Helping experts understand novices

For many adults who haven’t ridden a bike for decades, getting back on the saddle isn’t “just like riding a bike.” It’s intimidating and more than a little embarrassing to wobble around the bike store parking lot. Shifting gears, hand brakes, aerodynamic seats and low handlebars aren’t exactly the easy joy many people remember from childhood.

Having spent decades refining the features of performance bikes, Trek didn’t know much about novice bikers. Yet it’s an important market. For every cyclist in the U.S., there are approximately five adults who know how to ride a bike but choose not to for a variety of reasons. Bicycle sales have remained largely flat for more than a decade. This untapped market presented a huge opportunity.

Trek came to Design Concepts for help in understanding novice cyclists as they designed the Lime, an innovative bike created specifically for this market. Our ethnographic researchers developed and led training sessions and conducted research with the Trek staff, demonstrating important design research techniques. In the field, the team used shop-alongs, in-home research, camera studies, and interviews to reveal the needs of new riders. The training we provided, coupled with research and analysis conducted by the team, established a foundation of information about novice riders that was used to inform the design of the Lime bike.

Trek Lime won the People’s Design Award at the 10th annual National Design Awards, held by the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.

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