Manufacturing, mass-customisation and reinvention: The curious case of bicycle design

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This research examines the practice of mass customisation in bicycle design and manufacturing. The dynamics of manufacturing and design in the bicycle market are illustrated in theory and validated in the field, with implications for theory and practice of design and mobility. The research determines that while the principles of mass customisation create ideal conditions for both manufacturer and consumer with regard to the end product, they also set up conditions for reinvention.

Reinvention occurs when consumers conceive of and develop novel product variants, and the bicycle provides an instructive example of design and manufacturing assembly processes being available at a local level. This more convivial design and manufacturing has implications for how we conceive design, as well as for the effectiveness of the bicycle to provide mobility. The research notes that the design and manufacturing processes extend in time and place beyond the drawing board and the front end of design, into the product’s complete life cycle.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-71
Number of pages9
JournalRMIT Design Archives Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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