Major Munich museum stages history of bicycles in 70 designs


A road racing bike from 1989, which was manufactured by Japan's Togashi Engineering. Photo: The Design Museum

One of the world's largest and most esteemed museums of contemporary artworks is elevating two-wheeled mobility to the level of art with an exhibition of 70 of the most stand-out bicycle designs from the past two centuries.

From the usual diamond frame to increasingly elegant, innovative and bizarre designs such as a floating crescent-shaped model, Munich's Pinakothek der Moderne museum has opened an exhibition of more than 70 bicycles, no two of which are alike.

Under the same roof as works by Dali, Kandinsky and Picasso, The Bicycle – Cult Object – Design Object in the Pinakothek's Neue Sammlung - Design Museum tells the design story of bikes from 1817 all the way up to an e-bike that has not even gone on sale yet.

What's interesting is that the exhibition, to run for almost two years from November onwards, curators are clearly not concerned with the cultural history of bicycle.

Instead, viewers see how the design of bicycles is closely linked to the history of technical innovations like drivetrains, suspensions and brakes. It becomes clear how much a bike's design is influenced by new manufacturing possibilities and materials.

We see designs made of steel and aluminium, wood, magnesium, carbon and titanium - and even recycled plastic processed in a 3D printer.

"It is difficult to distinguish what is technology, what is design - it all blends together," said curator Josef Strasser.

The exhibition will be open to the public until the end of September 2024 at the Neue Sammlung - Designmuseum in the Pinakothek der Moderne. - dpa

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Munich , Museum , Germany , bicycles , history


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