The leading award of the bicycle world, the Design & Innovation Award 2016 is almost upon us. Starting next week our international team will be riding, testing and analyzing the most exciting products of 2016. Our mission is to award the world’s best products and most innovative technologies, and joining us will be a select jury of six of the most skilled, influential, and analytical minds from the cycling industry. It’s time to meet our jury members.

Jury Member | Alex Thusbass

Meet jury member number 2, Alex Thusbass!
Meet jury member number 2, Alex Thusbass!

Alex Thusbass is a born innovator, a designer who thrives on polarizing concepts and shaking the status quo. After completing a degree in Industrial Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, Alex went on to found his own design company, Atai Design. Where his client list read like a who’s who of industrial giants, AKG, BRAUN, FISHER, JBL, KTM, SIEMENS to name but a few. But Alex’s true creative passions were released in the world of E-Mountain bikes, where advances have taken giant steps. He was instrumental in the development of the Haibike XDURO RX, a bike that defined the next generation, and one of the visionaries who believed in the potential and future of ePerformance right from the beginning. He’s also the mastermind behind the innovative DealerCenter that won a prestigious Gold Award in the 2015 Design & Innovation Award so his enquiring mind and challenging insight made him a perfect choice for our jury. We sat down with Alex to find out more about where he draws his inspiration.

How did you find yourself drawn into biking?

It all started while I was financing my design studies by working in my parent’s bike shop. It was a place where I practically grew up, so I guess developing a love for biking was inevitable.

How did you end up working in product design?

Ever since I can remember, I wanted to develop or improve things; from cars, airplanes to bicycles. One thing led to another and after studying Industrial Design in the University of Applied Sciences in Munich, I worked for various design agencies before finally starting my own business.

Where do you hope to see eMTB development head in the near future?

I hope that eMTBs will develop a whole new category of sports and eBikes in general will open up new kinds of mobility, bringing more people to bikes, than ever before.

What do you think of the current status quo with design and innovation in the mountain bike world – are we pushing boundaries or lagging behind when compared to other industries (motor etc)?

The “classical” MTB industry has definitely lost innovation speed. No wonder, it is a rather mature and developed segment. Only incremental steps are made. eBikes, however, are just about to explode. Also consumers are way more open to innovation in the eBike world.

What do you think are the qualities of award winning products?

They should either be game changing, fresh and with a disruptive character or be outstanding on a visual or functional level. If product isn’t polarizing, it’s highly likely a copy.

What are you hoping to discover through the Design & Innovation Award?

Even though it may sound very predictable: new products, new trends, exciting new concepts and interesting discussions with interesting people.

Words: Trevor Worsey Photos: Robin Schmitt

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