It has an average cycling speed of 3.14, probably.
Last March 14, also known as Pi Day, creatives Martijn Koomen and Tadas Maksimovas unveiled a one-of-a-kind bicycle that’s in the shape of the π symbol.
Called the ‘Pi Bike’, the fully functional bike pays tribute to the mathematical constant, and features an 8bar Super crankset, Nitto track racing bars, and Hydra fixed-gear wheels.
According to Koomen and Maksimovas, the idea for the carbon fibre vehicle came from an illustration made by Malaysian artist Tang Yau Hoong.
Inspired by the drawing, the two set out to work, creating scale models crafted from cardboard and plywood. Once they got the frame size and shape right, they made molds cast from resin, sanded down the frame, and assembled the pieces. Finally, new molds were used to cast the final bike in carbon fibre.
In short, the process of building the Pi Bike wasn’t quite as easy as, uhhm, pi.
We spoke to Koomen and Maksimovas recently to learn more about their mathematical product. Take a look:
Where on earth did the idea for the Pi Bike come from?
“Picasso said: ‘Good artists copy; great artists steal’. So, I just stole this idea from someone else. No, I didn’t. I did take the idea from Yau Hoong though (with his permission of course!) and with the help of amazing Martijn Koomen, made it better. I hope that we made it better.”
How did you come across the pi bike drawing created by Malaysian illustrator Yau Hoong?
“Three years ago I moved to Amsterdam for a short job stint. I had to get a bike like everyone else. But I didn’t want to get just another crappy bike that everybody else has. I wanted THE BIKE. Since I couldn’t find one I liked I thought I will make it myself.
“I started to google bike designs and stumbled upon the pi bike illustration by the Malaysian illustrator Yau Hoong.
“I loved his drawing, but the problem was that the idea was not mine. I had to convince him to allow me to make his drawing into an actual pi bike. A few email exchanges and Yau was convinced I can do it. But the problem was I couldn’t do it alone.
“Then, I moved to Belgium – yes, you’ve guessed it – for a short job stint and accidentally met Martijn who just loved the idea as much as I did and we decided to go for it.
“Obviously, we had to change the design because the bike looked nice as an illustration but would have never worked in reality: the front wheel was pushed forward too much, the crankset was on the wrong side etc.
“So we adjusted the frame many times, made various prototypes out of different materials, and after six months of hard work the carbon fiber bike was finished. I have to credit Martijn: he spent 500 hours and did an amazing job with the frame casts.”
Aside from its shape, what else makes it unique?
“Well, it’s kind of enough isn’t it? Nice body can open many doors… But seriously, at the moment it is equipped with the standard gear for the fixed bike. But this is the second prototype and we do have some unique features in mind that we will definitely use later.”
Tell us how people can purchase your bike if they want one?
“We are overwhelmed with reactions. I have received dozens of emails congratulating us and asking where they can get the bike. So, that definitely encourages us to move forward.
“We have plans to launch a Kickstarter rather soon, but first we need to make a few improvements: add brakes, speed gears and some fancy adjustments and we will be ready to go. We just have to make the bike easier to ride for everyone, not just for the fixed gear fans.”
You live in London. Do you think these bikes are practical for this city? What other cities can you envision these bikes being popular in?
“This bicycle is definitely not for the grocery shopping. It is created to make you stand out from the crowd. To impress. In the end, it’s made from carbon fiber, can there be anything better?
“London is not great for cyclists anyway. You must be nuts to cycle in London. I never did and never will. But I do see these bikes in Netherlands. Iconic frame would make it hard to steal as it is impossible to overlook it on the streets.
“Also Japan. I do believe that this would work great in Japan. They like fancy stuff don’t they? And obviously NY, the white frame goes well with the huge city in the background. The dream is to make this bike available and desirable everywhere and by everyone.
“The Pi Bike was launched with the help of We Are Pi. They have been very supportive and advised us a lot.