Bicycle pump

Kevin Hilton, Ian Hewitt, Bruce Watson

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


This approach to inflating bicycle tyres used Julian Peck’s concept of a rip-cord and was developed chiefly by Hilton and co-authors for competition cycling, where time is of the essence. Hilton’s design development enables tyres to be inflated faster and to a set pressure. The project demonstrates Hilton’s approach to innovation; determining new and systemic perspectives for effective engagement of ‘project communities’ and responsible economic development through diversity of effective solutions.In the case of Cyclaire, understanding the way users interfaced with the product was key to its success. Watson supported the Pro/Engineer solid modelling of the pump, while Hewitt supported its sketch development and presentation. Inspiration for Cyclaire came from pull-cords for outboard motors and lawn mowers (total funding for project was £87k).. This output builds on his doctoral study into the development of personal innovation potential by individuals and design team; which strongly influenced the development of the School of Design’s MA module: Research Principles. This encourages students to take a creative and critical approach to the development of value through research. In 2001, Cyclaire won top prize in the Spirit of Innovation Awards and was voted Innovation of the Year in Cycling Plus magazine in 2005. More recently, in 2006, it won the £100K prize in the SKY programme ‘The Big Idea’. In the first year 15,000 pumps were sold, in the UK, Germany, Denmark and the US. The design is now featured in the Discovery Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne as a modern example of NE innovation to complement the historical work of: Swan’s light bulb; Parsons’ radial flow steam turbine; Stephenson’s locomotives; Armstrong’s hydro electric machine and George’s aeroplane ‘joystick.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2004


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