The Can-Am Spyder

2 Jun 2008 - 5:26pm
6 years ago
12 replies
970 reads
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

For reference, please see:

http://www.portfolio.com/interactive-features/2008/02/Spyder
http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/Home.html
http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/BlogEntry.html?EntryID=bd44fe89-6630-4ba1-a75f-643f9bb3bfea
http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/BlogEntry.html?EntryID=23e0bed7-40c5-462d-860e-745cb8e10626

So, food for thought... How does someone who practices "IxD" achieve a
similar level of quality and innovation in software or interface
design if:

a. The aesthetics of the product are handed off to someone other than
the lead IxD designer. (I'm assuming the aesthetics of this motorcycle
follows the same process the automobile industry does, where the lead
designer is also the one who controls the aesthetic vision and the
Spyder blog seems to imply this as well. I guess the real question is
the IXD person the "lead" designer or not?)

b. Building a "prototype" of the product is only done via rough
sketches, rough wireframes, or where no pixel-accurate versions or
fully interactive versions of the software are ever required.

c. The engine, the code and other back-end technology concerns used
for the product's construction are not an integral part of the design
process itself.

How does the field of software and interface design achieve the same
level of design, innovation and quality as something like the Can-Am
Spyder ten, twenty or even fifty years from now given the current
design processes?

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

Comments

3 Jun 2008 - 8:43am
Steven Chalmers
2007

Andrei, Excellent question. Your last sentence, in my opinion, is the key. We need to change the current design process.

Software is still about the challenge of implementing. The vast majority of the challenges of implementation are resolved in the automotive industry but are not resolved in the software industry. Until software development matures to the point of being able to produce software back-ends reliably, adequate resources won't likely be allocated to the front-end designs and thus the design process won't change much.

Steven

3 Jun 2008 - 9:28am
Dante Murphy
2006

Collaboration, communication, and iteration.

In the same way that a single person's brain can simultaneously work on
an engineering and an aesthetic problem, so can two people work together
in the same way. Only the communication is externalized; this may lead
to some inefficiency (compared to a single "DaVinci"-like designer), but
may also provide additional perspective. This harkens to the
efficiencies of pair-programming in solving novel technology problems
(as part of the XP methodology), and I'm sure numerous other
collaborative case studies.

And that is one ugly motorcycle.

Dante Murphy | Director of User Experience| D I G I T A S H E A L T H
229 South 18th Street | Rittenhouse Square | Philadelphia, PA 19103 |
USA
Email: dmurphy at digitashealth.com
www.digitashealth.com

3 Jun 2008 - 11:28am
.pauric
2006

Andrei: "How does the field of software and interface design achieve
the same level of design"

Could you explain why you see this as innovative?

It has less space than a car
just as dangerous as a bike

A skidoo on wheels is somehow innovation?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29740

3 Jun 2008 - 12:39pm
Christian Sosa-Lanz
2006

The day that all implementation challenges are resolved is the day I leave the field... and I will someday. Without those challenges we are reduced to stylist as is the case in automotive design and even a lot of product design.

It is key not to confuse the "Y" configuration of Can-Am as design. The design that was done is the shelling and signature yellow paint. The Y config is the key innovation of the Can-Am and that part did have many challenges to be resolved.

In my opinion, the only reason we are talking about the Can-Am is because it's transportation design that was returned to the UX process. The experience of riding a bike has been readdressed.

3 Jun 2008 - 2:34pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 3, 2008, at 9:28 AM, pauric wrote:

> Could you explain why you see this as innovative?
>
> It has less space than a car
> just as dangerous as a bike

With a setup like that, what would the point of discussion?

I personally dislike David Carson's type of graphic design and think
it's nothing like anything I would ever do. I even feel his approach
is more art than design. But that doesn't mean I can't appreciate his
aesthetic or approach to graphic design for what it is at a pure
design level.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

3 Jun 2008 - 2:53pm
.pauric
2006

Thanks Andrei, graphic design aside let me re-phrase my question;
Could you spell out why you felt this design was so innovative?
thanks - pauric

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29740

3 Jun 2008 - 3:51pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 3, 2008, at 12:53 PM, pauric wrote:

> Thanks Andrei, graphic design aside let me re-phrase my question;
> Could you spell out why you felt this design was so innovative?

Lots of reasons.

I used to own a BMW R1200C, or what some people called the Bond Bike
since it appeared in a Bond movie, when it was first introduced. I
enjoyed it immensely but ultimately sold it since I did less cross
country travel than I intended when I purchased it. (Touring from
Silicon Valley to Santa Fe and back is quite the experience!)

Ever since, I've been toying with the idea of buying a new motorcycle
because I live about 2-3 miles from my studio. I drive a Honda Civic
Hybrid, but there's no need to have such a heavy car and even use as
much gas as my hybrid uses for such short travel. Riding my bicycle on
the back streets of Sunnyvale to work is tedious and lugging my laptop
bag around in that manner is not an enjoyable way to start or end my
day. And I don't want a scooter although that's a viable option as
well. (I don't like the feel of scooters having been someone who used
to ride big touring motorcycles.)

The Can-Am Spyder might be the right thing for me cause I can store
items like my computer in it easily, I can travel to clients locally
in Silicon Valley and not feel the weight of cars on me as if I were
on a bicycle, I could still have fun on the weekends doing something
like drive up the coast or to Napa if I so choose, but mostly it's a
nice option to drive to work, using less gas, etc.

As for the overall visual aesthetic, I like that it's kind of funky
and playful, even with the strong yellow, which I would prefer since
riding a motorcycle in traffic requires first and foremost that people
know you are there. The yellow certainly does that. Is it for
everyone? No, but I personally think it's got some nice curves and is
an interesting shape.

The only thing I don't know is the power behind it's engine or how the
redesign of the chassis to handle three wheels changes the feel while
riding it. I still have to go test drive one. But as a concept and a
new design for motorcycles, it could fill a nice use for people who
don't want to risk riding a traditional motorcycle in even light
traffic, want to use less gas, and generally don't want to impact the
environment as much as a car does. Three wheelers, especially ones
with the two wheels in front, generally have a much safer feel than
traditional motorcycles.

And finally -- and yes, this is always a concern when one ties the
knot -- I might be able to convince my wife more easily that I won't
kill myself on a "glorified trike" than on a Harley.

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

3 Jun 2008 - 4:39pm
.pauric
2006

Thanks Andrei, I understand the personal motivation behind why someone
might buy such a vehicle. Its not my intention to ask you to justify
your interest in it.

My question is still unanswered so let me turn it around.

I see products that blindside markets, aka 'disrupters', as
innovative; e.g. dyson. I see existing products that incorporate new
technology in a cost affordable way as innovative; e.g. Prius.

I do not see cross breading as innovation; e.g. sticking wheels on a
skidoo. Great product design? yes. I do not see Suzuki, BMW or Harley
fearing for their market anytime soon.

I believe sometimes, and I'm guilty of this too, we can let our
personal desires blind us to what is mutton dressed as lamb, with a
little help from our friends in the Marketing Dept.

A while back you called the Apple Air 'innovative'. Great product
design? yes. At the time I felt loosing weight & functionality
shouldnt be labeled 'innovation'. I couldnt get a firm answer out of
you back then and hoped with your latest example of innovation I'd get
a little insight in to why believe the process that created the 3
wheeled bike was worth noting. What do you see here that has the
potential to create great 'innovative' software products?

I see a mash-up, not something thats going to disrupt the motorcycle
market. Mash-ups are stupid easy to conceptualise and that thinking
exists in the software world today.

3 Jun 2008 - 7:13pm
Andrei Herasimchuk
2004

On Jun 3, 2008, at 2:39 PM, pauric wrote:

> My question is still unanswered so let me turn it around.

I did answer, but because your base definition of "innovation" seems
to preclude a product that can address the kind of need I mentioned,
you negated the answer I gave. The Spyder is the first transportation
vehicle I could see myself using instead of a car. That's innovation
that I can see that could affect me also a personal level. I don't
want a bicycle or motorcycle instead of my car for a variety of
reasons, but the Spyder could actually be the kind of thing that gets
me to stop driving my car 100% of the time.

You also seem to exclude what has to happen at the engineering level
to make such a motorcycle possible. More info:
http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/BlogEntry.html?EntryID=6c1e3a9d-3c8e-4932-af30-55c6cc1b6ec0

> I do not see cross breading as innovation; e.g. sticking wheels on a
> skidoo. Great product design? yes. I do not see Suzuki, BMW or Harley
> fearing for their market anytime soon.

Whether it changes an entire market is not part of the definition of
innovation. It's nice to have but it's certainly not a pre-requisite.
Dean Kamen's Segway PT is easily innovative, if ultimately not a
market changer or market breaker. How many three wheeled motorcycles
are on the market? And if the Spyder increases the concept of
transportation that is not a car but more than a motorcycle, shouldn't
that qualify?

And maybe the market is still too early for this sort of thing, maybe
not. But if it has any chance to succeed... the timing is certainly
better considering that gas prices are getting a lot of people a lot
more serious about what they drive to and from work.

> A while back you called the Apple Air 'innovative'. Great product
> design? yes. At the time I felt loosing weight & functionality
> shouldnt be labeled 'innovation'.

What you seem to miss is the engineering and industrial design feat
behind the Apple MacBook Air, along with the attempt on Apple's part
to push a new product approach that is a few years ahead of everyone
else. That being a laptop that is *entirely* wireless save for an
occasional power chord. The ability to cram all that and the full
power of a MacBook into that form factor and push full reliance on a
wireless connection *IS* innovative for the laptop market. Regardless
if you or I my find the need for one. (And as I said then, I won't buy
one because I already have a MacBook Pro. But if I didn't, I'd easily
consider the Air.)

--
Andrei Herasimchuk

Principal, Involution Studios
innovating the digital world

e. andrei at involutionstudios.com
c. +1 408 306 6422

3 Jun 2008 - 10:27pm
.pauric
2006

Forgive me Andrei before you stop using your prius you should know
that the Spyder gets 30mph and it isnt the first 3 wheel vehicle on
the market by a long shot... you should check out the Messerschmitt
KR175

Now, at the engineering level. The link you gave is nothing more
than marketing blurb. I have a similar rotax engine in my bmw bike,
its been stripped down and rebuilt and it aint rocket science.

So I hope you appreciate it when I raise an eyebrow on something that
being heralded as an example of innovative design that actually has
been around since before the war using an engine that even I can take
apart (o;

I just noted that Jared has published an interview with Scott Berkun
on Innovation
http://www.uie.com/articles/innovate_right_now/

If I may be so blunt, as a self confessed man who bought a bike he
didnt need because he saw it in a Bond film, what is Innovative and
what is marketed as Innovative are too completely different things.

We all have laptops that can be entirely wireless, but its somehow
innovative that the Apple Air doesnt do anything else? I put it to
you that you've been duped by clever marketing.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29740

5 Jun 2008 - 12:31pm
Jeffrey D. Gimzek
2007

not to re-ignite this thread, but check out CNN Video today:

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/tech/2008/06/05/washburn.
230.mpg.car.kfmb

On Jun 2, 2008, at 3:26 PM, Andrei Herasimchuk wrote:

> For reference, please see:
>
> http://www.portfolio.com/interactive-features/2008/02/Spyder
> http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/Home.html
> http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/BlogEntry.html?EntryID=bd44fe89-6630-4ba1-a75f-643f9bb3bfea
> http://spyderryder.brp.com/spyder-community/en-CA/BlogEntry.html?EntryID=23e0bed7-40c5-462d-860e-745cb8e10626
>
> So, food for thought... How does someone who practices "IxD" achieve
> a similar level of quality and innovation in software or interface
> design if:

- -

Jeffrey D. Gimzek | Senior User Experience Designer

http://www.glassdoor.com

11 Jun 2008 - 6:16pm
Regis Bectarte
2008

Just to add my two cents, I would consider this more interesting from
a rider's experience standpoint...at least it leans :)

http://www.brudelitech.com/product.htm

Regis Bectarte

--
Best regards,
Regis mailto:krongsak at gmail.com

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