Comments on: Zoomla folding bike The blog about industrial design in the bike industry Fri, 03 Jul 2015 01:27:56 +0000 hourly 1 By: Stevbike Thu, 08 Oct 2009 15:09:10 +0000 I looked at this bike design. I found it interesting to look at. I find that some of these concept bikes do not look like they are really look like they are too practical in the real world. I designed this little bike that has been used in the real world. It is called the Mini Max, a one off recumbent mini bike to be used by an adult rider It rides nice using standard bike parts that are used right now. It was designed 11 years ago. This is my answer the dream like concept bikes I have seen. This one is built and in use.

By: Strida Tue, 12 May 2009 05:56:00 +0000 Great Blog with very good posts .Can you please tell me that how much time you take to create this wonderful blog,although i am new on internet but your work is very good and i appreciate your work.

By: Easy Tiger Fri, 01 May 2009 06:17:00 +0000 What a Zoomlahrific ergonomic disaster area. Why do Industrial Designers CONSTANTLY give themselves a bad name by playing with pretty shapes and calling it design? Seriously, it’s making us all look really, really stupid. Actually stupid is the wrong word, SUPERFICIAL is the word I’m looking for, like we’re too busy fluffing the marketing and managers egos than designing proper, functioning, good looking, smart products.

By: gsport george Tue, 21 Apr 2009 23:36:00 +0000 The Dahon hinge works accross the axis of maximum stress, this hinge would need to work under forces that were constantly trying to fold it up. I think that is a very significant difference.

The cable steering doesnt worry me that seems eminently doable and was what was on the X-bike. I have just about finished building (test ridden the basic skeleton and just need to build the “box) a “long john”/bakefits type cago bike and the steering linkage is virtualy un-noticable, in-fact there is a slight play in the rod-end joints and a cable system might well work better from this point of view.

What happened to “form follow function”?

Many of the most aesthetically pleasing things are very utilitarian pieces of engineering-design, arguably the ipod is constrained by the engineering (screens need to be flat (currently), batteries tend to be flat, circuit boards are flat, peoples hands like holding curved edges etc etc) not much is left to non-engineering design or styling. The strength is largely in the interface, and surely that is largely software-engineering?

The Zoomla is clearly a piece of engineering first and a piece of “industrial design” second? The aim is to make it fit in a locker, be transportable with and integrate with public and other transport, to be fun etc etc. I would call these parts of an engineering specification…

Essentially I guess I am saying that you cannot say “forget the engineering for now” because what you start with IS engineering and you cant put the “styling” in a vacuum…

To me the word “design” is far more related to engineering design than it is the sculptural design of a shell who’s form will always be largely dictated by the function..


By: James Tue, 21 Apr 2009 21:37:00 +0000 Ron, I don’t disagree that is important to learn form the past. That is not at all what I meant. Using bikes as an example though, I can point to many ideas that “failed” a long time ago, but have become commonplace in recent years. Clipless pedals, indexed shifting, full suspension- those are just a few examples of ideas that were not commercially successful until many years (nearly 100 in some cases) after they were first introduced. If you are interested, you can read an old post on that subject here.

So yeah, while I agree that it is important to learn from history, I think it is also important to keep an open mind throughout the development process. The distinction between aesthetic and functional concerns is not as clear-cut as you seem to indicate. The best solutions take both into consideration, but it takes work to get to that point. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many products on the market that may be functionally passable, but are not user friendly or aesthetically pleasing. Think of the success of the iPod. Many other MP3 players may be functionally equivalent, but Apple has a cult following because they have created a better user experience. Engineering is important and nobody is denying that, but it takes more than engineering to create a successful product.

By: Ron Tue, 21 Apr 2009 21:10:00 +0000 James : About past designs failing, there’s a reason engineers are wary of that. Your biggest mistake would be not to learn from history. The standard bicycle design, well over 100 years old, shows elegance of strength, light weight and durability. Today and pretty unfortunately, a lot of stuff
gets changed for visual impact without any functional improvement. They also introduce more problems than they seek to solve. In the end, one will wonder a couple of things – What was the real value of this design exercise and of the end product? And, did the designers ever do some research in past bicycle designs, or even ride one for that matter in their life. No offense to your blog.

By: James Tue, 21 Apr 2009 15:42:00 +0000 Ron, it is not about design vs. engineering at all. It is about understanding the need for collaboration in order to compete successfully in the marketplace. As I already said, I have been lucky enough to work with many very talented engineers in my career and have learned a lot from each of them. I have also worked with a couple of engineers who wanted to show off their knowledge by trying to kill every slightly different idea before giving it a chance. In almost every case, those latter engineers tried to cite an example of a previous idea that failed as their justification for not even considering something new. In general, those engineers, who seemed to have something to prove, were not the best in their field and didn’t last long in their positions.

Anyway, it sounds like we disagree about the value (and the definition) of industrial design. I don’t have time to really elaborate right now, but I do think you are greatly oversimplifying the idea of early stage conceptual design with this comment. That is fine though…if it drives you nuts, maybe this isn’t the blog for you.

By: Ron Tue, 21 Apr 2009 14:59:00 +0000 James : I don’t want to start a design vs engineering rant. How different they both from each other in the real world is moot. However, what gets me are the bicycle designs out there that are nothing but fancy artwork, and a lot of details of how its going to work and whether it will be practical is just wishy washy. In this regard, I can say that engineering has some more substance to it as the proposals have definitive details to it. However, the sort of erratic behavior we see today from design artists sitting in front of computers with nothing better to do but draw fancy cartoons in the name of “better bicycle designs” are sure to drive anyone educated in the traditional sciences nuts.

By: human_Amp Tue, 21 Apr 2009 11:20:00 +0000 Good post James, well done Erik and fascinating comments. I too like the Zoomla, Tike.E and your inspiring site Erik, well done.

I’ve just caught up on several blogs, and comments. It is interesting to read the comments about the segway Puma (engineering test rig mule) and the comments about Zoomla, and various Trikes, velomobiles and bike alternatives (even Torkels) which are more aesthetic concepts.

The comments could be matched and so self cancelling :-) several commenter’s talked about the ugliness and image of the PUMA, and several about the engineering and performance challenges the visual concepts need.

It is easy to get entrenched at either end of the ‘design continuum’ .. with pure engineering design at one extreme (Jet engines etc, where image has no place) and say fountain design at the other where the image and aethetics is all. BUT most products lie within this range of design, I don’t even like the terms ID (Industrial design) and ED (engineering design), its ALL ‘just’ design !

In fact over the years having a foot in each ‘camp’ has shown up prejudices a few times: , i’ve been called a ‘felt tip fairy’ by a group of engineers, and a ‘dirty finger nailed nerd’ by a group of designers :-).

There is obviously huge overlap, and in most cases this gives a BIG respect between engineers and designers, where either can see the limitations of their training and experience, but equally recognize the importance of the other – aesthetic and human centred design is clearly often THE differentiator amongst products with similar engineering specs. This is true, even (and some would say especially !) in the bicycle business – but I would expect to be flamed for this comment here 😉 .. Mark

By: Eric Tue, 21 Apr 2009 02:59:00 +0000 Thanks for the comments guys…Dahon and many others build folding bikes with a single main tube that has a hinge joint in the center. ALL of the structural integrity depends on that single hinge joint. Dahon bas been building them for years, so I think it’s not too big a stretch to engineer the Zoomla for a single pivot. The bigger challenge to me is the remote steering required to eliminate the steering tube. Cargo bikes like this ( it using tie rods, but I think some kind of cable or belt system could also work. This is just a design concept intended to generate discussion..I think there have been some really good comments and debate.