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Product of the People: Vote on the Design of Our Next Bike Light

Help us pick the best of three designs for our crowdsourced bike light. Then we'll get to work making it.

We're working with Slava Menn and Brad Geswein, the founders of Gotham Bicycle Defense Industries, to create a new piece of urban biking gear. Unlike most products, this one is being developed from beginning to end by the people who will use it. Our network of urban cyclists are helping us decide everything from design to name. We're calling this experiment Product of the People.

Welcome to my favorite part of the product creation process: industrial design. designer Rebekah Cox has said, “Companies try to support designers by giving them ‘a seat at the table.’ In practice, however, a designer is sitting at the table well after the important product decisions that influence the design have been made. This is where muddy designs are born.” To avoid a muddy design, we worked closely with our designer, Eric Whewell, for hours. It was a creative tennis match. We passed Eric initial ideas, and he volleyed back a design on paper. This iterative process went late into the night until Eric served up three powerful design concepts, which you’ll see below.

Vote on your favorite design below. Scroll down to read a few of our technical considerations.

The Defender

The Afterburner

The Predator

As part of the industrial design process, Brad Geswein, my cofounder, made a technical brief for our designer. To write the tech brief, Brad has to think like a mechanical engineer, manufacturing engineer, ergonomics engineer, bike mechanic, and bike light thief. Here are some of the technical considerations he came up with:

  • Seat posts have an angle between 69 and 78 degrees. The light mount must angle upward to compensate.
  • The light mount should fit seat post diameters from 22 to 35mm.
  • We want 180-degree illumination so cars can see the bike from the side.
  • We want an aluminum body for light weight and theft-resistant strength.
  • We want a custom screw-head to make it theft-resistant.
  • We want an easy battery replacement mechanism without easy battery theft.
  • The light should be narrow to avoid hitting the cyclists’ inner thighs.
  • \n

We'll close the poll at 6 p.m. EST on Friday, May 25. In the next stage, we'll refine the design and start working on prototypes.

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