Benjamin Surain is a Belgian designer, 43 years old and lives at the moment in Béthune (France) for almost one year now. When he arrived at Béthune, he decided to start with his R&D company to develop a new project “Atlas”. Atlas is designed to be a durable, and multi-purpose ‘electrocycle’. A 2-wheeled electric machine that allows the user to adapt this vehicle to their usage and desires.
Benjamin: “In France, there is a real savoir-faire concerning the 2-wheeled vehicles. You can’t forget great brands such as: Motobécane, Gitane, Solex,… They may have been disappeared for now but these machines were world famous for their design, reliability and innovation. With Atlas, I wanted to celebrate and revive this savoir-faire !
When Benjamin met the Mayor of Béthune, Olivier Gacquerre, they both discovered some common points with the new Smart City project of the town. Also with Dimitri Berteloot, who is responsible for the Smart City project, they discussed the possibilities of sustainable development and smart mobility for the residents of the city. In the next step both parties signed an agreement to create and develop the Atlas Project.
Benjamin: “Atlas is an electric “moped”, speeding up to 45 km/hour and with a range of 100 km. A lot of new technologies are used (for example 3D printing) and we have chosen some local companies for the technical development (such as the entire frame and assembly). It’s the locals support locals principle.”
There is also a cooperation with the Béthune University and Fab Lab who helped Benjamin with the very innovative, electronic interface of the moped (a fingerprint system to start the vehicle, intelligent batteries monitoring …) .
Benjamin: “The city of Béthune was so kind to provide a working space to develop the Atlas project. Atlas will be presented during the Béthune Rétro event and I invite everybody to discover this new concept of electric mobility. This event takes place on August 23rd to August 25th 2019.
The Atlas monotube frame is completely made up of Inox 304. That makes it incredibly light and very resistant. Designed for solidity, the number of its components has been reduced to its minimum in order to decrease drastically risks of technical incidents. This building process allows the necessary latitude for the production of the frames. It also permits rapid changes on demand, either aesthetical or structural.
As I fell in love with those charming French motorcycles builders of the last Century, I really wanted to go back to the early beginnings of their design. That’s why Atlas has been originated from retro and clean lines. I prefered to let my imagination running wild, always keeping in mind the needs and wishes of the future users. I had to look for a retro inspired design that is so much more than just aesthetic. I had to find the combination of simplicity, beauty, pleasure to ride, innovation and functionalities …
UNIQUE AS YOU ARE
Benjamin: “Atlas is also an atypical process. An eco responsible vehicle is not only responsible for the environment but also for the society in which it evolves. I wanted to provide the planet a respite but also oxygenate people’s minds. The so-called «Custom culture» is the road to follow, as an evidence.
From its early sketches, I wanted Atlas to look like a blank canvas. Atlas can be the result of a real process, an artistic creation. And also, a way to collaborate with established builders in order to create exceptionnal 2-wheeled vehicles and a wide range of possibilities.”
Atlas is created to go much further than a simple vehicle. It is the extension of your personnality, your desires, your way of life, your own style. Changes will evolve according to the desires, the needs of its rider. Colours, materials, style, thanks to the 3D print technology available on our website, everyone will be able to create the Atlas of their own. There are no limits.
ABOUT BENJAMIN SURAIN
As a designer, I am always fascinated by created objects. More than the product itself, I’m particularly interested in the emotions that the object brings to the user. For me, that’s the purpose of design: another way to communicate and experiment !
I’m truly fascinated by 2-wheeled machines! Not only for their design but also for their interactions. When you are on the road, you are part of the machine and all your senses are in perfect harmony with the technology and environment.
10 years ago, I launched Surain R&D in order to realize my ambitions and create incredible electric 2-wheeled machines: the so-called ‘electrocycles’ ! Far from present norms, I always wanted to be free to decide my own choices & directions. Taking risks is my fav motto ! I explored unusual and innovative creating technologies and cutting-edge design and technology. But, eventhough technology has a huge part in it, I’m truly convinced that what makes the soul of a 2-wheeled machine is …YOU !
I’m quite an old-fashionned man. For me, what is better than a sheet of paper? I always start my designs with a pencil and blank paper! Then, with the help of computers and some tools, these sketches are muting to a real prototype. It is a kind of magic actually …
I oblige myself to occupy several functions: designer, engineer, sales representative and even pilot ! When it comes to concrete creation and production, I really appreciate to realize and supervise each stade of the design. I think it’s the best way to understand and improve the machine and to think about the next ones !
In order to build your own tailor-made Atlas, most parts of the ’electrocycle’ will be available on Open Source : extras, components, software … Everyone will be able to take part in the process and even feel free to share their own creations.
Atlas is made to encourage exchanges! From that, people who want to use the components designed by the Open Source community will just have to use a 3D Printer. At home or in an alternative work space, it will be possible to print elements, cut some parts …
Casual builders, universitary students, engineers or wouldbe inventors … Atlas is relying on YOU !