you lower the seat, the bike is still firmly locked to the post.

Anonymous said...

Ups sorry - didnt see that. I take back my stupid comment :-)

Andrew said...

A lot of users are going to just get confused by that dangly thing. Others aren't going to trust their frame to a bit of wire, we know thieves carry bolt cutters.

No, I'd reject this and go looking for a Sheffield stand.

cyclingred said...

Pretty clever.

Anonymous said...

Bike thieves make short work of cable locks. I've personally found at least 5 sliced cables near bike racks that I use.

Also, any bike rack with moving parts is likely to be found unusable in a few years time. There are many such bike racks around Santa Rosa, California (USA), where I used to live.

I think the best, most reliable bike rack I've ever used is still the simple upside-down U shaped rack, though they are often installed in the wrong orientation.

disgruntled said...

Nice in that it keeps the seat dry and protects the wheels. It probably wouldn't be really secure in an area where people have the time to cut a cable lock, but put it in a nice, busy square, with people at cafe tables (or smokers) outside watching what's going on, it would be fine.

After all, I've seen bikes that have been securely locked up to sheffield stands (those upside-down U things), with Kryptonite locks, etc. etc. & they've still been trashed - wheels bent, saddles ripped off. Security comes just as much from eyes on the street as from unbendable steel.

flawed said...

I don't see why it should not be possible to steal the wheels with this rack.
Is the wire so long that you can run it through both wheels and the frame?

To me this looks like this is not at all better than any other wheel-bender rack.

Like other commenters, I also think there is a problem this thieves using bolt cutters.

hf said...

This is stupid. I would never use it. Don't tell me that wire will protect any bike. The lock can also be prepared in advance to steal.

I go with my trustable kryptonite instead.

Robert P said...

Whiney pessimist? Surely you can't mean me? ;-)

(I see myself as disappointed but optimistic, fwiw. :D )

Moving parts might be an issue (higher maintenance costs), the wire isn't too much of an issue (overcome by passive surveillance, as mentioned before, or bring a second lock of your own), but the units are also pretty big, aren't they? The anti-'visual clutter' brigade wouldn't be best pleased.

Gut feeling? They'd be better as workplace parking, maybe at train stations, or at particular locations such as concert halls etc., but probably not ideal for public streets.

Anonymous said...

Cables are not secure. The smallest of bolt cutters will go them like butter. 12" bolt cutters are easily concealed up a sleeve, and just looks like the thief has bike pump in his hand. Calmly done, a thief can clip a cable lock, and you would have to be looking right at the guy to notice that he did not have a key.

A quick look the Neistat Brothers Video: Bike Thief, Will show that better locks are not the answer to bike theft.



David Hembrow said...

I can't say I think this looks particularly secure, and in a hostile environment it'll get wrecked.

Lots of mentions of Sheffield stands, presumably from British people. I used to think they were a good idea too when I lived there, but I think it's another case of being just the best thing available in the UK, rather than the best thing available anywhere.

Over here they've much better stands which have the advantages of holding the bike upright as you load stuff up, not getting in the way of panniers on one side of the bike and not resulting in handlebars of different bikes getting in the way of each other. Lots better. Just what's needed, in fact. But no doubt a bit more expensive than an upside down U shape.

melancholic optimist said...

I think the design is really cool and it would look really nice, though it would be cool if you could park a bike on either side of it, to fit more in.

However, I agree that at least in places where bike theft is pretty high, the small cable might not be enough - in Portland, OR for instance, it's reported that very nearly all thefts for which the thief had to remove a lock, the lock in question was a cable lock. Basically cable locks are considered no protection at all if you have a bike that's worth stealing in the first place.

Also, it seems like lowering the seat would allow you to pull the bike out enough to take the wheels off. Not as big of a deal if you don't have a quick-release seat, but again a big problem for the US, as most bikes are more sport-designed, and feature quick-release everything. Not so practical for city commuting.

So yeah... looks really nice, but I'm not sure how well it would work practically speaking - I suppose in places where there are a lot of people around, it would be better.

Perhaps it would be better if it just had a loop coming off the side which you could put a U-Lock through or something like that.

I suppose the other thing to consider with these, is that in combination with, say a rear frame lock (which are pretty standard in european cities), this would be potentially a much bigger deterrent, as even if they were able to remove the bike from the post, they still wouldn't be able to ride it. However, those locks are almost unheard of in the US, as far as I can tell, so again, it might not work as well here.

Jonno! said...

This looks great, but some things do strike me as strange. First off, I don't see how the wheels are protected. If they're not locked, they're not protected imo.

I do think the cable is a great idea. Yes, it could be snipped, but you normally carry your own lock anyway right? If you're going on a trip to a nice area, or just inside the store for a few minutes, this is great. And if you need the extra security, lock it with your own lock as well and you'll have two locks. If you have a standard cable, you can lock both wheels. If you have a U-Lock you can lock the removable wheel (you do have one quick-release, right?) to the wheel rack or to the frame. Two locks is better than one, and this bike rack has one built in, so that's far from any kind of detraction about this thing. It should be a built in U-Lock though, the cable is so short anyway.

The seat cover is great. Though I wouldn't trust it to keep my seat water proofed, as some have suggested; I would trust it to keep my seat from getting stolen, which is a big plus.

All in all, great idea. I'd lock mine to it, but in Oakland (bay area) I would definitely use my own lock as well (and maybe a couple more even)

adam said...

I think that's a very , very complicated way of keeping your saddle from getting wet. And a very inefficient and complicated wy to keep it from getting stolen.

And in case the "bike-revolution" wil happen - as it has here in Copenhagen - we're gonna need 500 of those outside every metro station. There's no way we can fit them in to the limited space available. And no way we can afford them.

I think this is a typical exampe of designing things beyond practical application. Which doesn't seem to be the usual goal of this blog ;)

And since this is my first comment here (I think) - great blog.