The East End: load carrying work bike
The Donky project began with a conversation in 2006
Bicycle use in London was growing rapidly, but many of the bikes on the street seemed unsuitable for urban use. Typically cheap ‘mountain bikes’ with too many gears and no way of carrying anything.
Ben Wilson and Jonathan Pooley started to talk about an affordable, practical town bike.
Thinking about the load-carrying designs from the Netherlands, plus the strength and simplicity of BMX components, a design started to take shape.
The requirements were:
Real-world load carrying ability:
We would rather ride locally than drive a car. We need to move stuff everyday: groceries, plus all we need to carry for work and play.
Great handling and steering, even at low speeds through traffic and when loaded with cargo. The key is transferring the weight down through the frame without ‘hanging’ loads on the handlebars.
If they can make cheap mountain bikes then could we make a utility bike at an affordable price?
A strong frame and durable, low-maintenance components that can be repaired or replaced anywhere in the world. A bike for life, not landfill.
A bike that can live easily in a Tokyo apartment or the hallway of a London flat.
Easy to build, ride and maintain.
The bike developed as prototypes were built and tested.
20″ wheels were selected to keep the footprint compact.
The square-section beam carries all the load and offers a versatile platform for front and rear attachments.
The frame geometry and gearing gives a relaxed, efficient ride.
The idea took a while to reach production. We are very pleased with the result. Thank you to everyone who helped along the way.
Donky now has a great team in design, production, supply chain and distribution. We have plans to develop Donky further. Next plans include front and rear child seat options.
About Ben Wilson
Ben Wilson has been passionate about bicycles since his stabilisers were taken off.
He is also a 3D industrial designer whose work has been extensively published and exhibited worldwide.
Ben designs, builds and rides bikes of all kinds, working with many major global brands.
Ben also tutors a design course at the Royal College of Art in London.