So I thought I would update you on the recent field trials and what it's meant for the development of the Multilever...
We managed to complete the first prototype tool for the Multilever just in time to get Goodfish to mould some parts for the field trials, which we had set up for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Dave completed the nth round of design changes; a millimetre changed here, a degree of angle changed there, after Ben and his team at WMG’s SME centre arranged the 3D-printed models.
A collection of mountain bikers and road cyclists from Gary Foord’s team at Mammoth Lifestyle, as well as some more road cyclists from BRAT (Birmingham Running, Athletics and Triathlon), arranged through our mad-keen cyclist patent attorney, were given Multilevers to trial.
No instructions were given as to how to connect the leavers, as we wanted to see whether it was intuitive, or not. As it turned out, 70% of users worked out how to connect them, and liked the way they clipped together and stayed together. But that meant 30% didn’t like it, or at least didn’t love it. That wasn’t good enough, so we changed the ‘clunk-click’ method to magnets. That would mean quite a lot of extra design work, but that didn’t put us off changing it.
There was unanimously encouraging feedback on everything else about the levers, apart from one person who struggled to get his chain links out once he had put them into the designated slot. And a few people fed back to us that the Allen key wasn’t strong enough, so we changed both these aspects too.
With magnets going into each lever to effect the clipping together of levers, we were able to change the design of the chain link holder, so that the links were held in place by the same magnets. This worked a treat.
The issue of the weak Allen key was more serious; it would change the fundamental design of the two-lever concept and require us to design a three-lever tool.