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Summer 2016

In collaboration with HoJung Kim

The goal of this project was to design a bike specific to a region and user-base in Los Angeles:  Silver Lake

Dylan is “the people’s bike,” a friendly, affordable, inclusive bike that celebrates locality. We strove for a design that is accessible and relatable to everyone.  A bike that could have emotional value without being expensive, using a reductive, friendly form and re-purposed elements.


Bikes can range from high-end, performance bikes made of carbon fiber with full-features to the most simple featureless fixie (no brake, no gears). With such extremes, casual users can feel intimidated.  Our bike is an expression of functionality through the simplest means. 

Learning Outcomes:

Manufacturing, full scale functional 



How do you design a bike for the users of Silver Lake?

Field Research

Silver Lake is a diverse area of people with challenging terrain. In order to understand our users' biking experience in depth, we 

followed them and immersed ourselves in their environment.

Locals Dress to Express

Tattoos, band t-shirts and non-traditional hair colors.

Silver Lake is home to some of the steepest hills in the United States.

Busy streets lined with artisanal coffee shops, vintage stores and hand made goods.

User Research


Our participants consisted of cyclists living and working in and around Silver Lake and experts with their own shops in the area.

To understand our users’ biking experience, we rode with them and immersed ourselves in their environment.

Allie, Barista

Local Coffee Shop

Mo, Owner

Local Coffee Shop

Michael, Volunteer

Bicycle Kitchen

Eric, Associate

Mission Workshop

Ebbie, Barista, Cyclist

Eightfold Coffee

Meg, Owner

Revenge Fantasy Cycles

Many residences in Silver Lake require carrying a bike up a flight of stairs

Locks are essential to owning any bike, but usually an after market item.

Designing for Inclusivity


Making Manufacturing More Affordable

To innovate on traditional methods of frame making, we spoke to experts to understand different steel manufacturing methods.

Brent, Owner

Revenge Fantasy Cycles

Bike Assembly

Carlos, Plant Manager

Steve’s Plating

Tube Bending

Psy Delancy

Petrichor Frames

Frame Maker

Traditional Frame Making

Jessica "Psy" Delancy produces custom handmade bicycle frames in her Los Angeles studio.

Psy uses oxyacetylene brazing to make frames.

Jig keeps tubes in place for brazing the frame.

Steel Tube Bending

Carlos, the Plant Manager gave us a tour of the fabrication facility at Steve's Plating.

Mandel and dyes confirm the shape of tubes

Tubes are bent around a mandrel, using dyes

Analysis + Synthesis

We captured our research on a series of journey maps and affinity maps of findings, and applied the POEMS framework.



People can be intimidated from getting into cycling. The biking community is not always inclusive.

Form Follows Function?

Fixed gear bikes (”Fixies”) meet the simple aesthetic of our user, but lack their functional requirements.

Express Yourself

Our users differentiate themselves from the mainstream through their physicality, as a reflection of identity.

Accessible & Inclusive

Simplified construction, affordability, whimsical form language

Simplicity Meets Function

Versatility, integrated function; shoulder carry & locking system

Authenticity & Individuality

Repurposed materials handmade details, reflecting locality

Concept Pyramid


We organized the most compelling insights into a concept pyramid, in order to give hierarchy to our multilayered bike concept


Using our three concept themes to guide us, we explored ideas that reflected simplifying manufacturing, handcraft and integrated functionality.

Key Components


Components that contribute to the core concept: a more INCLUSIVE bike through form, materials and manufacturing.

Seat Stay Loops

Bent tubing to minimize welding points and simplify construction.

Integrated Lock

Lock designed for the bike frame as part of the whole design.

Shoulder Radius

To make the bike easier to carry.

Handmade Details

Saddle, pedals using repurposed leather and natural materials.



We created several mock ups, including a full scale prototype,  using bent acrylic tubes and laser cut and routed MDF components, to convey design details.

During this phase we explored various 

"friendly forms" based on wrapped, bent tubing and minimizing weld points.



My teammate and I worked closely with a furniture fabricator to create working prototypes of our design.

Frame components are checked to full scale drawing before welding

Finished pieces are powder coated and hung to dry

Frame is tested during fabrications to ensure wheels and brake fit

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