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As part of the celebration of innovative Japanese design during the Prototyping in Tokyo exhibition, The Shop at Japan House London launched an exclusive range of ‘populo 1’ bicycles designed by Japanese car designer Yamada Atsuhiko. The unique, streamlined U-frame stainless steel bicycle offers a stylish approach to urban mobility. The compact ‘pupulo 1’ bicycle showcases a pure and simple design approach that aims to transform the way Londoners move around. The bikes had never before been available in Europe. 

Urban mobility

The super high-tech, ‘Made in Japan’ populo 1 bicycle provides fun, easy, safe and sustainable urban mobility. populomobile made the European debut of populo 1, the unique U-shaped bicycle, at Japan House London on 12 January 2019. ‘We are aiming to transform the way Londoners move around,’ states Yamada Atsuhiko, founder and designer. ‘The populo 1 offers a safer, easier and more fun way for people to get around their city.’ The bicycle is designed by Yamada Atsuhiko, a car designer with over 30 years of experience.  ‘Because of my car design experience the approach I’ve taken is very different than traditional bike design. The populo 1 is providing a different user experience as a result.’

U shape frame

populo 1 offers a new way of riding by introducing an original U-shape frame. The lowest point of the frame measures only 21cm from the ground. This allows users to enjoy riding more easily and safely in an urban situation (which demands getting on and off very frequently). The compact size (overall length 145cm) is for easy maneuver in narrow and busy streets and demands little space for storage. 

A bike designed using automotive techniques 

Typically, small bikes are not ideal for riding performance because of the small wheels and compact size. But this is where the ‘car approach’ has paid off. Thanks to the innovative design featuring 20 inch (50.8cm) wheels and a solid frame, in spite of its modest size, populo 1 provides a superb riding experience and is extremely stable on the road. Four years in the making, this beautiful, stylish bike is not compromising on performance. In order to create such simplicity yet keep enough strength, the frame has a unique double tube structure to eliminate any need to reinforce the exterior frame. 

Pure and simple design

The populo 1 has an extremely pure and simple design. This simplicity fits any individual. From stylish business attire to casual T-shirts and jeans, the ‘populo1’ suits everyone. Due to the low ‘straddling point’ it also allows riders to wear dresses and skirts without any hassle and is adjustable to all heights. 

Intuitive riding for ease and safety

populo 1 is designed so the rider can focus as much as possible on their surroundings and not the riding. Instead of changing gears by hand, populo 1 employs a simple two gear system. The Sturmey Archer kick shift allows the rider to change gears up or down by foot – entirely intuitively. This internal gear hub system does not require any gear shifters on the handle which keeps the design very simple and increases the safety significantly. 

Long lasting quality for sustainability

The philosophy of populomobile is to reduce environmental impact by creating a long lasting and high-quality product. Blending Japanese high technology with craftsmanship creates the quality of the U-shape frame. For example, the master of welding directs robots on how to weld the frame. The stainless steel frame does not require paint, a significantly more environmentally friendly feature. All the high-quality components are assembled carefully and selected from Japan, Italy and Finland. The kick stand of populo 1 is made by a Japanese maker who has over 100 years history; the frame is made in Japan; the saddle in Italy; and the light in Australia. 

About populomobile

populomobile Ltd. was founded on 23 March 2017 by Yamada Atsuhiko in Kamakura, Japan. The company designs and produces innovative products that promote mobility. The first product is ‘populo 1’, a unique U-frame urban bicycle.