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Zheng Chin

RMIT Industrial design







Personal capability statement


Bicycle design Context Form Human factors

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Intelligent spaces


Wooden bike Benchmarking Prototype 1 Form Geometry Prototype 2 Brand identity Photoshoot Reflection

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Recumbent Benchmarking Human factors Form Brand Identiy 1-1 Prototype Reflection

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Abstract 2x3

reconsidering pedal power in 2 ways... Pedal power is a sustainable and alternate solution to our current means of automotive transportation and mobility. My design engages the public to reconsider the benefits of human power, generating conversation, user interest, and challenging the preconceived aesthetics of human powered vehicles. There are two outcomes, each seeking to enable greater participation in cycling The first explores the use of timber as an ecologically sustainable material for bicycle frame construction. A skilfully detailed handcrafted object, that exhibits craft, bespoke elements and ultimately is an object of desire. The second, is a three wheeled recumbent, that challenges public perception of conventional recumbent trikes. Through developing a unique form, and integrating design features that tackle issues with stability, safety and visibility, such as, a lockout tilting mechanism and the implementation of pneumatic cylinders, allowing the user to lift up and down, adjusting their visibility and line of sight. Ultimately, my designs act as a means to fuelling the ongoing conversation about the relationship between humans and transport, and its effects upon the economy, environment and society. 008/Abstract

Personal capability statement/009

010/Personal capability statement

Personal Capability Statement

As I begin my fourth and final year, I face a complex task, which will test the skills and knowledge that I have acquired during my time of study. This challenge will allow me to showcase my strengths in, crafting, sculpture, visualisation, design, but more importantly, it will give me a chance to see where my weaknesses lie, and provide ample opportunity to improve upon them. The fact that I have strengths, but also many weaknesses, does not reveal my incompetence, but rather, it expresses the need to continually learn, and better myself.

intelligence, in a field which contains the richest source of amazement, creativity, passion and joy.

To me, this project, is another step taken, to gain experience, understanding, knowledge and

Personal capability statement/011

Design Approach & Philosophy

When realising global concerns, it is vital that as a designer, we ensure that our philosophy and motive for designing has purpose, value and virtue, and that every action taken to develop an idea or concept be carefully considered. This is the philosophical viewpoint that drives my design, as a designer, I have the ability to create change, this places me in a position of responsibility, where I must act and behave in a manner that is in accordance of the highest virtue. not only must my design by virtuous, but my character as a person as well. My design, and my work is a reflection of the person I am and wish to become.

012/Personal capability statement

I draw much of my knowledge and being from my cultural heritage of being a Buddhist Chinese Malaysian, the values and ethics I learned as a child specifically from an eastern point of view. Has given me an opportunity to see things in a dualistic sense

Personal capability statement/013

Design Skill Set

My design skill set is tailored towards technical design, where I excel in mechanical prototyping, fabrication and electronics. Because my pre - major project, focuses on designing bicycles, I am able to showcase these technical skills in prototyping, technical drawings, engineering and CAD. I am also capable at sketching and rendering, and am able to provide sufficient research and data accordingly. However, understanding my strengths also means acknowledging the weaknesses I have, this acknowledgement allows me to focus my time developing skills that I lack.

014/Personal capability statement

CAD Skill Set

Learning and developing my CAD skills set, has been an exciting part about this course, being able to visualise in 3D forms on the computer brings about a different perspective to my design process. The amount of CAD used, is determined by the level of expertise and knowledge I have with the program, currently, I use CAD as a tool that complements my other design skills, I use it to help visualise what is on paper into 3D forms, and also as a tool for working out mechanical issues in my design and before prototyping. However, the one area where I do not apply CAD is when using it purely for rendering. I find prototyping and model making a more informative design process.

Personal capability statement/015


Past Studios & Design Projects

The past studios and design projects I have taken has never had a consistent theme, this has given me a wide perspective on all different styles, aspects and skills within industrial design. There were a few studios and projects though, that seemed to have shaped and develop my approach to design. The projects I pick will usually involve me developing my hand crafting/prototyping skills set, or projects that question design on a meta level.

During my time on exchange within Korea, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a class on ethics, this class spurred my love in philosophy and ethics, which directly relates to how and what I choose to design. Another project that I have great pride in, is the open source 3D printer I built during an elective, allowing me to use arduino and electronics.

One important elective I took, helped me develop my expression and understanding of myself, through the use of woodworking and its methodology. This introduction to woodworking had spurred my interest for the love and appreciation for timber, which gave me the motivation to design and build my first wooden bicycle. Personal capability statement/017

Studio Practice

Fostering a studio environment helps to generate a design atmosphere, where work and information can be shared to help our projects. Our studio practice has remained mainly online, using facebook to share information, links, keeping up-to-date with our work, and helping each other out. However, during the last few months of semester we were provided with a space where we could collectively work, where we would come together to discuss, review and critique our and other peoples projects. I hope to retain this form of social studio in my later design work.

018/Personal capability statement


Video of wooden bicycle Video of recumbent A0 Presentaion


24th September - 10

1st October - 11

8th October - 12

15th October - Swot

22nd October - Swot

29nd October - Ases

MonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri House keeping Wood Bike DVR Finalise and finish

Assemble and insert bottom Broucher bracket, seat tube, head tube and dropouts

Mahogany strips for the rear triangle Manufacture and top tube Brand Drill outidentity seat tube Add Mahogany bits Photographs - Rear triangle x4 - Seat post Book binding - Dropouts - Front Triangle Rework design x1/3? - Headtube x2 Photoshoot Cable management Renders Shellac the frame Process

Assemble components AV Presentation

Gant Chart Sem 2 - week 10

Photography A0 Presentaion

The gant chart was a useful tool that allowed me to plan well ahead of time the tasks needed to be completed. Ensuring that if I ever fell behind, or needed to add or remove items, everything could be planned out. After every milestone, I would update my chart, ticking off the major tasks that constituted my project. The initial gant chart I made had projected I finish on week 14, to leave 2 weeks spare for finishing up.

TO DO LIST Photographs

Wood Bike Finalise and finish

Recumbent Source components Assemble and insert bottom bracket, seat tube, head tube and dropouts Components

Seat, seatpost, bottom bracket, Video wooden bicycle cranks,ofhandlebars, derailleurs, forks, brakes Video of recumbent Photoshoot -Which bicycle components -Wood bike with elements of steel -- Steel Handlebars with some bar tape -- Steel seat post, which seat? -- Steel Cranks with chainrings -Steel wheels Mahogany strips for the rear triangle -Forks? and top tube

24th September - 10

1st October - 11

8th October - 12

15th October - Swot

22nd October - Swot

29nd October - Ases

MonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri

-Headtube logo Drill out seat tube -Front dĂŠrailleurbits adapter Add Mahogany -Cable management - Rear triangle x4 - Seat post - Dropouts - Front Triangle x1/3? - Headtube x2 BIke pro, BCM, etc

Cable management Purchase components Recumbent STEEL

Shellac the frame

Assemble components

Steering mechanism Seat, seatpost, bottom bracket, cranks, handlebars, Cluth and tilt device derailleurs, forks, brakes Heightening and lowering Imagine you are a designer, who deals with a client, that asks, design Photoshoot a recumbent that is sexy and belongs in nahabs and wants a recumbent that goes up and down. -Which bicycle components -Wood bike with elements steel Get geometry right, show 5oftypes -- Steel Handlebars with some bar tape OEM components on solidworks -- Steel seat post, which seat? Start to Cranks design and in the gaps -Steel withfill chainrings -- Steel wheels Sketches -Forks? for design



CAD Recumbent

Work out 5 logo concepts do it on cad -Headtube -Front dĂŠrailleur adapter Work on FEA analysis -Cable management Work on CAD so that it is sexy and all geometry is correct

Source components

Cad for fabrication


Cad for BIke pro,render BCM, etc Fabricate this sexy ass motherfucker, design as though I was the welder and have an intimate knowledgecomponents of how it works Purchase

Prototype Recumbent STEEL

020/Personal capability statement Test Checklist Design

Gather all the materials Prep everything to be welded and Steering finished mechanism CNC alloy parts that need to be Cluth and tilt device custom made Heightening Build any jigsand lowering Imagine you are a designer, who deals with a client, that asks, design Start welding a recumbent that is sexy and belongs in nahabs and wants a recumbent that goes up and down. Stress/weight capacity Get geometry right, show 5 types

24th September - 10

1st October - 11

8th October - 12

15th October - Swot

22nd October - Swot

29nd October - Ases

MonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri

Sem 2 - week 14

However, as the semester went on, an updated gant chart shows that I am falling behind in my schedule.

22nd October - Swot

29nd October - Asessment

MonTue WedThu Fri Sat SunMonTue WedThu Fri Sat Sun House keeping DVR Binding

With the gant chart I was able to realise this sooner rather than later, which meant delegating more time to the tasks that were more vital.

Manufacture Rework design Broucher Renders Print AV Presentation Video of wooden bicycle Video of recumbent A0 Presentaion Poster Speech Printing Photographs

Wood Bike Finalise and finish Mahogany Headcap Brushing and polishing aluminium Finishing the eyelets Assemble Recumbent

Contingency plan Take photo shoot of frame and how it works Work on sketches for form Work on cleaning up CAD etc Work on clay, take photos Do some nice renders

Personal capability statement/021

Major Project Ambition Initially I set the task for my major year project to design and prototype three bicycles, the idea was to try and push myself. However after midyear I realised that there was not enough time to tackle three tasks, therefore bringing the number down to two. The goal then, was to end the year with two final prototypes for exhibition. Apart for specific deliverables, my ambition was to continue improving my design thinking process, and skill set. Focusing mainly on trying to improve CAD, sketching while seeking to refine my ability to prototype.

022/Personal capability statement

Career Ambitions

In the ideal situation, I hope to be able to get an internship from this project, either working at a bicycle company, or for a car company designing bicycles, It is necessary that I gain experience in the industry, to learn about being an industrial designer in the real world. I also hope one day to open my own custom bicycle store, where I will be designing, prototyping and manufacturing my own bicycles. In the long term, I also wish to continue my studies and move into a master or PHD program, depending on the circumstances, or alternatively study another degree. I am open to any opportunity that presents itself, and so long as the challenge is hard enough, I will accept anything.

Personal Personal capability capabilitystatement/ statement/ 023

Historic Context


The bicycle has been the humble mans form of transportation since 1817, it is pedal powered, elegant, economical, easy to use and clean. It provides solutions to many of the worlds mobility and energy issues.

A road bike, is lightweight, has thin tyres, and designed to go fast on pavement.

It is almost a perfect design and concept, the only problem, is human nature, the introduction of automobiles and the change in social stigma and status, has changed the perception of the bicycle as a vehicle for the un wealthy or underdeveloped, with these stigmas still lingering, people struggle to realise the full potential of the capabilities in the bicycles ability for transportation, fitness, freedom and aesthetic beauty. Just as there are many different types of cars, there are many different types of bicycles that fulfil a certain niche.

A time trial bike, is designed to be aerodynamically efficient, designed to beat the clock.

A mountain bike excels at mountainous terrain with fat tyres and suspension to soften the falls.

A hybrid is a mixture of both road and mountain bike, skinny tyres and upright position, designed for commuters and casual riders. A person rides on a recumbent lying down on their back, giving a more comfortable ride. A folding bike collapses at a certain point, to reduce the total size of the bike, making easier for transportation

An electric assist bicycle, has a motor and batteries that will add extra power and help the rider if necessary Without going into excessive detail, each bicycle has its own history and origins


Bicycle design, up until a few decades ago has always been dictated by the mantra, form follows function, this focus on mechanical innovation, was due to the fact, that cycling has cultural roots in racing. The goal was to improve efficiency to ride faster, longer and better. This focus on mechanical innovation is paralleled in the formula one world. Ask anyone to draw a bicycle, and a diamond frame is usually their first sketch, any bicycle used, unless purposely trying to break convention, will stick to its roots, as the diamond frame is the strongest structural configuration known. However, there are exceptions, that break the rules, creating something truly unique. For those looking to push the boundaries of what a bicycle looks like, there is fertile ground.

Bicycle design form/025

Human Factors

It is critical to consider human factors and packaging when designing and building a bicycle, simply put, it determines how efficient the person is while riding. Professional cyclists spend weeks and months adjusting their bicycles to get the perfect fit. In the tour de France, they spend three weeks cycling 3000 kilometres so it is vital that they utilize the most efficient position and bicycle possible, to conserve their energy. However, the average person does not require this level of precision, but can still find value in a bicycle that is fits well each individual’s body. It is the difference between seeing a grown person ride a kids bike or a bicycle that has been fitted.

026/Bicycle design human factors

The most effective method to deal with human factors, is to ensure that the persons will “fit� nicely on a bicycle, this can be done online through taking

your own measurements, or consulting with an expert in bicycle fitting. A bicycle has three points of contact to the human body, the seat, pedals and handle bars. To determine how a person sits best on any given bicycle, measurements of body parts need to be taken. There are general rule of thumbs when fitting a person, for example, the angle of bend between the femur and tibular, should sit between 5 - 15% providing maximum power output and reducing the dead spots. Once all measurements are taken, it is easy to adjust the frame, so that a person is able to fit more efficiently. A good fit will depend on what a person is looking to achieve, for a road bike, it is comfort vs. aerodynamics, for a mountain bike, it is comfort vs. handling. Taking into account the

massive variety between biomechanical points of every individual, bicycles have been designed to allow adjustment on all three hard points. Seats, handlebars, stems, seat posts, cranks length and pedal types all allow any person to adjust in any direction. However, frames still come in sizes, as not everyone will fit well on one frame. Companies follow this method of retro fitting, as it allows for efficient manufacturing methods. The other approach, is to design a bicycle that fits specifically to your needs, where the fitter will find the perfect geometry to suit your needs. And then build a custom frame. Certain frames will have specific geometries that relate to how the bicycle handles, a touring bicycle will have a longer wheel base giving a smoother ride, but compromises handling.

However, it is not only geometry but materials that also effect performance.


A coparison of geometries from different bicycles, and exploring its effects on how humans relate to the bicycle

028/Bicycle design human factors

Bicycle design human factors /029

Intelligent Spaces

An Intelligent infrastructure for cyclists does not function the same way that it would for automobiles. Systems for cars, are created to improve fuel and time efficiency, by improving traffic flow. Systems also allow the car to be more relatable and personable for humans while in use. A bicycle however, is human powered, and only takes single passengers, therefore application of a alternative system. The goals for a good system for cyclists will focus on safety, live traffic updates, communication between cyclists and systems that give the cyclist more presence when on the road. Cyclists are the most vulnerable users on the road. In a collision, with little protection, the cyclist always sustains the most damage.

030/Bicycle design intelligent spaces

The cyclist must therefore, always be aware of the changing situations, and to expect the worst, otherwise known as cycling defensively. There are four important key concepts to cycling defensively - Manuverability of your bike. Being aware of any obstacles that may appear. -Visibility of your bike. Using bright lights and reflective tape to indicate where you are going -Predictability. Making sure to keep your line while cycling, and not to confuse other cars or cyclists -Communication. Being clear with your hand signals and making eye contact to oncoming drivers

one reason why multiple accidents occur, is usually because a cyclist will not follow these rules of defensive cycling. However, even after following these rules, cyclists cannot control the actions of a car user. If a driver is unaware of the situation, and does not take care when driving, then there is nothing more a cyclist can do. A change in the attitude cars have to cyclists needs to change. both are users of the road, and there should be mutual respect for each other. My experiences in Australia are generally positive, where cyclists are acknowledged, however, in other countries drivers are not always so accepting.

Ultimately the most effective way of changing a drivers perspective of cyclists, is to put them in your shoes, by providing an opportunity for them to use the road through a cyclists eyes. Realistically though, this is not always possible. Not all drivers are willing to cycle, or even know how to. Therefore the design of a defensive system that increases a cyclists awareness and the cars awareness of the everchanging situations could have a significant impact.

pedestrian awareness

Data gathering - Who are you - Where are you going - How long have you been cycling Communication - Can we work together? - What type of cyclist are you - Do we have common pathways Help - I some assistance, a tube repair kit, or pump which I forgot to bring

Awareness - Who am I, personalisation of a cyclist - Where is the cyclist located - Opening doors on cyclists -What levels is your concentration - Are we going to cross paths - Which way are you going?

Awareness - Timetables - Capacity of public transport - Rerouting capabilities

Rerouting capabilities - Traffic flow rates - Quiet streets - Difficulty of ride, depending on distance and gradient. - Road hazards - Bad weather Awareness - Which bicycle racks are available - Cycling on the highway

Bicycle design intelligent spaces/031


Customer journey map example

Bicycle design intelligent spaces/033

How it Works

Almost everyone carries around a smart phone, the most logical approach to system design, would be to use phones as the central processing unit for data transfer. Since interfaces on bicycles are quite minimalistic, it makes sense to use what already exists. An application on the phone could feed data to the cyclist via Bluetooth, providing visual, haptic and audio feed back. Google glasses is still under development, but this live heads up display could be integrated into cycling glasses, to provide live feedback, giving information on things like - Road hazards - Route mapping - Cyclists information - Directions - Car indication - Collision detection


Similarly, audio feedback given, could use Apple, text to audio technology, important data could be fed to the cyclist, about current weather patterns, traffic updates and information about dangerous situations. Live haptic feedback, located in the handle bars, or in the seat, Would inform the rider if something important has happened, similar to that of a notification, or a vibration due to a text message.

1. Turn on app 2. Connect to speakers / screen / haptic feedback 3. Put in desired settings 4. Turn on mode - Normal cycle computer functions - Exercise mode - Exploring mode 5. Turn off mode when finished 6. Run as a back ground application - Phone will interact with other phones and infrastructure

However, this system does not focus only on cycling defensively, but also enhances the user experience of cycling, through providing new opportunities. Features would include, setting levels of difficulty on your application, allowing you to take different routes according to your level of fitness, flat undulating - hilly. The HUD would be capable of detecting popular routes taken by people, the popularity of which, is determined by the intensity of the line. Providing the opportunity to explore while using the bicycle. Cycling is not always solitary. In certain situations it can be troublesome to communicate while on the road. A dating system which matches people according to their ability and destination, can help to create a community when cycling, as well as providing physiological benefits of drafting.

Bicycle design intelligent spaces/035

036/Wooden bicycle

“Each piece of wood is unique, this characteristic provides a fascinating unison between material, crafter and design.� To explore this unison through a bicycle, requires the alignment of these three elements to sit perfectly balanced within each other. Emotionally, the nature of the material, artefact and crafter need to be in harmony Aesthetically, the forms and shapes created should be elegant and pure Structurally, the wood must be placed in a way which contrasts the purpose and needs of the bicycle, while still providing balance and dignity. The alignment of these three elements creates something unique, distinct and wonderful.


Wooden bicycle/037


The major difference between these bicycles, is the material and methods used to create them. The materials vary greatly, but is usually a mixture of ash, oak or mahogany, timbers that have a high hardness rating. Because of the differing characteristics of wood, various species can be applied to certain areas. For example, the seat stays act as shock absorption, therefore a softer wood could be use in that area. The methods are dependent on the individual’s ability and tooling. The bicycle created by Sashiro san uses wood lamination to create the gorgeous curves. While Renovo, is a technologically advanced company, and they are able to use CNC milling to give precise cuts.

038/Wooden bicycle benchmark

Only a few companies produce wooden bicycles, the reason is the inability to mass produce these bicycles, therefore leaving them to smaller or bespoke companies.

Creator : Sashiro san Style: Road bike Make: Custom, hand made 10 total Materials: Mahogany Extra: Wooden rims, seatpost, seat, fork and handlebars

Creator : Jan gunneweg Style: Townie Make: Single hand crafted Materials: Walnut Extra: Interesting use of wood to build the wheels

Creator : Seth deysach Style: Townie Make: ? Materials: Lack walnut Price: $6,000 Extra:

Creator : Renovo cycles Style: Mountain bike Make: CNC manufactured Materials: Oak, Ash, Mahogany Price: Frame, $2,550 Extra:

Creator : Renovo cycles Style: Triathlon Make: CNC manufactured Materials: Oak, Ash, Mahogany Price: Frame, $3,800 Extra: Wooden bicycle benchmark/039

Prototype 1

The goal of the initial design, was to prove if wood was a suitable material for the construction of a bicycle frame, more specifically, European beech. Having little experience in wood working, the intent was to develop the skills necessary to construct the frame. I spent much time researching various methods of manufacture that could help my fabrication process. Two main types of processes used by wood bicycle builders, are CNC or wood laminating.

040/Wooden bicycle prototype 1

CNC, uses timber that is chosen carefully, and put under the machine, create one half of a monocoque structure. Then the two half’s are glued together. The idea, was to use wood, an old material and introduce new methods of manufacture and fabrication (CNC) to design something that would otherwise have

been impossible.

next phase.

Wood laminating is at the opposite spectrum of the CNC design, It focuses on hand craft elements, and bespoke design as its strength. It seeks to discover the potential aesthetic value of timber and explore those characteristics.

Having done sufficient research, I realised the best method would be to use timber laminates as I did not have easy access to a CNC machine.

The problems that would most likely be faced would be: 1. Stiffness of the frame 2. Durability and strength of the frame 3. Weight 4. Longevity Having little experience in woodworking, the intent was to develop the skill set necessary to construct the frame. I spent much time researching different methods of manufacture, that would eventually translate into my

The lamination process generates more material waste than using a CNC machine, therefore the goal was to create a wooden frame which uses as little timber as possible. The initial prototype allowed me to gain new skill sets and a greater understanding of the material.

Wooden bicycle prototype 1/041




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Tools Apart from the bandsaw, belt sander, files and electric plane, there were the main tools to construct the frame. A very hands on, bespoke method of fabrication.


Spoke shave - Flat


Spoke shave - Round


Handplane - Large


Handplane - Small


Chisel - 18mm


Chisel - 12mm


Chisel - 6mm


10,000 Japanese waterstone


Square ruler


Cabinet scraper




Tape measurer


Multi tool


Bevel square


Vernier caliper


Japanese handsaw Wooden bicycle prototype 1/043

Build progress


Wooden bicycle prototype 1/045



Having finished building the frame, the next step would be to test ride it. Tentative at first, as I was unsure about the quality of my build, I spent time cycling on grass. Slowly giving the frame more and more weight. I realised though, that the bottom bracket began to creak, meaning I had to reinforce that area. After cycling around for a while, I then grew confident, and thus far have ridden in to the city about 5 times, and have been off roading on rock pathways, just to test its durability. The next step now, would be to build on those weaknesses.

Wooden bicycle prototype 1/047

Prototype 2

The goal of the second prototype, was to address the weaknesses of the initial design. These were: 1. Durability and strength of the frame 2. Improving the structural rigidity of the bottom bracket and rear triangle. 3. Focus on the form and the aesthetic value of the frame. 4. Experimenting with new materials and new methods of craft. 1. Durability and strength

048/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Riding the bicycle was a huge milestone, and proof that the ability for the frame to handle short term stress was possible, however long term durability was a concern. Ideally I would be working in conjunction with a mechanical engineer and stress testing the frame at every given opportunity. Without

that privilege, I had to ride it as much as possible to test it. 2. Structural rigidity in bottom bracket and rear triangle With a basic understanding of wood structure, the frame was designed to take certain loads, determined by the grain of the wood. Vertically the frame was extremely stiff, but it was unable to handle torsional loads, when standing while cycling, I was able to induce a significant amount of flex. later reflection made me realise this was due to the grain direction. The next iteration would try to reduce this flexibility. 3. Aesthetic value. The design intent was a working prototype, therefore the distinct lack of aesthetic treatment. The next prototype, would exhibit timbers natural forms and its inherent ability to be flexible, similar to that of a

recurve bow. 4. Using new materials in the design. Having used European beech and gaining a better understanding of its characteristics, the goal was to explore the potential for other timbers, to see what structural and aesthetic interest they have to offer.

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/049

050/Personal capability statement

Personal capability statement/051


The form of the frame, was dictated through the material choice, the goal was to capture woods unique ability to bend, creating tension and movement within the design of the frame. I began to sketch forms, and explore the possibilities of what could be achieved through cold bending. The inspiration of the frame, comes from the recurve bow. The idea that it is a perfect balance between form and function. A minimalistic structure, capable of releasing stored energy when needed, providing a more efficient shot. Its form, is sculptural and elegant, natural radiuses that are dictated by the choice of wood.


My design seeks to take these aesthetic principles and transfer these to my frame.


To compliment sketching, it was necessary to create prototypes to simulate radiuses and bends that would not be possible by hand. I spent time heat and bending pine, to see what forms would appear as I manipulated the timber. These experiments proved useful, as was able to settle on a final design. Capturing these lines on paper, and transferring them to CAD, I began to take measurements and started my prototyping.


Wooden bicycle form/055

Final Form

The sketch captures what I want my frame to resemble, lines that flow from one point to the other, following a natural curvature, with a slightly more complex down tube, which gives the impression that the frame is under tension, and ready to pounce, releasing its energy. I also decided not to choose a generic mid section for the frame, previously I had simply inserted a metal sleeve that ran from the top tube to the bottom bracket, simplifying the form. However the complex midsection allows me to have more room for sculptural elements to focus upon, as well as providing ample room to create a dual wooden tone frame.

056/Wooden bicycle form

Wooden bicycle form/057


The geometry of the frame was modelled after a Scott Foil medium (54) sized frame. The Scott foil has the geometry of a generic racing frame, with responsive handling, and a shorter wheelbase, compared to a mountain bike or hybrid. However, I did not want this frame to be only used for racing, as it limits its range of users, therefore the design intent was to also duplicate the characteristics and features of a cyclo cross frame. A cyclo cross frame, is a hybrid between a road bike and mountain bike. It has a more relaxed version of a road bicycles geometry, while providing wider clearances for components, to allow for larger tires and disc brakes or cantilever brakes. Therefore the wooden frame was given clearance for 38mm tyres, and the disc brake tabs.

058/Wooden bicycle geometry


.12 °


622 Ø

74 .65


698 Ø


460 405

961.866 Wooden bicycle geometry/059


I used cad to create the dimension and geometry of the frame, as well as exploring the form in a three dimensional space. Satisfied that all the hard points would align with the frame, I set about printing out a 1 - 1 scale images of the frame, giving me an origin point to work from.

060/Wooden bicycle geometry

Wooden bicycle geometry/061


062/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/063

The frame was to be constructed through layering veneered slices of timber. By gluing stacks together and using cold lamination methods. The initial period of preparation required building the jigs for laminating as well as resawing timber to produce veneer specific to my needs. Each jig was built using 12mm MDF, and needed to be built up to 170mm in height to support the full length of the bend. The veneer was also resawn from timber stock, as OEM veneer usually has a thickness of 0.5, which is too thin. It allowed me to have a more intimate process with the selection of timber, and grain choice.

064/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Each veneer piece was resawn to 3 - 4 mm on the bandsaw, and then sanded and planed down further, reducing the overall thickness to roughly 2mm. To help determine if the veneer would conform to the shape of the jig, I did a proxy bend, The lower section of the frame had large radius’s, meaning an easier bend. However the top section had quite a tight radius, which the veneer struggled to adhere to, however heating up the timber by using a heat gun and water was effective at solving the problem.


066/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Cold laminating the veneer had to be broken down into multiple segments, as the glue would dry too quickly, and there would be too much resistance when attempting to compress large quantities of veneer. Each part had to be split up into 5 segments of gluing and drying Having completed the laminating process, the next step was to compare the radiuses of the CAD frame to the laminates. Happy with the results, I cut out the imprint of the frame from the slats. To act as a form of reference, I used the CAD model and flattened it into a 1-1 rolled out drawing.


Using a bandsaw and jigsaw to cut the contours of the frame.


Smoothing out the surface, to remove all the machining marks. Staying as close to the line as possible.


Getting a good idea of the frame, The next step, was to start constructing the middle section by using the same cold laminating process. giving aesthetic consistency.

070/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

The middle section was then cut out and slats of mahogany veneer were inserted into the concave section. The focus of my design was mainly aesthetic, therefore I wanted to implement a duo tone of woods, giving it a more complex three dimensional form.


Mahogany Inlays

Some sketches that allowed me to visualise the placement of the mahogany inlay, initially the idea was to wrap the mahogany around objects, however, I realised that to wrap around organic shapes were impossible. Therefore, I decided to either inlay or place the mahogany in certain areas. Sitting above the european beech. Mahogany was placed in areas that would be most likely contacted by moving parts or other objects, since it has a higher hardness rating than euopean beech. Creating a thing barrier that protects the frame.

072/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/073

The mahogany sections of the frame would be the head tube, seat tube, and rear triangle. The pieces were cut out from pre veneered and assembled mahogany. I also used cardboard templates to ensure the consistency of the cuts.

074/Wooden bicycle

After glued, I proceeded to use a file to take back the mahogany to the same level of the beech.

Wooden bicycle/075


After adding all the pieces of mahogany, the next part, was to epoxy the steel OEM parts and tubing which contact the bicycle components, The dropouts, bottom bracket, head tube sleeve, and seat tube sleeve. To ensure extra stiffness the bottom bracket was screwed in and epoxied.


After epoxying the OEM parts, the next step was to start shaping the frame, however to ensure total precision, I aligned all the bicycle hard points, to find the datum (0,0) point. I then used a table veneer to mark out the centreline of the frame, ensuring total symmetry.


From there, It was a matter of using a spoke shave, chisel, files and a cabinet scraper to take away materials. The file was used to take material off quickly The chisel was used for precise material removal and small jobs. The spoke shave was used for carving out the curves and ‘eyelets’ of the frame The cabinet scraper was the last tool used, it replaces sand paper and is used to provide a smooth finish to the surface.


Since this is only a prototype, there are inconsistencies and problems with the frame, therefore I spent time using a mixture of shellac, pva, epoxy and wood glue to try and find a good substitute for a wood filler. I discovered that shellac mixed with dust seemed to hide all imperfections

080/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/081

To ensure that the form of the frame was perfect, I examined the highlights and shadows of the frame, by using a bright light, and marking the points using a pencil where there were inconsistencies in the lines. Then using a scraper or spoke shave to bring the frame back to the line. Simillar to how an automotive clay modeller would work.


To provide extra stability for the rear brake, I bored out a 12 mm hole, and placed 10mm bushing and epoxied the gap, providing a secure area for the rear brake to sit. Because the frame has radiuses, it was ideal to run gear and brake cables through the frame, rather than trying to split the cables up. I customized brass cable stops, by removing the cap, allowing the whole cable to run through



To protect the frame, I decided to use blonde shellac, a natural resin, with a slight tinge of colour, allowing the wood and grain to pop, however, because of its poor water protection properties, the frame would have to be sealed in something. I decided against epoxy as it leaves a plastic finish, that takes away from the natural beauty of the frame, therefore opting again for a natural top coat, beeswax. As well as providing a good protective layer to the frame, it also provides a dull finish to the frame. Which was preferable to the high gloss. To shellac the frame, I sanded the frame back using grits up to 400, then started to apply the a diluted shellac in light coats, trying to keep the finish even, After 5 coats, I then proceeded to use a very watered down shellac and use it to wipe the surface, rubbing out all brush strokes and bump surfaces.

084/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

after the shellac had hardened, it was a matter of sanding the frame back using 400 grit. To apply the beeswax, I used 0000 steel wool, mixed with the wax, then using a rotary motion, proceeded to buff out the frame to a dull glow.

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/085

086/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/087



Color and Components

The next step was to experiment with colour schemes, since components and gear make up half the aesthetic, it was important to try and match the frame and accentuate it. Apart from the beige beech and deep red mahogany the other complimentary colours would be either black of silver. The black hides all the components highlighting the frame, but gives it a slightly more aggressive look and feel. The silver helps to compliment the frame, and creating a more classic look, working well with a leather seat, handlebar wraps and pedals. I choose to go with silver components, as I wanted a classic look, and this allowed me to add hints of leather to add to the aesthetic.

090/Wooden bicycle prototype 2


Copper plate


Brass plate

European Beech

Silver - Bicycle components

European Beech

Black - Bicycle components

Honey Brown

Leather brown

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/091

092/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/093


Assembly of the frame was done by myself, having all the tools, and the experience in building and servicing bicycles, It was a fairly easy task to build the frame. I did a few dry test builds, to see If all the components would fit, and if I was missing any. Once I knew everything was there, I set out my table with all the components and started my build.

094/Wooden bicycle prototype 2

Wooden bicycle prototype 2/095



1 4



11 9




6 10

7 8


Components Most components of the bicycle were bought over the internet, and the rest were bought from my local bike store, and parts I had lying around. All the parts were cleaned and polished to a sheen, to ensure consistency across components.


Handlebars - Ritchey Classic


Seat post collar - Generic


Brakes - Ultegra


Stem - Ritchey Classic


Cranks - Shimano 600


Shifters - Ultegra 10spd




Rear derailleur - Ultegra 10spd


Chain - 10spd


Bottom bracket - Token


Seat post - Ritchey Classic


Brake/gear cables - Jagwire


Bar tape - Fizik


Seat - San marco regal


Pedals - MKS


Toe clips - MKS Wooden bicycle prototype 2/097

Brand Identiy

Being of bespoke design, and utilizing handcraft methods, it is suitable that my design become identified with my own brand, as it is a reflection of my characteristics and values. The logo for the bicycle is:


this in Chinese stands for wood/ tree and is written using a traditional Chinese ink brush. The art of calligraphy and ink wash painting, is a craft that is of artistic perfection. I wanted my bicycle to have the same philosohpical statement of my craft as an item of perfection. As well as paying homage to my Asian heritage. Like many other bespoke cyclist designers, I have placed my logo on the head tube, as a representation of my logo and brand. 098


Brass and mahogany create an interesting dual tone, I wanted to capture this tone at the head of the bicycle. The logo was cut out of brass, and the piece of mahogany was laser cut, the two pieces were placed together, and then sanded back.




102/Wooden bicycle photoshoot

Wooden bicycle photoshoot/103

104/Wooden bicycle photoshoot

Wooden bicycle photoshoot/105

106/Wooden bicycle photoshoot

Wooden bicycle photoshoot/107








Proud of my work, and having gone a long way from my initial prototype, I have learned new skills, and continued to refine my current ones. My initial design sought to: 1. Improve durability and strength 2. Improve structural rigidity 3. Focus on aesthetic value 4. Using new materials in the design. Having achieved these goals, has revealed even more flaws in my current design that I would love to address in future iterations.

114/Wooden bicycle reflection

1. Having total engineering alignment. ensuring that all the hard points for the frame are geometrically correct. The major issue was that the rear dropouts were not wide enough, and had to be

slightly stretched, as well as the rear derailleur not being able to access all gears. 2. Precision in craft. Using a different tone of wood has highlighted the fact that my workmanship is far from perfect, and that team would be well spent learning to woodwork under a teacher. 3.Manufacturing process. Looking at improving the process, by making it more efficient, reducing time to create a frame. 4. FEA analysis and stress testing. I would like to do stringent stress testing on the frame, to discover the extent of its durability. The next step, is to enter my designs into competitions and take it to a few bicycle

meets, to gain exposure and promote my design. I would also like to continue this project, as a industry of one designer, by creating a business proposition from my designs, however this would require serious market analysis.

Wooden bicycle reflection/115


The human powered vehicle of the future. Economic and environmental issues are turning people away from automobiles as a form of transportation, what then, will replace these vehicles? Recumbents or human powered vehicles, are the next evolutionary step for bicycles, however, their rarity today is a tribute to the fact, that they are not ready yet to exist The current infrastructure, driver attitudes towards cyclists, cultural and social stigma towards cycling and current manufacturing methods, are all factors towards the sluggish proliferation of these vehicles. However, where today lacks, the future will hopefully not.



Company : Ice Name: Vortex Style: Speed Materials: Aluminium Price: $3,860.01 Features: 13kg Front and rear suspension Two front disc brakes Rear 700c Front 20” Width - 750mm Height - 755mm Length - 1994 - 2235mm Seat height - 165mm Seat angle - 25 - 32degrees Bottom bracket height 305 380mm Turning circle - 5.5m

118/Recumbent benchmarking

Company : Ice Name: Adventure Style: Trails Materials: Aluminium Price: $2,799.77 Features: 16.8kg Two front disc brakes Rear 20” Front 20” Width - 825 Height - 800 Length - 1651 - 1892mm Seat height - 305mm Seat angle - 42 - 49degrees Bottom bracket height 330 380mm Turning circle - 3.85m

Company : Bachetta Name: Corsa Style: Performance Materials: Aluminium Price: $2150 Features: 11.3kg Front & rear calipers Rear 700c Front 700c Wheel base - 1219.2mm Seat height - 666mm Bottom bracket height 812.8mm

Benchmarking The difference between each recumbent, is in the design of the frame, and the human factors, each frame differs according to the recumbents needs.

Company : Zockra Name: High racer Style: Speed Materials: Aluminium / Carbon Price: $3,807.73 Features: Wheelbase: 1200mm Seat Height: 360 - 550mm Height Bracket: 775mm Seat angle: 10/14 or 20deg. Weight: 8.4 to 9.2kg

Company : Greenspeed Name: Glyde Style: Speed - Fairing Materials: Aluminium / Carbon Price: $15,990 Features: Track: 760 mm Wheelbase: 1270 mm Widest point: 800 mm Body width: 700 mm Overall length: 2.7 m Turning circle: 6.5 m Seat angle: 30 degree Seat height: 140 mm Ground clearance:100 mm Weight: 30kg

It is obvious though, that none of these recumbents are really built for commuting, but instead are designed for trail riding. The lack of integrated storage spaces, lights and weather proofing and the height of each of these recumbents, reduces the usability and visibility of the vehicle. Additionally, the cost of the is quite high, considering the main component which is not OEM is the frame.

Recumbent benchmarking/119

Recumbent Packaging Because of the accessibility of bicycle parts, it is easy to build one yourself with simple engineering and fabrication tools.

Tadpole tricycle

Low rider


Delta tricycle leaning



Because of the open nature of design, it has created many variations between the recumbent package

Overseat steering long wheel base

Each recumbent has its own handling characteristics, as the design has not yet converged, unlike bicycle design. Overall recumbents are quite situational, and will excel in certain areas.


Overseat steering


Underseat steering


Short wheel base


Long wheel base


Rear wheel steering


Front wheel steering


Rear wheel drive


Front wheel drive


Underseat sterring long wheel base 120/Recumbent benchmarking

Rear wheel steering front wheel drive


Overseat steering short wheel base

Underseat steering long wheel base

Tadpole learning


Overseat steering


Steering above the seat, simplifies the control mechanism as OEM parts can be used, while providing a more user friendly interface.

Steering under the seat, is generally more relaxing, as it is a natural position. However the mechanics are more complicated, and your hands are the first contact points when it hits the ground.

However it is harder to control especially around tight corners


Short wheel base


The wheel base is generally 965 - 1,143mm, while the feet is placed above the front wheel. These recumbents are much lighter and handle better.

Rear wheel steering

Long wheel base The wheel base is usually 1,625mm long, the feet are usually behind the front wheel, and the person is more upright. This provides a more comfortable ride, which is very easy to handle, these recumbents are great for touring.

However they suffer from handling and comfort characteristics


Underseat steering

However, the size means weight is an issue, and the length, increases the blind spot, especially around intersections and corners. FWD

This form of steering is extremely unstable, however the reason for so much development with this design, is that it simplifies the layout of the frame significantly.

Front wheel steering The most realisable method of steering, using the front wheel. Used on all standard recumbents

It is also dangerous is tricky situations, if something was about to collide with you, the only way to avoid it would be to steer at it, since it is a rear wheel steering.


Rear wheel drive Rear wheel drive is the best method, since the riders weight sits mainly on the rear wheel, providing the most traction. However, transferring the power to the rear wheel is a problem, usually the drive train is extremely long, and can be quite clumsy


Front wheel drive Front wheel drive, is more efficient as it shortens the drive train. However its main down falling, is that when going uphill, the weight will usually shift to the rear wheel, causing friction to be lost to the driving wheel.

Recumbent benchmarking/121

Generic Steering Recumbent geometry is vital in its design, as the variation within the geometry directly effects the handling characteristics. The important factors are the pivot angle of the steering column, and the trail of the steering wheel. A generic steering recumbent will usually have Positive trail, where the rake of the fork is in front of the wheel axle, this configuration provides stability and predictive riding patterns.

122/Recumbent benchmarking

Centresteer Reumbent Centre steer recumbents, will generally have negative trail. Since the design is low to the ground, it would be unfeasible to attempt to place a positive rake onto the steering axis. This geometry also allows the user to control the steering mechanism without their hands, as when the user places their weight onto the seat, the wheel automatically centres itself. However, these recumbents often still have a handlebar, to place control mechanisms and for a resting place of their hands.

Recumbent benchmarking/123

Recumbent Human Factors

Recumbents have always been rarer than conventional bicycles, and compared to the bicycle market recumbents only take up “5%� This is probably due to the different uses that recumbents have, they tend to stay on the bicycle trails and are considered as a weekend or relaxing trip, rather than being used for commuting, or that sense of freedom. This creates an opportunity for improvements in their design, designing a vehicle that has a better chance of existing in the same sense that cars and other bicycles do. To really grasp the theory behind this, I rented out a tricycle. This allowed me test the theories which I had proposed.

124/Recumbent human factors

Many of the assumptions that I had made were verified in the process of testing. The dangerously low height, unstable handling at high speeds, average

manuvorability, slow up hills and in compatibility for riding on busy roads. The one thing that surprised me though, was the sheer enjoyment of riding something, it was completely different to that of a bicycle. For a recumbent to specialise in commuting, there are features that need to be integrated into its design. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 10.

Weather Protection Statically Stable Reasonable Cruise Speed Cargo Carrying Capacity No Wider than a Bicycle Same Height as an Auto Comfortable posture and ease of entry Electric Assist for Hills


To get an idea of what is on the market, I rented out one of these and test rode it, as well as gathering information on all the geometry and components.





78 2.





4 8° .75 157.5

1 21







. 63




744.928 783.329 550

161.095 752

Greenspeed Package

Greenspeed is an Australian company that designs and builds three wheeled recumbents. Their recumbents are the most popular within Australia.


430 350


Recumbent human factors/125

Lower Position

160.7 .202



32 °






A lower position reduces aerodynamic drag, improving the efficiency of the cyclist


85 percentile man H point - 498.469 Eye Height - 944.117 Seat angle - 32.80 degrees Tilt - 23.28 degrees Trail - -232.499 Steering angle - 60 degrees Simmilar h-point to a passenger car (400 - 500mm)






232.499 126/Recumbent human factors

Ø 614.880

° 32.80





Upper Position 85 percentile man H point - 612.934 Eye Height - 1162.743 Seat angle - 48 degrees Tilt - 23.28 degrees Trail - -286.026 Steering angle - 60 degrees Above h-point to a passenger car (400 - 500mm)




The more upright position, while reducing efficiency of the cyclist, improves their visibility and safety factor, especially in high populated areas, and in heavy traffic situations.


75. Recumbent human factors/127

Comparison When comparing a 1 - 10 drawing, it is easy to see the difference the lift makes. Going from a height of 950mm to 1160mm, it gives a total raise of 200mm, enough to bring the recumbent slightly above the eye sight of a passenger car, increasing visibility hugely. However, it is not only about being seen by the driver, but also creating eye contact between the road users. This personalises each user, and means they are no longer just another faceless cyclist/road user.

128/Recumbent human factors


130/Personal capability statement

Personal capability statement/131

Form Development Form development and experimentation with the recumbent proved to be problematic, as the proportions and stance of a recumbent, have similarities to that of a car, however where in a car the person sits within the wheels, on a recumbent the person sits above the wheels and their feet sit in front of the front wheel axle. To further develop my form, I translated some of the sketches into wire models, getting a better idea of stance and exploring the sculptural elements of the form.

132/Recumbent form

After experimentation, I took some of the forms that I liked into CAD, and developed further.

other, as well as exploring the relationship between each line.

The goal of the design, was to break away from the constraints of typical recumbent design, which is usually quite dull and systematic. The inspiration for my form comes from motorcycles. Their design implements both surfaces and tubing, and looks at the interaction between them, similar to the arial atom. Therefore, my experimentation involved using various sizes of tubing to complement each

Recumbent form/133

Because it was necessary to implement adjustability in the bottom bracket, to accommodate for various leg sizes, I included the design feature that the bottom bracket holder for the front wheel was telescopic. Providing a form that followed the contour of the wheels in a neat package.

134/Recumbent form

During form development, I had focused heavily on the form, based on bicycles and motorcycle framework. However after some exploration, I then decided to take my form development into another direction. Rather than focus on tubing, I decided to experiment with using surfaces and creating a recumbent that had similar design aesthetics to that of a car, to make it more appealing to a larger audience, and to remove the social stigma

Recumbent form/135

Form Re-development

I began by breaking down the recumbent into the simplest forms possible, and exploring the dynamic between the frame, and wheels. I discovered that there were two main configurations, where the frame would sit in a zig zag position, or the whole base of the frame was low to the ground. I decided to further develop the recumbent that had a lower centre of gravity, as it suited the centre steering mechanisms, as well as providing a unique look and stance.

136/Recumbent form

Recumbent form/137

Taking the side views of the frame, and developing the form further, exploring stance and looking at the relationship of the three wheels.

138/Recumbent form


I attempted to develop my form further using clay, then using a 3D scanner, I would bring it into cad and study the surfaces and use them as a reference point for my design.



I realised that because I was using negative trail with centre steer, I was able to drop the front forks lower to the ground. Creating a frame that had a more prominent stance. I also drew inspiration from Cannondale, many of their designs focus on the idea of oversizing everything, therefore my recumbent used a single sided swing arm, which was massively oversized. However it gave it a slightly unbalanced look, especially without the human figure sitting above the frame.

140/Recumbent form

Recumbent form/141

I used cad to quickly generate a form, and grasp an idea of the surfaces on the frame and components. However, my lack of abilities made me realise I would be better off making the recumbent from clay to perfect my form, and then 3D scan the form into CAD.

142/Recumbent form

Recumbent form/143

Brand Identity + Graphics

Bicycle design has a heavy emphasis on graphical elements, as the form of the frame can sometimes be too simple. Colour, logo, shapes, lines and textures provide a greater depth to the frame that would otherwise not be possible. To provide create a consistency of design elements, It was vital to incorporate some graphical elements on the frame. The brand also helped to guide the design. Cannondale has strong design cues that are prevalent throughout its history.

144/Recumbent brand identity


Brand Identity + Graphics

146/Recumbent form

I applied the same colour scheme of the logo to the frame of the recumbent, experimenting with various graphics to make the frame pop.

Recumbent form/147

148/Recumbent form

Recumbent form/149

150/Recumbent form

Recumbent form/151

1-1 Prototype

The 1 -1 prototype, was a proof of concept for the application of the mechanisms. Having CAD to determine the extent of the geometry and mechanisms, It was time to work outside the virtual space. The goal was to explore four of the functions. 1 - The ergonomics of the recumbent. 2. The rising and lowering of the frame. 3. The tilting mechanism. 4. The steering mechanism.

152/Recumbent 1-1 prototype

Recumbent 1-1 prototype/153

Ergonomics of the Frame

The goal was to explore the bodies relationship to the hard points of the recumbent, the pedals, steering mechanism and seat. Having determined the human factors for an 85 percentile man, the size of the seat and angle was predetermined. The frame fit me quite well, which meant I was able to test ride the frame, And work out any issues,

154/Recumbent 1-1 prototype


Rising and Lowering

One of the many weaknesses a recumbent has, is its lack of visibility especially on the road, and the users uncomfotability while using it. So far, the only solution, has been to install a bright flag above your recumbent to indicate your presence. While increasing your visibility, this does not increase your range of vision, disabling you from assessing the ever changing traffic conditions.


To have a recumbent that was able to rise and lower to the users needs, would be a design feature that could potentially allow people to reconsider using these vehicles. To save space, and keep the design minimalistic, the rising and lowering of the frame has been integrated into the tilting mechanism, keeping the package simple. This was done by replacing

the tilting mechanisms rods, with pneumatic cylinders, and installing an air tank from a paintball gun to provide enough PSI to operate the pneumatic cylinders.



For a three wheeled recumbent, tilting is a feature that provides extra stability, the ability to corner at high speeds safely and allows the user to stay in the seat when stationary. These features were necessary in the design of the recumbent, as overall it makes the design for user friendly. A tilting mechanism usually has tie rods that provide movement to the swing arms,

158/Recumbent 1-1 prototype

my design integrates the lifting mechanism with the tilting mechanism, so that it combines it into a single clean package, by simply replacing tie rods with pneumatic cylinders.

Recumbent 1-1 prototype/159

Steering Mechanism

A significant challenge of the 1 - 1 prototype, was to test the steering mechanism. Significant research has been done on the mechanisms that allowed rising and lowering, tilting and the ergonomics of seating, however the various steering mechanisms of a recumbent are still debated. With a generic steering mechanism with positive trail, the handling characteristics of the frame are predictable. However when dealing with negative trail, it can be unpredictable, unstable and un-rideable. Research, suggested that a steering angle of 60 - 70 degrees with negative trail would be suitable for a centre steering recumbent.


And although I had followed the design exactly, I was still struggling to ride and steer the recumbent, the handling was extremely stiff and unable to

be used.



Nearing the end of semester, I realised that because of time constraints, I would be able to complete only one project. And given that the recumbent was still in its exploratory stages, I thought it wiser to continue with the wooden bicycle instead. In retrospect, this choice was made as there were still unresolved issues that were holding the recumbent back.

162/Recumbent reflection

The main problem was that the 1-1 prototype was not fully operational, because of the multiple issues with the steering mechanism. Since I wanted to use centresteering, the focus soon became about its rideability, rather than the rising and loweing mechanism.

In retrospect, I should have use conventional steering, and spent time focused on the other more crucial mechanisms. And my design would have progressed much further. However, even with this year over, I will continue experimenting further with my concept. Pushing the idea of a recumbent that transforms. As I still beleive there is potential for and intersting opportunity to arise.

Recumbent reflection/163



w asp cat/786




2 x 3 DVR - Zheng Chin RMIT industrial design  

My thesis book for my final year at industrial design at RMIT, the project looks at pedal power, and tries to introduce new ways of thinking...

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