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N a k e d

b i k e


context Introduction p. 2 Immersion Market segmentation p. 3 until p. 5 Design keywords p. 6 Human factors package p. 7 and p. 8 Exploration Benchmarking p. 9 Definements p. 10 Personas and scenario’s p. 11 until p. 14 Development Sketches and concepts p. 15 and p. 16 Color study p. 17 Human factors package p. 18 Refinement Final design p. 19 and p. 20 Technical drawing p. 21 Unique Selling Points (USP) p. 22


My name is Bart van Driessche. I’m a third year Industrial Design student and here on exchange from the Netherlands. With this project I tried to implement my design ideas, creative thinking and problem solving with RMIT’s own design approach. This experience and project taught me to focus on cultural design trends and developments in new local contexts. The report concerns the design of an air-powered motorcycle for assigned purposes and contexts and exists out of four parts: immersion, exploration, development and refinement. These five parts cover the whole design process from segmentation of the current motorcycle market to the final design of the Airo N.


Market segmentation


Standard (or naked)

The current motorcycle market can be divided into seven main categories, based on design, geometry, riding position and intended purpose. This segmentation allowed me to focus on a specific category that would provide the best opportunities in response to the customer’s demand and future trends. The categories are: standard (or naked), sport, dual-sport, cruiser, touring, (maxi-) scooter and off-road.

- Normally 18” rear and 21” front wheels - Various types: motocross, enduro, rally raid, trail, trials and track racing - Rugged construction with little bodywork and no fairings for less damage in spills - Simpler and lighter - Long suspension travel - High ground clearance - Wheels have knobby tires - Small fuel tank

- General purpose street motorcycles - Handlebars are high enough to not force the rider to reach far forward, facing the shoulders above the hips in a natural comfortable position - Foot pegs are below the rider - No fairings or windscreens - Higher off the ground - Commuter - Agile

Clockwise, starting upper left corner: 1) Jialing - JH150GY-3, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 2) 2014 Honda CB500FA ABS Review, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 3) The 150cc Yamaha FZ - Photo #1, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 4) Racetech, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013].





- Premium surface finishes, as well as more exotic or non-traditional styling - High detailed bodywork and high usage of chrome parts - Limited cornering ability due to a lack of ground clearance - Relatively small gasoline tank - Low seating position - Thick rear wheel - The riding position places the feet forward and the hands are up relatively high

- Large-displacement bikes - A relaxed, upright seating position - Passenger accommodation is excellent - Fairings and screens that offer good weather and wind protection - Long bodywork that exceeds the rear wheel - Comfortable - Big and heavy

- Small wind-deflector fairing - A light-weight machine, with a longtravel suspension system for traveling dirt roads and trails. - Higher than other street bikes, with a high center of gravity and tall seat height.

Clockwise, starting upper left corner: 1) Yamaha Bolt R-Spec 2014, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 2) Motorcycles of the 20th Century, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 3) 2014 Honda CB500XA ABS Review, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 4) The 2013 KTM 1190 Adventure bike is here! Well, almost., 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 5) 2005 Honda ST 1300 Pan European Wallpaper -, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 6) New color schemes for 2011 Suzuki Boulevard S40 :, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013].



(maxi-) scooter

Market focus

A crouching, leaned-forward, aggressive seating position that places the rider’s weight low and forward over the front wheel for better aerodynamics, mass centralization, and grip. - Priority on performance and handling, and very little on comfort. - foot pegs that position the legs closer to the body to improve ground clearance when cornering. - Fully enclosed bodywork for streamlining - Agressive

- The front fairing is relatively big in comparison with the whole scooter - Engine as part of the swingarm, so that the engine travels up and down with the suspension. - Comfortable for city usage - All-enclosing bodywork - More built-in storage space - Relatively larger frames - Smaller wheels - Long seat

Due to urbanization and the rising demand for comfort, the sales of and focus on naked bikes will grow enormously in the coming years. The causes of this grow lie in the design characteristics of these bikes: a upright riding position, low weight and good agility. In addition, the versatility of naked bikes provide a wide scope for potential design.

Clockwise, starting upper left corner: 1) Megelli Sports Motorcycle : 3543x1969px Motorcycle HD Wallpapers #6390 ~, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 2) 2009 Honda Motorcycles Buyer’s Guide - Pictures, Prices, and Specs of 2009 and 2010 Honda Motorcycles, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]. 3) 1190 RC8 R - Superbike - 2013 - KTM - Moottoripyörät - Bike World, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013]., 4) Burgman 650 Executive | 2010 | Scooter | Scooter | Suzuki Motorcycles, Motorbikes & ATVs Australia, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 22 October 2013].



Human factors package This human factors package enabled me to create a naked bike better suited to the human form so that the riding position would put less stress on the body and joints. By studying the geometry of naked bikes I could use these dimensions as an underlay or starting point for the geometry of the Airo N.



Horizontal sight line

The seat height, as visualized, is defined as the height of the seat without a rider (male, 1m80). This means that the suspension is not in compression. The effect of the rider’s mass on the suspension is that the seat height will be lower and the position of the rider will change.

Trail 103 mm 100 mm

24 25.5

Rake angle

1410 mm


Ground clearance

1410 mm

800 mm 790 mm

135 mm

Seat height

120 mm

Rear suspension travel

Front suspension travel

n.a. 155 mm

1027 mm

Handlebar height

The image shows the geometric dimensions of the Honda CB500F (white) and Triumph Street Triple (red) as well as its effect on the riding position. The Honda for example, which has a more commuting purpose compared to the Triumph, shows a smaller inclined back angle. This provided data allows a designer to make choices about the bike’s geometry and thus general purpose.

991 mm

About the image


16 13

Horizontal sight line

160 mm 155 mm

790 mm

Seat height

790 mm

1027 mm

A smaller wheelbase ensures a smaller ratio of the horizontal distance between the handlebar and the seating position. Due to the smaller ratio the arms of the rider can be hold closer to the body, which results in a more upright riding position.

Handlebar height

This second image of the human factors package shows the effect of a smaller wheelbase on the riding position and in particularly the angle of the back (Honda CB500F (white) and Yamaha FZ16 (red)).

1018 mm

About the image

Trail 103 mm 100 mm

25 25.5

Rake angle

1334 mm 1410 mm


Ground clearance


Benchmarking The riding position is fully depended on the position of the foot pegs, seat and handlebars. Comparing these ‘triangles’ of different naked bikes made it possible to determine the riding position of the Airo N. Placing the handlebars slightly higher, like the Honda CB500F and Yamaha FZ 16, and the foot pegs slightly more forward ensures a more comfortable and neutral riding position.

Model Honda CB500F

Suzuki GW 250

Parameter x Seat



966 1027


433 434

Seat Handlebar

Kawasaki Z750

1015 1022


926 1018

pegs Seat

435 373

288 815





403 389

340 800




433 333

345 800






367 360

363 790


950 1025



Handlebar pegs

Airo N

298 780


Triumph Street triple Seat

Cagiva raptor 125


536 348


Yamaha FZ 16


303 790


upright riding style


What defines a naked bike? The exposed engine, clamped headlight and relatively small or no fairings are what distinguish naked bikes mostly from other current motorcycles. They characterise the bike. Users will recognise these characteristics and associate them with this type of motorcycle. Therefore it was important to implement these in the design of the Airo N.

Handlebars define the upright riding style

relatively small or no fairings and windscreen (“bikini fairings�)

The headlight and instruments are fixed to the triple clamp

Foot pegs and shifter are located almost below the waist

Exposed engine

2013 Suzuki GSR750 Review, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 27 October 2013].



Personas and scenarios

The personas, as visualized, are fictional characters created to represent the different motorcycle users. They differ in attitude and behavior and they all use their naked bike for different purposes. Personas and scenarios are useful tools that help to make decisions whether or not a type of user offers enough opportunities and is worth to emphasize on.

Ana: “Sitting low, having all the power beneath you”

“I’m a young and casual professional from Brazil. A few years ago I got inspired by the people that kept talking about motorcycles. That day I experienced that riding a motorcycle was a way of life. The reason why I chose to ride a naked bike was that it has a muscular character, looks like a stripped sports bike, but is more comfortable.

Peter: “There’s nothing like it” “I’m a married father of 38 and a

professional cook. I really enjoy life and have fun with everything I do. My naked bike needs to have the quality of being pure. Riding a naked bike

gives me the feeling of pleasure and satisfaction. Riding puts life in prospective for me: on those days when life makes no sense, it all suddenly becomes crystal clear.”

Left to right: 1) Uncategorized | User Friendly, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 2) Business, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 3) Abba Prayer » The Methoblog, 2013. Available at: http:// [Accessed 29 October 2013].


David: “It’s about the overall appeal”

“I’m a professional painter, age 47, and have a fine feeling for detail and design. I like exotic wellstyled products. It’s about the overall appeal, the style and design. Although I don’t drive my motorcycle that often, I agree that the meaning of a naked bike is that it’s stripped down to the essentials. A naked bike has to be retro, sexy and vintage in its most modern form.”

Malte: “Comfortable city usage”

“I’m a young, responsible professional and recently finished my Phd. I have a small apartment just outside the city centre. Therefore, most of the times I use my naked bike for commuting usage. For me, a naked bike needs to functional and comfortable. Though, a naked bike and the clothing need to be stylish. It’s an everyday used product. My urban bike provides me a fast, convenient and ergonomic way of travelling.”

Bob: “Trying to figure it out”

I’m a third year Mechanical Engineering student at the RMIT. I live in a shared apartment with 2 fellow students in Brunswick, just outside the CBD. I’m full of energy and enthusiastic. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see how I’m controlling my bike better and better. Riding a naked bike gives me more freedom. It’s more practical and faster than a car.”

Left to right: 1) Which Medium Of Self-expression Do You Choose To Utilize? - Random - Fanpop, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 2) Ass 09 - ARC154_5401702, 2013. Available at: https://sites. [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 3) Kambrya College - Student Leadership, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013].





You start the engine of your motorcycle. You drive to the nearest country lane and when you are there it’s just you and the road. No rain, only sun. You see the heat radiation of the asphalt and the only thing that comes into your mind is to hit the throttle and ride. These days are what really matter.

A quiet morning breeze and a low rising sun is what characterize the day. Today is about driving along the coastline and driving through back roads. It is not about the location, but the roads that lead to the location. The fresh air is blowing to your upper body and at this moment the whole environment looks pure and clean. You ride until the sunset and return back home afterwards.

Today there is a small motorcycle show just a few kilometres away from you. You walk to the shed, switch on the lights and takes off the cloth that covers your bike. Underneath the cloth the shiny bike shows up. Once at the show, people take photos and you explain them with joy about the engineering and design of the bike. After the show you drive home and clean the bike again before you store it.

From left to right: 1) 2011 Ducati Monster 796 ABS Review - Riding Impressions of the 2011 Ducati Monster 796 Motorcycle, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 2) 2011 BMW R1200R Classic | 2014 2015 New Motorcycles,Classic, Price,Pictures and Specification, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 3) Caproni Cento50 - 1955 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013].




A new working day. Your destination is the CBD. By car it would take 45 minutes, but you can drive between cars and skip the traffic so it will only take you 30 minutes. No rush hours anymore. You’re driving in the city and suddenly a pedestrian crosses the street. You hit the brakes rapidly, but he was to close and you hit him softly. Still recovering from the small shock you continue your way to your work.

At the traffic lights a car driver looks at you, which makes you a bit insecure. Though, when the traffic light jumps green you accelerate quickly. On the other side of the road a truck is approaching with high speed. Nevertheless, you overtake the car in front of you, but underestimated how fast the truck approached your direction. You really have to push the bike to the limit and you manage to manoeuvre the bike in front of the car just in time.

Due to the implementation of the Learner Approved Motorcycle Scheme (LAMS) on 14 January 2013 novice riders are only allowed to ride motorcycles with an engine capacity up to and including 660 cc which do not exceed a power-to-weight ratio of 150 kilowatts per tonne (Department of Transport, 2013). This implementation, as well as environmental regulations, shifted the market focus from heavy motorcycles to lighter motorcycles, the entry-level motorcycles. The previous years these motorcycles have shown a large rise, highlighting the continuing trend of commuters (Visordown News, 2011). So the market and design focus was placed on the users and geometry of entry-level naked bikes.

From left to right: 1) Editorials | Miss Motorcycle, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 2) Picture gallery: Royal Enfield Woodsman - | Motorbike reviews | Latest Bike Videos | MCN, 2013. Available at: mcn/2008/1-4/12-18/may1308royalenfieldwoodsmanpicturegallery/. [Accessed 29 October 2013]., 3) Uncategorized | User Friendly, 2013. Available at: [Accessed 29 October 2013].


Design drawings These quick gestural sketches allowed me to explore different shapes in a short period of time. This technique is a useful tool to create many design iterations. The added grey value creates more depth in the sketches and results in a better feel and understanding of the overall look. This process can be seen a form of creative mind mapping. Though, instead of using associating words I drew associating sketches. After all, by adding or removing lines of a previous sketch the new sketch can result in a completely different motorcycle.


Final Design Beneath, two of the four concepts are visualized. I combined several design characteristics of each concept into my final design (right). I used the seat and fairings of the top one and the geometry of the frame of the bottom one as the starting point for my final design. Furthermore by adding a ‘bellypan’, to support the air tanks, and the shape of the frame, the Airo N embraces the airtanks and gave it a balanced character.

Concept 1 Concept 2

Concept 2

perspex luggage space

Single sided front fork

Single sided front fork

Engine in rear wheel

Engine in rear wheel

Air tank as part of the frame

Air tank as part of the frame

Concept 4

Concept 3

Dynamic frame and bodywork Luggage space

Concept 4

Dynamic frame and bodywork


Color study A color can greatly influence the overall look and feel of a motorcycle and the way people will memorize its design. A color should be attractive and should communicate information to the user too. Studying different colors and its effect on the Airo N created a clear overview of each color potential. Furthermore, it was of great importance to focus on color proportion and color dominance as well, respectively the amount of color and the visual presence of a color. For the Airo N two colors are chosen: White and red. The white color stands for perfection and the beginning of something new. The beginning of air powered motorcycles. On the other side red is a more powerful color. It stands for beauty and passion.

19 18

Human factors package Airo N P75 male 20-30 years: stature 1902 mm



P25 female 20-30 years: stature 1642 mm

Wheelbase 1360 mm

20 19

21 20

The exposed Di Pietro air engine uses compressed air that moves a cylindrical rotor around to power the central drive shaft. Its advantages are outstanding compared to current petrol engines: it is light, compact, quiet and reaches efficiencies above 70%. Due to the decision of placing the engine in the rear wheel, directly mounded to the hub, there is no loss of energy due to gears or a driving chain.

22 21

Technical drawing





110/70 -17

1952 1350

140/70 -17 DWG TITLE


Ecomoto 13 Airo N



EcoMoto 2013/Semester 2



Bart van Driessche

23 22

EcoMoto Airo N  

This folio presents the design process of the Airo N: an air powered Naked bike.

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