Ian Alexander from Whyte Bikes talks bike design

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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.

Comments (3)

  1. Dear Ian Alexander,

    I spoke to a man last week who claimed he had had two swing arms break on two new Whyte (£4,000)carbon full sussers in quick succession very recently. He’d had a refund and was looking to buy other bike manufacturer’s candy.

    If that is true and I’d no reason to doubt the man….I’d just like to say…….

    You sure designed the hell out of those!!!!!!!

  2. That’s a nice second-hand, arbitrary story, with no context or details of note you have there 😉

  3. It’s a couple of blokes working out of a shed…..what do you expect ?

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