Welcome to the new BikeCAD.ca Website

BikeCAD is a free online bicycle design tool. BikeCAD requires Java which can be downloaded from: www.java.com. The video above demonstrates how icons in BikeCAD open dialog boxes that allow you to change all aspects of a bike's geometry.

In the video, we change the seat angle and head angle either by clicking the up and down arrows or by directly typing in the desired angle. The front end length and height are modified by changing either the effective top tube length and top tube angle, the front center distance and head tube length or the handlebar position in x and y coordinates relative to the bottom bracket position.

Tube diameters are modified in the Tubing dialog box along with the option to curve the tubes. You can curve each tube either once or twice and control the position and radius of each curve.

There is a dialog box associated with each component of the bike. We show the saddle dialog box which allows us to modify the saddle height, change the shape of the saddle and slide it fore and aft along the rails.

We also play with paint schemes. We can select a flames paint job and change the colours. We can turn on the display of lugs or bring in a shape like a circle that we can scale and pan across the length of the frame.

We can open the dimensions dialog box and turn on the display of various dimensions such as front centre, head angle, reach and stack. These dimensions can be dragged on the screen for greater clarity. Some of these dimensions are greyed out in the free version of BikeCAD. To gain full access to this information, you'll need BikeCAD Pro.

BikeCAD Pro is a standalone application that runs on any operating system including Mac, Linux and PC. It provides all the dimensions necessary to build the bike. You can even create your own dimensions. BikeCAD Pro also allows you to control a parametric model of a rider on the bike. It provides full access to a tool called the Fit advisor which can size a rider to a bike and be customized to work with a variety of fitting methods and philosophies.

BikeCAD Pro will export design data in various file formats including CSV, PDF, Bitmap, DXF, SVG as well as PDF miter templates for hand filing tube miters.

BikeCAD Pro has several other neat features like this means of checking compliance with UCI regulations.

You can order BikeCAD Pro through the link at the top of this page. You can also use the forum to post questions about BikeCAD and BikeCAD Pro.

The design archive is a place for users to share their designs with the world. Here you'll see links to several different styles of bikes. You can select one of the bikes to see a larger image and more info about the bike including brand, model, size, material etc. You can open this model in BikeCAD by clicking on the link labeled "Open model in BikeCAD". BikeCAD can take a while to load the first time.

Once you've opened a model in BikeCAD, you can change it to suit your needs. In this video, we change the suspension fork to a rigid fork for more urban use. We raise the bottom bracket so we can really clear those curbs. We continue to demonstrate options for changing cosmetics. We choose a fade paint scheme and adjust the position of the fade. We change the colours as well. We pick a silver for the front end and red for the rear. We'll also match the fork colour to the frame.

We modify the down tube logo and call this bike the Rock Machine. We change the outline colour to red. We display the brand on the top tube as well. We make this the elusive Wildcat brand. Space out the letters a bit more and change the colours as well.

We don't have to display decals everywhere. We can go through and remove the remaining decals by unchecking the appropriate checkboxes.

Once we're happy with our design, you can save our model online by clicking File >> Save Online. The notes dialog box will appear and we'll be encouraged to complete a few additional fields that will help with cataloging our design. You can also include a URL for more information. This might be the manufacturer's page dedicated to the specs of this particular model.

If you're a custom builder making a bike for a client, you may have filled in your customer's info here. However, it is suggested that you remove that before saving your design online in the event that you make the design publicly accessible. You should also ensure that the notes text field doesn't contain any sensitive information.

Once this info is updated, we can click submit.

After a brief delay, you will find your design in the "My Designs" tab. Also, assuming you chose to Add your design to the Public Design Archive, you'll find your model there as well. You can follow that link to see a larger image of your bike with all the cataloging info and a spot for others to comment at the bottom.

If you scroll to the top, you'll see the edit tab which allows you to modify some of the cataloged data. You can also remove the design from the public design Archive and close the commenting option as well. If you have not included your design in the public design archive, your model will still have a publicly accessible URL that you can share with friends. However, under "Publishing options" if you uncheck published, then no one but yourself will be able to view your design.

Once you've made any changes you can click update, or if you absolutely must, you can delete your entire model.

As more people contribute to the Design archive, this should become an invaluable resource. Allowing everyone to search for production and non-productions bicycles by style, material, brand, model, and size.

If you are a long time BikeCAD user with BikeCAD files from BikeCAD Pro or from the bikeforest.com web site, you can upload those files through the Upload link at the top of the page.

So welcome to the new BikeCAD.ca web site. Please enjoy and contribute your designs to the archive and your questions and comments to the forum.

Comments

diego_otero's picture

This is my new site

bikenumber50's picture

this website confuses me.....

Is there a demo that i can try? the online aplet deosnt seem to work. there is no obvious DOWNLOAD button or tab.

cheers

Brent's picture

I trust you've taken the time to watch the video at the top of this page. The free version of BikeCAD serves as the demo for BikeCAD Pro. BikeCAD runs as a Java applet inside your web browser. Therefore, there is nothing to download except for Java which you can get at: java.com. I regret that long load times sometimes cause Java to quit before the BikeCAD applet can be deployed. I would encourage you to try again if that has happened to you. While it may be of little comfort to those who don't require the added features of BikeCAD Pro, BikeCAD Pro being a standalone application, does not need to be run inside a web browser and launches reliably on any operating system capable of running Java 1.5 or higher.

LeftyLefty's picture

This site is a lot like one of my favorite places: my grandparent's basement. It had all sorts of incredible, amazing and unique treasures. It would take me hours to find simple things but if I asked one of them, they could have it in my hands in a second or two. Since they'd spent literally years building up the content of that basement, they knew where everything was. I didn't.

Today, I started here by spending a long time trying to figure out how registration works. First, you register, and then you get an email confirmation with information about setting up a password. On most other sites, you create the username and password, and then you get a confirmation. On my own, I had to figure out the logic of the registration system for this site. It was OK once I figured it out but it made me wonder about the rest of the application.

I next tried to figure out how to start with the web version. I looked for obvious clues like a big red arrow, "Step 1" or "Start Here." The intro movie gave me a tour of the features but didn't clearly tell me exactly where to click to begin. It was like a view though a window. Now that I had my registration key, I was looking for the padlock, not the window.

After scanning the page a few times, I found a paragraph that talked about two ways to enter the online app. I decided to try and edit an existing file. I found a file, clicked on it and then tried to find the buttons that were shown on the launching page. I didn't see them right away. They may have been there but I was getting nowhere fast. At that point, I gave up and watched the app's features through the window again.

It's clear that this site and the app has amazing and powerful things and I'm sure that the creators know exactly where everything is located, just like my grandparents knew their basement. As a new user, however, I need clear, obvious steps in order to get what I want done quickly. I'm a busy grown-up now and I just don't have the time to poke around and find things like I did when I was a child.

My advice is to find a friend who's never seen the site. Watch them use the site and then write down each and every step that they need to take in order to register, and then create and save a model. Don't tell them how to do anything if at all possible. Watch where they go to get an understanding of what kinds of problems that they have. It will help you create a smoother app, and will probably reduce the amount of time that you have to spend answering questions via email and postings.

Yes, doing that may be a big pain but all I'm asking is for you to show me the quickest and easiest ways to get to the buried treasure.

Brent's picture

Thank you for the feedback.

Just like your grandparents, I have some of my own preconceived ideas about how things ought to be done. However, you raise a good point. Despite my efforts to explain how things work through the video intro, there will always be people arriving at the site looking for a big red start button.

In response to your feedback, I have added a third method for launching the BikeCAD applet. You can now start BikeCAD with a single click by choosing the Quick Start button in the top menu.

All three methods for launching BikeCAD are summarized here.

As for the registration procedure, I won't be able to respond quite so proactively to that issue. The BikeCAD.ca website uses the popular Drupal Content Management System. Because Drupal is an open source community-contributed framework, it would be technically possible to modify it according to your suggestions. However, one of the things I love most about Drupal is that it comes ready to go with all the common CMS features like a registration system, a forum, and the foundation upon which we can develop this growing database of bicycle designs. Bicycle design is really what excites me the most. So working to make BikeCAD an even more powerful tool for designing bikes is where I hope to place most of my attention in the coming months.

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