Designing An Electric Bike With AI

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Ben Jones

Cycling Basics, Other


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Unless you’ve been living in an off-the-grid cave recently you’d have been hard-pushed not to notice that Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been making waves. It can now write assignments for students, book a salon appointment for you over the phone, and even create award-winning artwork.

I’ve been wondering recently what that means for ebike design and so I thought I’d give one of the leading AI artwork creators a spin to see what it could come up with.

Midjourney is an AI platform where you feed in text inputs and 30 seconds or so later out pops a series of four images.

As you’ll see below, the AI will give you images based on your inputs no matter what you’ve typed in (there’s a few limitations – anything adult, gory, or violent – though thankfully these aren’t particularly relevant to cycling).

When you’re designing something like an ebike then it means that the only limit is your imagination.

AI designs for ebikes

I spent a fun filled day ferociously typing ‘prompts’ into Midjourney to see what ebike concepts it would come up with.

Below I’ll take you through each of these concepts, and to give you an idea of the process I’ll:

  • Give you the prompt I typed in
  • Show you my favorite image it created from that prompt
  • Give some feedback on the design

Are you ready for the future?

The Minimalist

Prompt: Minimalist modern ebike with simple, clean lines

I started off by asking the AI for a straightforward ebike design. Nothing too fancy. I think its concept is great – the frame is easy on the eye and it looks like it would be a speedy hybrid bike. My only concern is the cassette which it seems to have added to the front wheel hub.

The Minimalist Cafe Racer

Prompt: Minimalist modern ebike with simple, clean lines (but faster)

A similar prompt to the previous ebike, but this one has more of a nod to retro cafe racer bikes. It looks fast and also has practical features, such as the rear fender and the light embedded in the saddle. I’m a big fan of the frame, which reminds me of bone.

The Surf’s Up

Prompt: Beach cruiser electric bike carrying a surfboard

Ok, so I love this ebike, but have to admit to being a little bit disappointed in the interpretation of the brief. The colors, the sweptback lines and the overall style of the bike are fantastic. That said, I asked the AI for a bike that could carry a surfboard and it’s failed to deliver. This design also highlights the AI’s real aversion to putting pedals on ebikes.

The McQueen

Prompt: ebike with dramatic, cinematic lighting that would suit a Hollywood movie star

If I was a movie star from the Golden Age of Hollywood, I could imagine myself cruising up the red carpet on this to pick up my Oscar. The lines are to die for, the sweep of the handlebars oozes sophistication and look at the way it glows in that dramatic, cinematic lighting! Yes, you could probably leap over tall razor wire fences on this, though I’d be nervous about scratching that gorgeous paintwork.

Desert Chrome

Prompt: Fat tire ebike in reflective chrome in the desert

It’s around about this point that you realize that, whatever prompt you type in, the AI will come up with some ebike concepts. So, you flex your fingers and start getting creative. With ‘Desert Chrome’ my thinking was: Hmm, Burning Man, how can I get there…?

The Gustave

Prompt: The ebike that Gustave Eiffel would have invented if he hadn’t been messing about with Parisienne towers

From the deserts of Nevada we move to Europe, Paris to be precise, to see what Gustave might have cruised the Champs Élysées on. This is unshamedly retro with beautiful spokes on the wheels, sumptuous gold detailing and a very practical sprung saddle (think: those cobblestone streets in the French capital). Mon derrière!

The Da Vinci

Prompt: If Leonardo da Vinci designed an ebike this is what it would look like

As far as I’m aware, Da Vinci never designed an electric bike. If he had though, I can well imagine that this is what it might have been like. As well as being one of the few concepts that the AI produced that included pedals, this has a very handy front fender, and a lovely little creative twist to the handlebars.

The Modernist

Prompt: An ebike that Picasso might have created with beautiful painted details

This is a stunning work of art, isn’t it? The frame is practical, sturdy and looks fast. The paint detail is really amazing – the red ‘circle’ under the handlebars reminds me of a bird. And, I love the asymmetric wheels. I think Pablo would approve of this one.

Pop Art ebike

Prompt: An ebike with Jeff Koons-esque styling

This one seems very much in keeping with JK’s body of art. It’s a riot of color, which I love, and a real statement piece. Riding it however might be a little tricky, given that unicorn/bird/rabbit perched on the saddle. But it’s often said that great art comes from great suffering…

The Sun Shines Through

Prompt: ebike made entirely from stained glass

Whilst I admit that glass may not be the most practical building material for an electric bike, when the sun shines through this it will definitely get heads turning.

The 5-a-day

Prompt: an ebike made entirely from vegetables

Because, why not? Get hungry when you’re out for a bike ride? No problem! Now you can just snap off a piece of your bike and munch away. The broccoli might restrict your vision a little, but you could always tuck into that first.

The Fruit Loop

Prompt: an ebike made entirely from fruit

You might think that the previous all-veggie ebike was a little silly. Not everyone likes vegetables, after all. But, fruit? Now that’s a different matter! There are some particularly fine citrus elements here – the lemon wheels are superb and the lemon pannier is a nice touch.

The Candy Dream

Prompt: an ebike made from candy

Fruit and veg not really your thing? I get it. We all need our cheat days. On those days when you’re feeling like a sugary snack or three, wheel out The Candy Dream. Because, who doesn’t want to ride around on big fluffy doughnuts?

The Twisted Balloon

Prompt: an ebike made from long modelling balloons folded and twisted up into an ebike shape

This one took a couple of goes because the AI was struggling with the idea of twisting balloons together to make shapes. That said, I think it’s come up with a good suggestion in the end. The curved balloon scorpion tail might be a little restrictive when you’re trying to see traffic behind you. But all those ‘air bags’ would likely be very protective in the event of a crash.

The Origamist

Prompt: ebike made from origami

Today’s folding ebikes are okaay-ish, but I really wanted to create something that had a little more folding potential and a lot more style. Enter, The Origamist. Folded from a single sheet of paper (I assume) this ebike packs neatly into a purse or jacket pocket. When you need to use your bike, just fold it up along the pre-creased lines and away you go.

The eH 2 Go

Prompt: an ebike made from water

On a planet where 71% of the surface is covered in water, it makes sense to use this in our ebikes. This one might struggle in arid environments, but should work perfectly in cold conditions. Wondering where the power comes from for the bike? Well, it’s not a battery per se. No, this is powered by Nature’s very own sun-loving chlorophyll. Taking in those rays and whizzing you along on your eH 2 Go.

The Cloudy With A Chance Of Ebikes

Prompt: an ebike made from clouds

I’m often accused of having my head in the clouds and, well, this concept is really not going to help me. But, think how comfortable this ebike would be to ride! Cloud tires, cloud saddle, and cloud handlebars mean an end to saddle sores, wrist pain, and full-suspension bikes.

The Lightning

Prompt: an ebike made entirely from forked lightning

This wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I typed the prompt into the AI – I was thinking of something that was made from lightning and nothing else. That said, I decided to include The Lightning here because I feel it really sums up what ebikes are all about. And, anyway, who wouldn’t want an ebike that has lightning coming out of the wheels like this?

The Calligraphist

Prompt: an ebike made from purple calligraphy

If I’d put this ebike at the top of the page you’d think it was ridiculous. But now, you’re just left wondering why it’s only decked out in one color of calligraphy.

The Stealth Fighter

Prompt: an ebike for the military

Moving troops through inhospitable environments quietly is always a challenge. This ebike concept allows stealthy travel over long distances for armed personnel and their gear. The Stealth Fighter feels like an ebike that could go into manufacture right now.

The Moon-e

Prompt: an ebike that could be used on the Moon

Traveling around on the Moon has plenty of technical challenges. I’m excited that the Moon-e goes (I think) a long way to addressing them. The AI has done a great job with the ‘tires’ which are puncture-proof (no inner tubes here!) The tricycle design will give great stability, plus there’s massive clearance, both of which will be useful on the bumpy lunar surface. I particularly like the pod on the back of the Moon-e which provides cargo-carrying space and potentially an airtight and pressurized portable cabin space for astronauts.

The Badass

Prompt: The most badass gnarly electric mountain bike that you would never even dream of taking home to introduce to your mom, with dramatic cinematic lighting, moody smoke, and insane detail

Just to prove that you can put whatever you want into the AI and it will give you some stunning concepts…I bring you The Badass! I would very much enjoy turning up to my local bike trails with this ebike.

The In Space, No One Can Hear You Cycle

Prompt: ebike created by a race of technologically advanced aliens

An ebike that looks this terrifying on the outside has surely got to contain something that will give you nightmares. Look out, Ripley…

The Titan e-Xplorer

Prompt: an ebike that has been 3d printed in mercury for use on Titan

This one’s for Owen. Described as being one of the most “hospitable extraterrestrial worlds within our solar system for human colonization” the moon of Titan seems ripe for manned exploration. It’s not that hospitable though, so it’s important to consider transport options where the cycling astronaut can be well protected from the dense atmosphere. The Titan e-Xplorer gets my vote for the job and allows for easy local construction from 3d printed parts.

Phew! That was quite a ride, wasn’t it? Hopefully you’ve got a few favorites amongst this stack of futuristic ebike concepts? If you do, let me know in the comments section below.

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