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Student motorcyclist swaps his hog for a dog

Update: September, 15/2013 - 04:24

Top dog: Duong Minh Khanh besides his graduation thesis - a motorbike based on the style of Dog Motorcycles (a renowned American producer of chopper and cruiser). — File photo

by Cong Quang - Quoc Anh

The idea of a motorbike that can be adjusted to suit the different physical shapes of its users and offers this convenience while driving has just been realised in the graduate thesis of Duong Minh Khanh, a student from HCM City Architecture College.

Idea from daily life

The idea for Khanh's graduate thesis -- a motorbike in the style of Dog Motorcycles (a renowned American producer of chopper and cruiser) -- originated with the Honda Win100, a motorbike that used to be very popular. Khanh's final product stirred much surprise, as well as excitement, for his teachers and friends when he revealed it during his thesis defence at the Industrial Design Department of the HCM City Architecture College.

It took him three months to turn his graduate thesis into reality.

Khanh says, even though there are many kinds of motorbike on the market, most of them follow certain models that are mass-produced, which are either an inconvenience while sitting or otherwise don't meet all the users' demands. Therefore, this 22-year-old student came up with the idea of a motorbike designed for everyone.

Through surveys, he discovered that different styles of motorbikes handle terrain in different ways and are not flexible enough to handle various terrains the same, so the driver has to hunch his back or crouch over, which is quite tiring.

To solve this problem, Khanh came up with a motorbike that allows the height of its saddle and shock absorber system to be adjusted, thanks to the use of certain innovative parts.

Additionally, the footpegs can be placed in different positions and heights to meet the drivers' demand. To give the motorbike a sportier appearance, the gear lever is a stripped-down design.

"It is such a breakthrough idea and for motorbike shapes, said lecturer Pho Duc Minh, also Khanh's instructor. "Besides its neat design suitable for Vietnamese, the outstanding feature of the motorbike is its ability to be adjusted to the height of drivers."

Huge challenges

This "Dog Motorcycle" was Khanh's risky decision. His parents also felt skeptical about the success of his idea. However, after taking everything into consideration, Khanh was determined to realise the idea he had nurtured for so long.

Finishing all the mechanical tasks wasn't easy for Khanh, being a student from the design department.

"To give birth to my project quickly, I had to do everything at full pelt. I had such little time, so after each part was finished in the 3D design software, it was rushed to the workshop to get processed immediately," Khanh said.

For Khanh, the most satisfying part of his entire design was the petrol tank. After studying the design for days, Khanh came up with an idea for a tank with strong character, many angles and a considerable capacity: 10 litres.

All of the other details of his motorbike also had to be chosen and considered carefully before being designed, so Khanh used a computer to design and demonstrate his ideas before having any real parts manufactured; for example, the unique system of headlights with LED bulbs and a headlamp housing made from cardboard and covered with glossy paint.

In addition to his time doing research work, Khanh also spent time doing mechanical work. Over a three month period, he spent four days a week in his workshop absorbed in doing the work of a mechanic. It was during this time that gained a lot of knowledge about motorbike engines and electrical systems.

Khanh started his project by buying a secondhand Win 100cc motorbike for VND7 million (US$350), which cost him a considerable amount more once he finished upgrading it. After all the parts had been finished, he had spent nearly VND50 million ($2,500), exceeding his initial estimation by over VND10 million ($500). Fortunately, he received support from his family for his expenses.

After accomplishing his mission, the "Dog Motorcycle" is now being displayed in Khanh's house. He says, after a test drive, its maximum speed reached 90km/h, though its 20kg heavier than the original Win 100cc he began with, because the body and most of the parts are made from steel.

Talking about his product, he feels satisfied with its good operating mechanism. Thanks to its neat shape, the "Dog Motorcycle" suits the traffic conditions of Viet Nam. Even though Khanh is still not totally pleased with its general appearance, he is most happy for achieving his goal and gaining many useful experiences.

"I want to open a workshop to produce upgraded motorbikes when I have sufficient means," Khanh said, talking about his dream after graduating. "It will be a rendezvous for young people, sharing the same hobby of design and mechanics, to satisfy our passion." — VNS

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