Raiooo: three-wheeled mobility

Conceived by MA Integrated Design students of Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, Raiooo is a vehicle that promote a new concept of urban cycling in social groups normally excluded from it.

Raiooo: mobilità a tre ruote
Oscar Farinetti, the founder of Eataly, recently reversed an established principle: “today, we must act global and think local”. The same principle applies to Raiooo , which employs local knowledge and materials to export worldwide a product in which technology, aesthetic and function are design paradigms.
Conceived by MA Integrated Design students of Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, Raiooo is a vehicle driven by reflections on the world of mobility and its designers believe that an inclusive society must promote a new concept of urban cycling in social groups normally excluded from it.
Ermanno Aparo e Manuel Ribeiro (coordinatori) con gli studenti del primo anno del Master in Design del Politecnico di Viana do Castelo, 2014, Raiooo
Ermanno Aparo and Manuel Ribeiro (coordinators) with the students of the first year of the Master in Design at the Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, 2014, Raiooo
The name comes from the combination of the word RAI (spokes) and OOO, which stands for the three wheels. The intention was to design a means of transport for visitors who prefer to pedal around the shops and local residents who want to move about freely. On the one hand, the search for stability and ergonomic comfort prompted the designers to opt for a three-wheel configuration.
On the other, they placed the emphasis on elegance and character; this led to a choice of materials such as wood, leather and cork, fairly uncommon materials in the cycling world but familiar in the Portuguese culture. They added to the mix aluminium, eco-friendly plastic and mechanical components typical of traditional bicycles to create a hybrid but sustainable and local product.
Ermanno Aparo e Manuel Ribeiro (coordinatori) con gli studenti del primoanno del Master in Design del Politecnico di Viana do Castelo, 2014, Raiooo
Ermanno Aparo and Manuel Ribeiro (coordinators) with the students of the first year of the Master in Design at the Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, 2014, Raiooo
An example of research applied to production and a metaphor for the current industrial transition, Raiooo is the product-sum of several different macro- and micro-production realities. The aluminium components of the gears and seat/pedal tubing are produced on an industrial scale but the leather bags are made by local craftspeople; the parts in agglomerated cork and the plywood panels forming the tricycle’s seat and frame are shaped by CNC machines and the mudguard brackets and covering over the are made with 3D printers in the Polytechnic’s digital fabrication lab.
Ermanno Aparo e Manuel Ribeiro (coordinatori) con gli studenti del primoanno del Master in Design del Politecnico di Viana do Castelo, 2014, Raiooo
Ermanno Aparo and Manuel Ribeiro (coordinators) with the students of the first year of the Master in Design at the Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, 2014, Raiooo

The base structure of the tricycle is formed of two plywood panels sandwiched together and bolted to the steering box and seat-pedal tubing, both in aluminium. The casing extends to the rear-wheel axle and this shell contains the batteries and controller; all the wires and cables also pass through here. The two panels are then closed with shaped strips of agglomerated cork. The front fork and elegant curvilinear handlebars are made of thin sheets of woods such as beech, mahogany, eucalyptus and sucupira. The rear has a block of two wheels with a differential gear for motor traction.

The tricycle is completed with a number of accessories, including a rear basket in wood, plywood and leather and two front leather bags that fit one inside the other. The smaller one holds an emergency tool kit and the larger one can easily be detached to carry small objects.

Ermanno Aparo e Manuel Ribeiro (coordinatori) con gli studenti del primoanno del Master in Design del Politecnico di Viana do Castelo, 2014, Raiooo
Ermanno Aparo and Manuel Ribeiro (coordinators) with the students of the first year of the Master in Design at the Viana do Castelo Polytechnic, 2014, Raiooo

Raiooo is the fruit of six months’ work that passed through several phases: from the design of virtual and polystyrene models to ergonomic analyses, the lab testing of materials and the design of details, leading up to the construction of a first working mock-up and, eventually, the prototype. Five Portuguese companies – including the cork supplier Amorim – and a Spanish one were involved in both the design process and the manufacture of certain parts of the tricycle.

The intention is to transfer the experimental design of Raiooo – an eco-friendly and technological means of transport– from the academy to companies and this will involve a new development model and an updated concept of mobility better suited to today’s urban needs.

A group of cyclists-philosophers or mental athletes claims that when we ride a bicycle we listen to our heartbeat and savour the road, wind and exertion. They believe that pedalling unravels the thoughts that torment us and that Epicurus would have loved the bicycle as it enables us to attain happiness by chasing our demons.


Raiooo
Project design: Ermanno Aparo, Manuel Ribeiro (coordinatori)
Design Team:
Studenti del 1º anno del Master in Design del Politecnico di Viana do Castelo, 2014

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