Grad Project: Part 5 – Design

In the long process of designing a product there gets to be a point where the transition from idea to form can cause some discrepancy in the work flow. I hate to continue to push the creative aspect of the project if the creativity just isn’t there, but looming deadlines and an ever increasing pile of work to be done haunts me enough to know that push I must.


In so many ways the final pushes are where I can really show my talents for producing. Knowing my strengths can give me a definite edge, but there come times when there simply isn’t enough hours left to do things properly and so instead sacrifices will be made. This is always the hardest part to deal with when I look back in hind sight and see those cut corners and really wish that I could have seen them as clearly back then as I do now.


This project has recently taken a new approach. After much deliberation I decided to focus on the more unique aspects to the project. I was getting ahead of myself in designing the whole shelter system, and when I really began to look deeper into the minds of adventurers I came to the conclusion that when it comes to shelter from the elements, adventurers are very loyal to what has worked for them in the past. As I eagerly lump myself in with these other folks, I also had to be honest with myself and really question the project by asking “Would I trust a new shelter or would I rather have the system accommodate the tent I already love?” In the end I know I made the right decision. Leave the tenting to the companies that have been keeping people alive for the past 50 years and I will use the freed up time to focus on the one aspect that I found myself overlooking while in the fog of my tent designing phase: Storage.


During multi day trips I have a used an assortment of packing set ups. My current dual sport system is perhaps the most “free” with all the gear strapped onto the bike using kayaking dry bags. In the past, aluminum hard bags and backpacks were the best solutions. I find myself wishing that I could kit my bike in a combination of the two. But one element of the setup that has remained consistent is the location of the tent. That goes across the handlebars, above the headlight and resting on the wind fairing. This has been the go to place for tent storage for a long time. There is a certain look and feel to having something so important stretched across the bars. I often wonder if it’s a throwback to the older days when it would have been a rifle laid there.


I am now at the stage that I have to come up with the design language for the front case. The square shape works well in the back for the pannier and top box systems, but the front of bikes have a completely different language. They are aero dynamic and are the face of the motorcycle. They are built like this for a reason and they retain the ‘sole’ of the bike. For this reason there should be sensitivity to this in the design of the front box.


Continue to Part 6


BMW front end sketch


BMW Front end sketch


BMW front end sketch with shelter


BMW front end sketch


BMW Front end sketch with shelter


Shelter casing for front end


Shelter casing front end


Pannier renderPannier rendering using Vole straps for closing.



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