1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
mtn. biking 101
2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
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    Bike/Frame Design Courses - Is there such a thing?

    Hello all.
    I am studying Mechanical Engineering at University of Western Canada and am wondering if there is a course related to bike and/or frame design? I think this is an avenue of engineering I would love to explore post graduation.
    Does something like this exist?

    Thank you for your time

  2. #2
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    Ther is a school in Oregon that teaches everything about bikes I think it's called the bicycle instute.

  3. #3
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    Do your best to land internships at bike companies. Also, try to get a grounding in biomechanics. I think I frequently run into papers on bike stuff in the Journal of Sports Medicine - whatever journal it is, keeping an eye on the literature on your own never hurts. The thing about a bicycle is that it's really all about improving the efficiency of the human driving it.

    Pay attention to Systems and Dynamics if you're interested in suspension. Pay attention to Failure of Materials if you're interested in being a good engineer. ;-)
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the replys guys.
    Rangeriderdave: I looked into the classes they offer but it is more related to bike maintence and building. Im looking for a class that is more theory base on how the bike and its components react due to stresses and all other aspects of engineering that go into the design of a new bike

    Andrwswitch: Thanks for the suggestions. I know that the bio mechanics of the human body and cycling are 2 peas in a pod but I tend to stray away from the bio mechanics. I would love to find a course that explains how finite element analysis (or what ever analysis that is conducted) on bike parts to show where stress concentrations occur and how they develop new bike models and components to reduce these stresses. Specially with the newer materials introduced in the market I feel like this will be a main factor in optimal design of mountain bikes as we try to make them lighter and stronger.
    I have tried the internship route (5 months ago this year and last year as well) but there just isnt enough oppertunities. I have applied electronically and phoned pretty much every large mtb company in the states and every small and large companies in Canada with little no feed back or positions available. Specialized has a dreamy program but again no word back.

    Again thank you for your advice guys!

  5. #5
    Fat-tired Roadie
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    How far through your program are you?
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

  6. #6
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    Finite element analysis is a good class to take for frame design, I took it at South Dakota School of Mines. I am not sure about bike specific courses though, your best bet would be to land an internship with a bike company. Best of luck to you, it would be a fun career.

  7. #7
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    I'm finishing up my 3rd year and taking a 16month internship for an automotive company before I go into my 4th year (program is 4 years plus the internship).
    Its a career I could see myself getting out of bed and looking forward to work every day!

  8. #8
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    I don't know of any courses tailored to bicycle design in any way. Take as many FEA and general design classes as you can and if you have a senior project, do it with bikes. I got pretty depressed when I had to recently remove myself from consideration with a major manufacturer's design engineering department due to being unable to move at that time. After 4 rounds of interviews, I'm afraid I'll never get an opportunity like that again or even if I do perhaps I'll be unable to take it.

    So get in contact with companies, try to set up a design project or future position. I notice that Specialized posts intern positions pretty regularly, I'm sure others must as well.
    Don't you hate it when a sentence doesn't end the way you think it octopus?

  9. #9
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    Paul Brodie also offers a frame building course through the University of the Fraser Valley.

  10. #10
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    It's difficult to say if there's any design specific course that would teach you how to design a bike. I think you are talking about Full suspension design. You just have to figure out what the customer would need, it's simple really, strong, light, cheap, and looks great, all while keeping the production cost down. Different suspension designs would set parameter of what designer have to work with given the ball park geometry and intended use.

    You also have to understand enough of the patent laws to navigate your way around the mine field of potential lawsuits

    From my experience in the golf, and restaurants(all aspect), I can tell you that schools are full of mediocre, they learn and do just about the same thing, they preach "outside the box thinking" but evaluate you from inside the box. I'd say geek it out, do your own research and get the sit down with companies you want to work for. Good luck on your quest.

    Roxy Lo of Ibis is not a bike designer but her first version of Ibis Mojo carbon was pretty close to the production version, and I thinks it's the best looking DW-Link design.

  11. #11
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    From where I'm sitting, my perspective is that the biggest change in how bikes are designed and built is in the material selection for the frame. If your school offers it, studying composites would make you more attractive to someone trying to develop new frames, and those structural components that are going to CFRP. See if there are grad-level courses you can take - often that's where this kind of coursework is offered.

    I feel like by now, you should have studied everything you need to understand the stresses in bike components made from traditional engineering materials. Still takes sitting down and working it out, of course.
    "Don't buy upgrades; ride up grades." -Eddy Merckx

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