"We're here for the long haul"
This is a "scaled-down relaunch" of our very ambitious ($35k-in-30+ days goal) first Kickstarter project from last May (which, despite an encouraging frenzy of support from the community as folks started to hear about us, did not fund in time).
Over the last year we have continued to work on finalizing the design and have made several refinements. Along the way we also have been selling our hand-built M.O.M.™prototypes to enthusiastic local users - which has helped us to acquire on our own some of the major tools we needed!
We still need a few more core tools to finish prototyping the trailers (there will now be two models!) and get them into production... the most essential of these is a precision fixturing/fabrication table—heavy, "dead-flat" top (<.005" corner-to-corner), tapped and drilled hole grid for fixturing, etc.(to make sure the stake pockets for our unique Plug-Ins™ are coplanar (in alignment with each other) along every axis, so parts will be interchangeable, and all the Plug-Ins will work perfectly on every trailer, every time!) We would of course love a Bluco table (as a one-time sales demonstration, the Bluco folks actually helped us build the frame for our most recent prototype using one of their fabulous tables!)—but since they cost around $20,000, Len has had to keep shopping around—and managed to find a quote on a suitable table from the clever folks at JMR—that will be closer to $2,500!
This Kickstarter project has been designed to just raise enough to help get Len that layout table & the necessary fixture tooling, so we can build a couple of actual production prototypes of the two new models... just $3,500 this time around! [Anything we raise above and beyond the $3,500 will help Len to get additional tooling, equipment, materials stock, wheel components and hitch components to start building some trailer inventory to truly "kickstart" this trailer project.] Thank you for making a pledge - this time we're sure to fund, and get one step closer to our goals!
[And YES, I do realize how lame I look, reading my little script on camera in the video, but cut me some slack—I'm an inventor, not an actor! & wouldn't you rather I invest our hard earned $ into prototyping the trailer vs. some slick video presentation?! :-) -Len]
For hauling dogs, folks can use their own kennel - and we have mounting options for it to be securely attached to the platform (there are many from which to choose!) We have sold a few early prototypes to dog-owners over the years and they love this option!
Pricing will ultimately depend on chosen materials, needed and/or desired features & accessories, and how rapidly our volume increases. The range of competitors' offerings we consider to be relevant for comparison is $450-$750; we expect, due to the added fabrication costs associated with the unique, quick-change modular Plug-Ins system built in to all our trailers, we will likely always tend to be closer to the high-end of that range—but this should be seen as amortized across a greater number of service hours, is truly offset by our trailers' greater "errand suitability range" (marketing gobblty-gook translation: we designed these trailers to get a LOT more use out of them throughout every day/week than any other trailer, by being exceptionally flexible and convenient to take INTO buildings, and use as a grocery cart, garden/landscaping supplies cart, job site cart, kids trailer, musical instruments trailer, appliances trailer, lumber trailer, watercraft trailer, etc., etc.!)
What of all of the above options will be included with the $500 pledge level... how will it be configured?
These will be the basic flatbed configuration, including a floor, hitch and tow arm and ready to haul stuff. Exact specifications will be subject to some input from each customer, but in general we're looking at our standard 20" wheels & 1/2" axles, 5/8" plywood floor, etc.—upgrades & Plug-Ins will be "a la carte." We do not expect to be making any profit on the trailers ordered through this 3-week-long Kickstarter campaign (so "order yours today"! ;-)), but that's a marketing expense—the price of spreading the word/building the brand.
The weights are also dependent on some final decisions (that our customers can help us make!); we've built different SIZE trailers and also out of different MATERIALS—virtually indestructible steel versions, as well as very light aluminum ones for different customers. (The range is probably around 9 lbs. to 16 lbs.)
1.) There are now 2 models planned—small/medium-duty & large/heavy-duty, each with many configuration options and there also are several possibilities for attachment (hitches), including super light, super small, super heavy-duty, etc.; it depends on the customer's needs and preferences (I can mail you pics of the various hitch options if you like.)2.) All our hitches make it very quick & easy to attach/detach the TRAILER to the BIKE, and for the light-duty hitches, it's also quick and easy to move those, but the heavier the hauling requirements (requiring a correspondingly heavier-duty hitch system), the slower it is to move the HITCH ITSELF from one bike to another; for the super heavy duty-ones, it probably makes more sense to have an extra hitch already attached to an alternate bike, if a lot of switching-off is expected.
Floors too can be built out of lighter-weight/thinner marine plywood (we only ever use marine-grade plywood!), heavier/thicker marine plywood [The plywood floors are sealed with waterproof marine finishes.], aluminum diamond plate, or even exotic/pricey composite sandwich panel (honeycomb aluminum core with carbon or aluminum skins) for the ultimate in stiffness-to-weight ratio! And again, it mostly depends on what weight range of routine loads we're talking about—100 lbs...250 lbs...450 lbs.
Q. I'm wondering whether the hitch is compatible with a SRAM Dual-Drive hub. I haven't seen any close-up photos of the hitch arrangement.
A. There are several different hitch options available, and all of them should work fine with that hub. [The shift cable comes out of the drive side, and all the hitches attach to the non-drive side of the bike.] I love those hubs—do you happen to ride a Bike Friday, by any chance? Here you can see one of several standard-duty hitch options: http://flickr.com/gp/76402242@N03/1s0CSb Here you can see one of a few of our heavy-duty hitch options: http://flickr.com/gp/76402242@N03/23Fw01