Cosmic Brake Alignment

This blog is already bordering on being a Fly fanzine I know, but I put the blame squarely on their stream of simple ideas. And on that note, here's another:

Surprise! It's a new removable brake mount design!

The titanium grub screw market is now officially wide open

Up until a couple of years ago kids were suffering the obscenity of having impotent and demoralised brake mounts de-cooling their life when they rode street. Inexcusable. And frame manufacturers were being forced into producing two versions of every frame just to keep these little pricks (ahem... valued customers) happy. Ying was not yang.

So desperate was this situation that Fly came up with the idea of removeable mounts and, not surprisingly, every frame manufacturer saw the chance to realign their inventory chakras and jumped on board. Fair enough, but you think that one of them could at least have chipped in and done their part in the evolution of the idea. Instead Fly have done the evolving, and now, by undoing a little grub screw in your frame, you can remove the brake bosses with brakes still attached and so avoid fiddling cables, barrels and knarps each time you do it.

That's good, but were I see the major advantage is that when you turn 30, you can just put your brakes back on without having to avoid the temptation to buy a 24" or worse still - a cruiser.

In terms of exactly how this all happens it's probably easiest if you just watch Sergio:

Since most people either ride brakes or don't, you'd have to say the original idea was a bigger deal than this in that the real advantage was for the frame manufacturers and that race has been run already. But since this design shouldn't cost any more than the current standard, it's hard to see why those manufacturers won't now switch to similar systems - it's like something for nothing. And who doesn't like something for nothing? It's just so much better than nothing for something. Follow?

From Russia with...

You remember those hubs from the new Russian brand Infect, that I posted a week back. You know, one looked bad and one looked good? I've got to admit that in a glass half empty moment, I more or less disregarded the nice simple looking one and, in my own mind, tarred the Infect brand with the light-weight, loud-mouth brush that was presented by the other.

Well, these cranks made me think again:

They're machined from bits of 7075, that most hard-ass and inflexible of all the aluminium alloys used in bmx bikes. So that's different. And they've also got that nice simple machine aesthetic thing going on. But looks aren't everything right - there does seem to be at least a little weirdness going on. That little plate with the crank bolt is odd, and it does seem weird that the pinch bolt pinches together the thread that accepts the crank bolt. Or is it that the crank bolt plate holds apart the thread that the pinch bolt pinches? Well, it must work and the look of them works for me.

But there is one final Infect mystery that I need an answer to... What the hell does their logo mean?

Bikes are Nice

Here's a little something from Fly on the new bits that they've got happening at the moment. Ideas are high, resolution is low:

Those investment cast bridges look particularly nice with different style for each of the models, though they do leave me with a little tinge of guilt since months ago I made the mistake of declaring that I was putting together a post about the investment casting technique that Fly and WTP have started using for for fork and frame dropouts. So now they've done a bunch of bridges too and I ain't done shit. Life's hard.

One thing that's distinctly missing from the layout above is the Fly cassette hub. You've got to wonder if it's hit the wall, cause none of their team seem to be riding it. There was that KP bike check the other day he was rocking Profile and Javier Ortega's got a bike check up on Transworld and he's riding a Mini too. I was really looking forward to seeing what angle Fly would bring to cassettes and how the hell they were going to get down to the 12 oz mark that they had put out there. So is it all over, or is it in an unmarked box headed for InterBike. Either way Javier's always got a nice looking bike for those that remain unoffended by the simple functionality of a brake:

Speaking of nice looking, when it comes to manufacturing precision machine porn, the Germans are going to win every time. They're just not that good at making cheap rubbish. You've only got to take a look at Svevo Bikes to confirm that. No new fangled T.I.G welded frames there. They've gone the full craftsman route and fillet braze their frames, which means that you end up with pretty much no visible weld bead:

Clean. But is this cleanliness enough for you to shell out US$850 (just a little over A$1000) for a frame? If it were, you would have to go full Bauhaus, let the beauty of the construction shine through and adorn it with nothing more than clear coat over the stone cold craftsmanship - wouldn't you? The Svevo frames hit the scales at 2180 precisely calibrated German grams. That's 4.8 lbs to you.

Final frame news for the day is that Colony have a few shots up of their new models for 2010. Whacky paint jobs are officially in:

If you would like to see a pic of all four pro models for 2010 you can search amongst the Flash web death here.

Infectious Hub Love

Infect BMX is a new company coming out of Russia (that is without website) and distributed by Underground and these photos of their hubs that have been getting a bit of attention recently:

The X-tra LITE front hub

The Transformer front hub

Those photos are nice but there are some digi scale ones that shed the light on why they've been getting the attention that they have. The X-tra LITE (see how they got creative there and dropped the "E" from extra, added a dash, spelt "light" lite and put it all in capitals - you know there's something special going on there) weighs 5.3 oz (150 g) and the Transformer hub is a bloated 6.4 oz (181 g). Personally, if I were looking to get infected I'd sacrifice the 31 gram difference, go for the Transformer and run a nice simple looking hub, rather than one that obnoxiously shouts "LITE!"

There's also the question of why they've used the titanium sleeve in the hub body - Titanium is heavier than alloy so...?

Anyway now they've clarified details of the hubs by posting up some blurred photos.

Seats are pretty much the T-shirts of bmx. They're all more or less the same, but you can try and choose one that broadcasts a reflection of your personality to the world. They're sometimes rad, sometimes bad. These ones are new from UGP and I'll leave the rad/bad catagorisation up to you:

UGP pivotals

There's also some new stuff from UGP themselves, the like sprockets and bar ends, up on their site and you can check them here.

AusBike Round Two

So I mentioned that I had a bit more stuff to post from AusBike. Well there actually isn't much, but I'll try and string it out a little - no killer, just filler.

I had seen a black version of the SE X DC track bike a while back and thought it was pretty average, probably cause the only shots you ever saw were of the badge. And as it turns out the badge is pretty much all that DC seemed to have done for the project :

The bike's nice though and for mine the looptail looks better on this sized frame than it ever did on a bmx. And if you do actually have some remote interest in fixies, singlespeeds or whatever, the spec is pretty good. Velocity rims on a Sugino hubset, Oury grips and the rest is pretty much all SE. Except the badge.

You probably haven't had a look at the SE website lately for fear of seeing something like this. But let me just tell you, they have a shit load of bikes - I didn't count them, but I'd say there's maybe 40 in total.

And on the Kickass stand I got to have a look at that new Superstar stem that I posted a pic of along with their new hubs a couple of weeks back. It's a pretty standard top load with plenty of negative space. Looks nice:

But I'll leave you with true innovations. Kids, if your friends are hating cause you ain't got no manual - solution. And if you want to keep your head together without losing your street credibility - covered.

How long till InterBike?


Kevin Porter bike check off Vinyl with a closer look at the prototype plastic Ruben pedals and their new removable brake mounts that you can take on and off without having to adjust your brakes. Nice. And the riding... very nice.

In the interests of promoting Australian music to the world, I would like to note that the song in that clip was incorrectly labeled. I would post the incorrectly labeled clip, but this is better:

Cheese, Wine and Meth

Melbourne just had a weekend of wind and rain and general anti-bike-riding weather that leaves you back to work on Monday feeling unsatisfied. But it does make for good AusBike weather. AusBike is like Australia's little version of what I imagine InterBike to be, but since there was some BMX stuff on show so I dutifully attened.

Along with the Australian distros like Triplesix, Kick Ass BMX and Elite Cycle Imports, Colony also had a stand showing off all their 2010 stuff like the Descendent completes and the new Phantom frame all built up and looking fine.

The Phantom is Liam Fahy-Hampton's new signature frame and I'll tell you something about him that you wouldn't know unless you've done the same exhaustive research that I have, unturned every stone and even read his team page on the Colony site. And that is that he enjoys fine wine and cheeses. That's a 100kg street ape that drinks shiraz and manipulates cheese with one of those upturned fork-knife things. That's cool, I like cheese. I wonder if Mike Hoder likes cheese? I always thought of him as more of a Meth kind of guy, but maybe he's just a Merlot man. Either way check this edit and you'll have to agree that he is in some way altered.

So back to Colony... Here's a few photos of new stuff and modified stuff for 2010:

Pivotals that look like... pivotals. Nuts.

New graphics everywhere and a little extra machining on their hub shells. Why? Why not?

Colony cranks now have an extra little hole on the crank bolt boss. Interesting eh?

Pretty sure the rest is business as usual. Like I said, AusBike is pretty small but I'll post up a couple more photos in the next day or two. Until then, just sit back and try to keep your excitment in check.

BMX Habitat

This is not bmx and it's probably already been Defgripped eons ago, but it does involve transitions and if you just shift your focus to the word "Design" in my title tag, we're even safely on topic...

It's a house in Athens that is designed to be fully skateable. It's by some architects called Archivirus and if you were to upsize it all x3 in some warehouse space or just apply the same principal inside the hellish shell of an Australian McMansion you might even be able to ride a bike in there.


Turtle Power

At the risk of alienating the small but perfectly formed readership that come here exclusively craving bmx product content, I'm going to post this thing:

Aaahhhh! Cover your eyes, it's a mountain bike stem!

That's true, but it is intriguing. Not least because the only information that I can find is in German and as a result I can't really work out what the fuck is going on and where the big innovation is. It's called the Strata btw and it's made by a company called Kodex.

My trusty German translator-ette, who turns out to be less trusty than required when it comes to technical bicycle terminology, leads me to believe that it's a three piece "sandwich" design that "almost completely encloses the handlebars" (hmmm... that's fine, but we are going to need a little bit sticking out at the sides to hold on to) and that "the screw torque is reduced", thus "decreasing the load at the clamp". Don't worry, I've already sacked her.

I see it like this:
It's an alien robot turtle head with lots of small screws in it, that despite being for mountain bikes would be very popular with kids should a bmx version be produced as the three part design allows for maximum mix'n'match colour coding combinations points and it weighs in at just 188 grams or 6.6 oz.

If you take a close look at the pic above you'll see that there does seems to be something going on with the compression cap being extended down into the stem where a flange on it is then sandwiched between the upper and lower parts of the stem. This innovation makes the *flangelessness* of regular stems seem blunt and pre-historic by comparison.

But seriously, if you actually do speak German could you do me a favour and have a quick read of this, this or this and let me know what the hell is going with this thing?

Jimmy Röstlund / Eject BMX Interview: Part 2

If your thinking "What's this? Who the hell is Jimmy Röstlund?" then you obviously haven't read part 1, and you should check it here. Otherwise, please read on... ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I had seen a few pics of the hub in mags and what-not and it looked pretty slick, but I was in a bike shop one day, just having a look around, and the guy behind the counter said “check this thing out” and started taking apart your hub. The tolerances between the cones, bearings, shell was all so precise it was like it was part of some kind of high tech machine part – maybe like a piece of a helicopter or something. And it turns out that you used to work as a “helicopter component technician” (not as rad as it sounds apparently) amongst loads of other stuff. Do you think that kind of work has had an influence on your design work, or the kind of stuff you want to design? Outside of bmx what other stuff influences you design work?

I've never really tried to pinpoint where my "design style" comes from. I've just always had this tendency to like things that are no-frills, straight forward and functional and of course - well made. I've always been rather meticulous about that I do and I want everything to be as close to perfect as possible and to meet my high standards. I can't stand doing shit half-assed. There has been times when some parts or prototypes have not met my expectations and when that happens it really brings me down, but at the same time that pushes me to step it up and make sure it works out better next time. Unfortunately I'm not always the person in control.

As for influences... I don't really feel influenced by anything in particular, right now I can't think of any real influences at all. I often see stuff that sparks ideas, even if the thing I see is something completely different from the idea it sparked. Not a perfect example of that statement is the original idea for the front hub that I got when I saw the Brunn straight pull hub, which looks and works rather different from what I ended up with.

Talking about the tolerances in the hub. You got the initial production run machined in Sweden, but now that they’re being made by Simple, I’m assuming they’re done in Taiwan. Were there any issues with getting the same level of control over production once it was moved halfway across the world? What’s the set-up like over there?

With the hubs that were made in Sweden I actually got to assemble every single one myself, so if any of the tolerances were out I would notice it right away. Since I also drilled and countersunk every single spoke hole on the entire batch by hand, which meant that I physically held every hub shell in my hands and could identify flaws that way. It’s obviously not going to be like that when you step it up and take your business to Taiwan. So yeah... there have been some issues. Mainly in the first batch where the tube spacer preventing bearing bind was slightly too long and caused a wobble in some hubs. I was so frustrated about that whole deal and it almost made me want to give up.

The communication with the factories is definitely the biggest issue that I’ve noticed. You really have to deal with a good agent that can translate and communicate the specifics of what is asked of them. Sometimes this does not work exactly as it should and there have been a few occasions where samples are made from the wrong set of drawings for example. Or the time when we wanted a prototype frame with no brake lugs and the dudes in the factory just assumed they were missing from the drawing and welded them on there anyway.

I’ve still not been over there, so I have no first hand experience of what the set-up is like. I’ve seen photos and I’m sure a few people would be surprised at the fact that it’s not this super high tech place with a spotless machine shop floor. From what I've seen it's more like an Asian food market style setup, but somehow they manage their stuff quite well.

Some of the most respected BMX brands still have their manufacturing done in the US while some of the most innovative have it all done in Asia. What do you make of the whole USA v.s Taiwan thing?

I honestly think that as long as you source a good vendor and agent, then the manufacturing quality is on par with US made products most of the time. Sometimes it can probably even be better because they do have excellent techniques and capabilities over there. But the prestige of having a “Made in USA” stamp on a product will probably never wear off. Although the price/quality ratio won’t compare to Taiwan made products.

Alright, multiple choice: There’s a couple of hubs from Éclat and KHE, that came out a bit after the Eject hub. Was that: a) Something you were involved in b) Something else

b) Something else. The official statement from both KHE and Éclat is that prototyping was under way in parallel to my hub being released by Simple and that the design similarities are a coincidence.

Shit's getting flangeless round here...

Did you patent the design and did you approach any other companies with it? And is that the way you want to keep working. Designing stuff on your own and then licensing the designs out to other brands? What would be your ideal work / life set up?

I never did any patenting. Looked into it a little bit but soon realized that it was going to take too much time and effort for something that might not be fruitful in the end. It's been pointed out by many people on BMX forums and whatnot that the “flangeless” design has been around for a long time. It’s been seen on wheelchairs and road bikes before, although that was something I was not aware of at the time when I started working on the design. That means the flangelessness would not have been a patentable aspect. Neither would any of the other features on their own, since none of it was new technology. But the concept of the hub with a replaceable guard might have been.

(edit: I challenge anyone to use the word flangelessness in a conversation that is not about the Eject hub)

The "licensing" thing with Simple only just came about since I was helping out with their other drawings and designs anyway. Then I had the hub thing on my own, but it just made sense to team up and get it all made at the same place. Helped me out a lot for sure, since all the production and distribution channels were already in place.

I'm not the kind of person that will be happy just working in an office environment or just work in a manufacturing environment. I want the best of both worlds. I love working with my hands and actually make stuff myself, but I also love the office part of it as well, coming up with the designs, graphics and so on. For a long time I've been dreaming about having my own prototype / small run machine shop. That way I could earn my living making prototypes and small production runs of stuff (not necessarily for just BMX companies). All the while having the chance to make my own parts and whatnot. But I don't know how a business setup like that would work in real life.

Just about every new part that comes out has it’s fair share of loud online critics. Like there is some kind of in-built progress-phobia in people. Maybe it’s just a bit of healthy caution – I don’t know. But especially if something has a low weight, or a low top tube, then people really get stuck in to it. Good design generally is supposed to make life easier, but a lot of people don’t want the design of a frame or part to make a trick easier. What do you think about that? Is that something that a part design should take into account?

I think that the parts you put on your bike should serve one purpose: To enable you to ride the way you want. If the way you ride, or want to ride, requires you to have a top tube that touches your bottom bracket, then that's just fine by me. Personally I don't really agree with the look of the extremely low top tubes and I have a hard time seeing why it would make tricks easier, so you probably won't see me design or be overly eager to draw a frame like that. But to each their own.

In my personal opinion a part should not restrict your riding, only enhance it, so designing a part that's only good for certain tricks doesn't make much sense to me. The big bar trend has gone a bit too far, which I would assume most riders agree with. I can see why the bigger bars came in the first place - it makes sense to have a comfortable placing of your hands, right around the width of your shoulders, and to not be extremely hunched over. For a time there they were just too narrow and low! But when they become so wide that even the bigger guys have a problem reaching the grips, then something's not completely right. Same deal as usual with the riders pushing a trend too far.

As a reality check, just compare it with doing push-ups... if your hands are placed too far apart or too close it makes it harder and it restricts movement. With the hands just a little wider than your shoulders that's when you have the most freedom of movement and strength. Common sense to me. But then again.. there are many young little kids out there that can hardly reach their grips who shred way better than me, so who am I to talk? Imagine what they could do with a bar their size though...

In your opinion, is there something that BMX design needs more of?

As for good design many bases are covered I'd say, but I still think there is still plenty of room for improvement. I just like to see when companies really take the specifics of how we ride and how our bikes and parts are put through stress and incorporate that in their design/engineering. A BMX is not like any other bike, what works for a mountain bike for example, might not work so good for a BMX. At least not without some adaptation.

Something that you think it could do with less of?

What we don't need more of is the philosophy that just cutting another hole somewhere constitutes "new innovative design". I'm not pointing fingers here, there are plenty of companies guilty of that. In my opinion there's more to it than just removing material "in places where it is not needed". I also don't think we need plastic in more parts of the bike.

Simple's V1 System stem - the CAD model then the finished product. Not often you see holes being removed from a product during it's development

Other than Simple are there other BMX companies, or brands outside of BMX, who’s design and / or outlook you appreciate?

Within BMX there are a few companies that you really have to look up to. I can't get away without mentioning Odyssey, they have had their fair share of freaky products in the past, but they've really been on the forefront of materials and design development in the past few years. That along with their excellent idea of quality and standing behind their product. That's just something you have to respect.

I also admire Fly Bikes for trying different things and thinking outside of the box. They have had some products that didn't work out, but all in all they've pushed BMX in a better direction. In general, I like the smaller companies that do things their own way, putting their heart and soul into it and not just trying to play on the latest trend. Tree Bike Co. is cool as well and we should all be eternally grateful to Standard Bykes and S&M for pushing frame design in the right way back in the day.

Outside of BMX I think it's not a big surprise that I like Apple Computers and most of things they do, the quality and their well thought out design in both hardware and software, I just can't help being impressed.

Where do you want to take Eject in the future? Are you keen to keep collaborating with companies like Simple or would you one day like to make it a stand-alone parts company? Any plans to branch out and design stuff outside of bmx?

For the future my only plan is to keep doing what I do and hopefully make it grow. Taking it in the direction of a stand-alone parts company is definitely somewhere I'd like to see it go later on and hope I will be able to take it there. It's not going to happen overnight, that's for sure. Right now I do all of this outside of my normal full-time job and it takes up a lot of my spare time and takes time away from the people around me.

CAD of the Tempered Bikes stem that Jimmy helped out with. Check their site and some pics of it here

I do quite enjoy working with different companies as I have done now the past year where I've been able to offer my help to a couple of Australian bike companies, namely the not-so-unknown Tempered Bikes and a small company from Cairns named Nightfall Bike Co. I've helped these guys out with the CAD stuff making some drawings and 3D models, not so much with the actual design work - I've just interpreted some napkin drawings basically.

I can't imagine my passion moving too far away from BMX, but if the opportunity arises I'd be happy to do design or drafting / 3D modelling for other types of products and businesses as well. I don't see the reason for limiting myself to just one thing.

Ahhh... and you were wondering if there would ever be a cassette version the Eject hub. Time will tell

Shout outs? Final words of wisdom?

Big thanks go out to my good old friends in Sweden for helping me out when I first started Eject. If it wasn't for them I would not have been able to afford making the initial prototypes (it was really tight with the money back then). I miss you guys, come over here and visit me, the flight is not that bad!

I also have to thank the guys who bought the hubs from the first, Swedish made, batch and who spread the word and gave me input about them. Greatly appreciated! Then of course I have to say thanks to Niels and Simple Bikes for the opportunity to be part of the company and getting my work out there, it's been a great ride so far and I hope it'll go on for a long time.

Moving overseas has been largely a great experience for me and I'm very happy to have made so many friends here in Melbourne. Many of whom are extremely dedicated to the well being of the BMX scene and are passionate about their endeavours and doing great things within the industry. Cooper, Flagz & Jay, who were instant friends to me from he start. All of the Focalpoint crew and also the other locals who have all really made me feel right at home here - it means a lot. Cheers guys!

And of course thanks to you Jeff for thinking of doing this interview.

The End

Question: When a bike company owner has a kid, what does his design guy get him for a present
Answer: This...

Niels at Simple had a baby recently and Jimmy has used CAD trickery to create a virtual present. Of course you'll notice that the new generation don't run seats... and I think I recognize that hub.

Congrats Niels!

Negative Space

New 2010 bits and pieces are coming thick and fast:

Superstar have put up some new shots of their Overdrive cassette hub that has a female 3/8 axle system and uses the Q-lite system, which basically means the pawls are mounted in the hub shell and the "teeth" are on the driver. The first photos I saw had it looking a bit agricultural, but the new colours and the matte finish seem to make a big difference. And maybe the shape makes more sense when you see it with the front hub.

If you look at that photo at it's full size and take a look at the stems in the background you'll see that Superstar are also doing what looks like a heavily re-worked version of their Elect stem from 2008. Of course with extra and improved negative space (read: bigger fuckin' holes), plus bigger chamfers all over for 2010 credibility.

Shola also have a seat and post combo out, which looks pretty similar to the Deluxe one, which looks similar the the Gusset one, which looks similar to the KHE one. Can you see the picture that I am subtly painting for you?

And Animal have finalised their entry for the most adjectives required to describe a bmx product with their wedge, stump, pivotal, seat post. Now they just need to do a "lite" version like their pegs and it's in the bag.

Jimmy Röstlund / Eject BMX Interview: Part 1

A couple of months ago I decided that rather than posting up my opinions based on absolutely no bike industry experience whatsoever, I'd try and get some people who actually know what they're talking about to say some words that I could put on this thing and enlighten you.

Around the same time I was thinking about interviews, I made a post about Simple Bike Co and specifically mentioned that I liked the fact that they don’t do loads of colour variations. A few hours after I published it the Defgrip stamp of approval was given to the Eject BMX blog, I followed the link and, predictably, discovered that Simple were set to release a range of new colours. But, I also discovered that Jimmy Röstlund, who basically is Eject BMX, also does design work for Simple and is currently living in my home town of Melbourne.

Still, it took me a while to put two and two together. I was a fan of the Eject hub and of Simple's design style, and Jimmy is obviously right into the design side of bmx and knows how to string some words together - so I should hit him up for an interview. So I did, he was keen, I wrote some stuff, he wrote some more, and now you can read it. Oh yeah, and it's really long so you'll get the second half later in the week.


Jimmy Röstlund Interview: Part 1

Despite spending my $20,000 for a design degree, I’ve always thought that Universities were a bit over-rated. True, they’re a good excuse to drink and talk to girls, but they’re probably not the most effective way of learning to do something. Often the best way is just to do it. Like when a skatepark kid asks how to learn some trick – the best answer is usually just to have a go at it – not to go home and watch 20 how-to-videos.

What I’m getting at here is that Jimmy doesn’t have any formal design training – he’s just doing it. He does his thing under the name of Eject BMX and responsible for the Eject front hub, which is now made by Simple. He also helps out with design for Simple and since coming to Australia, has done bits and pieces for a couple of companies over here, namely Nightfall Bike Co and Tempered Bikes. So… to the questions:

BMXtec: How did you get started with designing things and how much work have you put in over the years to make it all happen?

Jimmy: It's not very easy to answer the question about how I started, at least not to pinpoint it exactly. I've always been the kind of person who would modify things to work better or work in the way I liked them to work. This goes back to when I was a kid, building cars and crazy things out of Lego. I used to love that stuff and I did not hesitate to make my own Lego pieces to make a construction work better.

As for BMX parts I guess the first thing I designed was a rear hub, a pretty massive thing, that was going to work as a left side drive hub via an adapter piece that could make use of a right hand drive freewheel. This was before the age of LHD freewheels and quite a few years before cassette hubs made their debut in the freestyle world. That hub never even made it to the prototype stages, mainly because I did not have the money or the contacts to get it made. I think I was 16 or 17 at that time. After that I made some small bits for my own bike such as a bolt on front hub guard "fork spork" thing and home made knarps that could be used inside an existing gyro/oryg splitter housing. So you could get any brake cable and make it into a gyro cable.
By now I've done many hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of work in my spare time outside of my regular job and I've almost got a whole bike of "my own" parts in my CAD folder on the laptop.

What’s your basic design philosophy? To design fancy shit and get famous? That was pretty much the attitude of most when I was at Uni. Obviously that’s not what you’re about, but what are you about?

My basic design philosophy would be to keep it simple, no pun intended, however corny that would sound. I've never been a fan of stuff that looks like they're out of some space ship or have come straight off some Mountain bike full of parts from a CNC masturbator's wildest wet dreams. I've never had it as a goal to become a famous designer in any way, to be honest I've never even really considered it even being a possibility. That a considerable number of people know me from the work I've done so far is really something that I never imagined that it would happen and I'm stunned. I really just want to try to make my own little whims and ideas work in theory, first in the CAD program on the computer and then possibly become reality in the form of at least prototypes. Production is always a bonus. By that I'm not saying that my brain is overflowing with ideas all the time, but when I do get an idea I do have a hard time letting it go until I've worked it out.

The CAD model and the final version of the Eject top load stem - A few small changes

And what about your design process? Do you have some kind of standard procedure you follow when you sit down to work on something?

Since I suck at sketching by hand, which I know is the preferred "visualize-and-get-shit-on-paper" procedure for "real" designers, I usually just try to work it all out in my head first and then go straight to CAD. Sometimes I make some rudimentary sketches, but it's really not something that anyone else would be able to read or figure out. Which could be good for secrecy reasons I guess. Sometimes I make notes to highlight any special details that need to go into the design.

After all the first drafts and their revisions I generally push to get a prototype sorted as soon as possible. It really depends on the part how many revisions are needed to do before getting prototypes. It has happened that the first drawing, without amendments, goes straight to prototyping. But it has also happened that we've done 10-15 big or small revisions and it still hasn't reached the prototype stage. It can be a long and tiresome process for sure!

I'm sure you've seen this before. But have you ever pulled one apart? Quality they are

The Eject hub is a really simple idea nicely executed. But I’m sure it wasn’t as simple to execute as it was to think of – if you know what I mean? I’d say just about everyone who rides has thought of some little improvement they could make to a part on their bike, but for most people the design ends there. Just so all those people don’t feel like they’ve missed out, could you talk us through the blood sweat and tears of what is involved in making an idea into a reality?

The first thing I try to do before even starting to design a part is if it's necessary to make and get on the market. If it adds any functionality or improvement other than just looking different. This goes for the parts that I've done as Eject projects, which in reality only is the Eject hub and the stem available through Simple. When I work together with other people or companies, then of course I can't apply my own personal philosophy to everything we do. Because in all honesty if we did, then a lot of parts would probably never have left the drawing board. So instead, when working with Simple for example, I try to make the product look unique but still not go overboard so it becomes a gimmick. And if there's a way for me to push it in the direction I'd prefer to see, that's what I do.

I've never been a fan of "clone" parts, but I do also see why it's easy to work that way as a parts company - to just pick something out of a catalogue and put a logo on it. I take pride in having at least done significant changes to the design and look of the Simple parts that are based on already existing products. For example the newly released Simple cassette hub is based on the same internals and axle as the Proper & Colony hubs, but the shape of it has been completely redesigned and I've tried to add my touch to it so it works better visually together with the front hub.

So to go back to the original question...
Let's just use my front hub as an easy example.
It all started because I saw a need for front hub guards as opposed to thick flanges that would "hold up to grinding", which is quite dumb really - especially if you've paid $130 for the hub. I just wanted to make something that was more integrated into the design instead of having to strap things onto your wheel or bolt something to the dropout, or demolish the flanges of an expensive hub.

The actual designing started on the computer and it probably went through something like 5 significant "morphs" before I came up with the design that became the first prototype. A friend at my workplace at that time had access to a machine shop and he made me 6 prototypes that I, due to lack of funding, was able to sell at cost price to some friends of mine to try out. After they had been ridden for a while I decided on the changes that needed to be made. Mainly aesthetic ones, but also one or two changes that affected the function and usability.

Here's just a few of the incarnations of the hub on it's way to the final version. What you can't see is all the little changes to the internals

Later I managed to source another, bigger, machine shop that could do the first production run. For the second production run I teamed up with Simple and production moved to Taiwan and for this run I only did some minor tweaks. Now we're at version 3 and for every new version we get at least a couple of prototypes to test.

Is there some part of the process that you find really frustrating, tiresome – not fun? And what’s the best bit? That’s got to be getting the final prototypes delivered?

Ok, let's start with the boring parts... there are some things that can be very repetitive. For example when you've drafted a new sprocket design and the manufacturing drawings needs to be made for every single size. On to the frustrating bits. I guess here's where the downside of not having the formal training to do this stuff comes to play - sometimes I have an image in my mind but I can't get it to work in the program, basically just because I don't know how to accomplish it. But some of my trademarked stubbornness usually takes care of that. Then comes the hassle with manufacturers, they can be extremely closed minded about what parts they can (read: want) to make and the communication can be a huge problem. Sometimes you have to send a drawing back and forth up to 4, 5, 6... 10 times to make sure we're all on the same page.

It's all worth it in the end though, after you've worked on something for a really long time and only seen it on the computer screen for hours on end, twisting and turning it, making changes and tweaks. Finally getting that prototype delivered and, if all goes well, see it in the shops. It's such a great sense of accomplishment! The extra bonus on top of that is when you see some rider running the parts or if someone actually approaches you to say they're happy with the product.


Right. You got sore eyes yet? That's it for now. Stay tuned for Part 2 some time around the end of the week.

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