Alexander Forst was the man behind this crazy design, joining forces with Canyon in 2014 to conceptualise the Eco Speed. This concept bike is an e-bike powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, featuring disc brakes, a concealed drivetrain, and front and rear suspension. It's full of potential, but is Canyon's Eco Speed still a vision of the future?
German brand Canyon is known for its industrial design and visual aesthetic, and has always been keen to push the boundaries.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology represents cutting-edge advancements, and is considered a sustainable and low-cost alternative to current fuel sources. There are a few hydrogen-powered cars available for sale in the UK, but could we see this technology on a bicycle?
Back in 2014, Forst predicted that by 2025 "alternative propulsion technologies will form part of everyday life. The resulting advances in e-bike technology will make them one of the most popular modes of personal transport."
Electric bikes are the fastest-growing sector of the UK market, which is following a trend elsewhere. Take the Netherlands, where half of all bikes sold are now e-bikes compared to around 11% 10 years ago.
The Eco Speed has a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain, which operates by mixing hydrogen with oxygen to power an electric motor. According to the concept brief, this will be sufficient to provide a 500 watt boost.
Another of Forst's predictions was that by 2025, manufacturers would compete in a global cycle-racing series to showcase their latest innovation.
"This is the stage for which the Eco Speed concept has been created," Forst explained. So, will the World Championships winner's bike look more like this in a decade, rather than the more traditional-looking Canyon Aeroad that Mathieu van der Poel powered to victory at the weekend? It's safe to say these predictions probably won't materialise in less than two years, but maybe we'll give it another ten or so!
Back to the bike - the Eco Speed ditches the UCI’s rules governing bicycle design. It maximises integration and the aerodynamic design is key for the high speeds this bike is intended to be raced at.
It features deep section wheels and aero spokes which are said to balance aerodynamics and weight, and the disc brakes 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.
There is a fighter jet resemblance which is no coincidence since the handlebars have been replaced with aerodynamic wings. The wing profile of the handlebar is fixed and only the handles at the bar ends move when turning.
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.
If this bike went on sale, would you ride it? Let us know in the comments section below...
Emily is our track and road racing specialist, having represented Great Britain at the World and European Track Championships. With a National Title up her sleeve, Emily has just completed her Master’s in Sports Psychology at Loughborough University where she raced for Elite Development Team, Loughborough Lightning.
Emily is our go-to for all things training and when not riding or racing bikes, you can find her online shopping or booking flights…the rest of the office is now considering painting their nails to see if that’s the secret to going fast…