What are the needs of full suspension mountain bike users? In early February 2012, we visited the Biomechanics Institute of Valencia (IBV), where we met several mountain bike users to talk about their real needs and demands for bikes.
At Orbea we take nothing for granted. When we embark on a new project, we take users’ opinions into account, no matter how experienced they are as bikers.
Analyzing their demands, we’ll have a clear idea of what the technical features of our bikes should be and how we should go about designing them. It’s bound to be a great experience!
At Orbea we care about our customers’ preferences according to their level of experience. The Biomechanics Institute of Valencia specializes in the study of the human body as related to the products, services and environments that man makes use of. Therefore, IBV plays a key role in the analysis of user needs and demands, as shown below.
Choosing from a large sample of users, we selected two distinct groups for discussion on two consecutive days.
- Group 1: Experts or advanced users who have been on a bike for many years; real mountain bike lovers.
- Group 2: Less experienced or less frequent amateur riders, whose opinions are nevertheless equally important when it comes to understanding user preferences and expectations with regard to mountain bikes.
Both groups discussed a wide range of topics, including the reasons to choose a full suspension rather than a hardtail bike, the main features a full suspension bike should have, the basic needs this kind of bikes should meet, the most appreciated aspects of full suspension systems, and so on.
Antonio, who owns a Giant XtC and an Orbea Oiz, and who’s been riding mountain bikes for 18 years, said: ‘I want full suspension bikes to perform like hardtail bicycles.’ This led to all kinds of brainstorming. They even said they preferred intelligent suspension solutions, or systems in which you could make your choice on the handlebars, choosing from various positions or from a set of options (1, 2, 3) on a remote control. They even mentioned automatic solutions, with sensors to change behavior depending on the terrain. Interesting, huh? Can these dreams ever come true?
An enriching experience
Both discussion groups talked about a wide variety of topics. Some of them are really important to Orbea when it comes to bike design: ideal geometry, basic bike components, best type of suspension system, suspension system regulation or shopping patterns, to name but a few. In the end, we’re all consumers, so our shopping behavior is an important matter.
Although most users agreed on some issues, in others there were several points of view. Some of them shared surprising opinions, or accounted for them in surprising ways.
Users talked about intelligent suspension solutions, or systems in which you could make your choice on the handlebars, choosing from various positions or from a set of options (1, 2, 3) on a remote control. They even mentioned automatic solutions, with sensors to change behavior depending on the terrain. Interesting, huh? Can these dreams ever come true?
We turn your sensations into figures
The work done by Orbea at IBV is crucial to the development of parameters for a new mountain bike, as well as for choosing the best approach to the new design and selecting bike features and components.
The wide range of points of view and experience-based full suspension preferences make the development of a new mountain bike concept a challenging task. Suspension systems are one of the most controversial technical aspects of bikes. Some users seem not be satisfied with the results achieved so far. Where does the future lie?