It’s all about perception: Gianluca Gimini’s bikes


Drawing objects from memory can be a tricky affair not seldom crowned by a shattering outcome. Bringing even the most familiar of items to paper free-style may turn into an insoluble challenge. Yet unintentionally, it does occasionally (or frequently?) lead to astonishing creations – and to the „construction“ of somewhat adventurous contraptions. Such as the bikes computer-simulated by Italian designer Gianluca Gimini according to sketches made by a random group of people. He had confronted them with one simple task: to draw a men’s bike by heart.

Since starting his experiment in 2009, Gianluca had collected hundreds of awesome drawings and is still thrilled by the diversity of typologies they brought forward, accidentally.

In bike design, proportions are imperative

A closer look reveals that some of these most charming models – if ridden in practice – required users of unusual physique, equipped with overly long arms/legs and/or rumps in order to reach handle bar and pedals, or especially short thighs to run the bicycle in its predestined fashion. Other designs would make great velocipedes (no pedals, no chains!) or collapse altogether due to a handsome but statically unreliable frame.

… but don’t they all look quite sensational? Here come a few examples:

Out of reach: telescopic limbs required.

Out of reach: telescopic limbs required.

GG: „I found out that … most people have a very hard time remembering exactly how a bike is made. Some did get close, some actually nailed it perfectly, but most ended up drawing something that was pretty far off from a regular men’s bicycle.“

... an interesting concept ...

… an interesting concept …

GG: „In 2016, I selected those that I found most interesting and genuine and diverse, then rendered them as if they were real. I became the executor of these two-minute projects by people who were mainly non-designers and confirmed my suspicion: everyone, regardless of his age and job, can come up with extraordinary, wild, new and at times brilliant inventions”.

Chain reaction impossible!

Enigma chain: where on a bike does it go? And what’s its purpose? Almost 90 per cent of the drawings showing the chain attached to the bike’s front wheel (or to both, front and rear) were done by females. On the other hand: this trendy bike – sketched by a male – has no chain at all (and also no pedals for that matter)! Ecco!


A pedigree velocipede: who needs pedals or a chain?

A pedigree velocipede: who needs pedals or a chain?

Gianluca Gimini is a Bologna-based Italian/American designer. As a professor at the university of Ferrara, he teaches two different product design courses. His projects tend to cross the borders between product design, graphics, and illustration. And if there is a humorous twist to be teased out, even the better.

More info and bikes galore:

All images are by the courtesy of ©Gianluca Gimini.