RSA Student Design Awards 2018


This project was completed as a university project for the RSA Student Design brief 'Hidden Figures'. The brief focussed on breaking down the physical, organisational, and social barriers faced by people with hidden disabilities or impairments. The proposed solution aims to make cycling more inclusive for those suffering with Osteoarthritis.


Industrial Designer


October - December, 2018 (6 Weeks)


User Research, User-Centered Design, Sketching, Ideation, Development, Prototyping, 3D Modelling, Rendering


Individual Project


Primary research consisted of interviews with a Physiotherapist and people suffering with Osteoarthritis, combined with a questionnaire posted in an online cycling forum. This was supplemented with secondary online research.

Osteoarthritis (Hands)

Affects 33% of women and 11% of men in their 50s and 60s.


Requires a relatively high level of grip strength and places significant pressure on the base of the thumb.


Pain at the base of the thumb, combined with stiffness, swelling and loss of grip strength are common.

Concept Development

Concepts for ergonomic handle and brake designs were explored through sketching and the creation of foam and 3D printed models. Refining the shape of the handle required continuous iteration which was explored in detail through the 3D models.

User-Centered Design

The end user was involved throughout the design process. This was done by presenting potential concepts and models and engaging in critical and in-depth discussions with the user. Analysing my work from the eyes of my target user gave me a unique perspective, and the chance to engage with different communities. This resulted in several design iterations that led to a highly usable and accessible final product.

"I had to give up cycling due to the pain and numbness it caused in my hands. A product designed to tackle this issue would be fantastic"

Product Outcome

The proposed product consists of handles and brake attachments that can be applied to existing handlebars and brakes, respectively. The handles have a unique shape designed to support the wrist and reduce the pressure on the CMC (carpometacarpal) joint, which is further optimised through a gel within the handle. Lock rings are used to ensure secure attachment to the bike. The brake attachments are made from silicon and reinforced with a stainless-steel internal section.