Quality design & user experience
We spend a lot of time, money and love on our beautiful bikes. That’s why we set out to create a cycling computer that’s designed specifically for your ride. As if it was born from a bike. In this article we’ll explain certain design-choices we’ve made.
Valeur Designers - a perfect match
In the early development stages, Harm (the founder of Absolute Cycling) felt that a cycling computer should not only work perfectly, it should also look and feel amazing. You have to want to add it to your bike. Knowing Harm couldn’t do this alone, he made a bold move and contacted the designers known for their work for Bang & Olufsen: Valeur Designers. One phone call and a plane ticket later he was in their studio in Denmark. It turned out one of their lead-designers -Jens-Christian Møller- is an avid cyclist so he was eager to jump on board.
Soon after their first meeting the first renders started coming in. In the span of the following months they spent a lot of time fine-tuning the design to perfectly match the cyclists needs. Harm and the fellow members of Team Absolute were narrowly involved in this process. Our main goals:
“The objectives with our design should be to make a device that looks like it is born for a bike, never thinking it could be replaced by a smartphone. The style should reflect unquestionable quality and aesthetics, be trustworthy and still fit into the biking environment.”
When the first sketches came in, it was mostly to visualise the direction that the design would take. A sleek and aerodynamic device with the focus on the screen. We used this as a starting point for the design process.
Round 2 - almost there
As you can tell, the first concepts had the mounting system embedded in the frame of the device. We used two buttons as an interface. After a lot of discussion and testing, We opted-out the stem-cap mounting since it required complicated mounting, sub-optimal viewing angle and was the first thing to hit the asphalt when involved in a crash. We also added an extra button to give the user more control during the ride.
We changed the way the device is mounted on your ride. This way, the cycling computer will lay flat on a table or wireless charging dock. No wobbling cycling computer while uploading your routes at home. Also note it’s made out of aluminium. The design is still subject to change a bit during the final stages of the production process but we’re getting very close to a final design.
After the design was made, we came up with some technical challenges during the development that lead to final changes in the design. The screen couldn’t embed in the aluminium housing and this was probably the biggest change in the design. We also found that a black anodized version has a modern and classy look as well.
The user experience - hardware
Our main focus was to create the smoothest user experience possible. Not only during your ride, but also before and after the ride. User experience for us means more than just clicking buttons. It’s about the entire experience, the way the device looks, the way it feels in your hand and of course the way it’s mounted on your ride.
3" Full color screen
During a ride you only have a split second to look down. You want to be able to quickly glance over the most important data. That’s why we choose 3″ full color display with an 800×480 resolution and a proper anti-glare screen. This makes it a lot brighter than an e-ink screen and lets us use colours to differentiate between data. When you’re racing at full speed with sweaty hands you don’t want want to use a touch screen. That’s why the Absolute Cycling One doesn’t have a touch screen. Just three sturdy buttons with a solid click.
From wireless to pin contact charging
We’ve changed the idea of wireless charging after a long test period and developed a custom pin contact charging method. Read all about it here. After your ride you can simply click the Absolute Cycling One on the pin contact charger (included with the cycling computer) and it’ll start charging. Because it has a 20 hour battery life it’ll hardly run out during the ride, which we also felt was an important part of the user experience. Nothing is as frustrating as losing all your data at the end of an amazing ride. Since the One handles everything over Bluetooth, WiFi or ANT+, it doesn’t have any usb-jacks, making it a lot more durable and waterproof.
The Absolute Cycling One will be made out of extruded aluminium that will be CNC milled and anodized, making it incredibly durable while remaining lightweight. We found the perfect specialized partner for this process in the Netherlands.
Universal mounting system
We made sure the Absolute Cycling One will fit on any handlebar. Every unit will have a mounting bracket included that will fit any handlebar with a 31.8mm diameter. Of course, we don’t want to leave the people using aero and TT handlebars hanging. We’ll also create a small disc that fits inside all the ‘special’ mounts like the K-edge or and Barfly type mounts. During the crowdfunding campaign you’ll be able to choose this disc as an extra add-on.
"The objectives with our design is to make a device that looks like it is born for a bike."
The user experience - software
Our user experience designers at Eight Media are currently working hard on finalising the designs for the Absolute Cycling One and the app that’s used to control it. Some of our main goals are:
– Make it as easy as possible to upload your routes to the device
– Make it fully compatible with Strava & TrainingPeaks
– Make the setup process as intuitive as possible. Just plug and ride.
– Make pairing sensors quick and easy
Designed by cyclists, for cyclists. By removing all distractions we leave you with what is most important: you, and your ride.
Our first objective is to make everything work by our optimised standards and of course a sufficient battery life. We are working hard to have our computer weigh under 100gr. Perhaps a carbon version is to be expected in the future.
Absolute Cycling will provide you with an alloy out-front mount, capable with all ø 31,8mm handlebars. For all aero and tt handlebars we provide a separate insert that can be fitted in most special mounts.