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This round-the-world-ready ‘Cercle’ bike is made for living in

It looks a little like a penny farthing at first, but really, this bike is made to circle the world

The Cercle concept bike is designed by German carpenter and industrial designer Bernhard Sobotta, who was inspired by his bikepacking adventures and decided to create a bike that is ideal for multi-month trips. The result is quite an innovative design to say the least, a bike with a large circular frame that can accommodate a camp bed, or alternatively act as your dining room. 

Spawned from the simple question "is it possible to sleep on a bicycle?" in Bernhard's degree thesis, the idea came to be a project that has now seen a couple of functional prototypes traversing the world.  It's not been an easy project, and as we can see from the wooden prototype from 2016 below, the bike has come a long way. 

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Cyrcle bike prototype

Unfortunately we've been unable to get a comment from Bernhard himself, so we've done our best to figure out on our own what is going on with this bike exactly. 

Let's start with the steering system. The flat handlebars at the very top of the bike are actuating the front wheel with cables. The handlebars have rotary-style shifters that are connected to the Pinion gearbox. This German gearbox maker is known for its ever-increasing success in creating gearboxes for electric bikes, touring bikes, and also mountain bikes. The gearbox on the Cercle has 18 gears with a 636% range.

Cercle bike at bedtime2

The disc brakes are also cable actuated, which means even if they're not quite as powerful as hydraulic brakes, they're easier to maintain on the road. 

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And instead of a traditional front triangle, this bike's main frame is pretty much circular in shape, hence the name. 

Cercle bike at bedtime1

The middle part is where the bit designed for living is nestled. Basically, there's a camp bed that folds out, or you could use the frame as a seat with a backrest. Bernhard himself describes the bike as: "A thing that offers a seat, that lets you sleep nice and sound, that shelters from the sun and the rain; That comes with a table; And that can be moved up to 100km+ a day powered by muscle and water only. "

At the rear, you have a little rack that can take panniers. Overall, the bike does seem to be capable of holding quite a lot of cargo, including bags at the front as well. Even without any gear the bike is said to weigh 25kg on its own. Best of luck when you hit an incline, Bernhard... 

Cercle bike at bedtime4

We cannot comment on how the bike rides, but based on the YouTube video below, it does seem to smoothly glide ahead. and contributor Matt Page even caught up with Bernhard's travelling buddy Liam Cornwell last month, who is currently "living beautifully on this roaming home" according to a post on the Cercle the World Instagram page. 

Unfortunately things weren't going quite so beautifully for Mr Cornwell when he encountered Matt in South Wales, as he'd hit a mechanical snag with the bike - however, Matt and fellow local riders had him on his merry way again the next morning... 


A post shared by Matt Page (@mattpage24)

Would you be up for touring the world on this unique bike? Let us know in the comments, and as always, remember to check out our other Bike at Bedtime features for more interesting, strange and very cool bikes. 

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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cyclisto | 8 months ago

In such unique designs, there maybe like a million things that people will not like. But I really like such daring attempts, regardless of the final result. And you never know, the mk2 version maybe a real success.

lesterama replied to cyclisto | 8 months ago
1 like

I love the design

adamrice replied to cyclisto | 8 months ago

I don't like it, but I don't need to like it. There does need to be room in the world for weird ideas.

AidanR | 8 months ago
1 like

I'll stick to my tent

Rendel Harris | 8 months ago
1 like

God help anyone on that in anything but the lightest zephyr of a crosswind, and I don't even want to imagine what would happen if an artic comes by...I'll stick to bikes with holes in the middle and eating lunch off my knees, thanks!

Oldfatgit | 8 months ago

Think I'd rather have the below by Yanko Design.
Others exist and it looks like it's serious too ...

chrisonabike replied to Oldfatgit | 8 months ago
1 like

I just fell down a rabbit hole...

The only thing that bothers me about most of these is the stability / side wind concern. Of course presumably you'd not be heading out in a storm! You'd be looking out for this by training no doubt but as I've learned bike trailers can be be easy to roll, just throw in a kerb or a suitable irregularity in the road (welcome to Edinburgh).

Good luck!

Oldfatgit replied to chrisonabike | 8 months ago
1 like

It's one of the problems with bike trailers... in order to remain stable they have to be low

Secret_squirrel | 8 months ago

Bonkers and makes no sense, steering looks limited as does the front view.

Why not just a front loading cargo bike with a fold out plate?

Blackthorne replied to Secret_squirrel | 8 months ago

A pessimist is never disappointed. 

lerrup replied to Secret_squirrel | 8 months ago
1 like

Would go with a Mike burrows back loader style bike myself. A rohloff or pinion world sort the terrifying derailleur setup

Rome73 replied to Secret_squirrel | 8 months ago

Or even just a flat bed cargo with a tent and fold up camper bed. 

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