V4SS quality disaster

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Depends on what their role is, as a designer ie chassis design engineer, electrical engineer, engine design engineer etc
A motorcycle is not designed by one person, but teams of sub-managed design engineers.
 

Fast Eddie

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Depends on what their role is, as a designer ie chassis design engineer, electrical engineer, engine design engineer etc
A motorcycle is not designed by one person, but teams of sub-managed design engineers.
I thought we were talking about skinner? Therefore the ‘head of design’…
 
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Design was built up into teams. Each team had a senior design member and then several design engineers. Those senior designers were headed off by a engineering manager (Ive probably got that title wrong....there's a lot of branches to remember from the tree) who then reported to Skinner. A senior design engineer thats also a company director, wouldnt be anything but head of design.
 

Fast Eddie

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I don't think R J Mitchell held a pilot's license, or ever learnt to fly?

And I can imagine lots of train designers weren’t train drivers. Lots of washing machine designers don’t do the laundry. The list could go on for quite a while…

Not really my point though.

A modern motorcycle, like the one in question, is a purely hedonistic ‘toy’. The design of functional ability is not the point as that comes down purely to engineering and science. It’s the ‘emotional quality‘ I wonder about, and in my simple mind, it seems more intuitive that someone designing such would need to be in tune with customer wants and needs. And thus being able to sample and judge for themselves would be actually necessary, to my mind at least.

But like I said, it’s an interesting question …

(note: I believe Mitchell did obtain a pilots licence)
 
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Don't think the Spitfire sits well with washing machines (can't see many housewives getting dewy eyed over a restored Hotpoint twin tub!) but...
The question could go further and ask how old should he be? Will an older guy look back, or the younger guy look forward? How many 'ugly' new designs have been berated on here? I can remember being stunned into silence when the first Ford Sierra drove past.. then peals of laughter... Passed a Ford Capri on the A127 last week and it just looked so out of place in modern traffic....
It's a piece of string question, perhaps, as any m/cycle designer will be constrained by the accepted layout of the beast?? I think the V4SS was/is a beautiful beast, sad it was but skin deep....

However... My answer to your question would be: No. Any design within certain parameters could be made to work by competent engineers, no? Just finding that one that has 'eye candy' appeal to the paying customer.
 
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Fast Eddie

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Any design within certain parameters could be made to work by competent engineers, no?

Didn‘t I already say the same in the previous post?

I still find it difficult to see how an engineer, who doesn’t share the customers desires and totally subjective notions of things like ‘character’ can achieve such things as successfully as one who does.
 
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totally subjective notions of things like ‘character’ .
Is that even possible??

'Didn‘t I already say the same in the previous post?'
Which is why I don't believe it is 100% necessary for the designer to be a motorcyclist..

(There's a line in one of Spike Milligan's war memoirs regarding carrying water in suitcases: 'I just invent stuff, it's up to other people to make it work!')

And yes, apologies, RJM did indeed have a pilots license from 1934...
 
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SteveA

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And I can imagine lots of train designers weren’t train drivers. Lots of washing machine designers don’t do the laundry. The list could go on for quite a while…

Not really my point though.

A modern motorcycle, like the one in question, is a purely hedonistic ‘toy’. The design of functional ability is not the point as that comes down purely to engineering and science. It’s the ‘emotional quality‘ I wonder about, and in my simple mind, it seems more intuitive that someone designing such would need to be in tune with customer wants and needs. And thus being able to sample and judge for themselves would be actually necessary, to my mind at least.

But like I said, it’s an interesting question …

(note: I believe Mitchell did obtain a pilots licence)
Got a book about Mitchell somewhere, remember he is credited with something like 24 aircraft designs, not just the Spitfire.

I got bored at the Walrus phase and struggled with the record breakers, don't think I even got to the Spitfire! Since he died in 1937 it may be said that Mitchell missed a lot of it too!

These are not snappy stories, really quite dry and tedious even when you are interested in the subject matter. Though I did enjoy the book written by the chap who designed the Harrier Vectored thrust engine, Sir Stanly Hooker!

Yes, R J Mitchell did get a pilots licence, but in 1934 after he had done most of his design work! Bit too late to provide any insight into a pilots needs!

But I do believe he may have spoken to the odd test pilot over the years!
 

Richard Tool

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Perhaps we might agree that while it is not necessary for a designer of something to be an enthusiastic user of what he/she may be creating it is likely that the enthusiast’s creation will be the better one - given that both sides have the same engineering skills .
 
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Define 'Character'......... One man's: 'character' could well be another man's: 'old fashioned' It's an abstract.
Yes, motorcycles at this edge are 'emotive' machines rather than just transportation tools, so we all want something that gives 'pride of ownership' and that last glance over the shoulder before you walk away. Tastes vary wildly, the Rhino is allegedly so ugly it's beautiful, sadly I seem destined to always hover just below that threshold.
But the designer can only 'second guess' and hope enough share his view, though the clever ones will sell us something we didn't know we wanted.
 
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As an aside, how do you think Bert Hopwood would react if you told him in 1947 that there would still be Nortons for sale 74 years later using an air cooled, two overhead valve per cylinder parallel twin? There's 'conservative' attitudes!! But Norton have never been afraid to bring in non motorcyclists to the fold (Stefan Baur, Wolf Ohlins) to further their designs. So I still don't think riders are necessarily the best source for ideas...
 
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On that we whole heartedly agree (and it’s not something I said).

But ideas do need to meet riders needs. They need to provide the value that the rider is wanting to pay for. They to be evaluated by riders.
But it did. The V4 is a great bike to ride, suspension could do with softening up for the road, in my opinon, but that's pretty much standard for most sports bikes out of the box nowadays.
 

Fast Eddie

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But it did. The V4 is a great bike to ride, suspension could do with softening up for the road, in my opinon, but that's pretty much standard for most sports bikes out of the box nowadays.
Are you saying the V4 provided the value riders were willing to pay for?

I think V4 owners with their £50k bikes in the shed with batteries disconnected and ‘do not ride’ instructions from Norton might disagree with that…!

I get your point really and I agree, the V4 did deliver that elusive ‘emotional quality’. But the lesson with the V4 (and perhaps the 961 too) is that the niceties of such emotional quality are only any good on products where basic functional quality is a given. 100%.

Its the cherry on the cake… but the actual cake still needs to be sound !
 
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Are you saying the V4 provided the value riders were willing to pay for?

I think V4 owners with their £50k bikes in the shed with batteries disconnected and ‘do no ride’ instructions from Norton might disagree with that…!

I get your point really and I agree, the V4 did deliver that elusive ‘emotional quality’. But the lesson with the V4 (and perhaps the 961 too) is that the niceties of such emotional quality are only any good on products where basic functional quality is a given. 100%.

Its the cherry on the cake… but the actual cake still needs to be sound !
see Honda vf800 etc!
the V4 fault list had very little detail as to why faults were dangerous/ exactly what the faults were, so not possible to deduce much, IMHO.
 

Fast Eddie

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see Honda vf800 etc!
the V4 fault list had very little detail as to why faults were dangerous/ exactly what the faults were, so not possible to deduce much, IMHO.
Not sure how much deduction is needed Jan?

All the customer is interested in is the fact they’ve got an unrideable £50k bike that Norton are now saying is “not repairable” !

I guess I’m sensitive to the topic even though I’m not a V4 owner becasue I nearly was a Superlight owner and it was only Norton’s failure to deliver that prevented me being in a similar situation. Though mine would ‘only’ have been a £20k problem :eek:
 
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