As my thesis project for Industrial Design, I decided to design and develop the best downhill frame ever made in Chile, by combining various rider's experiences with my own into sophisticated technologies software adopted from the aerospace industry. Inside you'll find a lot of information on my Industrial Design Thesis Project.
Editor's note - English is not Maximilian's first language, so please take this into consideration when reading his story about the creation of his bike. Enjoy the article.
I'm Maximilian-Peter Werner, a Chilean-German Industrial design Student.
I live with my girlfriend, what that means is that I have to do a lot with a low budget to survive, but god provides and I'm not dying of hunger hehe.
Since childhood I had my big passion were the military airplanes, and all the higher techology involved in the aeronautic world. Riding on bikes became a hobby when I was 12 with my first bike, and when I turned 15 I got introduced with Downhill & Freeride mountain biking which became my second passion until now.
As my thesis project I started thinking about developing something that I like, in a field that I should be familiar with, so I started thinking about Military Airplanes & bikes. Even as a thesis project, an airplane would be too complex of a project and impossible to create unless my dad was Donald Trump or Richard Branson, but because that is not the case, designing a bike would be a much realistic and possible thesis project for me.
Thinking on what to do to innovate on the design, I started looking for ideas. But what can you do to innovate on in this world of single pivots, VPP's, 4links etc?
Then airplanes came to my mind again! Jet fighters are normally associated to the top of the higher technologies, and in the other hand, who never wanted to fly one of those? Then I started thinking about those technologies, features, materials and sensations you find in a jet fighter and how to bring them to a downhill bike. With that Philosophy, I started working on the design board, the frame I was designing had to be simple, light as possible, strong and efficient.Design evolution from the first ideas (Bike 001 & Bike 002) till the latest proposal (DA-3 Block 50)
Manufacturing a single frame for my own racing would not be as big of a deal as the thesis project would become. As a Thesis project for my industrial design career, I have not just to develop, design and build a product, I also have to develop a brand, and depending on the project, virtually and for real a company, company that could last as long as the thesis project is evaluated, to die with the graduation of the student, or to be a success, beyond the thesis project final evaluation, becoming a tool for the new professional designer, to succeed in the life with his own biz.
I believe on the second alternative, because extreme mountain biking is a phenomenon that is growing exponentially every single year in the whole world. In Chile there is just one brand that has its own designs and handmade production, but is orientated to the lower budget riders. Although I think this producer is like the Robin Hood of bike brands in Chile cause he gives the poor frames with characteristics that allow poor riders to practice Downhill with dignity, I think that in the region (and I mean all Latin America) the local handmade, artisan frames are less appreciated by riders. Come on! Most of the best products in the market are handmade, as Ferrari, Harley Davidson, Rolls Royce etc.
Of course in some processes are used last generation technologies. That's exactly what I want to do for my thesis project, in a first stage develop, and to be the first one in Latin America to develop a HI-TECH DH frame, with features improved also by first time in the region, such as dual-chain transmission, to eliminate the pedaling-suspension interference, and the protection of all the vulnerable transmission system, all without using an expensive and heavier g-boxx system and the incorporation of technologies adopted from the aerospace industry.
In the Marketing aspect, the Frames will have a Brand, that will Be NORLAND CYCLES and this brand will have initially two strategic markets. On one hand to be the choice for the Chilean elite riders, that are not sponsored yet, making frames not as cheap as the existent Chilean brand, but affordable for the private racer.
On the other hand the European and North American Market, that gave me the inspiration to call my brand Norland, where riders with bigger budgets that can afford a more expensive but specific taylor made frame. In fact the whole project has been seen already by a German DH club with Headquarters in Berlin ( www.downhillberlin.de
) producing much interest on them, that they offered to build my first prototype and two more for the club, with zero cost for me, to have simultaneous prototype tests in Chile as in Germany.
Another authority got interested on support with recommendation letters that are necessary in this thesis project, such as some congress members, the national technological development department, important designers, as for example, Carlos Hinrichsen who is the President of ICSID, the world association of industrial designers with Offices in Canada, Germany and Korea, and of course Sponsors who collaborate with goods. My actual sponsors are
-Elka Suspension from Canada, who will support my Project with one of their Stage 5 Rear shocks.
-Racooz Software from Hungary, with their full suspension frames analysis software Linkage
-Army Bikes From Perú, that offered to build one prototype in cromoly.
You can also visit in Facebook, My Thesis Project group, you have to look for Norland Cycles Project and check how many people From Chile, Canada, Germany and Scandinavian countries got interested.
It would be great to add more sponsor support to this project, I could introduce Chilean, Scandinavian and German riders to your products on the Demo-Tour around America and Europe for 2011. For the moment, I'm going to most of DH races that are not too far from me, including the Valparaiso Cerro Abajo Urban DH RaceAmmendings to the original designs and variants came by hundreds.
Nowadays my bigger challenge (to not say problem) on this project is to find the right design to make a frame with 203 mm travel (8") Using a 241.3 mm rear shock (kindfully donated by Elka suspension) so it's a frame with a 2.7:1 ratio. Finding the right position of the pivot, shock eyes and angles, seems to be easy, but is a real brain cracker process. After hours, days and weeks of working with Rhinoceros 3d & Linkage softwares, I found the right design for the single pivot style suspension, and I started working on finishing the newer design.
Now comes the part where I must re-design the double chain II system and place it on the Stealth frame in a harmonic way that will not hit the crank arms or chains will not rub each other. Lots to do, but for that, I've been studying for 4 years.
I hope all of you will get interested with my story and also I hope you will follow this story, that if god wants and everything works out will end with tomorrow's generation DH & FR frame and with a new Brand in the Extreme Mountain bike Market. The next step after having the definitive design done will be to send the plans to the construction team in Germany, that will take about month or two in the worst case to build the aluminum sub-frame. Then they will send me the frame to Chile where I'll make the aerospace materials skin, that will give the strength desired by everyone without rising the weight, being even lighter than thicker wall aluminum used on DH frames.
Well that's the theory, and hypothesis I want to prove on my thesis project.
See you all on the next release of the Norland Cycles Project.
For the moment I'll leave you with a review of all the proposals that passed on the Norland Cycles Project Design Board from the begining till now.Coming Up soon
-Aerospace materials test & comparison with another materials
-The delivery of plans to the construction team in Germany
BREAKING NEWS!!! - - - BREAKING NEWS!!! - - - BREAKING NEWS!!!
The first part of the story of my project (Task, first proposals and real scale model) was published in the bike magazine from Spain: El Mundo De la Mountainbike