TBG Wanderer: Behind the scene look at product design
While talking to customer turned friends… I realized they were all curious about what goes behind designing a product and bringing it to production. So I thought it might be a great idea to pen down the design thinking behind building a product, in this case TBG Wanderer a All-weather Touring Jacket with best in class Level 2 protection.
Before getting into details let me mention that, I use Corel Draw for product design. Though I would not claim to be the best creative designer, I have honed my skills in functional design due to the exhaustive riding experience I have had and also due to friends circle who have provided genuine feedback whenever possible.
Now its time to dig in by answering questions which leads to decision making…
Who is this product designed for?
Every decision taken on the product is related to its target customers and use cases. In this case TBG Wanderer was designed for Motorcycle riders who love adventure touring but have safety and comfort as the top priority.
What kind of weather conditions is this product designed for?
When you design a product which would be used for long journeys, its always important to think about where and what weather conditions this product would be most used for. Looking at several jackets already in the market for touring, one thing always surprised me. Why are these products designed without mesh and only with some small zipper based ventilation. This design still makes sense if the jacket is full water proof, which its not.
Unlike European weather conditions where predominantly its winter and a very short summer, in India its opposite where we have a relatively short winter and much longer summer months.
Temperature can vary a lot depending upon where you are located in India. When you invest in a jacket, you also want to make sure the jacket can be used always other than one-off trip to Leh Ladakh kind of extreme temperatures.
But theory is always interesting… the real decision can be made only once we test the waters to make sure its usable in extreme weather conditions as well. So we did our first test during sampling at high-altitude location of Leh Ladakh in June 2017. Some photos from our tests below.
Happy to say that the test confirmed the theory that a mesh based touring jacket can be used in extreme weather conditions with the addition of thermal layer inside and if required the water proof external jacket worn outside.
So was the jacket ready for launch?
Here is where TBG products have always been different. You can always improve a product and listening to real customer feedback is one way to learn the small things which can make a big difference. So we continued working on the smaller things which are also equally important. We do add features as per customer feedback and strive to make a good product better.
Since we have taken care of the basic design of using mesh and proved the theory after the test, it was time to look at safety aspect of the jacket.
What armors did we pick and why?
This is a very important question and very close to my heart. In the early days of TBG (about 6yrs ago) when the first product was being launched which was our Racing Suit, I made the decision to go with SAS-TEC also not just SAS-TEC but the best in their line-up as well. We use the exact same armors in TBG Knight & TBG Wanderer which we use in our Racing Suit. The level of impact absorption characteristics of SAS-TEC is not found in any other armor till date.
The special characteristics of SAS-TEC material are listed below.
- Viscoelastic foam with memory effect: After an impact or any kind of deformation the foam (protector) returns to its original shape within shortly.
- Multi impact compliant: Unlike many other dampening materials (such as styrofoam (EPS), silicone or foam of inferior quality) our PU-foam is multi impact compliant. Thus impacts or high pressure do not destroy the protector even when the same area is affected repeatedly. The protector keeps its full functional capability.
- Excellent residual forces: The CE-approved protectors of SAS-TEC remain up to 50 per cent below the legal values of the norm EN 1621.
- Lightweight: high absorbability despite low density. Hard shell protectors or materials containing silicone are considerably more heavy which reduces the wearing comfort. The density of our SAS-TEC foam is about 280 g/l, hard shells in contrast have an average density of 1050 g/l.
- Adaptive absorption: The air which is embedded in the foam´s cells provoke a progressive absorption. The protector remains soft in case of slowly increasing forces, however when it comes to a fast heavy impact the resistance of the foam grows with increasing speed.
- In impulse responding behaviour: Contrary to hard shell protectors, styrofoam damper or many other dampening materials, SAS-TEC foam reacts promptly and without any time delay even to minor impacts. The energy absorption goes almost linear, which keeps the impact forces to the human body at a low level.
- Environmental compatibility: The raw materials for our foam production are partly made of renewable materials. It is therefore possible to dispose of the protectors with the regular household garbage.
- Long product life: Some manufacturers of body protection only indicate a product life of two to three years for their articles, whereas SAS-TEC foam comes with a life expectancy of ten years.
- Temperature stability: Due to a special mixture SAS-TEC foam resists temperatures of approx. 100°C. Conventional PU-foam is only able to stand temperatures of approx. 60°C without taking damage.
- Comfort: The high flexibility of our foam ensures outstanding comfort.
- Washable (hand wash): The cell structure of our SAS-TEC foam keeps water from entering the material — the water absorption is below one per cent. Therefore hand wash can be recommended without hesitation.
What are the other highlights from safety perspective?
External shoulder armor addition comes from our experience in designing Racing Suit and a deeper understanding of the impact points in a crash.
Second most impact area on a jacket is the forearm where we designed a multi-layered protection approach with armor inside as well as a layer of foam built-in. This enables the rider to reduce injuries in case of a high impact fall or crash.
Is that it?
Here are some of the other features and highlights.
- Internal thermal layer
- External water-proof jacket using Reissa Membrane
- 3M Reflective piping for better visibility
- 3M Reflective tape for better visibility (all the white areas on the jacket)
- Fluro Green color to increase visibility
- Pocket for Hydration bladder at the back
- Large water-proof pockets to keep the essentials
- and much more…
If you have any questions, suggestions or feedback… please comment below…
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TBG Wanderer was launched in November 2017
Click here to purchase TBG Wanderer