With this first-class cooperation, the URWAHN Bikes manufactur will not only gain attention from fans of avant-garde urban mobility, but also delight the design community. We are talking about an exclusive MAGAZIN special edition of their unique urban e-bike Platzhirsch in Erik Spiekermann design. Per se, this bike has already convinced many aesthetes in the past with its beautiful design, high-quality components and excellent functionality and performance. It has also received a number of prestigious awards, including the German Sustainability Award 2022 and the RedDot 2021 in the field of Bicycle Design.
With their latest clou, the Magdeburg-based company is now bringing a joint effort with Germany’s highest-profile design retailer MAGAZIN and the legendary, worldwide known designer and typographer Erik Spiekermann onto the streets. In the scene URWAHN is regarded as an innovative pioneer in urban mobility and made 3D print production marketable in the bike industry. MAGAZIN has stood for the curation of special products with high utility value for more than 50 years. From the very beginning, numerous sensational in-house developments were created. The Berlin communication and type designer Spiekermann has exerted an unparalleled influence on the visual culture of our time for over 30 years. Amongst other things, he created the orientation system of the Berlin public transport company and helped develop the corporate designs of ZDF, Volkswagen and Audi. With a great passion for the analogue, he runs p98a, an experimental letterpress workshop in Berlin.
TECHNICAL INPUT ENSURES STYLISH OUTPUT
The result of this exciting cooperation is a genuine Spiekermann: with a creative wink, the supporting elements of the bike frame construction were typographically designated. The design refers quite unpretentiously to the special shape of the frame, because – quoting Spiekermann – “…there’s something missing!”. With the pebble grey RAL 7032, a discreet and urban basic colour was defined, the bright accent colour traffic orange RAL 2009 marks – quite typical for Spiekermann’s work – a part of the unusual form and highlight the typo quite well on the main colour. The choice of the technoid-looking typeface “Input Serif” by David Jonathan Ross, with its generous spacing, large punctuation marks and easily distinguishable letterforms, is based on the formal aesthetics of construction plans and source codes. It is intended to “make the syntax of the design comprehensible”, according to Spiekermann, a self-proclaimed typomaniac and bicycle enthusiast.
DISRUPTIVE MANUFACTURING PROCESSES ENABLE PURIST DESIGN
Without a doubt the frame construction is very attractively designed and, at first glance, completely different from the usual in its harmoniously flowing form. Particularly unusual are the lack of a continuous seat tube and the elegantly curved struts leading to the rear wheel. Even more surprising is the material: steel. In fact, until now the design scope for this traditional material seemed limited, formal further developments were rather reserved for the material carbon. URWAHN manufactures the steel frame using a special 3D printing process in which metal powder is built up layer by layer and fused with a laser. “Using metallurgical 3D printing, we have succeeded in creating a new type of structure called “Softride” that balances the axioms of design and comfort. The result is a unique frame design that elastically suspends the rear triangle in favour of riding comfort,” says Sebastian Meinecke, visionary founder and creative head of the URWAHN brand.
REGIONAL PRODUCTION UNDER FAIR CONDITIONS
The entire production of the innovative steel frame takes place in the Magdeburg area, while the eye-catching colour finish, including the undercoat, is created by the coating partner in Hanover. This means that the transport distances for this technical masterpiece are short, which is fully in line with URWAHN’s progressive sustainability orientation. In this sense, too, the choice of material is extremely clever, because steel has a much better CO2 balance than carbon and aluminium. In addition, steel is easier to repair and can be 100% recycled later. “Every e-bike is produced individually to order, i.e. on-demand, in Germany. This makes production transparent, creates trust, avoids overproduction and fits in with our attitude towards the high-quality products and our consumer responsibility,” says Stephan Dornhofer, Managing Director of MAGAZIN.
HIGH-QUALITY ADD-ON PARTS FOR MAXIMUM QUALITY DEMANDS
The lightweight Platzhirsch (14 kg) in the exclusive MAGAZIN edition is equipped with a powerful hub motor (40 Nm torque) on the rear wheel from MAHLE ebikemotion. Otherwise, its appearance as an e-bike is rather inconspicuous, because the battery unit hidden in the down tube hardly interferes with the organic-looking overall appearance. The smart energy storage unit is sufficient for a range of up to 80 km and can be removed for maintenance purposes via a port at the bottom bracket. The exclusive edition is navigated digitally via an app, while the bright LED headlights (StVZO-compliant) from LightSkin directly illuminate emerging dangers. Also, the further components list also sets standards in terms of functionality, durability and safety.
The Platzhirsch in the URWAHN X MAGAZIN X ERIK SPIEKERMANN Edition is offered in two versions. On the one hand in the singlespeed version with belt drive from Gates, on the other with an 11-speed derailleur from Shimano that delivers a wide range of gear ratios. This urban commuter with masterful typography and technology is now exclusively in the online shops of URWAHN and MAGAZIN at a price of € 5,249.00 (single speed) and € 5,699.00 (11-speed derailleur).
(c) Picture: Urwahn bikes