Blog #6: Ergonomics of bicycle designs

As I looked at ergonomics with cars and their interior designs for the last blog. I decided that it would be interesting to continue down this tracking of looking at transportation tools that humans have to constantly interact with. In this blog, I would like to introduce ergonomics of bicycle designs. Perhaps many can imagine that ergonomics are definitely involved in the design of all types of bikes since they are mainly using humans riding as the “engine” for power. This indicates that we will employ many of our muscles and bones in the activity. The design of different parts of the bicycle, may it be the frames heights, its seat, the grip, paddles and more, ultimately decides what posture the rider will be potentially using when they are on the bike. Here is a clear display of how inefficient human ergonomic designs can greatly impair the person’s health — a bad posture can particularly induce muscle pains and impair significant joints, even pelvis. As how we discussed in class, for most of the cases where long-term riders suffer from injuries, it is because of less appropriate designs instead of their riding method.

With that being said, it is important for every biker to choose the right bike with the right ergonomic designs suitable for his or her usage. Providing an example of what is available out there, I found a German bike maker, “Ergon”, which is a company that design and produce what is claimed to be ergonomic bikes that match as and support the human body.

Relief by pressure distribution provided by the surface shape design.
Relief Channel for Ergon bikes.

Its website is trying to present their products to bikers who perhaps already faced comfort problems with their own bikes and are looking for alternatives (I must say their home page is a quite pleasing UI/web design as well, is it true that design companies, no matter of products or visuals, need to make sure their web pages by an eye candy so the buyer will be more attracted? Just a thought.) It introduced the ergonomic involving seating on a bike and teaching people how they can identify if they are experiencing problems with compressed nerves causing discomfort. The site go on explaining the ergonomic consideration the company engineers make in designing the saddle: the relief channel for the pelvic nerve pathways and blood vessel to avoid numbness and harm; the shape and area distribution of the saddle surface to spread out the pressure and the saddle is a dynamic design in it can tilt slightly to the front and back to adhere to all variations of seating postures with different motion purpose. It also talked about the handle and its anthropometric measurements as a significant part of reference in designing the grips. It always astonishes me how great of mental effort is put into human factor design as so many details need to be addressed to have even just a decent, usable product.

To add on to the analysis, I also read a journal article explaining how the differences between male and female anatomy should be reflected in bicycle designs as usually, bikes are “male-favored” (Ingole et al., 2015). It explains shoulder to hip ratio, joints, backbone positions and other anthropometric details of women that are different in respect to men and that those features largely influence the riding posture to lead to designing specifics.

Anatomically favored lady cyclist posture on cycle.

It stresses the importance of having “the proper distance between the saddle and handle of a cyclist”, which involves framing the entire design of the bicycle in a certain way that related data should be calculated with anthropometric dimensions of ladies (Ingole et al.). I think that it is an extensive piece on what parts of the ergonomic designs of a bike is opted to changes according to the anthropometric measurements and other external factors of the user.

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References

Ergonomics. (n.d.). Retrieved March 29, 2018, from http://www.ergon-bike.com/en/fe-ergonomics.html#ergonomie-sitzen

Ingole, P. M., Awate, A. U., & Manas, M. (july – august, 2015). Ergonomic Bicycle for Ladies. International Journal of Engineering Research and General Science, 3(4), part 2, 410-418. Retrieved March 29, 2018, from http://pnrsolution.org/Datacenter/Vol3/Issue4/208.pdf

One thought on “Blog #6: Ergonomics of bicycle designs”

  1. It is interesting to think about how every minuscule posture while riding a bike can affect one’s health. I wonder if people who go on long distance bike trips understand the importance of ergonomics prior to these trips, and if they don’t adjust their bikes accordingly, what the consequences are.

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