This beach-focused electric bike trailer was a project for my Industrial Design Studio II course. My group and I collaborated with designers from Rad Power Bikes, an electric bike manufacturer based in Seattle, Washington.
The project started with a quick visit to Rad's showroom, where we had the chance to meet their designers, have a look at their range of products, and collect some information about possible mounting points and accessories. I took a few shots of their headtube and seat stay mounting areas, along with some of their existing rack and cargo add-ons.
After chatting with the Rad designers, we grouped up based on what we were interested in carrying with our trailers. Along with three other classmates, I chose to start conceptualizing a trailer that would cater to watersports users, primarily surfers and fishermen. We also wanted to include some fun social features that would add to the beach day experience.
We began by researching existing products, ranging from custom surf trailers to off-the-shelf cargo carriers, and created a detailed market survey as well as a visual matrix. A few rounds of discussions later, we were able to come up with some criteria for our final design. We wanted it to:
Be able to be mass produced by Rad Power Bikes
Create an intuitive user experience
Accommodate the transportation of oversized watersports equipment
Be unintrusive both on the road and at home
Our group then temporarily split off to come up with our own initial concepts. Mine were largely surf-focused, and I let the basic forms of the board, bike, and cooler guide my sketches. I created a few pages of low-fidelity block sketches, along with a more detailed sketch to show a potential cargo placement and bike attachment point.
After the other group members returned with their own concepts, we realized that the attachment of the surfboard was the main distinguishing factor between our ideas. In our first presentation to Rad, we created a few quick prototypes to show different ways of mounting the surfboard: a side rack, a "long bed" rear trailer, and a sidecar.
Early feedback from Rad told us that while the side rack and long bed were more proven, they were very interested in the novelty (and folded compactness) of the sidecar and wanted to see us fully develop it. We agreed, and started work on a refined prototype made from PVC, thrifted bike parts, and some 3D printed fixtures.
In addition to helping out with the prototype construction, I was also responsible for designing a CAD model of the trailer that we could use for renders in our final presentation. I created a dimensionally accurate assembly in Solidworks which also included some features that we weren't able to build into the prototype, like the slide lock on the central bar.
Other group members designed the speaker accessory and rendered the trailer model in several different colorways for the final presentation to Rad.
We also brought our finished prototype to the beach to celebrate the end of the project and take some pictures of the trailer in use!
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