An up-to-the minute catalogue of the bike and brands that are changing the cycling industry, "100 Best Bikes" curates a mighty selection ranging from compact folding rides to chainless wonders. Zahid Sardar details throughout the book objects that "epitomize the widespread 21st-century bicycle renaissance." His brief introduction to bicycle history begins with what he calls "clownish and hard to ride Penny-farthing or high-wheeler bikes" and moves gradually towards the modern safety bike. Recently, he notes, new technologies and changing ways of life have spurred designers to rethink the classic form.
Monty offers the "Kamel 231 XXV" that ditches the seat and A-frame in favor of two parallel tubes, the upper of which is humped for shock absorption. The styling reflects the stand-up technique for bike trials, in which riders pass through an obstacle course without setting foot on the ground—not to mention, it looks downright rad.
On the other end of the sprectrum is Velorbis, a maker of traditional cruisers who recently entered the fixie game with the "Arrow," a luxe sport model with clean horizontal lines, a Brooks saddle and brown leather grips. Old-school details on the bike include front and rear fenders as well as the brand's signature lion's head insignia.
Designer Joey Ruiter pioneers unconventional thinking with his "Big City Cruiser," which eliminates the chain in favor of hub-mounted pedals and leaves a mere iota of space between the 36-inch wheels. Think of this all-black city rider as Bruce Wayne's eco-friendly alternative to the Batmobile.
Craig Calfee strikes an all-natural note with his bamboo bike, which is held together at the joints by Chinese hemp soaked in epoxy. For the handles and forks, Calfee elected to equip the bike with an aggressive set of horns. The designer also produces consumer models that use a bamboo frame but ditch the horns for more traditional parts.
Biomega shows off several models in the book, including their "LDN," "NYC" and "SYD" models, all of which reflect the company's signature organic shapeliness. To commemorate the launch of "100 Best Bikes," Biomega is also giving away a "Boston" folding bike for Cool Hunting readers (read on and check Twitter for more details). The Jens Martin Skibsted-designed model features an integrated lock halfway down the frame that allows for easy folding and has been on display at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.