Our obsession with designing the perfect Cnoc

Innovation  |  Nov 04, 2022  |  Tim Goodall
Kid's pink balance bike angled

They've learnt to balance, now add pedals.

Starter bike, first pedal bike, first proper bike; call it anything because you’ll always remember their first pedal strokes.

Some features are in plain sight, others are hidden in the detail – we call that holistic design – referring to how the frame geometry, component sizes and dimensions interact to make for a bike that’s easier to ride. In the following, I’ll attempt to explain some of the reasons behind our design decisions.

Chainguards are most useful when not riding

Legally required on pedal bikes, but most useful when not pedalling. The likelihood of a child catching something in the chain is very low, especially as many children of this age don’t have shoelaces which commonly get caught in chains.

But it’s inquisitive fingers that are most at risk of getting trapped, usually when the bike is not being ridden.

To accommodate a bulky chainguard, you must alter the frame geometry, making the bike harder to ride.

The minimalist design of the Chainglider means the frame geometry (frame dimensions) are unchanged.

The lube port is as the name suggests, for oiling the chain – without removing the chainguard.

Wobble less with a narrow Q-factor

Q-factor is the distance between these points:

Increase it, and you increase the sideways force with each pedal stroke, like having someone push you sideways. Because each pedal stroke is unbalancing the bike.

When parents tell us their child learnt to ride on their Cnoc within 30 minutes, when they’ve struggled with other lightweight bikes, this is one of the reasons.

We’ll take deep-dive into Q-factor another time.

Protecting growing organs

The organs in a young child take up a disproportionately large volume of their chest cavity, hence most have a bulging belly as their organs are crammed into a tiny space. We must protect this space.

The riding position on our Cnoc range makes sure their organs are protected by putting them in an upright riding position, which is also great for seeing where they are going!

The controls / handlebars / grips / brake lever

The distance from the back of the grip to the front of the lever is the one that determines whether a child can reach the brakes. It’s a combination of small diameter handlebars and grips, and the micro-reach brake lever that mean even a 2 year-old can apply the brake, and stop their bike.

Short reach brake levers solve half the problem. Add small diameter handlebars and grips, and they can stop.

Realising the benefits of the brake design

No matter how good the design, if the brake cable is cut incorrectly or the spring tension is too high, a child will not be able to stop.

We carefully set-up each bike before sending it to you.

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