As a mechanical engineering student at Villanova University, Steve Christini ’95 dreamed up a two-wheel-drive system for a bicycle that would give riders much better control and climbing abilities on slippery terrain. Christini took on this challenge for his senior mechanical engineering design project and made a working two-wheel-drive bike. Sixteen years later, Christini – now a pioneer in the design and development of AWD for motorcycles – is the founder and president of Christini Technologies, Inc., in Philadelphia. Two of his AWD Motorcycles competed in ESPN’s X-Games Seventeen in Los Angeles, July 28-31.
Christini credits a great deal of success to his years at Villanova. First, his professors encouraged creativity and innovation. Second, the University’s strong support network provided Christini with much of his funding. Finally, his education—a combination of engineering and business curricula—played a critical role. "You can’t design without thinking about the market. In addition, if you want to raise money and run a business, you need to be able to communicate, and Villanova students learn to do that," said Christini.
Christini was joined in the Villanova engineering project by several other seniors. At the year-end competition, their project earned top honors, and the judges advised Christini to apply for a patent. In 2002, after seven years of developing his prototype, securing investments, and growing his company, Christini delivered 50 AWD mountain bikes to Jeep® Bicycles.
By 2002, Christini built his first AWD motorcycle and, by 2004, had a functioning prototype. The bike went into production in 2007, and in 2008, was named Dirt Rider magazine’s Bike of the Year.
"Now it is making magazine covers and getting recognized by riders all over the world," Christini added.