LAYER envisions an enhanced prototype for urban commuting with Pendler

The UK-based creative agency helmed by Benjamin Hubert unveils an e-bike concept that is a pragmatic union of performance-driven design and a refined aesthetic.

by Anushka SharmaPublished on : Sep 05, 2022

The beloved two-wheeled veteran, the bicycle, has avoided obsolescence by adapting to the needs and requirements of each era. As the importance of conscious and sustainable commuting rises, so does the demand for innovative and unique designs. Who doesn't like zipping through urbanscapes on a bicycle? Pendler, a compact urban e-bike concept by British industrial designer Benjamin Hubert's creative agency LAYER, seeks to improve the carbon footprint from commuting. Based in London, United Kingdom, the industrial design and product design agency creates a unique riding experience. The allure of traditional cycling joins forces with an e-cutting-edge bike's advantage to create a design that makes navigating dense urban jungles enjoyable. “We believe easy, everyday travel should be for everybody – and our aim with Pendler was to envisage a safer, more convenient and effortless mode of personal transport to enable independence for commuting in the city,” says Benjamin Hubert, Founder of LAYER.

  • Pendler is a compact urban e-bike concept | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    Pendler is a compact urban e-bike concept Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The design combines the traditional appeal of cycling and contemporary power e-bikes| Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The design combines traditional appeal and contemporary power Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • Pendler aims to make urban commuting more convenient | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    Pendler aims to make urban commuting more convenient Image: Courtesy of LAYER

The bicycle gets its name from the derivative of the Danish word pendler, which means commuter/ commuting. This is a deliberate reference to the fact that Denmark is considered to be one of the most bicycle-friendly nations in the world with nine out of ten Danes owning a bicycle. The component that stands out in the sleek silhouette is the bike’s symmetrical U-shaped frame. A refined aesthetic is a refreshing deviation from the hackneyed performance-centric expression that looms over most electric bike designs. The absence of a top tube only adds to the ease of handling the design, allowing one to step through without a hitch irrespective of what they are wearing. This seemingly simple intervention goes a long way in making the design accessible and inclusive for a larger demographic with diverse mobility ranges.

  • Pendler has a striking symmetrical U-shaped frame | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    Pendler has a striking symmetrical U-shaped frame Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The absence of a top tube makes stepping through easier | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The absence of a top tube makes stepping through easier Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • A compact body makes the bike fit for urban contexts | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    A compact body makes the bike fit for urban contexts Image: Courtesy of LAYER

The conspicuously compact wheelbase and the modest 20-inch wheels introduce ease in storage and travel on public transport, addressing a predominant struggle. The concise design also proves advantageous in the city traffic that everyone dreads. The folding pedals and handles that turn 90 degrees underline a similar approach of design that bridges the extant gap between storage and compact spaces. Curbing the complications of urban commuting, every piece of the composition reiterates the pursuit of one core intent, convenience. “The result is an intelligently designed e-bike that is inclusive, easy to store in compact urban spaces, and balances high performance with a desirable, crafted aesthetic,” shares the British designer.

  • Pendler allows easy storage and travel in public transport | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    Pendler allows easy storage and travel in public transport Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The wheelbase and wheels are relatively compact to aid storage | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The wheelbase and wheels are relatively compact to aid storage Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The design encompasses folding pedals and 90-degree turning handles | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The design encompasses folding pedals and 90-degree turning handles Image: Courtesy of LAYER

Practicality is the driving force behind Pendler's design. Detachable and modular accessories such as, the front and rear basket attachments featuring a timber base with wire enclosures help keep luggage safely strapped in place, on the irksome urban tracks. Furthermore, the phone dock establishes safe access to devices while commuting and in the recurrent need for navigation. The Pendler bike sources its power from a compact 45Nm rear hub motor that allows the frame to maintain its immaculate form. The motor functions in tandem with a detachable 250 Wh battery, making off-bike charging or sustainable replacement convenient. The handlebars regulate the speed that can go up to 25km per hour in accordance with the UK/EU speed guidelines. What makes Pendler an ideal ally for weekly commutes is the uncomplicated removal and charging of the battery, with a single charge capable of accomplishing a distance of 70 kilometres.

  • Pendler comes with an array of modular and detachable accessories | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    Pendler comes with an array of modular and detachable accessories Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The mobile phone dock allows a safe and easy access to devices while riding | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The mobile phone dock allows a safe and easy access to devices while riding Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The front and rear baskets come with adjustable straps | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The front and rear baskets come with adjustable straps Image: Courtesy of LAYER

The bike’s frame is a composition of standard circular steel tubing with die-cast aluminium mounts for the baskets, which exhibit a fluid design. The timber details of the basket radiate warmth and give the bike a well-crafted look, while the leather completes the materials used for the saddle and handles. As part of the design strategy to enable users to communicate with adjacent traffic without taking their hands off the bike, integrated battery-powered indicator lights are located on the handlebars, as well as the rear and front of the bicycle’s frame. For cities like London, where cycling accidents are common, this addresses a bigger and more pressing concern.

  • The frame is composed of steel tubing with die-cast aluminium | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The frame is composed of steel tubing with die-cast aluminium Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The baskets showcase a more organic expression | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The baskets showcase a more organic expression Image: Courtesy of LAYER
  • The timber details add warmth to the bike’s ensemble | Pendler | LAYER | STIRworld
    The timber details add warmth to the bike’s ensemble Image: Courtesy of LAYER

Automobile design is seeing an upsurge in numbers every day. But even in a seemingly saturated market, LAYER’s Pendler carves out a niche owing to its crafted aesthetic that stands out amongst its competitors’ tech-driven and relatively bulky silhouettes. With a material palette that utilises natural materials like timber and a refined aesthetic that contradicts an overused design language, the e-bike design conjugates two divergent elements of the cycling world. Pairing high-performance technology with a finely sculpted design expression, Pendler envisions a new way of urban commuting that caters not only to a user’s performance requisites for optimum efficiency but also to their passion for an elevated lifestyle.

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