Have you ever wondered what it takes to design a groundbreaking and iconic motorcycle product? Former Lead Engineer of McLaren and current Technical Director of Furchtlos Victor Hernandez gives us a sneak peek into the process behind developing user-centered and forward thinking solutions for riders.
First of all, I’ve always loved motorcycles. My dad was a motorcycle mechanic and my uncle owned a dealership, so I grew up around them and developed a passion for bikes as a little kid. The day that I got to buy my first bike when I was 18 was one of the happiest days of my life.
Compared with cars, I always felt that motorcycles were a lot more fun and exciting. There aren’t so many rules. You can take them to the track to race. You can go off-road and explore areas that you would never be able to access with a car. The possibilities are endless. After I began working in the industry, and led the engineering development for both motorcycle and automotive brands, I felt that the same applies to engineering as well. There’s a lot more freedom and playfulness in motorcycle development, and there are still a lot of possibilities that haven’t been explored yet. As a user, I have a lot of ideas for how to improve the riding experience, and I’m excited to have the chance to bring those ideas to life and share them with the public soon.
China is the new land of opportunity, especially when it comes to the auto industry. When I was working as a Lead R&D Engineer in Honda, there were studies published showing that the automotive sector was only growing in a handful of places around the world, and China was the place where it was still growing quite rapidly. It’s no secret that European car manufacturers are being impacted by the struggling European economy and are having trouble keeping up with the latest technological trends, such as EV and autonomous driving. Meanwhile, we see that the investments that China made in the auto industry over the last decade or so are now paying off. Many new Chinese auto brands are emerging and are set to become the new global leaders. There’s a big shift that’s happening right now in the global players in the auto industry, and we see that the motorcycle industry is following closely behind. Although the gas motorcycle industry is still being led by European and Japanese brands, China has already become the global leader for E-bikes, which is the direction the industry is heading. New Chinese motorcycle brands are emerging every day, and they’re bringing a lot of new innovations to the market, in terms of both design solutions and technological applications. The motorcycle industry is in an exciting point of evolution, and China is the place where all the action is.
Basically, that comes down to two things: the People and the Product.
Our core team members have a combined 60+ years of experience in this industry, so we have a deep understanding of the market and the current competitors. We also understand what the customers want that they aren’t getting from the other accessory brands right now. In general, motorcycles are evolving very quickly in terms of design and technology, but the major accessory brands haven’t been evolving at the same pace. The result is that most of the current market accessories look primitive and outdated compared with the bikes they’re being assembled to. We want to bring the level of accessory design up to the same caliber as the motorcycles themselves, to create accessories that enhance the aesthetics of the bike, and to incorporate more high-tech features that improve the user experience.
Our product design and engineering teams are based in Europe and have a strong background in full motorcycle and vehicle development for the industry’s top brands, including BMW, Honda, Yamaha, KTM, and McLaren. We follow the same process for motorcycle accessory design as we would for developing a vehicle. From a styling point of view, our team has an intimate understanding of the emerging trends and the future of the industry, and we are always investigating how to incorporate new materials, new processes, and new technologies into the product to keep it looking cutting edge.
From an engineering point of view, we follow the same standards as the automotive industry in terms of testing and quality and are always looking for ways to improve our manufacturing processes to produce the best possible product. When I was working as Lead Engineer in McLaren, we focused a lot on light-weighting solutions, and I’m proud of how we’ve applied similar solutions to our first aluminum case range, to make it the lightest aluminum case in the market. When it comes to motorcycle accessories, function is even more important than appearance, so we pay a lot of attention to the needs of the rider and how we can optimize the product to fulfill those.
With this user-centered approach and our adherence to automotive level standards, we’re confident that we’re delivering a higher caliber product than our competitors. And in the end, we believe the products will speak for themselves.
With our RANGER aluminum case range, we adopted a cutting-edge hybrid technology design that offers a lot of advantages compared with other aluminum cases in the market. Not only did this new design approach allow us to make the lightest aluminum case on the market, it also allowed us to completely eliminate the exterior rivets and silicone that are found in traditional aluminum cases. As a result, our cases have a much more sleek and modern appearance, they’re much safer in case of impact, and the components are much easier to repair/replace in case of damage. All of this leads to a better functioning product and a better user experience for the rider.
Later this year we’ll be launching the ADV version of the RANGER cases, which are the first-ever cases to use chopped carbon and will come with some other exciting accessories that we aren’t able to reveal yet.
There are a lot of other innovative products that we have under development right now that I can’t talk about yet, but we’re looking forward to sharing them with our customers soon.
Yes, I would. I can’t reveal any details yet, but we’re working on a couple products that I think will set a new standard for motorcycle accessories in different sectors and will establish FURCHTLOS as a leader in the industry.
Knowing what the customer needs even when they don’t express it, identifying a need that’s not yet being met, creating a product to fill that gap, and applying something extra that creates a difference with the current products in the market.
Many brands can compete in price, but it’s difficult to introduce a new solution to a problem and to improve the standards of quality, and that’s what we’re doing here at FURCHTLOS.