Japanese retail company MUJI collaborates with Honda by designing the automobile and motorcycle company’s new electric bike MS01. The sleek, black-and-white design speaks of MUJI’s hushed-down, minimalist style while the equipment and power of the bike come from Honda’s technology. Kenya Hara, MUJI’s artistic director, took over the design of the bike and drew his influences from the company’s H-type bicycle and its modest-looking products. He retains the compact-sized bike pedals, slopes the body in a U-shape, plants classic handlebars with no additional high-tech features seen in electric bikes these days, and installs LED light in front of the vehicle.
The overall design fuses with the nuances found in Honda vehicles and use 17-inch tubeless tires to weather different types of road riding. The bike comes with a 400W motor and can run with a maximum speed of 25 kilometres per hour. It is also equipped with a 48V/20Ah ternary lithium battery and EBS power. The concepts of the recycling system and environmental protection form part of the overall design and product descriptions of MS01, and the bike can go for a maximum riding distance of about 65 kilometres. From this, the bike can be charged once or twice per week and can sustain hours of everyday riding. As of publishing the story, MS01 will only be made available in China and limited to 5,000 units with each priced at 4,980 CNY or around 744 USD.
Visualizing the philosophy of MUJI, Hara says what comes first is the idea of emptiness and of simplicity that takes the form of giving users the freedom to develop their own way of handling an object. From this, he notes how MUJI essentially embodies this emptiness and gives an example through the MUJI mattress with legs that can also be used as a sofa. ‘Giving users the freedom to use our products however they wish is what I mean by emptiness. We feel this is not something to be explained in words. Our visuals are designed to wake people to this emptiness so that users feel it the moment they see them,’ he says. Using this philosophy, Honda’s MS01 lulls in simplicity that has long marked the essence of MUJI.