It has been a wild ride for Team Chicago as it builds a better urban bike. Details keep them awake.

“A lot of late nights,” said Ishmael Adams, a designer at Minimal. “We're trying to keep the design clean and smart.”

Minimal, a Chicago-based design studio, and Method Bicycle have teamed up in The Oregon Manifest Bike Design Project, a nationwide competition to address the challenges of urban cycling by challenging top design firms to build a dream bike.

As competing designs roll out in other cities, Chicago's bike will be unveiled July 25 at a kickoff party at Minimal (at 939 W. Lake St.). Competition organizer Oregon Manifest says public online voting will begin July 28 and stay open for a week. Through a partnership with Fuji Bikes, the bike that gets the most votes gets manufactured. The winner will be announced Aug. 4.

With its bike, cryptically known so far only as “BL,” Team Chicago faces Pensa design and Horse Cycles of New York; Huge Design and 4130 Cycle Works of San Francisco; Teague design and Sizemore Bicycle of Seattle; and Industry design and Ti Cycles of Portland, Ore.

Team Chicago has finished the heavy work on its bike. Designed to reflect Chicago, it is tough and sophisticated, sturdy and refined. It is black, with balloon wheels and a steel frame, handlebars that integrate with smart devices and a belt drive instead of a greasy chain.

The collection of 3D-printed parts, luminous LED accents, curved wood and bent steel is a cross between Mad Max and Dutch Modern.

Minimal owner Scott Wilson has been showing visitors and clients the shiny black prototype to generally admiring response. Visiting soft goods designer Henry Lefens of Salt Lake City saw it on Tuesday.

“Nice,” he said as he examined a pair of detachable waterproof panniers.

Team Chicago is confident, said Minimal brand director Kevin Flatt. It was built for tough roads and tougher winters and for the knocks that come with the joys of urban life.

“It doesn't require a lot of maintenance,” Flatt said. “It just works.”

jjanega@tribune.com