What shapes the bikes we ride? Besides the bio-mechanics of human beings and years of theory, evolution, dissent and improvement, a major factor in the way bikes look, handle and work usually comes down to the personality, preferences and philosophy of a single individual: the person that designed it.
While bigger manufacturers might have a large team of designers and engineers led by that person, in smaller companies all that work may fall to them alone, tasked with creating all the different aspects of a new model, from aesthetics to manufacture, suspension to geometry. What’s fascinating is the numerous approaches and solutions to the same problems; the order of priorities that lead to different decisions and the eventual result on the ride and character of a bike.
Some time ago, Whyte Bikes lead designer Ian Alexander paid us a visit to ride some local trails, show us some new kit and drop off a test bike. While he was down here, we fed him some pies and a cup of tea and had a little chat about bike design in general, covering big wheels, the rights and wrongs of handling and how to get started as a designer.
If you’re interested in what Ian’s thoughts on bikes pan out to, then you can check our review of the Whyte 146 S over in the Singletrack Reviews section for an in-depth review of the carbon fibre, 150mm travel, UK trailbike.