The Story Behind Our Remote Design – Part 1

Those of you who have visited our site previously might remember the remote control which had a lot of similarities to existing control units. We have moved on from the original design because things have changed on many fronts. First of all our thinking about the subject has changed and the whole industry has made a notable shift as well. To summarize, we weren’t satisfied with the initial design and decided to create a better one. 

A bit more than a napkin sketch.

Core Values

The term core value is usually mentioned with company policy or business strategy. We´ve employed the same tool and line of thinking on the level of individual components whenever needed. This was the case with remote controllers since it is such an important part of the system and user experience. After careful consideration and idea gathering session the core values were condensed in the four following points:

  • Intuitive. If the rider needs to think about how to use the remote or the learning process takes a considerable amount of time, the design hasn’t met this goal. In other words, controlling the behaviour of the bike must become effortless according to the “No look” principle.
  • Screenless. An overflow of information will distract the user while riding – keep it simple! We believe that all the needed information can be conveyed through a led indicator. Our drive system does not require a screen and if the user wishes to use one, mobile phone or a dedicated ride computer will provide a platform for all the information imaginable and most importantly, with a customizable view. More on this later.
  • Right-hand side. Since the traditional shifter is gone and there is space to occupy, the right-hand placement is an obvious one and supports what the rider is used to at this location. A placement like this declutters the cockpit setup and creates a more streamlined and elegant looks.
  • Integrated. The goal was to integrate the remote into the cockpit rather than occupying new space.  

On top of these things, we decided early on that the index finger should remain free so that it´s always available for braking purposes. With e-mountain bikes this is an obvious design feature, but it applies to all other bike types as well. 

Design Drivers

From core values, we moved on to a more practical level. Design drivers are properties or features that we want you – the rider – to notice when using a bike equipped with the Revonte ONE Drive System. In this case, there were some similarities between them and core values, but the list got diversified and most importantly, more exact.  

  • Simple & intuitive design. All of the relevant functions to riding can be controlled underneath the handlebar by using the thumb only.
  • Versatile. Works on multiple platforms. No matter the handlebar setup, bike or ride computer you are using, our remote system will be compatible.
  • Simple & compact. The form and use should be broken down to a minimum without sacrificing features and functionality. No one will benefit from a huge clunky remote with too many buttons. 
  • Stealth & integrated design. No matter how good the function is, if the end product is an eyesore, it has not met all the goals – or not at least in our books. Smooth surfaces, shapes, tactile features, alloy construction on levers and a nice colour scheme are a must-have. Our remote integrates itself seamlessly to the cockpit.   
  • Great ergonomics. Although this is an obvious criterion, not all designs meet it. The remote should be comfortable to use, it should not require loosening the grip and reaching when used, etc. These are basic things and therefore something that we want to make especially well. 
A rendered photo of the final design.

Where´s the Display?

The decision to leave the screen out was made early in the design process. The reasoning behind it is quite simple. 

First of all, there is a limited amount of information that is useful when riding. Even if you ride in a straight road without any traffic or other variables that need to be considered, eye-contact should be kept mostly on the road (or on the nice scenery surrounding it). When it comes to mountain biking, the importance of this factor grows several magnitudes. If eye-contact wanders off from the optimal line choice, big trouble can ensue. Given these points and the fact that not too many metrics are useful to observe while riding, a need for a screen does not really present itself. When it comes to post-ride analytics, the situation changes of course. Ride data can be viewed and analyzed from a mobile phone or from a laptop interface. 

A second reason for leaving the screen out is that we want to give the control and customizability back to the user. If he or she wishes to use her own device, the option exists and is even the preferred one. The companies who manufacture ride computers know their job and we want to leave it to them. 

Closing Thoughts

There you have it. Those were the basic factors that guided our design process which resulted in innovations that led to filed patents. A component like the remote seems simple on the surface but the number and depth of decisions are quite surprising when the design challenge is truly tackled. The final product ended up being quite a lot like our motor: functional, robust and almost elegant in all of its simplicity.

No corners were cut in the process. We are happy with the end result and confident that you will like it as well. Stay tuned for more info and photos about our remote on a later date!  

The final product out in the wild!