Certainly I don’t agree, but “someone” posted that statement on the Core 77 discussion forum. Actually, the comment was left a long time ago in response to a thread that I started in an attempt to generate a few concept submissions to bicycle design. In recent days, the discussion has picked back up on that thread. Check out the second and third pages if you are interested in reading the most recent comments from industrial designers, myself included, about bicycle design. I can’t say that I like every bicycle design concept that I run across. Some are overdesigned and completely unrealistic, but it is fun to discuss them anyway (that is the point of this blog, right?). Occasionally though, there are bikes created by designers from outside the bicycle industry that I do really like. The Ibis Mojo comes to mind. Michael Young’ s Citystorm bike for Giant (pictured here) is another great example. Michael Young is a well known product designer who has designed a variety of objects from furniture to electronics. He is not specifically a bike designer, but I think he did a great job with the Citystorm. Certainly the results vary, but I love to see designers from outside the industry tackle the redesign of a bicycle. It is definitely a challenge because bikes are nearly perfect machines. So what do you think? Does anyone else believe that designers should just stay away from bikes?
While I am posting, I want to mention a few additional links (this first one came from the above mentioned discussion thread on Core). Check out these crazy neon 1980’s BMX inspired track bikes. Did I say something about overdesigned bikes earlier? So what. Some people really like flashy custom bikes that stand out in a crowd. I say more power to them.
Also on Core, check out this blog post about the recent Shimano marketing presentation coverage on Bike Portland. The author of the Core post doesn’t elaborate much, but he states that he doesn’t believe that the Coasting concept will actually get more people onto bikes. I disagree; as I have said before, I believe that these bikes will succeed in introducing new people to the simple joy of riding a bike as an adult. Many of the comments to the Bike Portland post that the Core post references came from people who are already very interested in bicycles. In general, people who comb the internet for bike content are not really the target market for Coasting bikes like the Lime. Don’t get me wrong, some of the commenters brought up valid points, but other comments reflect a general bias against bikes that deviate from the cycling community’s accepted norm. One thing is for sure; cyclists have very strong opinions about bikes and bike design. Sometimes it hard for someone who absolutely loves bicycles to put themselves in the shoes of the average person who does not ride or think about bikes at all. I think that has historically been a problem with design and marketing in the bike industry. Let’s face it; most of the people who gravitate to the industry do so because they are completely obsessed with bikes. Having a true passion for the products that one produces is a great, but sometimes it is good to get an outsider’s perspective. I am pretty sure that Shimano realized that when they teamed up with IDEO on this project. Do I think that Coasting is a perfect concept that will get everyone in the world on a bicycle? Of course not. Still, I see it as another step in the right direction for Shimano and the industry as a whole.
Finally, here is a link that has nothing to do with Core77. Bicycle Design guest contributor Michael Downes has a new blog to chronicle the progress of his latest project, the Portland Bicycle Barometer. Check it out. While you are at it, if you haven’t already seen Michael’s photo blog, you should take a look at that one as well. Have a great weekend everybody.