Six Dreadful Product Designs Part 2

23 Mar

See Part 1 <<

A week ago, I started counting down six of the more disastrous products to have blighted my life lately. Here’s #4.

4. Nearly Every Kid’s Bike

We bought a bike for my elder daughter to reward her for some or other good behaviour, and recently my younger also received the slightly shorter variety. Unfortunately for everyone, the designers of these fine machines had become aware of a fashion in the mountain-biking world of building unconventionally shaped cycles such as these:

Chunky frames such as these make sense when the bike is made of aluminium and intended to carry 100 kgs of athlete down a mountain, over rocks and jumps. They make considerably less sense when the rider weighs 20 and still uses training wheels.

Most full-size adult bikes weigh in the region of 10-15 kgs. My daughters’ bikes — the smallest and second-smallest sizes available — weigh 7 kgs and 9 kgs respectively. To make matters worse, the little one has pedal brakes, meaning that if the poor blighters have the strength to get the unnecessarily huge chunk of steel moving forwards, any misplaced backwards pressure brings them grinding to a halt again. All this so that kids’ bikes can look like fancy adult bikes; function be darned.

I managed to find bicycles from the never-more-appropriately-named Peerless Cycles in the traditional shape with thin, lightweight pipes (it weighs two kilograms less than the Avalanche), so I bought one of those. I’m sure I’ll find a buyer for the old bike who wants his daughter to be able to stand fashionably alongside an expensive-looking mountain-bike replica while her friends ride off on bikes that actually work.

Just don't be surprised if this is her riding face.

3. Electrolux ‘Aqualux’

At one stage, we bought a whole string of those cheap mini vacuum cleaners that fill up with dust in about 10 minutes, and then start making a higher and higher pitched whine until at last someone caves in. Usually it’s the vacuumer, who must then empty the bag, but often enough it was the vacuum that couldn’t go the distance. When we had jettisoned our second or third one of these, I decided that enough was enough, and I bought a quality brand with the biggest dust bin that I could find.

Certain of my wife-impressing potential, I brought it home and declared all our problems solved. I imagined that what lay in that box was something like this:

UR house R2-dirty

Unfortunately, it soon became clear that no one who actually had to use the vacuum cleaner was going to be my friend. A design problem that Electrolux seem not to have addressed is how the thing is supposed to move. Here are the immediate concerns:

  • It is a large, heavy bucket with a handle on top, and should therefore be classed as ‘unweildly’.
  • It has wheels that suggests it is made to roll along the ground.
  • It has no means of pulling it along the ground but for the vacuum pipe, which we discovered has a habit of popping out of its socket and breaking in pieces.
  • It has tiny, tiny wheels and its motor is on the top. So is the pipe. So pulling it along often amounts to pulling it over. Even regular vacuuming can tug it to the ground. That’s not good for said motor.

So basically it’s exactly like R2D2 in that it is an impressive machine so long as no one requires it to go anywhere, and no one kicks it in the midriff.

It was frankly never a well-built machine; it blew air out of places that other vacuums don’t even have places (which sort of contravenes the whole ‘vacuum’ principle) and it didn’t take very long to develop a catalogue of breakages:

This sort of thing is obviously why there has been no repeat of the ‘Nothing Sucks Like Electrolux’ slogan.

So now we have one of those cheap things that fills up with dust in 10 minutes. Let’s hope it has more of a will to live than its ancestors.

Part three later; I’m sleepy.


3 Responses to “Six Dreadful Product Designs Part 2”

  1. John Child March 24, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    Re vacuum. Good crit but didn’t you check the vacuum cleaner before you bought it? Feel what it felt like? Even if you just buy it in a box – to me odd – there is surely a picture on the box. I’m amazed Electrolux makes a vacuum without the means to propel it.


  1. Six Dreadful Product Designs Part 1 « Ungenius - March 23, 2012

    […] [Part II here] Share this:EmailFacebookTwitterLike this:LikeOne blogger likes this post. […]

  2. Six Dreadful Product Designs Part 3 « Ungenius - March 30, 2012

    […] See Part 2<< […]

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