Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Build your ideal bicycle online and get a list of existing models that match your needs
  [vote for,

WHY BUILD-A-BIKE? As the price of gas goes up and environmental concerns become more prevelant, more people with resources to spend on leisure items are turning towards cycling. There are a myriad of options for someone looking at buying a mid to high end bicycle.

But once a shopper has settled on what they want in a bike, it's challenging to figure out which manufacturers are selling models that match a particular shopper's needs. Currently, shoppers must either take the gamble and hope their local bike shop has something that fits them perfectly in stock, or spend hours looking at manufacturers' Web sites and decoding a wide array of proprietary categories and terminology fabricated by marketers.

USER EXPERIENCE You log on to a web site and begin selecting what you want in a bicycle. Options range from very general (geometry; weight; price) to very specific (pedals; cassette; headset; crankset; wheels). Small tutorials along the way educate you about why a particular option is important and why you might want one or the other (double crankset vs. triple; flat bars vs. drops; road bike vs. hybrid; v-brakes vs. caliper breaks vs. disk breaks; what the hell is a braze-on).

Common options are preselected to help new users get a good all-around bike without getting into nitty gritty details about components. After you've created your ideal bike, the database outputs a list of bike manufacturers/models that match your needs (ranked in order of a percentage match).

Once you've received the output of models you might like, you receive links to the manufacturer's Web site, reviews, and a list of local dealers.

REQUIRED TECHNOLOGIES This would be an extensive questionnaire/web form tied to a database of current bicycle models and components. In addition to basic form-programming, it would require a programmer to create a series of complex conditionals (for instance, choosing a Mountain Bike lets users select a different set of componenents than choosing a Road Bike).

To create the more complex, location-based features (i.e. giving users a list of local bike dealers who might have a specific bike in stock), the dev. would also need to create an account-setup process so that users could specify their geographic location and save their choices across sessions. However, this level of complexity would not be necessary in the first release. (Once you know what bike you want, it's relatively easy to start calling shops in the phone book and see who has one in stock).

WHO DOES THE WORK? If a Web developer built a demo of Build-a-Bike, it might be possible to convince bike manufacturers to do their own data-entry each time they release a new bicycle (via a central interface managed by the Build-a-Bike dev). This would greatly reduce the time needed to populate and maintain the database.

Why would manufacturers want to spend time doing their own data entry?

1. It would be a good advertising vehicle for their products. 2. Based on data gathered from user-input, bike manufacturers could gain access to important data about what kinds of things their customer base is looking for, which could help them plan future bike models.

jlawshe, Jul 06 2007

What the weight difference yields http://newhorizonsb...page.cfm?PageID=170
Texticle, even 1500g makes very little difference anyway [TheLightsAreOnBut, Jul 09 2007]

Scion http://www.scion.com/
These guys are doing something similar with cars (go to Build Your Car). It's a bit lame really when you consider how much you used to be able to customise new cars back in the day. [wagster, Jul 09 2007]


       "Build-a-Bike." [+]
nuclear hobo, Jul 07 2007

       Originally named BikeHelper. Thanks, NH.
jlawshe, Jul 07 2007

       Pedal to the People?
CaptainClapper, Jul 07 2007

       Definitely a catchier name, Captain. B/C half-bakery's home page just displays product names right now, I'm going to stick with the descriptive title NH came up with for now--but probably once the real product released someone would give it a more interesting name.
jlawshe, Jul 07 2007

       Otherwise known as the illusion of value. All the more reason for Build-a-Bike.
nuclear hobo, Jul 08 2007

       If Buildabike were the middleman, it could serve as a translator / interpreter. Also perhaps it would be possible to create composite frankenstein bikes from many manufacturers. The concept could be expanded (contracted) to skateboards.
bungston, Jul 08 2007

       /geometry; weight; price/   

       Manufacturers, despite touting light-weightedness throughout their brochures, are very reluctant to divulge actual weight of the complete bike.   

       They don't want their more optimistic customers to realise that an extra $500 only saves 150g. Getting a haircut or riding without a wristwatch would yield equal performance gains.
Texticle, Jul 08 2007

       //Getting a haircut or riding without a wristwatch would yield equal performance gains.//   

       But not bragging rights.
nuclear hobo, Jul 09 2007

       // //Getting a haircut or riding without a wristwatch would yield equal performance gains.//   

       // But not bragging rights.   

       Or the chance to get a snapped carbon-fibre seat-post up their posterior.
TheLightsAreOnBut, Jul 09 2007

       It's kind of like a strap-on, but more permanent and more painful.
Texticle, Jul 10 2007

       I found something like a *ahem* strap-on, but that was geared to the bike's motion, so that going forward also produced an oscillating motion in a radically altered bicycle saddle. And since I'm at work right now, no, I'm not going to look it up right now to provide a link.
elhigh, Jul 10 2007


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