Video: 77designz Goes Back to the Drawing Board After Their Prototype Bike Fails Lab Testing

Oct 4, 2019
by Giacomo Großehagenbrock  


In the previous episode of "WE DEVELOP A BIKE FRAME" we were at the EFBE lab, where we learned that our chain stays are unfortunately not durable enough yet. As life plays, when it gets hard, it gets pretty damn hard. And so for us, within the same week, we received a friendly email informing us that our design would infringe an existing patent.

Of course, the week was over, but instead of giving up, we just looked at the whole design again. Both of us had carried the idea that we could have been even bolder when designing the anti-squat. So we took this as a chance, remodeled the yoke and relocated the idler pulley. In this video, Giacomo takes you to his local trails to verify the more aggressive anti-squat setting. During the first ride, he can already prove that the bike potentially will become faster. Like Confucius said: "An inconvenience is an unrecognized opportunity."

Giacomo trying to verify the kinematic modifications via STRAVA

Let's explain you the changes:

The Idler Pulley will be mounted onto the Main Pivot now. This adjustment will improve the kinematics massively and allow us to move on without patent issues, at least as far as we know.

The new position of the Idler Pulley maximizes Anti-Squat (Green Graph). Bikes with High Pivot Points naturally offer excellent support under pedaling without the downside of pedal kickback when using an idler pulley to reroute the chain. But we went a bit further and optimized the Anti Squat throughout the gears and travel to achieve what we believe is perfection. Plenty of support when climbing but no Pedal-Kickback in DH gears! Aha, the 4-Bar XYZ bike we use for comparison is the top model of a big bike brand from Switzerland, which we consider one of the best you can buy.

High Pivot Bikes don´t need as much Pedal-Kickback, so the Pedal-Kickback remains very low in comparison to traditional bikes. You can not recognize the Pedal-Kickback in Medium and DH Gears. Most important is what happens after the SAG Zone, and our Graph remains almost vertical from here. We achieve this through the dropping Anti-Squat curve. We did not want to throw to many graphics on you. But if you need to know it: 34/10 results in -2° Pedal Kick-Back, that means total freedom for your rear suspension. 34/50 results in 19° Pedal Kick-Back and 140% Anti-Squat in SAG Zone; this makes the Kavenz feel like an XC Bike.

What happens next?

In real-time we are already welding the chainstays, and if all goes smoothly from here, we will knock the doors of EFBE again in a few weeks.
In case of success, we expect to be ready to accept first orders in early November and deliver the first frames in early spring 2020.

The frame builder Ingo welding the redesigned Chainstays

If the nerd talk is not yours, watch this:


We also created a website where we gather all of the information about the bike frame and the project. If you are in the game for a faster bike -> https://vhp16.kavenz.de/landing-page

Posted In:
Videos 77designz



72 Comments

  • 61 1
 Its great to see the updates and transparency of you guys developing the frame - look forward to seeing the finished article.

This is just what you want to see from a small company developing a frame, not just a pretty CAD picture, some colourful T-Shirts and a crowd-fund before one has ever been made or had any testing done in the slightest.

Interesting that there was a patent on the idler - was it on the idler position alone?
  • 17 0
 Thanks, nice to hear you appreciate our efforts. The patent is all about the idler pulley position.
  • 3 0
 @Giacomo77: Great stuff Giacomo! I have always been super impressed by the components you make with 77designz - I might have to switch frames once this comes out! I know I've convinced at least one other Canadian rider to buy a frame when it launches! Still bummed I missed riding with you last time you were in Canada!
  • 4 25
flag WAKIdesigns (Oct 5, 2019 at 0:37) (Below Threshold)
 “Its great to see the updates and transparency of you guys developing the frame” - just wait for it to bite back. There are some shts here will root for them saying “show the big greedy companies how it’s done” only to kick the last crap out of them, use every single mishap they have shown against them. And if 77 engages in discussion trying to explain themselves, it will just get worse. Online audience is worth crap, learned that on the case of DVO. Hay yaaay! And then they released the pricing and the shits took the Uturn or rather took the polish off the turd inside
  • 16 0
 @WAKIdesigns: cool story waki.
  • 3 0
 @ratedgg13: Good to hear, chances are that I show up again in Canada. I love the country and the people, so many good memories.
  • 3 0
 @Giacomo77: Amazing work guys. Please don't give up or get disheartened!!
  • 1 0
 @Giacomo77: My thoughts exactly. These guys are going above and beyond which is hard for a small new company. I'd even venture to say I bet most big companies don't even go through this level of rigor before releasing bikes (Yeti and YT rear triangle issues come to mind)!
  • 53 0
 - "Patent infringement ? Hold my beer..." ...grabs angle grinder :-D
  • 36 0
 This is how we solve problems here ;-P
  • 4 0
 Quote of the day, my friend.
  • 1 0
 This is the beauty of metal working... And alcohol infused problem solving ????
  • 14 1
 Was the patented idler puller in a Specialized position.
  • 1 0
 Or was it the odd Trek the chain has to make up and over the chainring?
  • 5 0
 Thumbs up to your work guys. Reminds me a little of when the K9 bike was being developed. They had a plate for the idler position and moved things around that plate to get the best performance during testing.
  • 2 0
 my sons on a k9, cracking frame.. even takes 27.5 wheels on long setting..
  • 12 9
 Are you kidding @Giacomo77? What a desperate company would patent placement of idler pulley on main frame near mainpivot? What is there to patent and protect? This has been studied and used for decades, what a loser needs to patent it for himself?
  • 10 0
 I wouldn't think its that's simple - there are a few other high-pivot idler designs but who knows, the bike industry is that petty. What I wasn't aware of though - companies will file as many patents as possible as there are apparently tax-breaks for doing so.
  • 12 0
 Companies don't have to win patent claims in court when the majority of the times all they need to do is threaten small companies with legal action. It's often not about being right or wrong but having the resources to prove it.
  • 5 9
flag kleinblake (Oct 4, 2019 at 8:19) (Below Threshold)
 @justanotherusername: Patents suck
  • 27 1
 As a product design engineer, patent trolls ought not to live. However, there are many good reasons to not have the idler on the main pivot. Given that the original designer did the work, solved the math, and then spent the money to protect their design, it seems totally fair that they would be able to make some money on their work an not have everybody instantly copy an original and good design. If everybody could copy everything instantly there would be much less incentive to create new designs. We would end up with less good engineering and more good marketing.
  • 10 4
 @aelazenby: That is just called doing engineering. Just because you do your due diligence as a designer and use kinematics to design your bike suspension intelligently, doesn't mean you have invented something new and original that is worthy of a patent. If you are going to grant a patent for this, you should be able to patent any slightly different placement of any pivot, idler position, etc that is slightly different that one anyone has used before, claiming this somehow makes a four-bar linkage 'unique' in some way. Why not pattent a particular leverage ration for wheel to shock travel while we're at it. Patent law in the US is garbage, and honestly I don't see how any four part linkage suspension systems, whether it be DW-Link, VPP, Horst Link, etc, ever held up. There were short-link 4 bar suspension bikes before DW-Link in the same basic mechanical configuration (Karpiel). So, he patented what, the mathematical kinematics? But apparently there is a 'range' of kinematics that can be considered DW-Link and protected by this patent? Because he has many different versions of DW-Link which apparently behave and are tuned differently. How big of a mathematical kinematic range are you allowed to patent, on a long-standing, basic, 4-bar linkage design, for a mechanical design that is in no way unique or original? It seems absolutely insane. At patenting this idler position is even more insane. I think that a lot of these patent applications are mostly for marketing purposes. If they can label their design as 'Patent pending' even if they never end up getting a patent granted, they hope it will give their bike aura of uniqueness or exclusivity, and convince the customer to buy their product over another company's. However, in reality, there is no significant or demonstrable advantage, or even difference, compared to other high-pivot, idler designs.
  • 4 0
 @aelazenby: we would have never thought that we infringed any patent and we came up with the solution all alone. The patent was just open enough described to include our design. Otherwise I would totally agree with you . Also we would have accepted to pay the patent fees if we wouldn't have learned that the new kinematics are even better.
  • 1 0
 @Giacomo77: come on @Giacomo77. How much time and private resources have you spent on your project and you would be willing to pay for such a ridiculous think like a license for idler on mainframe?
  • 2 0
 @fluider: We claim uncompromised performance for the Bike, so I could not have compromised the performance just to avoid some license fees. Fortunately, the Idler position as described in the patent was not vital to the performance and we could even improve it by relocating the idler pulley position.
  • 3 0
 ATK motorcycles used a similar system. Their system used idler pulleys on the top and bottom of the swingarm. it created a parallel chain line from the pulleys to the rear sprocket. it worked good to keep the back wheel planted but 400cc of 2-stroke power caused the pulley to wear out quickly.
  • 5 0
 Can't you just make us a Honda rno1, and call it hongda nro2???..

Please...
  • 3 0
 I'm working on it!
  • 1 3
 @sewer-rat: but obsolete geometry and wheelsize...
  • 7 0
 @qreative-bicycle: I’m confused, last time I checked 27.5 wasn’t obsolete and how’s geo obsolete on a dh bike nowadays?? The only thing that’s changed slightly over the years is reach and if that’s the case size up Facepalm
  • 4 0
 @sewer-rat: where you get one these puppies?
  • 3 0
 @mtbmaniatv: unfortunately second hand only now, business folded recently, he only made a few
  • 1 0
 @mtbmaniatv: Empire is LEGIT. Pick one up if u see it in the classifieds.
  • 1 0
 @cuban-b:
I’ll keep an eye out thanks guys that thing is rad
  • 1 0
 @sewer-rat: 435mm reach for XL, 360mm BB height and 710mm standover are outdated yes.
If it's trendy enough it would be still sold out of Czech Republic empire-cycles.cz
No 29er option tho, even the MX6...
  • 5 0
 The song in the video sounds like Nickelback if they’d come out in the 80’s.
  • 2 0
 IM A HURRRRICANE
  • 1 0
 The BMW guys (Doc) designed a mini ethirteen looking guide for their top cog , right side, to keep the chain on. They came out with it first so ethirteen and them decided to let it ride. Did wonders and never dropped a chain if you were lucky enough to get one, I did!
  • 1 0
 @Giacomo77 "In case of success, we expect to be ready to accept first orders in early November and deliver the first frames in early spring 2020." Sounds a bit too optimistic no ? You have a so far untested design and you expect delivering bikes in 5 months already ?

Lab testing in one thing but I would expect a bike that has also been tested in the gnarliest trails in the world for a few months before coming to sale. I know in 2019 some decide to rush things out and consider early customers to be really beta testers but I am not sure it is the best way to promote a new brand.
  • 5 0
 Well we are out testing in the field since June 2018. Taking our time trying to get everything dialed before launch. 5 month delivery time is not exactly optimistic it's more realistic and based on a well organized schedule. We also calculate some margin for delays but yes things can have delay and there is no guarantee. There is just us and our suppliers trying to deliver the best possible product on time.
  • 3 0
 Great to follow along and see the continuing updates. Thanks again for adding the English sub-titles.
  • 1 1
 Kinda disappointing to see all these new suspension designs when Live Valve was supposed to obviate a lot of the concerns addressed by them. But I guess Live Valve is still way too expensive to implement on all but the priciest bikes?
  • 7 1
 Or live valve is only a basic shock with lockout with an electric gimmick to make it looks good?
  • 11 0
 I always found it more appealing to solve problems mechanically. And that's what we do here we don't need electronic assistance to get the bike dialed.
  • 1 0
 Changing the kinematics of the bike can do way way more for the overall performance of the suspension than live valve can.
  • 1 0
 Just find some random “Benifit” to the idler position like it sounds more consistent or something and state that as your reason for putting it there.
Patent issues avoided, worked on the rallon...
  • 2 0
 Congrats @Giacomo77 ! Totally missed out on the part where CAD design materiialised to full production. Hang in there, can’t wait to see finished and updated product!
  • 1 0
 Thanks glad you enjoy the process!
  • 1 0
 So you have a patent on the pulley being on the swingarm pivot? So the bike I built last year with the pulley in the high pivot will be against your patent?
How can you do that when lots of bikes before you have done it?
  • 1 0
 Just takes one inventive step different on a patent, but patent protection is more to do with how much money you have to protect it?
  • 3 1
 Dare I say it, it could be both ebike and normal gearbox bike with abit of clever engineering
  • 8 0
 That is indeed one of the hidden beauties about the design. Also, the freedom to customize the frontend as there is no shock mount or such thing to bother. We are not in the E-bike business though, but gearbox might become a thing one day, so it´s good to have the right platform.
  • 3 0
 Thumbs up! I really like this. Wish you good luck with your project
  • 1 1
 is a würdig und recht so.... entwicklung eines rahmens is ned afoch okupfern und was zampfuschen... es is viel arbeit und viel testen und prüfen... und weiter entwickeln... yay! wird a geiler hobel!
  • 1 2
 I do think the test only showed that they can give it a good destruction test, but how long after welding was the frame tested as Aluminium alloys age harden over time after welding?
Also try heat treating finished parts as you will get better strength result?
Or just blame the welder?
  • 1 0
 Do you not think they will have thought about a simple, vital aspect such as heat treatment if they are capable of the design, engineering and manufacture of the frame?

It will have been heat treated, they won’t be age hardening an alloy bike frame, expect the obvious is covered.
  • 3 0
 @justanotherusername: you got it, this is not the first frame we design, and we know what we are doing the frame is stress relieved and artificially aged by T6 heat treatment.
  • 1 1
 @justanotherusername: Why then post information showing that frame can be broken, around welding, yes it is good to know what forces will cause cracks, But Specialized did not publish information saying that if you run your bike with worn bearings you will bend or break your seatstays ?
  • 1 1
 @aljoburr: Where does it say that the frames failure had anything to do with welding? What on earth are you on about?

All I read is that they are saying they tested the frame, it failed, so they have re-designed / welded new chainstays to continue testing, they are being open as its part of the development of the frame which if you see the title of the article is the whole point!

Your point about Specialized, worn bearings and broken chainstays makes no sense in any context at all.
  • 2 0
 Fun article. I enjoy this.
  • 2 0
 Does it mean it'll have to be called 78designz now
  • 2 0
 Thumbs up for Giacomo!!
  • 1 0
 besides the Canfield Jedi who else does the upper sprocket up front
  • 2 0
 GT, Cannondale, Commencal, Nirco only to mention the big guys. But they didn't apply the concept onto enduro bikes jet.
  • 1 0
 @Giacomo77:
Commençal supreme SX
craftworks enr
forbidden druid
...

And no pulley but it count imho: cavalerie anakin & blackbird
  • 1 0
 @faul: Thanks for the update!

ARBR
Dark Owl
I Track

There is a lot going on in this direction.
  • 1 0
 @Giacomo77:
After owning a Canfield Jedi, I know why some will go that route. Wink
  • 1 0
 Long live 1* hammerschmidt
  • 1 1
 Copy, get caught, slightly change , repeat
  • 1 2
 Suntour fork, Fox shock???
  • 4 0
 What about it? If it works, it works.

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