top of page
Chief of Product, at Vanhawks

As the Chief of Product (physical product) at Vanhawks Inc. I lead our team in product direction and the design process that has helped our company achieve its goal of delivering the world’s first IoT 'smart' bicycle. In a matter of a year and a half, our team put together and shipped a complex, one of a kind product, from scratch. In the same period of time we put together the company itself, as it had barely existed before this Kickstarter project began. As one of four heads of the company, I was responsible for developing the product, and managing the product development team.

Valour review video created independently by Ash Tailor

The Valour became the world’s first true IoT bicycle, intended to serve users as the best "commute partner" a cyclist could ask for.

From the ground up, we designed Valour to be as smart and connected as possible, with the aim to bring the humble bicycle up to speed, with the twenty first century tech. The Valour got a number of integrated electronics such as headlight and tail lights, GPS navigation, as well as a sonar based rear detection system to warn the user of objects in their blind spot. The on board Bluetooth and Wi-Fi antennas mean that the bike can communicate wirelessly with your mobile device as well as Wi-Fi connections around the city. On top of that there is a large variety of sensors to help record your ride telemetry which will later be used to improve your ride quality.

Because of our strong belief in providing a fully integrated experience, we went as far as providing users with a custom bike-tool, with almost all tools required to service their bike.

Valour's User Driven Design

After the Kickstarter campaign which got the ball rolling on the “bike of the future”, our tiny team set out to bring the project to reality. What we started with can be seen here, in the original Kickstarter Video. It was little more than hacked together electronics strapped to a rough prototype frame, which looked like a bicycle, but certainly didn't ride like one.

Through my experience in the bicycle industry, and my training in Design Thinking, Human Centered Design and User Driven Innovation I was able to refine the Valour into a well considered and well rounded product. From the lens of the user needs of a commuting cyclist, our team considered some of the following aspects:

  1. Optimized bicycle geometry for comfort and safety

  2. UI with reduced distraction - simple animations with LED indicators, and haptic feedback

  3. Cleanliness - reduced greasy and dirt accumulating components to prevent dirtying cloths, hidden shift & brake cables to reduce catch-points

  4. Theft resistance - GPS and WiFi for locating a stolen bike, plus theft proofing of wheels and handle bar

  5. Visibility for safety - strategically positioned integrated lighting that is always ON, and reflective tires

  6. Minimal maintenance - spec'd components which require minimal to no maintenance, so the users could "simply commute"

It took about a year and a half of re-imagining the geometry, styling, material selection, ergonomic consideration, component selection, design for manufacture, setting up manufacturing partnerships, electronic hardware development, firmware development and surprisingly challenging waterproofing! But we did it - we shipped the Valour to every Kickstarter backer, and to paying customers!

Field Testing the Valour
bottom of page