HUGE Design Inc. is a product design agency in San Francisco and apart from creating some very incredible goods and wares, they’ve also built numerous custom motorcycles that have been featured on Cycle EXIF’s ‘big bro’ site, Bike EXIF.
Quinn Fitzgerald is the lead industrial designer there and he’s been working on some pedal powered goodness as well. Today he shares with us a personal vision of his: the No1 Bikes Aero Commuter which, as well as looking incredibly modern, has some very innovative features.
The inspiration for his Aero Commuter comes from Quinn’s love for prototype race cars, and is an “ultra light, ultra simple, daily rider”. Quinn breaks it down for us: “To create the Aero Commuter, I looked at the safety systems found on most commuters and reduced it down to the bare necessities: brakes and lights.
“From here it was finding an aero influenced single speed frame that had brake mounts and using my eye as an industrial designer to hand pick the rest of the parts. Parts were chosen based on weight and material; raw and natural finishes were preferred and carbon was stripped of paint and clear coated when the opportunity was available.”
The base for the Aero Commuter was a 2011 Felt TK3, divested of all branding part from the fork graphics. “The No1 Bike was to embody my ideal urban commuter. I wanted simplicity, minimal street safety, and a bit of a raw, prototype feel. Rear brakes were always on the ‘must have’ list so finding the frame was the first challenge.
“To keep the raw aesthetic”, Quinn says, “I worked with a vendor to supply the carbon wheel set, carbon seat tube, and carbon seat all sans logos/branding. This wasnt an option for the handle bars though which are Profile Design SVET’s. I removed the original clear coat and branding, leaving only regulatory and safety information in the centre section. Then after adding some custom logos I matte clear-coated all the carbon parts so they share the same sheen and reflection properties.
Quinn continues: “The Profile Design SVET’s were chosen because of the neutral center section usually reserved for clamp on aero bars. For my bike, though, this centre section is used for clamp-on carbon brake levers from TRP and to keep the ends of the handle bars open and free to accept the integrated lighting. I still use a removable light for the rear but I knew I wanted a more integrated feel for the front.
The lights themselves started life as hardware store counter specials, they fit perfectly into the ends of the bars and I 3D-printed a custom receptacle to hold them in place. They push/push on and off and are ‘be seen’ style lights.” Quinn had doubts about their effectiveness but he’s tested them in traffic and has been assured that they do the job, lighting both the rider and the surrounding area.
Quinn also wanted a stem that was a seamless extension of the frame. A stem from NS Bikes filled the ticket. He says, “This was perhaps the only part of the build where ‘aesthetics’ trumped weight — the joke around the studio is that all the weight I saved on the carbon parts was added back with this one piece. In my mind though it’s worth it, without doubt.”
He concludes, “All in all, the bike features parts from the track/tri/mountain world and yet still comes together as though it rolled off a manufacturing line for the dedicated purpose of being a commuter. It’s a blast to ride and keeps you on your toes (no pun intended). It’s very pointy, and yes, is a handful in the wind. For me, prototypes should have an element of danger, and this bike surely makes you respect it. Otherwise it will bite you.”
Quinn’s Aero Commuter is an exciting exercise in functional design. Would you ride it?