Velo Twista Balance Bike
- CobaltNiche Design
Balance bikes help children master balance and steering before pedal power. The Velo Twista extends this concept to children too young to balance on two wheels through a very clever mechanism, combining the functionality of a tricycle and balance bike. Twista suits children from approximately 18 months to 5 years old, a significant span relative to a young child’s physical and spatial development, potentially replacing three traditional ride-on toys. The concept of a bike that develops with the child was born from user insights and CobaltNiche’s principal of integrating socially responsible design into product design projects.
Enhanced global product offering
Twista is a unique balance bike that adapts as children develop their gross motor skills through their toddler years. Balance bikes are more effective than training wheels to help children learn to ride “adult” bicycles. Twista was devised and engineered in Melbourne by CobaltNiche who partnered with Yvolution to manufacture and globally distribute the bike.
In its pilot release, Twista has been introduced to Australian and international markets through retail giants Amazon and Toys R Us. Twista’s unique response to user needs provides Yvolution with a broader children’s ride-on toy product range and enhances their competitive advantage globally.
Learning to ride with less waste
Most families will collect a garage full of bouncers, car-seats and strollers before a child even starts school. Twista is one adjustable product to take a child from toddling to two wheels, reducing clutter and cost (for parents and the planet). Releasing the single-action hub lock, the rear hub can quickly pivot, transforming the bike from a three wheel trike to a two wheel balance bike. One step toggling allows children to switch modes as they develop, and switch back and forth as they begin to gain skills at their own pace, while still riding their trike for fun.
Functional & aesthetic appeal
Twista’s deliberately appeals to parents need for safety and reliability, and 4 year-olds need for a ‘cool’ and fun ride. It’s a sleek product designed to outlast brief trends and engage a child in years to come. In-house prototyping and testing was undertaken throughout development to ensure suitable ergonomics across all target ages.
The height of the seat and handlebars are adjustable, with the angled seat stem sliding upwards and backwards to allow more leg room as the child grows taller. When not extended, the seat is the lowest on the market, suitable for very young children.
Sustainability, a product built to last
The design process was consciously geared towards making the end product both environmentally and financially sustainable. The concept of adaptability was the starting point for achieving a longer product lifecycle, enhanced product durability making this idea a reality over years of heavy duty play. Twista’s frame has been rigorously tested, eliminating the need to buy flimsy plastic products with short lifespans – reducing waste. The final product exceeds all safety requirements and user experience expectations.
Iterative product development approach
CobaltNiche is a multi-disciplinary firm with staff members proficient in industrial design, prototyping, animation and mechanical engineering. The Velo Twista was a companywide project, with most of the staff contributing in some way to its development from initial brainstorming sessions to concept drawings, all the way to coordinating samples. Once the concept of the adjustable bike was decided upon, the ingenious wheel mechanism was developed, prototyped and iteratively refined to its final embodiment.
Twista’s aesthetics and mechanical function were developed concurrently.