A group of Chris Kabel’s students at ÉCAL in Lausanne, Switzerland, were tasked with coming up with “valid, innovative, and working proposals” for bike accessories over a five month course, with the results presented at the university’s Savoir Faire exhibition in Milan during design week.

Renaud Defrancesco came up with a series of clever add ons using brightly colored zip ties. Here’s a bell that dings with a flick of the excess cable.

Another of Defrancesco’s bike ties, this one to hang a bag from the handlebars. (You’d have to be careful not to get it caught in the spokes while riding!)

Marceau Avogadro’s Drelin is a brake and a bell, all in one.

I love Lea Chetot’s Garde Boue, for those days when the pavement is soggy.

Pierre Bouvier’s Le Cable offers a different way to brake.

Noose, by Anais Benoit Dignac, will help tires gain traction in the snow.

Cyrille Verdon’s colorful Plug keeps the valve cap from getting lost.

A view of Savoir Faire.

Co.Design

Clever Cycling Accessories Designed By Students Who Don't Bike

Chris Kabel brought Holland’s vibrant bike culture to a design school in less cycle-savvy Switzerland.

“The bike is such a goldmine for designers,” Chris Kabel tells Co.Design. “So many problems to solve, so many things that can be made better.” Kabel hails from Holland, where two-wheeled travel is as much of a birthright as breathing, and is currently based in Rotterdam. He owns more bicycles than he can count. Point being, the fella is familiar with bicycles. Every few weeks, however, he travels to teach at ÉCAL in Lausanne, Switzerland, where he says the culture hasn’t quite caught on (at least not like it has in the Netherlands, where pedals far outnumber people).

That didn’t stop Kabel from recently holding a semester-long course dedicated to forming “valid, innovative, and working proposals” for bike accessories, and the results are pretty fun--especially impressive considering Kabel says that most of his students didn’t actually own their own bicycles. Over five months, they came up with an eclectic collection of clever mods and smart additions. I’m partial to the zip-tie with a bell at the end that dings with a quick flick of the excess cable, and the wire brush that wraps around the back wheel to deflect wet pavement splashes up onto the rider’s behind; in lieu of a fender, that seems like a neat fix.

At the end of the five-month course, the group decided to make the video (above) to show their hacks in action. “As a bike is a moving object, it was a very good way to explain all the different projects clearly,” Kabel says--all with a nod to Jacques Tati.

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9 Comments

  • Nic Johnson

    I love the clip on mudguard brush. I don't want a mudguard on there all the time, but one I could carry in my bag would be perfect!

  • biker jim

    haha.. yeah, no.
    first, most of these already exist and second, they are just plain useless.

    i'll have to completely disagree with chris kabel's statement about the bike design being a "goldmine" for designers because there are lots of problems to be solved. in fact, it's the exact opposite - bicycle design has been perfected and reduced to the bare minimum over the years, which is in accordance with design principles. adding stuff back on it, as these students have done here, is actually a step backwards.

    and yes, please get these students on a bike everyday, to test their products and see what they come up with then. i can see the handle bar hook being a complete fail within the first 5 minutes of biking.

  • IAG

    Have to agree with Mountford.  Having a bell ring involuntarily everytime you brake?? 

  • alzulas

    Yes! Exactly! I would buy the air plug, and zip tie lights and hangers, I want!