Student-designed bike to hit market
By Brianne Schaer
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
A student-designed electric motocross bicycle will be on the market as a result of three Cal State Long Beach students who won the university's 2011 Innovation Challenge.
The prize included $10,000 to further develop the product and create a business plan. It also included important connections in the business world.
Mechanical engineering students David Pearce, Rogelio Rosas and Dan Southard worked together to build the bike, which is unique to the United States.
"There's nothing really out there that has the capabilities of our electric mountain bike," Pearce said. "None of the [electric bikes] had the performance we wanted."
The team's high-performance bike has the capabilities of a dirt bike and the practicality of a mountain bike. It is lightweight and powerful, capable of going uphill and over difficult terrain due to its heavy-duty suspension. It is also silent and emissions-free.
"Electric vehicles are pretty much the future," Rosas said. "So we wanted to build something that was innovative and fun."
The teammates were friends before embarking on the project.
"It was natural for us three to be in the group because we had chemistry and we all had experience," he said. "We all had experience and got things done."
A strong work ethic was essential in order to complete the project in a reasonable amount of time.
"The main difficulty was the time," Pearce said. "It was a pretty ambitious project to organize everything and make sure everything got done on time."
Another difficulty the group encountered was the lack of precedence in the electric motocross bike market.
"It really hasn't been done before, so we had to pretty much start from scratch," Rosas said about designing the bike.
Using the prize as a springboard to market and sell the bike, Pearce hopes to begin selling the bike as soon as next year.
He described their business plan, which focuses on starting small.
The bike will first be sold in a kit containing just the frame and the suspension so that the customer can personally build the bike. Then, later, the complete bike will be available on the market.
Pearce, who was not sure whether his team would win the contest when they originally entered, said he was glad to have won.
"We knew we had project potential," he said. "But we had no idea we would win. We put a lot of hard work into this project â€” we didn't just get lucky. We also had a lot of faculty support."
The College of Engineering and the College of Business Administration sponsored the Innovation Challenge.
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