The bike innovation that transformed the way we work

That curved top tube you see on the Buffalo Bicycle today is one of its most distinctive features. But did you know that it wasn’t always part of our design? 

In the early days of World Bicycle Relief, F.K. Day and Leah Missbach Day partnered with Tata, a manufacturer in India, to produce the original Buffalo Bicycles.

We offered two options: a “gent’s bike” with a double cross tube and a “ladies’ bike” with a step-through frame, mirroring traditional retail models.

Many women at the time opted for the gents’ bike due to its perceived strength and versatility for multiple family members. But this came at the expense of their own comfort and cultural norms – the double cross tube made it challenging to maintain modesty while riding. 

As World Bicycle Relief grew, F.K., also a co-founder of bicycle component manufacturer SRAM Corp., and his burgeoning product development team started considering how they could improve the original bike design as well as the supply chain.

Then, in 2010, an opportunity arose through a new partnership with manufacturer Giant Bicycles. 

Our product development team reimagined the Buffalo’s frame geometry to introduce a single, gender-neutral product. The impact of this innovation extended far beyond cost savings and operational efficiencies. It fundamentally transformed the accessibility and usability of our bicycles, particularly for women. 

“Everyone loved the new sloped top-tube frame,” says Leah, who also wondered if eliminating the gendered frame options ultimately mitigated some difficulties within the home between women and the men. “We solved multiple problems with one bike.”

This design not only promotes inclusivity but also empowers men, women and children to embrace cycling as a means of transportation and livelihood. 

Since then, we’ve continued to innovate and improve the Buffalo, making changes based on user feedback and technological advancements. These meaningful changes address the unique needs of the communities where we work and, most importantly, bring about lasting impact.

Support the next life-changing innovations in bicycle design.

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