On the hunt for the perfect bicycle for his child, Austrian designer Christian Bezdeka decided to start woom Bikes. The company is using 3D printing to create lightweight and comfortable bicycles for children aged 1.5 years and older.
In an effort to design the perfect bicycle for his own kid, Austrian designer Christian Bezdeka decided to take matters into his own hands. As the co-founder of woom Bikes, his company uses 3D printing to develop bicycles tailor-made for children of all ages.
Based on his experience designing adult-sized bikes, Bezdeka knew that creating one for a child was going to be a challenge. First and foremost, there’s the issue of figuring out the proper size. Believe it or not, kids’ bikes are not just scaled-down versions of adult bicycles. In reality, they require careful fine-tuning to ensure safety, comfort, and the right fit.
Bezdeka explains that the problem with getting feedback from kids is that they tend to choose their favorite option by color rather than comfort, making it difficult to gauge their actual needs.
“When you build a mockup or prototype for adults, you can immediately test it yourself to see how it feels and if it works. That is not the case for children’s products. You have to work with focus groups and see how they interact with your creation. You have to watch instead of asking children,” he said.
Weight is another important factor to take into consideration when designing a child’s bicycle. It has to be light enough for kids to lift and move, but also able to support their weight. Furthermore, when you consider that the child will eventually outgrow their bicycle, the price has to remain somewhat affordable.
Additive manufacturing makes bikes lighter and more affordable
All of these different factors eventually led Bezdeka and his business partner to use 3D printing technology. They found the perfect CAD design software partner with Autodesk Fusion 360, and also integrated CNC milling into the production process as well.
Woom Bikes currently has four 3D printers in its production facility, as well as a five-axis CNC mill to help speed up the prototyping process. 3D printing technology enables the company to design and manufacture bikes that are lightweight and offer a comfortable fit for young kids.
“All machines are running 24/7. We design, print, redesign. As a designer, I try to materialize my ideas as fast as possible. It’s good to come quick from paper and screen to a real 3D object. Your learning curve is simply steeper through 3D printing,” Bezdeka said.
Woom Bikes launched its first 3D printed bicycle for kids back in 2013. Now, the range includes six different models for children aged between 1.5 to 14 years. Using additive manufacturing, woom Bikes ensures that 85 percent of the bike parts are exclusively produced by the company. The bicycles from woom Bikes are also incredibly light, weighing about half as much as other models from competing manufacturers.
The company is also taking on a unique approach on how to develop the learning aspect of their bicycles. For instance, the woom 1 is a learning bicycle that doesn’t include any the training wheels. Instead, kids aged as young as 1.5 years will push on it to get used to the feel of riding and balancing a bicycle.
A major aspect that sets woom Bikes apart from the pack is its admitted awareness of how quickly kids outgrow their bikes. That is why they’ve launched UpCycle, a program that allows customers to exchange their used bikes for a new one at 40 percent of the original price. The used bikes are restored and passed on to charities and bicycle camps where they are once again used to help children learn cycling.
“It was always my idea to create a modern, classic bike—bikes that never get old. It’s part of our concept and also real sustainability that a product is beautiful and used for a long time,” Bezdeka concludes.
Source: Redshift by Autodesk