5 posts / 0 new
Last post
Some random thoughts...


I'm new to both BikeCAD and frame design/bike building, but loving both. Having decided to model two of my own bikes, as a way of getting to grips with the software. I've made a list of a few things that I either couldn't find, or are missing and I'd personally like to see. Apologies if I've not looked hard enough! In no particular order:

  • I cannot seem to set the colour of the dropouts? My track bike has stainless ones front & rear, just wanted to get the best look as I could
  • Animation performance is dreadful when derailleur and/or chain is active, I found a forum post on this topic, I pointed jconsole at BikeCAD and it seemed to be spending all its time in a java.lang.Math.acos (http://blog.juma.me.uk/2011/02/23/performance-of-fastmath-from-commons-m...) so maybe an option to simply not animate these components would be a way round?
  • I cannot see how to make any changes to the fork drop outs? As mentioned, stainless on the track bike, but also they aren't perpendicular to the ground (follow the line of the forks a little, not exactly) and this affects the wheel position... A *really* minor point, it is 1mm or so
  • I cannot see how to set fastback seat stays? I set the lug details, but the top fo the seat stay just floats over the lug, again, minor point, but the ability to set the horizontal endpoint would be great
  • Lug lining on the paint options would be fabulous
  • My road bike (Orbea Orca) has a top tube that is basically flat along the top, but arched underneath (image I found: http://www.bicicosta.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/OrcaTLT.jpg) obviously this something that only really applies to carbon, but it'd be nice to be able to mirror that look
  • A friend asked if I could model a Giant Propel he is looking at, I noticed it has aero front brakes, behind the fork, I couldn't fathom how to do that?
  • Undo via command-z or control-z would be great
  • A five minute auto save would be a fantastic addition
  • The addition of a 'hub library' in the wheel area would be great
  • I've searched for this, but haven't found it - tube offset (forward/backward) within component, i.e. steerer tube within headtube, I played around with variable sized headtubes etc. but there didn't seem to be a way to offset the physical tube for the steerer fron the front/rear of the head tube itself? Obviously, this really only applies to carbon and aero type frame designs
  • Some windows don't make good use of available screen space - on the 'Paint' window for example, the 'Decal text and Colours' is very small, and doesn't grow with the window, means loads of scrolling in all directions
  • On the Mac, the icon isn't high resolution, looks really fuzzy?
  • Can the web site keep me logged in for longer? User preference maybe?
  • Is there an easier way to display values (lengths, angles etc.) maybe context sensitive somehow? like context menu->change colour/geometry


Thanks for listening, and apologies in advance for any 'the answer to that one is under your nose' responses :)

Cheers - Robert...

Random thoughts, feedback

Thanks for the feedback. Some great suggestions here.

  • Dropout colour. Currently, the only way to independently control dropout colour is using one of the lug paint schemes. I will try to make the colour of dropouts independently controlled. However, if I were to do this, would it be adequate to make the entire dropout one colour? Some dropouts have bolt on inserts which would be a different colour. Others just have a section of the dropout in chrome. Is this what you are after?
  • It is already an option to turn off the display of the chain and derailleur, just as you can turn off the display of any component. I actually suggest the chain and derailleur be turned off at all times unless you are looking for data specific to the drivetrain. Leaving these items turned off will speed things up even when doing non-animation related design tasks. Also, be aware that the chain can be shown in the auxiliary view even when it is not shown in the side view. This does not result in a significant reduction in performance. All this has me feeling like a feature to turn off the display of the chain and derailleur during animation isn't needed as much as a feature to warn about the potential slowing effects of the chain and derailleur in general. Another point for clarification: exporting an animated GIF from BikeCAD, will take longer to generate if the chain and derailleur are left on. However, since the playback speed of the finished GIF should not be significantly different whether the chain is shown or not, it could very well be worth the extra processing time to show the chain when exporting an animated GIF.

Animated bicycle GIF

  • I will try to add more control over the fork dropout in a future update of BikeCAD. Included in this would be the colour of the dropout and angle of the slot. Having said this, my assumption would always be that all fork measurements such as length and rake would be taken from the center of the front axle. I would always assume the front axle to be fully seated in the slot. Therefore, I don't understand how the angle of the slot would impact fork measurements. Could you elaborate?
  • Just to be sure we both mean the same thing when we speak of fastback seat stays, I've pasted a sample fastback seat stay design below.

The centre of the end of the seat stay is located some distance E from the top of the seat tube. It is also located some sideways distance Z from the centre of the seat tube. The key will be playing with values of Z to give you the seat stay attachment style you want. The animated GIF below demonstrates the effect of changing values of Z.

Seat stay animation

  • I will consider adding lug lining to a future update of BikeCAD. While it's not an ideal solution, you might try changing the outline colour from black to your lug lining colour as shown below.

Lug lining

  • I have been thinking of adding a fillet option which could be subtly applied to represent a fillet brazed joint or could be used more prominently for carbon joints. Good to know this could be well received.
  • I had not anticipated such brake designs, I will try to add the option to mount brakes to the back of the fork.
  • I will investigate the CTRL-Z option, auto-save and hub library ideas. Thanks.
  • Would the aero head tube option satisfy your need for a steerer tube offset inside the head tube?

  • I will look into making the paint colours section scale with the dialog box. I had hoped that I had almost made that section redundant with the implementation of the context sensitive change colour option.
  • Good point about the icon. I hadn't really considered this before, but the FaceTime and Safari icons do look pretty slick at this resolution.


  • The login issue is one I've been pursuing for quite some time. It does seem like when you are new to the site, you need to re-enter your username and password very frequently. However, as you spend more time navigating the site, things will eventually get so that you are never prompted to re-enter your login credentials unless you've logged out.
  • While there is currently no option for showing dimensions that is analogous to the convenience of the context sensitive options described here, I do recommend dimension templates for dramatically improving efficiency in the display of dimensions.
Brent - fantastic to get such

Brent - fantastic to get such a quick, and comprehensive response.

Responding to your comments, from the top...

Dropout Colour: I spotted the lug scheme, but yes, one dropout colour would be perfectly fine. It came from the fact that the first bike I modelled in BikeCAD has bare, stainless dropouts that are quite long, so a light grey/metal colour would give a nice effect.

Chain animation: I was thinking that the chain & derailleur would be visible, just not animated (but animated on export) but it is interesting to note that they introduce an overhead even when not animated. So yes, a note to the user about the performance drop off (and that it is a core Java issue, not a BikeCAD one) would be a good solution.

Front dropouts: I hadn't rationalised it through as far as you did, so thinking about it, I was probably overthinking it (and showing my lack of experience)...

Fastbacks: No, this isn't what I meant and having now spent some time tinkering with the software as you suggest, I cannot make it do what I interpret 'fastback' to be, I assume BikeCAD is calculating steat stay length based on other parameters, is it possible to set the length and fix it? This is an example I found via Google of my interpretation: http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/photos/on-show-north-american-handma...

Tube offset: I did explore the aero headtube, I guess I'd describe it as being able to specify the thickness of the front, or back of a given tube (aero head tube and seat posts being the most likely candidates?)... In your example image, if the thickness of the front of thetube was (say) 5mm that'd bring the centre line of the steerer back, which is what I'm after... But again, this is a minor point, cosmetic really! :)

Dimension templates: yeup, that's a workflow efficiency ;)

Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my rambling, I am very grateful and it is always nice to know that the developer engages with their customers :)

All the best - Robert...


Additional seat stay options and a note about Look and Feel

Thanks for the feedback. I've just added another option for mounting seat stays. In addition to mounting the seat stays some distance along the seat tube, or some distance along the down tube, head tube, or top tube, you'll soon be able to mount the stays by some offset from the seat tube pinch boss.

This option won't actually be available until I release the next update. That means there's time to change this approach if anyone can suggest a better way of addressing this type of seat stay design.

On a different note, I meant to mention this in response to the comment about the colour buttons in the Paint dialog box. Some GUI components will be rendered differently depending on what Look and Feel you are using. When running BikeCAD on a Mac, I often change the look and feel from the default to the Metal look and feel. I find the tabs in the Dimensions dialog box are easier to manage as are the buttons in the Paint dialog box.

Looks fab!

And thanks for the hint about look+feel, I've had a play and can see there are differences that do look much better.

Also, I think I may have found what I was looking for in terms of head set/steerer tube moving around, the TT fork style gives half of it, but without the fork bend... All good stuff to learn :)

Log in or register to post comments