The evolution of the bicycle - Innovation Portal

The evolution of the bicycle - Innovation Portal

The evolution of the bicycle (This case is based on work by the Open University/UMIST Design and Innovation Group). People began exploring the idea o...

2MB Sizes 0 Downloads 2 Views

Recommend Documents

The Evolution of Innovation Networks: The Case of the German
University of Hohenheim, Economics Institute, Innovation Economics (520 i) ... innovation networks and analysing the dyn

The Evolution of Horror - DiVA portal
literature that discusses the ghost stories of Susan Hill, especially literature dealing with. The Man ..... To a great

The stability of the bicycle
Sep 5, 2006 - David E. H. Jones. Tired of quantum electrodynamics, Brillouin zones, Regge poles? Try this old, unsolved

The Model T Ford - Innovation Portal
The Model T Ford. Henry Ford did not invent the motor car – in fact he was a comparative latecomer to the scene. Altho

Innovation and Evolution of the Payments Industry - Richard
ever, depend on the form factor. The physical method of payment at the. 3. Innovation and Evolution of the Payments Indu

The challenges of brand innovation in different brand - DiVA portal
May 30, 2014 - “Pierre Cardin expands its brand into wildly nonadjacent products such ... with a lot of incompatible p

Innovation as Evolution - arXiv
Timeline technological innovation that affect the cellphone evolution telephone. Alexander Graham ... Nikolai Tesla -188

"Functioning and Evolution of the "Functioning and Evolution of the
We would like to thank The John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation and its. Executive ...... and Meteorology from the U

The Evolution of Language
can easily pair the taste of a food with an episode of vomiting hours later, learning ..... This investigation, in turn,

Evolution of the stethoscope.
Vinci, Ambroise Pare, Harvey, Morgagni, Van Swieten, William Hunter, and ..... Differential stethoscopes had quite a vog

The evolution of the bicycle (This case is based on work by the Open University/UMIST Design and Innovation Group).

People began exploring the idea of the bicycle in the middle of the 19th century and a huge variety of types emerged between 1860 and 1890. Various attempts were made to establish a dominant design, but it was not until near the turn of the century that the experiments with wheels, gears, seats, etc. converged to the now familiar 'diamond frame'. This still forms the basis of most cycle design. Manufacturers introduced all sorts of incremental improvements including new materials (e.g. alloy steels for the frame), new components (e.g. gears), accessories (e.g. lights), etc. By 1930 there were bicycles to suit different market segments, ranging from dependable working cycles with 3 speed gears, lever operated brakes, through to high performance racing and sports bikes made of lightweight materials and incorporating advanced gear and braking technology. This phase was very much about market segmentation - innovating to suit the needs of different user groups. The post-war period in Europe led to an expansion in the demand for cycles as a cheap mode of transport and this put emphasis on production to low cost and high quality. For a long period innovation focused on process improvement to achieve these goals and the product and market remained stable - essentially characteristic of the mature phase in the product/technology life cycle. This did not mean that more radical concepts were not being explored, simply that they were not adopted widely. Innovation was still taking place in specialist niches p for example, in racing bike technology where new materials played a role. But it was not until the 1960s when Alex Moulton introduced his small wheel collapsible bike that mainstream product innovation took place. His original design was for a bicycle which could be folded up and carried on the train for commuters to use between the office and the station; other variants included a small shopping bike. Such models were not huge commercial successes but they demonstrated the potential of the design in terms of efficiency and reliability - traditionally smaller wheels posed problems with transmission and with shock absorption. The market where it really had an impact was in 'fun bikes' for children; in particular manufacturers borrowed from the idea of motorcycle cross country rallying to create the BMX - bicycle motor cross - market. This opened up a new business and tapped into the increasingly affluent markets of the 1970s. Considerable product innovation followed this development, especially around accessories, new lightweight materials, and cycle clothing (helmets, etc.). The leisure cycle industry expanded further as the BMX kids grew up and began demanding adult versions which could travel off-road; this led t the development of the mountain bike and to a resurgence of interest in cycling as a leisure activity rather than as a mode of transport.

For manufacturers this came at a good time since the rise of car ownership had impacted heavily on traditional markets. It opened up a phase of product differentiation - broadly into leisure and transport cycling but within these categories into multiple variants. (We should not understimate the process innovation challenges posed by trying to do this. For example, the National Bicycle Company of Japan now offer 18 basic models, a choice of 19 colours and 6 different calligraphies - giving a staggering potential choice of 11, 231, 862 variants!) Innovation continues - for example, there is considerable interest in recumbent bicycle where the rider lies down on a low level cycle which is more efficient in terms of energy transmission and aerodynamics; the resulting design is capable of speeds in excess of 40km/hour. Motorising cycles with various kinds of electric devices has been tried, notably with the ill-fated Sinclair C5; although unsuccessful the concept of electric motor assistance to pedal power has led to the relqatgi9vely successful Zeke device. But the pattern appears to have stabilised again into a transitional/mature phase with emphasis on product differentiation of an incremental nature in specialised market niches, and in process innovation towards cost reduction. Given the 150 year history of the bicycle, with its patterns of radical change followed by convergence and consolidation it would be foolish to suggest that today's product represents the end of the road for innovation in this sector.