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Old 02-23-12, 11:14 PM   #1
Lennysody
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Product Design in Bike Commuting

Hello commuter enthusiasts!

I'm currently a student at UW-Stout majoring in industrial design and I'm looking to design a product that involves bike commuting. I enjoy commuting myself, but I'm looking for assistance and input from you about what in the bike-commuter world can be redesigned?
I've been thinking about designing a helmet that has modular capabilities for cooler/warmer climates (yeah I'm from WI), or a helmet with a lockable feature along with maybe some sort of testing of materials to improve comfort, weight and durability for commuters (otherwise I think a universal light mount on a helmet would be beneficial as well)... other ideas involve redesigning a bag to carry your items more efficiently when you commute along with maybe a redesigned bike rack... not sure though... any of your input would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
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Old 02-27-12, 07:39 AM   #2
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Two ideas:

Helmets that come with two sets of padded strips, one thick, one thinner. It would be nice to have a helmet with two thickness of padding, both of which would be removable. The thinner padding would be used with a helmet liner, the thicker would be used without it. I found that often times in the morning I want to use a liner, but in the evening it's not needed because it's warmer. Instead of trying to adjust the helmet straps, I could simply exchange the padding set.

A helmet with a built in mount for a rear view mirror. I use a Safe Zone mirror. It may be the best helmet mirror available except that it doesn't mount well because my helmet doesn't have that many vents. This mirror has a length of loc line, and it would be nice to have a helmet that has a loc line socket molded into the helmet's shell, so that the mirror's end piece of loc line could snap into this socket. If all my helmets had this type of molded in socket, it would be easy to interchange the mirror with the helmets.

Last edited by truthseeker14; 02-27-12 at 07:49 AM. Reason: accidentally hit post before finishing.
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Old 02-27-12, 07:52 AM   #3
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helmet rain-cover with a 'to see by' light included..
currently there are lights to strap, only, onto bare helmets,

+ given dark and rainy occur together , the other 2 should be paired,
also, the cover reflective.

the helmet shell could also be made to reflect light, without adding tape on top.
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Old 02-27-12, 08:11 AM   #4
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On another thread I was looking for a frame bag, large enough for a change of clothes, with a quick disconnect and designed with retractable or hidden straps so that you could also carry it as a backpack. I was also imagining clips on the inside at the top to hold folded clothes vertically. "Bike-packers" sometimes make their own, but I haven't seen any with the quick-connect, clips or backpack strap features. I think it would be useful.

edited to add: another idea I've been mulling over is more speculative and difficult. We're all concerned about what's coming up behind us, and almost all bicycle commuters work out some way of coping with it, various mirrors, listening, frequent glances etc. We still get caught off-guard sometimes. The simple idea: a mass-motion detector which can discriminate, say, a car-sized mass which is also approaching from behind, and at minimum just fire off an idiot light on the handlebars. Make it adjustable to detect down to motorcycle or bicycle size, and perhaps fine tune the directionality (back left, vs a conic area directly behind etc)

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Old 02-27-12, 09:00 AM   #5
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I own a Bell Metro, which was a "commuter-specific" helmet. Mine is blaze orange, and the helmet comes with reflective trim on the helmet and the strap. Bell sold accessories---a folding visor mirror, a snap-on rain cover, and a winter kit. I have the mirror and cover, and have no complaints. Well, the cover does take a bit of effort to install when new, but after it stretched I can attach is in less than a minute. Not fast, but it's a clean installation. It was the first helmet(I think) to introduce the blinkie strap.

The helmet is now discontinued. Bell has another commuter helmet, the Muni, but it's not a helmet system like the Metro was. I remember seeing the Metro sold as just a helmet, or complete with the accessories. I don't think the helmet sold well. It was competitively priced with roadie and MTB helmets, and got good reviews, but the market rejected it.

Makes me wonder if the commuter market is so small it's not worth companies to design commuter specific helmets.

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Old 02-28-12, 07:21 AM   #6
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Here is a picture of a backpack that was modified to make reflective. The pack had a mesh pocket, and my wife took some material from my reflective vest (cheap one from walmart) and sewed it on to completely cover the mesh pocket. She did it in such a way so the pocket was still usable. However, when people look at it, they say it looks like I have some underwear sewed onto it. Something a little less funny looking would be nice. I also took strips of the silver reflective fabric from the vest and glued (contact cement) them to the shoulder straps to make me more visible from the front.

Also, you'll see that there is a blinky light clipped onto the mesh pocket. I ride with drop handlebars, so when I have this backpack on, the light is facing upwards, not straight back, so it's not as useful for being seen. A backpack that had a mounting apparatus for a light would be nice. Also it should allow the rider to adjust how far high or low the light is attached depending on the rider's preferred position/angle of his back when riding e.g., upright, in the drops or somewhere in between. This would allow the light to shine straight back rather than up or down.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg backpack.jpg (97.2 KB, 18 views)

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Old 03-05-12, 08:31 AM   #7
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Thank you for all your valuable input! This gives me some good feedback for the basis of my research- I'm going to be heading in the commuter helmet region and hoping to "pick my battles" as far as which areas I'm going to focus on. Any extra input would appreciated and thank you again!
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Old 03-05-12, 09:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Any extra input would appreciated and thank you again!
Removable faceplate. Durable and convenient adjustment strap, inserts for stackable layers: breathable fabric, waterproof layer, wool layer, balaclava. Built in weather radio (or wireless internet alerts?). And how about a mirror on a swing arm which folds back flat and invisible if you don't want it out there?
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Old 03-05-12, 10:13 AM   #9
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A helmet with built in LED light strips and battery. AAA battery powered. Flashing white around the front and red around the back and a steady mode. Nothing bright, but something that will attract attention of motorists. Easy on/off switch for wearing gloves. Maybe an aftermarket kit that you can attach yourself would work better, since helmet fit varies. Cheap ($5-10), lightweight, waterproof and reliable.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:22 PM   #10
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You Flying to Taipei's bike Trade show to find production of this thing?
how are you financing this production?
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Old 03-05-12, 12:46 PM   #11
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A builtin mini-alarm horn w/ companion button that you can place anywhere on the handlebar, assuming there's horns that can go loud enough in a small package.
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Old 03-05-12, 12:54 PM   #12
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Lights on the pedals. They could be built in at the factory or an after purchase add on. I can see many possibilities. The crank arms are another possibility.

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Old 03-05-12, 05:12 PM   #13
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You Flying to Taipei's bike Trade show to find production of this thing?
how are you financing this production?
Unfortunetly I'm only a student and it'll be a model probably rendered on a computer and probably a physical model made from either foam or if I have the mean get it molded with eps (not sure if that's what i want to use)--still in a heavy research phase
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Old 03-05-12, 05:18 PM   #14
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going here and having this forum be "research" seems commonplace..
but its warmer to be indoors than doing 'Man OnThe Street' Interviews
in the Wisconsin Winter.


FWIW NB: self lighting pedals are already for sale ..

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Old 03-05-12, 05:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by truthseeker14 View Post
Two ideas:

Helmets that come with two sets of padded strips, one thick, one thinner. It would be nice to have a helmet with two thickness of padding, both of which would be removable. The thinner padding would be used with a helmet liner, the thicker would be used without it. I found that often times in the morning I want to use a liner, but in the evening it's not needed because it's warmer. Instead of trying to adjust the helmet straps, I could simply exchange the padding set.

A helmet with a built in mount for a rear view mirror.
Quote:
I use a Safe Zone mirror. It may be the best helmet mirror available except
that it doesn't mount well because my helmet doesn't have that many vents.
This mirror has a length of loc line, and it would be nice to have a helmet that has a loc line socket molded into the helmet's shell, so that the mirror's end piece of loc line could snap into this socket. If all my helmets had this type of molded in socket, it would be easy to interchange the mirror with the helmets.
I think it's poor that companies/manufacturers have to result in using zip ties as a means to attach their product. I'd like to make a mount or at least an area specialized for consumers that utilize the rearview mirror. as for that safe Zone mirror.. cool design/poor mount
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Old 03-05-12, 05:34 PM   #16
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Used to be a Visor for motorcycle helmets molded with a place to glue a mirror on .
but the mirror was fixed.. you moved your head to see behind you.

Old people's eyes don't focus close any more , so that makes a nearby mirror
tough to use.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:34 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Quote:
going here and having this forum be "research" seems commonplace..
but its warmer to be indoors than doing 'Man OnThe Street' Interviews
in the Wisconsin Winter.


FWIW NB: self lighting pedals are already for sale ..
Well I would like to think that asking commuters outside of Wisconsin/tiny college life it pretty unbiased... what's more valuable than real testimonies? Don't fret, I've checked out a few terrible books at the library that date back to the 90s... I feel that these forums are quite unbiased and users wont be so hung up on corperate loyalty...
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Old 03-05-12, 05:37 PM   #18
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You can do an Online visit to the US Patent office , to see if that Idea
is already on the books.

Reprints of the japanese "Data Book" are not too terrible, lots of 'new' things
have a habit of being made before ... in like in 1946 ..

Last edited by fietsbob; 03-05-12 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 03-05-12, 05:43 PM   #19
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You can do an Online visit to the US Patent office , to see if that Idea
is already on the books.

Reprints of the japanese "Data Book" are not too terrible, lots of 'new' things
have a habit of being made before ... in like in 1946 ..
Good call--- if it's been patented it would be quite a shame that it hasn't been put into use already
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Old 03-05-12, 05:50 PM   #20
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Tires that don't go flat.
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Old 03-05-12, 06:02 PM   #21
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Smart modular bike bags. Products are interchangeable and/or have the ability to integrate with one another. Quick release hardware that allows universal mounting across a range of products.

- Saddle bag A has the ability to latch onto Saddle bag B to expand carry capacity.
- Roll bag A can attach itself to either Saddle bag A, B, or C.
- Rain cover A can be used universally with Saddle bag A, B, or C
- Backpack A can attach to mounting hardware for Saddle Bag A, B, or C.
- Roll bag A can attach to Backpack A to form a type of roll top bag expanding capacity.

Might be a horrible idea, but I always find myself hating the fact that I have to go through so much trouble to change out my Carradice bag for my roll bag when I'm not using the Carradice bag.
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Old 03-05-12, 07:23 PM   #22
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A rain-proof helmet complete with lighting and camera mounts!
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Old 03-06-12, 07:46 AM   #23
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Battery light that attaches to the fork crown, or just a fork crown mount for lights meant for handlebars
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Old 03-06-12, 12:20 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan s View Post
A helmet with built in LED light strips and battery. AAA battery powered. Flashing white around the front and red around the back and a steady mode. Nothing bright, but something that will attract attention of motorists. Easy on/off switch for wearing gloves. Maybe an aftermarket kit that you can attach yourself would work better, since helmet fit varies. Cheap ($5-10), lightweight, waterproof and reliable.
I think you just described the Bell Muni...
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Old 03-06-12, 12:50 PM   #25
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I think you just described the Bell Muni...
There you go, OP. Bell has done the market research, so there must be some demand. Find a way to do it cheaper and better. An aftermarket solution would probably work to differentiate your product.
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