The bicycle

Cult object – design object


The bicycle has long since ceased to be more than
a means
of locomotion; it also stands for sports, health, lifestyle, and sustainability. The bicycle has thus become not only one of the most widespread means of transport worldwide, but more than ever
a cult object.

The design of bicycles is closely bound up with the history of technical innovations and manufacturing processes. This can be seen, for example, from the drive system used, the suspension, and the wheels, but also and especially from the frame and the materials used for it. Design and technology increasingly meld, with bike makers taking things to the very limits of what is feasible.

This exhibition is devoted to the high points of bicycle design: Starting with Karl Drais’ Running Machine, and Penny Farthings and safety bicycles, through to folding bicycles and everyday bikes or sports cycles today. The spectrum extends from handmade frames or industrial mass production to bicycles made with a 3D printer. All these bicycles show how the design has revolutionized both cycling itself and the world in which we live.


Texts in Easy-to-read




Easy-to-ReaD Audio


The bicycle

Today, the bicycle is very important to many people. 
They do not want to do without it. 

The bicycle is precious to them and

is part of their way of life.

The bicycle is the most common vehicle in the world. 

But it is much more than a machine that

you use to get around. 

The bicycle is also important in sports and for your health. 

And it is sustainable. 

Sustainable means that an object should last a long time and 
that you need little material to produce it.

The design of bicycles is closely linked

to technical progress. 

It changes when there are new technical inventions. 

The design also depends 

on the way you produce a bicycle.

The look of bicycles changed over the past.

Take the drive, for example. 

The drive describes how the bicycle moves.

In the past, you could only move a bicycle with 
your body strength. 

Today, a bicycle can also have an electric motor.

The front wheel and the rear wheel
also look different today.

The same goes for the suspension.

The suspension reduces shocks and bumps so that 
you do not feel them as much.

Technology changes all the time. 

You can see this especially well

if you look at the frame.

The frame is built from bars and 

can be made from different materials, 

for example from metal or from plastics. 

When it comes to the frame, 

you can see that the design 

depends more and more on technology. 

The question is: 

What can you do with technology and 
what is not possible?

This exhibition shows the highlights of bicycle design like:
• The dandy horse from Karl Drais
• The high wheel bicycle
• The safety bicycle
• The folding bicycle
• The bicycle for everyday life
• The modern bicycle for sports

The exhibition shows the development of bicycles: 
from producing only few pieces by hand to 
producing many pieces with machines.

The exhibition also shows the newest trend: 

Bicycles printed by a 3-D printer. 

A 3-D printer is a device that can produce objects. 
3-D is short for 3-dimensional.

A 3-dimensional object is not flat like a piece of paper.
It sticks out into the room.

All the bicycles in the exhibition show

how design changed cycling and also people’s lives.

Pinakothek der Moderne
11.11.2022 – 22.09.2024