there is a high demand on innovation in this economically ever growing world. even for products as old as the bicycle. but design is about meaningful innovation. therefore roland kaufmann thought in his master thesis at GP about a meaningful innovation on bicycles and kicked this object to the next level of evolution. this is about the dual bike JANO, a bicycle built for lively and spirited biking, for fitness or simply for the daily ride to the office.
the motivation: to use wood as central material for the dual bike
roland was always fascinated by mobility through physical strength and, due to the fact that he didn't work with wood during his study, he wanted to develop something made of wood.
he was inspired by the production of wooden kayaks: wooden boat building is too labour intensive to compete in pricing with plastic or fibreglass products. so industry created new ways to use wood.
did you know that wood is up to 10 times stiffer than fibreglass and nearly 6 times stiffer than a kevlar/epoxy composite? using wood and epoxy industry created some of the world's best multi-hulled sailboats, sprint kayaks and rowing shells. lightweights. quicker in acceleration. easier in manoeuvring. more convenient to carry. straightforward to maintain and visually divine. a swan among ducks. so why not also using this material for a bike?
low-tech wood in composites can already be found in the world of sports, strengthened by high-tech fibres to resist the strain and the intense flex caused by tough treatment during sporting activities.
by using veneer we can warp wood in three dimensions and by picking the right shape we can improve stability and still reduce thickness up to 45%. after moulding the wood into the desired form, the individual parts are glued together. for the first time wood is able to achieve the appearance of deep-drawn plastics or sheet metal.
research discovered that wood used for bicycles has the ability to absorb bumps and road noise like carbon fibre and has the feel and responsiveness of steel. there is enough lateral stiffness to provide a controlled and responsive ride. therefore wood can provide a unique riding experience.
who will use the dual bike? thoughts on the target market
most of us daily cyclists are not athletes. and most of us do not want to become one either. but we all however enjoy moving under our own steam, the thrill of riding through narrow alleys and also the serene cruise down a country road. we all want more. we all need an ultimate all-round bike.
but where to find it? there are mountain bikes and race bikes for the enduring sportsman, trekking bikes for the committed ones, city bikes for the inconstant, but there is no bike for the average every day cyclist, for people who use the bike as primary means of transportation, to go to work, carry a snack with them, a mobile phone and who sometimes plan a jaunt to the countryside.
the ordinary bicyclist demands a bicycle that can be used occasionally for fitness and that also fulfills the needs of every day life — he demands a dual bike.
futurologists and trend researchers found out that consumers wish to use products with emotional character, with hidden technology that can be intuitively operated. new products need to deliver a spiritual and emotional surplus. buying motives have changed. the 'feature: new' can no longer satisfy the modern customer. ›only new‹ is inadequate. customers expect simpler yet better products with the ability to contribute to their personal image.
a new market segment: the dual bike
the dual bike is intended for extensive use in the city with a multitude of other usage possibilities. on top of this it should allow both to adapt the riding quality to the customers desire as well as to specify the type and number of components used individually.
the dual bike is a new class of bicycle in the hybrid sector for advanced usage over winding tracks, rolling hills and in the metropolis of modern day life.
christoph pauschitz [supporting tutor] on the motivation of this thesis project:
another bike, what for?
iris murdoch wrote in the sixties: ›the bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man; other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish.‹ this was true in the sixties and is even more true today. richard sapper, who invented a smart foldable bicycle said that what inspires him most about bikes is that he can still ride the one of his grandfather around milan without being stigmatized as an old fashioned man. a bike is far less subject to fashion than motorbikes or cars. so it's far more meaningful to deal with another man powered two-wheeler than to waste a young designers talent on the next tank on wheels.
bike and wood
when roland kaufmann first told me about his plans involving the use of wood on a bike i was much less enthusiastic about it than roland. imagining a bike made of wood evokes pictures of the first bikes without pedals and of the not too successful attempts of young carpenters to force the issue of 'wood and bike' so far. but already in the first concepts roland expressed completely new and radical design ideas and the result is clever and meaningful. a subtle contribution to the evolution of bikes.
technical specification of JANO
- plywood frame
- maintainance free belt drive system
- hub gear shift
- low resistance hub dynamo
- frame integrated head- and rear lights [leds]
- attachable frame bag and luggage carrier
- optional mudguards
the development of the concept
after these preliminary considerations the concepts phase started — as usual with a lot of sketches. during this sketching process three different concepts emerged and were explored in detail.
concept 1 — the suspension
the first approach was to use plywood for the suspension module and to create a frame made of linear elements.
but it is almost impossible to adjust the suspension in regard to the particular needs of individual riders. therefore this solution was discarded.
concept 2 — the hybrid
to reduce visual complexity, the second version exchanged the framework between the seat tube, seat stays and chain stays with an aerial element.
concept 3 — the shell
finally the smoke cleared and the solution appeared: two symmetrical shells of plywood put together. as in most cases also here a specific keysketch ignited the [h]eureka! feeling of the designer.
the volume created between the cross bar and the down bar can be used for small luggage.
and ultimately: the dual bike is born
now that a final concept had been chosen, roland started to iron out all the details. each idea connected to this concept needed exploration and fine tuning in a similar way. the fist step 'on the ride' to the dual bike was for the frame to take shape. best way to do this is in full scale, therefore roland set to work with a method called »tape rendering«.
after several sessions of »tape rendering« he built various 1:1 models out of cardboard improving the ergonomics each time and eventually obtaining the perfect form.
once the geometry of the frame was settled and the ideal form factor was close at hand, roland built a fully operative prototype to test the riding experience — it turned heads and rocked the city.
the final touches followed: with choosing grips, brakes and pedals, as the JANO dual bike uses a belt drive instead of a chain, as well as deciding on a hub gear shift, luggage carrier, mud guards and the lights the dual bike was complete.
roland's thesis was presented with a 3d-cad model of detailing.