Hope all is well, and that you’ve all been doing plenty of bicycle based exploring now that summer is arriving!
As a reminder, in the last BeeLine update I was on my way back from China, and we were making tweaks to the minute details of the strap/attachment before we locked down the design files and started tooling. Today, an update on that tweaking and overall timelines:
The most challenging part of our physical design to get right is the silicone strap and clasp-style attachment. The strap needs to be the right length and softness to fit on any bike handlebar or stem, and the clasp system needs to be a strong enough hold that it never falls off, but not so strong that it’s a pain to remove.
With things like this, it’s normal to get 90% of the way there by using solid maths and design theory, but the only way to nail that last 10% is to set up a mini version of the production process, and test it, adjust it, test it, adjust it… etc.
We’ve been going through various cycles of testing/adjusting over the last few weeks using a temporary aluminium tool. This step has taken quite a bit longer than we expected due to a couple of unforeseen issues - I’ve just posted a blog with the details here for those interested. We’re now confident enough to start making the real production tool, with the very fine tuning to be completed once the production tools are ready.
Timelines - the hammer blow
Now for the tough conversation - we were expecting to complete design and start tooling in mid May, putting us on track to ship in late August. Due to the several rounds of extra iterations mentioned above, we’re now around 4 weeks behind that schedule, so in theory this pushes back shipping to late September. There’s a chance we could finish tooling adjustment early and catch up some time given the extra work we have done with the test tool, but we aren’t going to cut any corners. We won’t start production until we’re absolutely happy and confident that we’re delivering a great quality product.
This is obviously an update we didn’t want to have to write, and we’re as disappointed as anyone that we probably won’t be delivering in August as we said we would. That said, ultimately those extra iterations were a necessary and inevitable part of delivering a high quality product - one that you’ll be proud to have supported. On balance, we think this is worth a few weeks wait. We hope you do too.
While we’ve got our sensible hat on, it’s worth pointing out there are still further risks in the process, the biggest ones being the QA and Certification once we’re in preproduction. We’ve allowed plenty of time for those, but there’s always a chance this drags out longer if issues arise. So there’s uncertainty, but I can promise that we’ll keep you up-to-date if anything does crop up.
Happier things - what else are we working on?
Electronics - we now have fully working circuit boards. We’re just optimising at this stage, testing out various versions of components to make sure we have the right combo.
Packaging - we just received some samples for the packaging. We’re looking at a ‘paper pop’ type of box, similar material to an egg-box but much higher quality. We’re yet to do the graphic design for the outside of the box, but the samples are feeling great!
Software - Charlie has been busy building algorithms in the firmware to keep our direction arrow super accurate, even with all the magnetic confusion around the city. We’re also finalising all the graphics on the device itself, and we’ve designed a subtle little helper feature for those using waypoints. On the app side, the launch version is designed and Dan is halfway through producing it now. I’m hoping I can send you all the beta to try in my next update (for iPhone only first - sorry Android folks…).
Once again, sorry this wasn’t all good news, but we think it’ll be worth the wait. Rest assured we’re working around the clock to get you a superb quality product as quickly as possible. Next update will be in a week’s time from Tom, with the latest on investment and other businessy matters.