We have been working with Ziba on the Oregon Manifest project for about 5 months now. It's been an interesting process getting to work with people that are doing industrial design as a career. Nate and I often talk about products that we draw inspiration from, so to get to pick the minds of the creators of these products has been very eye opening. I was very close to heading off to grad school to earn a degree in industrial design when the idea for Signal came up. I think at the heart of what we do and enjoy about it is that "we make stuff." Ziba's process begins with a broad brainstorm talking about who the user of this product is going to be and then identify what is important to them. It's a very formal way to design and one that works well for a company like Ziba that designs products as diverse as baby wipes and turntables. Aside from the ability to speak the language of design, these guys are very good at getting ideas across quickly on paper. I consider myself to be pretty proficient with paper and pen, but I feel like a hack when I watch these guys at work.
So what kind of bike are we making? Well we are slowly leaking information out on the Core77 design website. We've been making monthly posts about the collaborative process and showing what we are coming up with. We aren't spilling the beans, but hopefully we are getting people interested in the Oregon Manifest, Ziba, and Signal Cycles. There are two other builder/ ID firms that we are "competing" with, Fuse Project/Sycip and IDEO/Rock Lobster. They have been pretty tight lipped about what they are doing in their blog posts, so we might have to wait to see more from them.
Dan, Sam and Paul are also a lot of fun to hang out with. I know the Oregon Manifest is being billed as a competition and we are trying to make a bike that will impress, but just being paired up with Ziba makes us feel like we've already won.