Bicycle design: creativity and innovation

Roy, Robin and Tovey, Michael (2012). Bicycle design: creativity and innovation. In: Tovey, Michael ed. Design for Transport: A User-Centred Approach to Vehicle Design and Travel. Farnham UK: Gower, pp. 167–200.



For the designer the challenge of designing a bicycle represents what could be regarded as the complete design problem. It represents by its very nature a close integration of user needs, abilities and characteristics, with technology. As the user is the source of power, there is a much closer synthesis of user-centred ergonomics and engineering design than is the case in the design of most transport devices. And as the complete bicycle, its components and mechanisms are usually all on view; form, materials, colours and image also play a crucial part in the success of these products.

Because of its character as a very particular and complete form of design, encompassing and synthesising these areas, the design of bicycles provides an excellent opportunity to identify a range of design techniques and approaches. This chapter includes case studies that identify and illustrate the techniques employed by five creative inventor/designers as they have framed the bicycle design problem and generated solutions. Most importantly the eventual confirmation of the design process has been in the form of a successful product, as a bicycle or component proved by adoption and use.

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