Transportation

University of Houston Students Design Bikes Built For The Urban Landscape

After researching cycling in the city’s urban environment, University of Houston students designed a road bike, a cruiser and a hybrid.

Carlyle Yarbough and Brian Chui with bikes
UH students Carlyle Yarbough (left) and Brian Chui (right) present their completed bikes.

 

The team of students visited several bike shops and talked to Houston-area cyclists to identify their needs. Brian Chui is a senior in the industrial design class. He says in the end, they came up with three prototypes — a road bike, a cruiser and a hybrid.

“Anybody who is kind of a novice or a beginner and walks into a bike shop will just see a myriad of options and have no idea where to begin,” Chui said. “So what we do is make that process much more friendly.”

Senior Carlyle Yarbough was also part of the design team. He says the team interviewed UH police to learn what safety features would make the bikes most secure, like extra lighting and cargo holds. Once they had the design, the team began building the bikes.

bicycles on display
The bicycles are designed for Houston’s urban environment.

“The fabrication phase was quite intense,” Yarbough said. “We pretty much did most of the labor ourselves as a class, all the way down from the painting, the branding [and] the labeling.”

The group was led by their professor Mark Kimbrough. Students in his industrial design class complete a project every semester and work together to develop and brand a product. But this is the first time they’ve taken on something transportation related.

Kimbrough says for the most part, he let his students have creative control. But he also wanted to give them a realistic experience with the design process.

“That’s one thing that this program really stresses relative to other industrial design programs is we have to validate the designs,” the professor said. “The students have to validate their work, so working prototypes are essential.”

Kimbrough says he thinks the bikes have potential to make it to the market.

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