I recently spent a highly enjoyable day on a remote hillside in West Yorkshire.
On any other day there wouldn’t have been another person in sight, but today I could barely move for the crowds of people. We were all awaiting the arrival of 180 or so of the Worlds best pro cyclists on Stage 2 of the Tour De France.
It was an amazing spectacle, the whole parade of support vehicles and sponsors cars passing for hours before. As a designer and keen cyclist I am always drawn to closely examine any high end bikes that I see. Many of the spectators had brought their prize possessions with them, a sea of carbon fibre and figure hugging lycra!
The attention to detail, exotic materials, and application of graphic elements used in high end bike design is inspiring, a great blend of engineering and aesthetics.
We have been fortunate to work on a great range of cycle accessory’s in 2013, a real treat for a cycle enthusiast!
Here are some bikes I have lusted after…
We have been commissioned to design an innovative range of new products that will help cyclists safely transport their treasured bikes on or in a vehicle. Its a tough job, but someone had to research the whole process of cycle transportation, from taking your bike out of storage, all the way through the process of using it, and putting it back into storage.
In this instance I decided the best course of action was to visit the recently upgraded trail centre at Gisburn Forest in North Lancashire. It was a sunny day, and whilst there I used the Trails app on my iphone 4S to record the ride. The red loop is a fantastic mix of single track, hill climbs, and fast descents.
Gisburn red at EveryTrail
At 4D we always recommend immersing yourself in the environment in which a product will be used. This leads to the design of new products that offer real benefits and user satisfaction.
Every now and then you see something you really want. That happened to me the other day when I happened across the range of electric mountain bikes made by German bike manufacturer Haibike.
Whilst most e-bikes look like a ‘normal’ bike with a motor and battery strapped on as an after thought, (Audi concept bike is an exception, but will it ever be available to the public?!) the Haibikes look amazing, and the motor is placed on the bottom bracket, not the wheel hubs, thus keeping the additional weight low down and central to the riders centre of balance.
I don’t think I can afford the price tag right now, but this was a great example of how good design can really excite your potential customers and grab their attention when they were least expecting it. The company is very proud of its various innovations, and also has an IF Product Design award to recognise all their hard work.
I got out on my Marin mountain bike for the first time this year recently. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, which had brought plenty of other cyclists out.
As a product designer, I like keep an eye on what gadgets and accessories cyclists have with them.
One thing that is becoming more common are helmet mounted video cameras. This isn’t surprising considering peoples interest in posting a record of any and all their activities on Youtube or Facebook. Considering most people now carry smart phones too, I am surprised I cant find any products which connect a camera to the smart phone and make use of its screen for playback, its internal memory for storage, and its internet connectivity for uploading content to social media sites before the ride is even finished.
Anyone out there know of such a device / system?
Of course with our design expertise, we may just build something ourselves to do the job…Watch this space.
A windswept Bank Holdiday Monday was the setting for a 2 hour circuit cycled around the Jubilee tower above Blackburn and Darwen. Read the rest of this entry »
Product design and engineering win the day
We had set off for the Forest of Gisburn on a clear afternoon. Venturing off the main roads we soon found ourselves driving uphill on packed ice and snow.
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