Bicycle design

Does anybody out there have any bicycle sketches or ideas that they want to show off? If so, check out the bicycle design blog. Student submissions would be great; it is fun to see fresh ideas.

Sometimes I wish designers would stay away from bicycles.

I don’t get it. Why?

this will be cool. Can we add some rules? How 'bout making it UCI Legal? If someone can come up with a frame that is better than the Cervelo P3 carbon or BMC TT bike, I’d be impressed.

Good idea 6ix, but maybe there should be two catagories for road bikes. I never understood why the UCI required diamond frames and outlawed bikes like the Burrow’s designed Giant. At any rate, I’ll try to design one that is UCI legal.

Thanks to Philippe for the first student submission.

Check it out here:

Sometimes I wish designers would stay away from bicycles.

I couldn’t agree more.

If there was ever a product where function trumps form it’s the bicycle. The template provided to sketch over allows for the “creation” of a standard non-suspension bike. Any “design” - particularly if it’s only done from one view as shown in the provided template - is most likely going to be purely decorational.

Students are better off spending their time learning how to creatively solve real design problems than coming up with un-realistic bike frames.

Stay away from bike design?!

There’s plenty of room for innovation and thats evident by the new models we see every year, plus some new “form and function” trends like these “Electra” guys who are making a whole new style of beach cruisers in my home town:

I kinda agree with tired guest. The place where ID’ers can have a real impact on bicycles is in the componentry. Take a look at the latest Bontrager aero brake-levers. Very nicely done, but are functional and aerodynamic. For a frame, by all means function over form. There are a lot of very pretty frames out there, but many of those pretty carbon frames aren’t any better (vertically compliant, stable, laterally stiff, etc.) than something with straight carbon tubes. Take a look at the Madone for instance. I’m not crazy about the seatstays, but I don’t question the actual function of the frame. I’ve seen the evidence and it is, in fact, superior to the older 5000 series frames.

Getting back to the UCI part, the reason they brought out the rules regarding double-triangle frames is because they wanted a level playing field. In the late 90’s, it was exciting to watch the Tour prologue for the simple reason that you would see a lot of crazy carbon bikes, many that were over $10K. Bjarne Riis is known for his spectacular bike-toss of a TT bike in '97. Maybe '98. Whatever. The UCI thought it was getting out of control and that lower-budget teams didn’t have the same type of equipment. The stars were essentially buying seconds off their TT times. So now we’re in the same situation, as innovation never, never stops. The TT bikes out there cost just as much as the wild ones in the 90’s. BMC, Trek, Cervelo, etc. All of those frames cost well over $3K.

The UCI has also instigated a rule on bike weight. I think it’s around 15.2lbs. Bikes are getting down in that range pretty easily now, so pros are starting to toss in power-meters and all kinds of extra gizmos to get the weight back up. Thank you UCI for killing innovation.

I’ve seen dozens of innovative designs for making a bike fold up, just so you can take it on the subway and ride the last mile. I have seen only two people using this transportation modality in the last ten years, in two of America’s largest cities. However the predominant bike seen in urban places is the courier special - a vintage road frame with a few gears and a rack or basket.

The urban bikers, in other words, have it figured out. They don’t WANT or NEED another goddamn folding bike. Somebody invent a bike solution for the goddamn suburbs, where people are fat and lazy and take their kids to soccer (wicked mean generalization, sorry…)

And yes, lots of fancy carbon bikes are based on a profile drawing and not much else. It’s the simplest way to iterate a design - and sometimes you get some functional benefits.

UCI weight limit is 6.8 kg, or 14.99 lbs. There are many other obstructions to design as well - aspect ratios of aero tubes, minimum fairings, etc.

Check out this crankset from Zero Gravity… very functional and very sweet.

Agreed,it is very cool. but why is it cool?

Because it’s probably insanely stiff and light (and has some great bearings?) It looks great, but is that because it is flat black as compared to the rest of the carbon fiber offerings, or standard aluminum? It’s different, so is that why it is cool? Do we think it looks good because of the performance?

It’s a very “industrial” design. Straight edges. In contrast, a Ferrari is typically seen as sexy and attractive, much because it closely mimics the shapes and forms of the female human body. Let’s face it, there is a lot of meaning behind some of the shapes used on an old, classic Jaguar. Many yachts have silhouettes that were taken directly from nude models.

Maybe I’m not posing my question properly. I want to know WHY one shape is more attractive than another. If this crank was swoopy like a DA crank, but still matt black, would it still be cool? What if the weight of the crank was 800 grams as compared to around 450? Would it still be sexy then? I think a lot of what makes products desirable are their assets and functional elements. Ever notice how an LCD TV ALWAYS is in Innovation? ALWAYS!! They don’t discuss why the lines go the way they do, or talk much about the materials used in the casing. They go on and on in the description about it’s features. It’s features, along with a reasonably attractive casing, make it desirable.

Agree to a certain extent, however an ID’ers job isn’t just to do with the user but also the manufacture of the product.

Krestel won numerous design awards for there new frame that reduced frame weight and making the frame stiffer whilst also streamlining the manufacturing process.

I’ll have a look for a link, i was only about 2 years ago

IDSA Design Award for the Kestrel Airfoil Pro Triathlon Bicycle

Completely agree about the new airfoil. Can’t remember what design firm worked on it, but they did a fantastic job. Very innovative shapes. If I was going to build up a pimp TT bike, that frame would be on my short list of contenders. Does it come in 700c?

The BMC bikes from Switzerland are quite impressive as well, from a design standpoint. It’s kinda strange when you think about it. A frame needs to connect point A, B, C and D together, and hold two wheels. Seems simple enough and the double-triangle geometry is the epitome of simple. Exactly how far can you push it without breaking the rules? Has anyone ever read the rules? It’s ridiculous. Profiles are limited in shape, angles, etc. Crazy stuff.

I say bring back Boardman’s Lotus. Now THAT was a bike! 14 years ago and that thing would still shock people.

I see your point 6ix. And wholeheartedly agree.

If weight is what you’re looking for though, if its anything like their brakes this crankset should be the lightest thing out there.

That was in reference to the crankset, not the Kestrel

Actually, this isn’t very functional at all. A crank is only as “stiff” as the bottom bracket it’s attached to - and the bottom bracket is only as stiff as the frame it’s attached to. In the case of this picture, the crank is attached to a titanium frame/bottom bracket. The flex in the ti frame would completely wipe out any minor benefit from crank stiffness… Even the stiffest carbon and aluminum frames wouldn’t give this crank any benefit over a new off-the-shelf campy or dura ace…

What you have here is a cool looking piece of expensive marketing. This happens a LOT in road bike design… It’s fairly rare to see something truly innovative.

well said;

but check this design story out.

end result: stiff, aerodynamic and light. basiically an incremental evolution based on material knowledge and clever thinking. (now does someone want to contribute to the “supernaut needs a new frame telethon?..”)

Didn’t we get in teh discussion before about technology and “advancing” bike design?

I find the Electra bikes to be pretty good looking, well marketed pigs to ride. A good case of rebranding and market awareness leading “Design” but not really fulfilling a need besides “looking cool”.–that said; there is nothing wrong with existing just to look cool especially down in PB and OB in San Diego.

But I m with Slippyfish on this one: Build a useful bike that can be left out like a car all the time but at the same time it will help (make?) you to go from point a to b comfortably and efficiently and look good doing it.[/u]