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The future of micromobility:

Cervélo and Kalkhoff

What will the role of cycling be in the

future of urban mobility?

Image by Mika Baumeister

Something old, something new

Kalkhoff and Cervélo are respected names in the cycling world.

They were making high-quality bicycles long before we came in.

But when we started our work with Cervélo, there was some amount of confusion as to where the brand was headed next.

The term "Smart Bike" was making the rounds. There was a feeling that a computer would be the next piece of technology to push their bikes forward...but serious debate as to what that would mean.

Meanwhile, at Kalkhoff, technology was also a part of the conversation...but for them, it was about a more fundamental change to biking culture: specifically, electric bikes. Kalkhoff wanted to examine the future of eBikes as a primary mode of transportation.

We worked with the two sister companies, Kalkhoff and Cervélo, on different projects simultaneously. And yet the common factor was a simple question: how might we advance the long tradition of biking here in the 21st century? 

Image by Filip Bodlak

Our work on this project took us to Amsterdam, across Germany, and throughout Canada. We studied the phenomenon of cycling from all angles: as a user, as a bike owner, as a renter, and as a non-believer.

In the end, we produced future roadmaps for both brands, while offering recommendations in regards to possible acquisitions that were being contemplated to further their pursuit of the ideal cycling experience.


Users first, technology second.


It might have been tempting to start our work with Kalkhoff and Cervélo by identifying the most exciting emerging technologies we could imagine inside a bike. Certainly, when we went looking for research that spoke to "the future of cycling", that was the recurring theme.


We figured it would be a dangerous way to get going. The more important question, we suspected, was about how customers were living, working, and moving with their bicycles: What were the moments of pain? What were the moments of joy? And perhaps even more interesting: for those of us who don't cycle, who eschew it for driving or the subway or Uber, what prevents us from getting on the bike?

We started our work with first-hand qualitative research: interviews, videos, and workshops, all grounded in the science of anthropology. Our guiding aim, for both Kalkhoff and Cervélo, was to provide valuable solutions today while also developing a library of evidence they would be able to return to, time and again, for a deeper understanding of the ways their customers are living. 

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