The iF Design Awards are awarded by Germany’s Industrie Forum Design.
This Hannover-based organisation was established in 1953 by Deutsche Messe AG and the German Federation of Industry.
This year there were 1937 submissions from 35 different countries. 420 won the sought-after iF quality label, including the Magura Marta disc brake.
However, one of the five Gold Awards went to Shimano’s wheels and Shimano was the first company mentioned in the iF jury’s summation:
“The jury unanimously favored the new Wheel system designed and manufactured by Japanese manufacturer Shimano submitted in the Leisure section: it is a product liberated of any unnecessary frills and featuring a radical innovation. The Shimano wheels comes pretty close to ’re-inventing the wheel’, which was, after all, one of the key human inventions per se. With its idea, Shimano has taken the idea of the wheel to its consistent conclusion: a wheel that is as light as it is strong.”
A Silver Award went to the Porsche Bike R, a racing bike by Votec Sportradtechnik, a German company which has just come out of the other end of bankruptcy (after an MBO it's now owned by IBI International Bicycle Investment GmbH, a buyout vehicle.
“The model upholds the classic frame shape, but combines this with a convincing high-tech solution: strong craftsmanship and perfect joints,” said the iF jury.
However, a designer who wishes to remain partially anonymous, calling himself Jupey, remains to be convinced of the usefulness of the iF awards:
"I don't understand why the Porsche bike should win a design award. Especially that particular model. Sure, some of the Porsche bikes I have seen are quite sexy but there are plenty of far better bikes. It ain't radical and this one sure ain't pretty either," said Jupey on www.singletrackworld.com, which followed up this bikebiz.co.uk story.
"Is it safe to assume these particular design awards are a bit of a gimmick? I mean, the new Apple laptop is bloody good but hardly an unusual choice for a design award. Maybe as a design student I'm just too cynical about this sort of stuff. Perhaps more bike manufacturers should enter design competitions if they fancy some promotion?"
Top: WH-M959, Shimano’s top MTB wheelset
Below: Porsche bikes