One of my favorite parts on my current road bike is the Giant aero seat post shown in the picture to the left. It looks great on the bike and, with its 4:1 length to width section profile ratio, has a much lower drag coefficient than a standard round post. Due to its location on the bike, an aero seat post provides a pretty significant aerodynamic improvement when compared to some of the other aero bike parts that are available today. The only problem is that these posts can be a bit expensive. The other day I was thinking, what if someone made a slip-on aero post cover for a standard 27.2mm seat post? The plastic part could be made inexpensively and could even have a film dipped faux carbon fiber finish (like the one found on some sunglasses). Maybe a little tab at the bottom could register the part in the frame’s seat post slot to ensure proper aero alignment. Good idea, huh? Well, probably not (why else would I offer it for free). The 2:1 ratio of something like this would not provide much of an improvement in drag coefficient over a standard round post, so the product would really just be for pose value. I do think that if it were sold in the right channels, quite a few people would buy a product like this because it would be a cheap way to get the look of an expensive part. Ultimately, I think that most of those customers would eventually regret the purchase and wish that they had just gone ahead and paid more for the real thing. If you have a long-term marketing strategy, you have to ask a deeper question than “will this product sell?” Every interaction that a customer has with your product shapes his or her perception of your brand. So, why did I sketch this idea if I don’t like it? Because I sketch all kinds of ideas that pop into my head before I go back and evaluate them. Why am I posting an idea that I don’t like? I guess so that I can make my point about the difference between short-term sales driven and marketing driven product design. But hey, if you still like the idea, have at it. After all, it’s free.
Note to all interested: I didn’t do a patent search, so you might want to check into that before you make 10,000 of these things.