There is a choice to be made every time something is built. It can either be done the way that is tried-and-true, or you can venture into the unknown in hopes of making that something better than it was before. This is the path taken by the Toyota Prius and its designers. Building upon the familiar foundations of a car, the Prius is an optimized version of something we were already familiar with. By blending cutting-edge technology with simple, sustainable materials, the Prius became a benchmark of efficiency, a testament to those who innovated and dared to make it so, and the cornerstone of a philosophy that is changing the way we drive today. Knowing that this philosophy isn’t only applicable to cars, Toyota and Saatchi LA set out on yet another venture into the unknown by asking: What if the Prius were a bicycle?
In search of an answer, Toyota and Saatchi enlisted the help of renowned bike builder Parlee Cycles and the masterminds of Deeplocal to build the Prius X Parlee (PXP) concept bicycle over the course of ten weeks. Imbued with the spirit of Prius, this aero-road bike is also a purpose-built machine that blends simplicity with the complex to become a better, more efficient version of something that already exists.
Each innovation, feature and process used in and on the PXP was inspired by the Prius and serves to make it more efficient while emphasizing ease of use. Its monocoque carbon-fiber frame keeps the PXP lightweight while increasing its durability and rideability. Its brakes were molded into the fork and bottom bracket to increase aerodynamics, along with countless other tweaks that were tested and validated in the wind tunnels at MIT. A built-in dock for a smartphone enables riders to view information about their speed, cadence and heart rate.
All of these features and more come together to produce a bike akin to the Prius. But to truly encapsulate what the Prius stands for, more forward thinking was applied. Designed by Deeplocal, a neurotransmitter-packed helmet and interface empowers the PXP’s rider to shift gears, as if by magic, just by thinking about it.
A successful result of a collaborative exploration, the PXP proves that there is always room for improvement. Like the car it was inspired by, it is able to go farther for longer and serves as a demonstration of what is possible when we look to the future and improve upon what we have already accomplished to get there.