Designer: Brooklyn Workshop - Alon Karpman
Location: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Award: Professional Notable
Skatecycle - a hubless self-propelled urban riding machine. Constructed with a solid aluminum frame, ABS composite body parts and polyurethane wheels, the Skatecycle combines snake-like movements with the carving action of a snowboard - all on a flat surface.
As a kid, I started sketching out this concept. I was always fascinated with hubless wheel technology, I just didn't see anything that actually made real use of it. When I began working on the Skatecycle, I wanted to make sure that the final product would be what I envisioned over 20 years ago as a kid making sketches in my notebook.
The idea for the Skatecycle took concrete shape when I moved to New York from Los Angeles and immediately missed the easy access to ski resorts that he enjoyed out west. I wasn't happy working at my job at the time, and was excited enough about it to leave my job to pursue its production. With the Skatecycle, you don't need a hill, you don't need a half pipe, you don't need anything. You can just swerve and carve, and get that same thrill from the slopes all year round. The Skatecycle's 9" donut-hole wheels enable rides with power, quickness, and a small (2') turning radius. The rider stands sideways, while maneuvering his or her feet and upper body to propel forward and "carve" deeply over flat surfaces, much like a snowboarder on a slope.
Core77: How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
By checking the website every 2 seconds. The "Notify Me" option was simply not good enough. But all that hard work paid off. Winning notable entry is a real honor considering the amazing entry that won the category. Viewing distinguished judges discussing and analyzing the merits of the winning products is an amazing and novel aspect to the award. On a personal level it was great to be recognized by Core77, a site that I have been a loyal reader of for many years and draw inspiration from often.
Core77: What's the latest news or development with your project?
Finalized deals with several international distributors. Germany, Australia, Benelux region, Poland, Czech and Slovak Republic, and Russia. So hopefully we will see world domination shortly and I will be able to afford to pay for the subway and stop riding this stupid thing.
What is 1 quick anecdote about your project?
After the first prototype a large and famous design firm licensed the product for further development. I didn't realize that a dream come true could make me so miserable. There was a lot to do and they were taking it in a different direction than I envisioned. Being that they were the professionals, and I was just the guy with the idea, they didn't even take my calls. After three years of holding the license for development and not coming up with anything viable, they gave up on it. I think that without passion, excitement and a clear vision, any project can die. It taught me a valuable lesson. Many large companies quantify ideas by setting a monetary value to the project and lose focus of the initial vision. Money is not what is unique. There are many companies and people with money. It is the idea and the willingness to innovate that ultimately has value and leads to a better chance for success.
Read on for full details on the project and jury comments.