Vector Go is a fly type fender designed for urban bike riders. It is designed with a universal form and with a flexible silicon rubber body making it go along with any urban bike be it a hybrid, mountain bike, or an endurance bike. It is equipped with two flexible collar clamps that get attached to the seat stay bars of the bike increasing structural rigidity.
The lightweight and inexpensive material makes it an ideal add-on to your bike , protecting you from mud and water splashes while commuting. The material's excellent property of hydrophobicity makes it easy to clean. The entire structure can be stored easily when not in use. The lever screws can be replaced with hex screws if the intention of the user is to attach the fender to his/her bike permanently.
Vishruth Kumar ( MDes, Product Design, National Institute of Design, India)
Sahil Thappa (Facilitator, National Institute of Design, India)
Bikes are one of the most personalized products available around us. Each component of the bike is designed meticulously as per the user's need. Often the user tends to customize his/her bike to reflect his/her personality. Even small and trivial components such as lights, bottle holders, baskets, mudguards, reflectors, etc. can be customized to fit the user's needs and personality.
As part of Design Project 1 in the National Institute of Design, India, we had to design a simple product having minimum mechanisms and components focussing on details. Being an engineering graduate, I was always fascinated by bikes and I wanted to explore the design of bike components and I found my interest in fenders. Since most of the urban bikes do not come with fenders, I always had trouble choosing fenders which are of different company and its forms do not go along with the bike. Most of the time I am not satisfied with the shielding it provides during monsoon season. Another problem of it was the shaking which leads to loosening of the screw, and eventually, the fenders start rubbing against the tire while riding. So usually I end up removing the fender when not needed. These trigger points inspired me to work in the area of redesigning the fenders for urban bikes.
The coursework started off with creating a list of projects which interest me and creating a rough mind map. In the starting weeks, it was filled with brainstorming and idea-sharing sessions among batchmates and course facilitator Sahil Thappa. Being a young faculty, he had an innovative approach for the process which I liked in the beginning. He shared an ample amount of design ideas and inspirations from the ongoing trends which motivated us.
After the lockdown due to COVID19, we lost our track of progress due to a lot of problems. Everybody was told to go home and work at home. Still, a regular feedback session was conducted online. We were glad to complete primary research before the lockdown itself and most of us had our data reviewed. In this coursework, I learned a lot of things along the way. I got a chance to apply my learnings from Research methodology by conducting personal interviews, telephonic interviews, etc. to learn to formulate the design problem and decide the target users. I had a detailed discussion with a focus group and target users in the college campus. Most of them were cycling enthusiasts and one of them (Divleena Singh) was a national level cyclist. Their valuable inputs on fenders did pave my way towards defining the problem statement. To understand the market scenario, I even went to the Decathlon store to talk to the salesperson regarding the sales of fenders for BTwin bikes. After the qualitative study, I proceeded for quantitative study.
I learned to design an effective online survey from my senior in IDC, Mumbai (Parth Kapadia) which gave me a good quantifiable insight for my project. I listed down 3 major problems faced by urban bike riders with their fenders i.e. Form, improper coverage, and low structural rigidity. I fixed my problem statement as "To design a bike fender having universal form, better structural rigidity and sufficient coverage for urban bike users."
I was able to improve my rapid ideation skills directly from the pen tab due to a lack of papers at home and it worked out well. I went from designing fixed fenders, retractable fenders, saddlebags which acts as a mudguard, flat part foldable fenders, and many more. Good idea about forms helped me to incorporate the same in my project. Since in simple product design, attention to detail was the key and resolving surfaces in rhino CAD is what I learned in this project. I learned a few new tools to develop a class A surface. My first detailed ideation was a tangential type fixed fender which I made in different form languages for different types of bikes. While designing that in CAD, I came across certain elements in their form which were common to all. Since Tangential type fixed fenders did have a lot of components to be assembled, I ruled out a few redundant parts to simplify it and come up with the idea of Fly type fenders. I did some basic research on existing products and materials. I always wanted to explore the area of silicone products and found out this was the chance. I finalized the material after a discussion with few designers and started meticulously designing the CAD.
Sahil did share a few images and inspirations of detailed renders which boosted me and considered it as a benchmark for my project. I did boost up my Keyshot rendering skills by learning new concepts such as custom HDRI lighting, Material Graphs, Multi Materials, Fuzz features, and Real Cloth, Post-processing Keyshot renders in photoshop, detailed plastics, and translucent materials. I can generate clean and crisp renders with ease after much practice. I did improve my documentation skills by learning adobe illustrator to make quick vector arts out of drawing produced from rhino CAD. I had a few help and guidance from Nikita Jaiswal (GDPG19) in designing the packaging and branding for my project. I explored all pros and cons of different types of packaging, its afterlife, cubic space utilization, and the impact of its shape and color on consumer behavior. I learned a few new sets of skills that I am going to improve in my further projects. Krishnakant Saini (my batchmate) did help me with presenting ideation sketches in a good format.
Crudracer mudguards, Bar Fly Fenders, Qbicle tangent fenders, v100 BTwin bike lamps, musguard fenders were some of the benchmark products which I followed while designing my project. Esben Oxholm, Will gibbons, Roshan Hakkim, and Liam martin where my tutors when it came to high fidelity renders in Keyshot. My college Senior Het Patel was a constant support in helping me generate high fidelity renders. Pinterest did serve as an inspiration bank and Behance did help me with in-depth secondary research.