About this project
Simplicity is our goal. Build an easy to use, minimalist bike tool, that addresses the most common repair needs cyclists have when they are out on the road. Lever+
What it is:
- Ergonomic bike lever
- 4 mm hex
- 5 mm hex
- Phillips head driver
- T-25 Torx head driver
- Die cut Velcro (tm) wrap
- Designed to fit in your back pocket
What it is not:
- Hard to use
- 8 tools that you will never use
- Something that requires a saddlebag
How did we get here?
As with most great ideas, this one started out with a beer inspired conversation. As we sipped our brews, we were thinking of ways we could expand our prototyping skills (for our day jobs). This started out with laser cut bottle carriers. This was fun, but it wasn't solving a particularly big problem.
We're cyclists, so what were our pain points? We came up with a long list of issues and, through a sophisticated ranking process, chose bike clutter as an area of focus. We like clean lines and a nice balance between form and function. In short, saddle bags break all the rules of form and function. They look crappy, they inevitably contain tools that you will never use. And if you do attempt to use the tools inside, they rarely work well.
We decided to design and build a bike tool that helps you accomplish the most common roadside bike maintenance tasks. It had to work well, fit in your back pocket and look good. Through field tests and feedback from fellow cyclists and bike mechanics, we tweaked, modified, stretched, and adjusted most aspects of the tool. After about 20 prototypes made on 3 different types of 3D printers and a 4-axis mill, we arrived at this beauty. We think you'll like it.
You have some options:
All of our production and fulfillment partners have been identified. Those key partners are:
- Injection molder
- Hex Tool Manufacturer
- Velcro supplier
- Fulfillment Partner (packaging, fulfillment and shipping)
Upon successful funding of this project, we will release our order to the injection molder to machine our 2 piece mold for the nylon lever. Simultaneously, we will place our orders for the hex tools and Velcro straps. Our first run of sample parts from the injection molder will take approximately 3 weeks. We anticipate 2 weeks to finalize the mold and part dimensions. Then we'll go into full production, which will take 6 weeks (from overseas plant to our fulfillment partner's door). After we laser etch the custom orders, our fulfillment partner will assemble, package and ship all of the orders within 10 days of receiving the levers. You'll be updated every step of the way.
Risks and challenges
From a product design perspective, we have embraced a core tenet from our professional design lives. Test, Adjust, Repeat. We have crafted many physical prototypes (at least 20 different versions) and tested them all. We've also interviewed bike shop owners, pro-level mechanics and riders about what they like and what they don't like in the current competitive landscape. The result is a product that's been informed by experts in the field. It also happens to work very well.
We are experienced product developers. We are a mechanical engineer and an industrial designer, with 25+ years collective relevant work experience (and personal cycling experience). We have worked with manufacturers all over the world and have found partners to help with each stage of this project. We have production and timing estimates for each stage of the project (all from partners that we have worked with in the past). We've also found a local Kansas City partner to help with fulfillment (packaging, labeling and shipping), so we can get these out the door as quickly as possible.
Manufacturing delays. The production quotes we received estimated 8 weeks for lead time and delivery of final product. Our official delivery estimates to you (March 2014) include a 50% factor of safety on top of what our manufacturing partners estimate. We believe we have added sufficient time for manufacturing iterations, shipping delays and potential holiday business interruption.
PLEASE CHECK OUR UPDATES FOR INFO ON STRETCH GOALS/REWARDS.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Unfortunately, the Kickstarter rules for projects in the 'Product' category do not permit the sale of multiple items (trust us, we would LOVE to be able to offer a multi-lever set). If we do achieve successful funding for this project, we will produce additional tools that will be for sale on our own website (towniesyndicate.com). So, we would be grateful if you were able to back us at one of our proposed backer levels. Then, if we reach our minimum funding requirement, we'll be able to offer you additional tools via our dedicated site.
We received a few questions about how much you can actually hold with the included die-cut Velcro strap. We posted a couple pictures of the Lever+ with a CO2 setup and a Minipump setup, check out our 'Update #2.' Also, we have detailed instructions for use at towniesyndicate.com. Use the link below to get to a downloadable PDF of our instructions (with witty copy). You might have to copy/paste the url into your browser.
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