Ergon industrial designer Chris Vollmer in a conversation with Nicholi.
An esteemed visitor drops in during the off-season.
Nicholi Rogatkin visits our headquarters in Koblenz. The superstar is not only here for small talk... he gets a behind-the-scenes look into our product development and also reveals why winners rely on ergonomics in slopestyle.
|Date of birth:|
|Place of residence:||Lincoln, USA|
|Highest Achievements:||Winner District Ride Nürnberg 2017|
|Freeride Mountain Bike World Champion 2016|
|Winnder FISE World Series 2016|
In 2017 he shook the freeride universe at the Red Bull District Ride in Nürnberg when he unleashed the MTB world’s first “Corked 1440”
Feedback from the Ergon Factory Rider is an important part of our product development philosophy. Nicholi also provides critical product insight for our design team, even though he’s totally happy with the current GD1 grips and SMD2 saddle. In trading thoughts with industrial designer Chris Vollmer, the concept is born for a “slopestyle version” of the SMD2 saddle. Chris then enters and fine-tunes Nicholi’s specific requirements on the computer. And immediately...
No sooner said than done: As suggested by Nicholi, because he likes more padding, Chris adds more cushioning to the saddle in the computer. In viewing the rendering, the prototype gradually takes shape. Chris then sends the digital draft from the computer to our in-house CNC foam milling machine, where the foam is quickly produced to the desired shape:
Just a little “manual work” to adapt the padding.
The talented 22-year-old is truly fascinated; just moments ago he was discussing this special saddle idea with Chris, and now he holds his own slope-style version of the SMD2 in his hands. The immense know-how and professional development process of Ergon’s saddle development impressed even this world-class athlete. Soon we’ll be looking forward to receiving your feedback on our slopestyle special edition saddle.
The advantages of designing and developing in-house becomes clear as we implement concepts directly, to realistically evaluate form and function quickly. This significantly shortens the path to a finished product and represents an immense savings in development time. In addition to the saddle designs, other Ergon products such as grips, are created with the same process and attention to detail.
After talking about product developments, it was time to focus on Nicholi himself. Niels and Benny from Online Marketing used the opportunity for a revealing chat in a laid-back atmosphere:
Ergon: Nicholi, how long does it normally take you to get a fierce trick like the 1440 ready for competition?
That depends, a big trick doesn’t appear out of nowhere, it takes a reasonable amount of preparation, and I also train a lot with the air bag, but some tricks are hard to do and it can feel like eternity until it is completely clean.
Ergon: Sounds challenging, but to what extent is ergonomics important to you?
The right grip is essential in my extensive rotation of tricks – I always pay close attention to the texture of the grip and its compounds. Especially important is the inside stop on the GD1, which allows me to feel the end of the grip without having to look down.
Ergon: What happened at Rampage 2016 in Utah? We can’t imagine what went through your head during your brutal crash? Does this concern you today?
I was not afraid to die. At first I wanted to keep the situation under control and fortunately I could, only coming away with scratches on my face and small bruises. Does it still impacts me? I can say no. However, I often think about how small errors can have a big impact.
Ergon: It’s amazing how you manage to keep the motivation level high for the entire season. What’s your secret?
The fans are super important. I draw so much from them! There are the families. They come to the contest with their kids and tell me that I’m a role model for the little kids and the kids started biking because of me. These are the cool moments from which I can draw my motivation! I represent our sport, and my style of biking has an impact on riders and people. I - and we - are an inspiration to the people. It feels good and motivates me every day.
Ergon: It’s great to live the sport that way when it creates a cycle of give and take. What are you doing in the off-season?
I am looking forward to being back home. I’ll put my bike in the corner, do other sports and spend a lot of time with my family, which is not possible during the season.
Ergon: Okay, then we won’t stand in your way any longer and wish you a quiet and relaxing time with your family. Thank you for being here - see you next year ...
To wrap things up, Nicholi signed giveaways for our Facebook and Instagram Raffles for 2018.