RoofScope - Keep an eye on your rooftop cargo
RoofScope - Keep an eye on your rooftop cargo
RoofScope lets you monitor what you’re carrying on your roof rack - without taking your eyes off the road!
RoofScope lets you monitor what you’re carrying on your roof rack - without taking your eyes off the road! Read more
About this project
What's a RoofScope?
A RoofScope is a simple device that lets you monitor what you’re carrying on your roof rack - without having to take your eyes of the road!
It's a clear and obvious visual reminder that you have cargo on your roof rack which can help prevent you driving into a height restriction
It's an easy way to help protect other road users against the risk of damage from a badly secured roof rack load on your vehicle
The RoofScope is currently the only safety device on the market specifically designed to help monitor roof rack cargo
Making carrying a load on your roof safer
If you’ve ever put a bike, a surfboard, canoe or maybe even sofa (!) on your roof rack, you’ll be all too aware of the scenario;
Heading down the motorway, you get ‘the hunger’ and answer that impulse call to stop off for a bite. Making a beeline for the nearest supermarket, you charge into the car park… and come to a grinding halt with your bike swinging from the ‘height restriction’ arch or your roof box lying smashed on the ground behind you
Hopefully you've been lucky and got away with just minor damage to both your gear and your ego, but wouldn't it be great if there were a simple, affordable way to minimize the risk? That’s what my RoofScope partner Roy and I, both keen cyclists, thought one Sunday morning in early 2012 as we loaded up our precious bikes onto the roof of the car for the journey home
The story so far - RoofScope Mk1
Chewing it over on the drive, we reckoned the answer was a device that not only let you see what was on your roof rack but also, something that just by being in front of you as you drove along, would remind you that today’s drive was not the daily commute and you needed to be more alert to what you were carrying. We also concluded that whatever ‘it’ was going to be had to be easy to fit to - and remove from - any vehicle, not interfere with driving and, most importantly, not cost a fortune
Over a few weeks we brainstormed some ideas including using a reflective ‘prism’ strapped to the bonnet or attached with magnets, a windscreen-mounted periscope and having something attached to the wing mirror rather like a caravan mirror. All these had promise, but also failings; magnets would only work on metal and we wanted something that could be mounted ‘anywhere’ on a vehicle including the windscreen. Straps are fiddly and flap around. Periscopes would require costly tooling, clever optics and be difficult to fit. Wing mirror mounts didn’t give sufficient viewing angle to ‘see’ the roof rack
In the end, we decided that an independently mountable, wide angle rear view mirror seemed the best option and a couple of hours in the shed yielded a functional prototype using a scrap wing mirror with a bulldog clip for a clamp!
A couple of months road testing confirmed that the basic principle was sound but that a mechanical clamp just wouldn’t work. What we needed was something that could be fitted without risking paintwork or trim yet still be solid enough so that the mirror could be easily positioned to ‘see’ the roof. Many hours spent online and a lot of motorway miles testing various candidates finally yielded a robust vacuum mount which, with the mirror fixed in place with industrial strength ‘velcro’ seemed to fit the bill. Attached to our test vehicles this prototype, now christened a ‘RoofScope’, was driven around the UK and Europe for more than10,000 miles on all sorts of roads and in in all weathers
In late 2013, satisfied that RoofScope worked reliably, we confirmed orders for the components, designed the packaging and developed roofscope.co.uk. We also sent samples to cycling magazines and websites for review (see below). RoofScope went on sale online in January and since then we've had gratifyingly positive feedback from a growing number of users
“Roof mount bike rack paranoia be gone!” more
“The most common roof rack/bike incidents tend to involve car park barriers and in that respect this gadget has been a constant and I have to say, reassuring reminder that I need to take care around car parks” more
“The Leveret Roofscope is a supplementary bonnet mirror that acts as a reminder that you've got stuff on the roof of the car. It's easy to fit and it does what it says on the tin” more
“If you regularly transport bikes on the roof of your car, and you’re a bit paranoid about them being up there even though you’ve triple checked every strap, then the RoofScope could be for you” more
“High-speed driving had no ill-effects on the unit and it remained stable throughout our testing on rough roads as well” more
“Ever had that cold fear when driving down the motorway, bikes on the roof, and something starts making a knocking sound? ... Luckily, the RoofScope provides peace of mind” more
RoofScope Mk2 & Kickstarter
So, why Kickstarter?
Although Roy and I are both very happy with the way RoofScope Mk1 has progressed and it’s good to see it being used, we’d really like to take it to the next level. To do that, the first priority is to develop RoofScope-specific tooling and that's what most of what we raise on Kickstarter will go towards. This will allow us to not only produce RoofScopes in volume but also refine the function and aesthetics – an improved mirror housing is already on the drawing board and we’d certainly like to be able to offer more colours than black!
What isn't spent on tooling will go towards expanding the market. Roy and I are both keen cyclists, so naturally that's been our first target, but of course all sorts of things find their way onto roof racks - canoes, surfboards, roof boxes, ladders, furniture, and trade materials are just a few examples that spring to mind - and we'd like to promote RoofScope to as many potential users as possible
RoofScope & roof rack safety
Figures from the Highways Agency show that in the first three months of this year, of the 11,965 debris incidents recorded on major roads alone, over 700 of those could have been as a result of poorly secured roof rack loads
We hope that by creating the RoofScope and in a small way making road users more aware of the risks posed by roof rack loads, that in time the concept of monitoring your rooftop cargo will become ‘normalised’. Whether it’s by using a RoofScope or some other roof rack safety device, when you're carrying cargo on your roof rack a monitoring device should be as normal as putting on a seat belt
Risks and challenges
Over the last two years we’ve worked hard on not only developing RoofScope Mk1 but also sourcing suppliers for RoofScope Mk2. That means that we can move from Kickstarter to production at relatively low risk and in a short time period
• JUNE - JULY 2014: Kickstarter campaign
• SEPTEMBER 2014: Production tooling made for RoofScope Mk2
• NOVEMBER 2014: RoofScope Mk2 assembled and packed
• DECEMBER 2014: Dispatch RoofScope Mk2 and all other rewards
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