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Designing Differently: AltRider Goes Plastic

Mar 25, 2010 // The AltRider Garage //

Up till now, AltRider products have all come in glistening metallic splendor. But the new AltRider Glare Guard for the BMW R 1200 GS changes everything  -- it’s our first plastic part. Even though it’s made of a different material, it still shares the rugged durability that characterizes all AltRider products.

AltRider Glare Guard for the BMW R 1200 GS

I spoke to Jacob (Lead Project Engineer) and Don (Lead Industrial Designer)  about the design process for the Glare Guard and how it differed from previous efforts.

“This part in particular is challenging because of the tight fit and geometry of the headlight,” Jacob explained. “We had to squeeze the glare guard in between the windscreen and headlight while paying attention to the style and function. “

Don chimed in. “When designing our guard, we had to be careful about how tall our part stood off the bezel,” he said. “We did make some minor modifications to ensure good clearance no matter the position of the windscreen.”

But the two said they enjoyed creating something in plastic.

“There is a lot more freedom in form, and Don’s work really shines on this part!” Jacob enthused. “It is more tactile, and it is common practice to make models by hand and then cast plastic parts. You don’t really get that sculptural aspect with sheet metal.”

“Plastics are a blank canvas, so from a design perspective there are no limits,” Don said. “A designer really has to pay attention to what is going on all over the bike visually, so as not to make the parts too crazy or disconnected aesthetically.”

I’d say they were successful, because the Glare Guard smoothly integrates into the design of the BMW R 1200 GS and with other AltRider products, while still keeping reflected light off the windscreen during night rides.

Good job, Jacob and Don!