Jack GoverProduct Design Engineering BSc
As a keen cyclist and triathlete, the compromise between an enhanced cycling experience and walking comfort when using a clipless pedal system was clear. The FLEX system overcomes this compromise, offering a cleated cycling shoe capable of achieving the performance benefits of high-end products, with the added value of walking comfort. Achieving this offers a product with far greater usability, appealing to a wider market within the cycling industry, with further benefits to sectors such as the commuter and cyclocross markets. Designed for use with the established SPD pedal, the pedal type of choice within the target market, the FLEX system exploits the interaction between the cleat and pedal to provide flexibility in the sole to enable a natural walking motion when disengaged from the pedal. However upon engagement, the carbon composite sole simultaneously becomes rigid, providing efficient power transfer and improved cycling performance. Crucially, the adjustment in sole rigidity is completely automatic upon interaction with the pedal, simultaneously adjusting the sole properties without the need for user input. Furthermore, a modular design has been utilised to offer additional features within the system such as lower sole replacement. This allows the user to optimise the tread pattern to suit riding conditions, whilst extending the product's life span. With simplicity and 'real world' implementation at the forefront of the design process, the outcome offers a considered solution with both functional and commercial viability.