25 years old and still fresh?
In the interview I did with Paul Berney for his Riding The Long Way Home podcast I mentioned a suspension system that I designed whilst at University. He asked me to see if I could dig out any old images of it. So last night I climbed into our attic and dusted off my old A1 portfolio case.
Inside were the final exhibition boards I used to present the finished design. The crux of the design is the geometry of the linkage and the "Floating Chainstay" that preventing brake dive and chain activated sag. I lived in a house with 4 other design students though and we were all very competitive so once my suspension design was done I thought I had done enough until one of my colleagues mentioned they were modelling there design on 3D Studio.
Well I wasn't having that, so the next 3 weeks were spent in the computer lab modelling up the design, including the carbon monocoque frame. Now you have to remember that this was back in the time when 3D modelling was in its infancy. I could create and render the models of this on solid works today in around 4 hours. These images took over 160 hours just to render. Not content with stills I also decided to create an animation of the frame exploding and coming back together again to show how it would be assembled. That took a month to render!
We also had to create a model for the final exhibition and although my tutors said a simple 1/3rd scale model would be OK I wasn't having any of it. My mates were creating full scale models of their GPSs, toasters and kettles, so I was going to make fully working bikes!
I contacted many bike companies to see if they would help me out with some components for the finished bikes and Raleigh Special Products reached out and offered me any parts I wanted. Mojo suspension also helped out by lending me a couple of Marzocchi shox.
So mould making began and it was a race against time to create the MDF plug, polish it up and create the two sides of the mould and get the prepress carbon in and cured. A month of pestering the machine shop staff at the uni for the machined components and frantically welding up the steel and aluminium parts followed.
just in time I finished both the carbon bike but also a steel version so that I could show the suspension design was applicable for multiple purposes. We shot a little riding video and some of my old school friends doing media, edited it together with the 3D animation to give my exhibition booth a really professional feel.
The design was patented by Coventry University and several companies used the geometry over the years. Even I whilst at Pashley used the system on a bike for Land Rover with rolloff hub gears and disc brakes.
In digging into my old portfolio Ive come across all sorts of other interesting design ideas. If you are interested in seeing some more old design work just comment below.