5 shared bikes that look better than Smartbike DC

No matter how you feel about Smartbike DC, the bike sharing program that launched today, it’s hard to argue that the bikes look good. The big rear wheel cover, the mundane star logo, and the red metal make its rider look more like a tourist on an bike tour of the city than a frugal, environmentally-aware commuter.

But do bikes in these sort of programs always have to look ugly? After the jump, one bike affirms the resolution and five negate.

Lyon, France

These bikes fall prey to a big rear wheel cover, the congenital disease of shared bikes. Still, their handles look good and they have baskets. Also, on a note not related to aesthetics, the first half-hour using the bike is free. That’s a pretty good deal.


What is it about shared bikes and red? Whatever the connection is, this bike is great at looking just like a normal bike. Also neat is what’s inscribed on the bike’s real wheel cover: “Take it. Ride it. Pass it on.”


A lot of shared bikes look like foot-powered Vespas, but this bike from the Danes looks like it could actually pick up some speed. The colored wheels would look more appropriate on a Flintstones car, but you’ll be moving too fast for anyone to notice.

Burgundy, France

Look at how sleek those are. Nice color, not handlebars. I have no idea what the flippy thing on the back is, though.


Just like the other Danish bike mentioned above, but check this one out. It has some sort of Winnie the Pooh character on its wheels. Turning shared bikes into public art mitigates the ugly wheels.

The ugly one–Paris, France

There’s just no excusing these robot bikes. Look at that fat, unadorned rear wheel cover, and the awkwardly-angled handlebars. I thought France was doing shared bikes right!

Pictures used under Creative Commons licenses. Lyon bike: qousqous. Vancouver: sillygwailo. Paris: rekha6. Denmark: Ted Rheingold. Burgundy: pug_freak. Winnie the Pooh Denmark: nib.ipernity.com

One Comment on “5 shared bikes that look better than Smartbike DC

  1. Pingback: Vox Populi ยป SmartBike DC is coming to Georgetown

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