About this project
Introducing The Siva Cycle Atom
The Atom is a lightweight, highly efficient bicycle generator and rechargeable battery pack designed to power virtually any of your electronic or mobile devices via USB. Our generators mount on most standard bicycle frames in minutes, and the battery packs detach easily to quickly extend your battery life.
The Atom is designed with top of the line magnetic rotors, powerful lithium batteries and will be assembled here in the USA. As you ride, it harnesses the kinetic energy you generate, either directly charging your device or storing the energy in the detachable battery pack, giving you on-demand power whenever and wherever you need it. The Atom is for the modern commuter cyclist, the urban biker, the weekend rider, the gadget lover, the green fanatic, and anyone that’s ever needed a charge on the go.
By backing the Atom, you’re also funding renewable energy technology that’s needed around the world, in addition to helping us to produce the dream accessory for modern, connected cyclists. We are committed to sharing power with those that need it most, and as such, will donate one Atom for every ten sold.
What others are saying about the Atom
"A brilliant idea."
"People riding bikes for exercise, recreation or commuting don’t need to waste their energy any longer. Oh, they can still ride, but now they can recoup some of the power they generate on their ride and use the juice to charge up their mobile devices. A new Kickstarter project for the Siva Cycle Atom is the secret."
“Innovative bike generator converts your sweat into electricity”
“Cycling creates feelings of strength, of independence, and of control. Siva Cycle launched the Atom today to turn that power into actual, well, power.”
“The rub for the Atom is that it's super small, easy to install, and, supposedly, reliable. It's a low-profile, weather-proof, 10.5 ounce device”
“there are [other] options, but if your idea of DIY doesn’t involve electrical engineering, the options aren’t great.”
“The good news is that, if funded, this project actually stands a chance of becoming a real thing.”
“A bike-powered mobile device charger is something that should become real. And it doesn’t hurt that the company behind it, Siva Cycles, hopes to donate one of their wheel-mounted chargers to people in need in developing countries for every 10 sold … The good news is that, if funded, this project actually stands a chance of becoming a real thing.”
"Siva Cycle is going to make many bike enthusiasts very, very happy. Never again worry about your phone dying on a bike ride!"
Designed for modern, connected cyclists – Product Specs
The Atom is specifically designed to output a high quality, USB compatible 5V @ up to 500mA. In English, that means that if your device can be charged with a USB connection (iPhones, iPods, Android phones, GPS trackers, tablets, etc.), then it will take a charge from the Atom.
The 500mA charge rate is the same as the USB 2.0 output from your computer, which means your device will go from fully flat to fully charged, just as fast on the bike as it would sitting on your desk.
Integrated seamlessly into the Atom's design is a 1300mAh removable battery pack (compare vs. iPhone 5’s 1440mAh) that charges wherever you go. For power geeks like us out there, the Atom’s delivery breaks down like this: when you’re riding at a rate of 3mph, the Atom outputs 0.75W; at 10mph it’s pushing 3W, and at 15mph it is capped at 4.5W. Power is always delivered in a regulated manner (5V @ up to 500mA), providing only the amount of juice your device specifically demands. Excess power goes to charge the battery or (if battery is full) is released to protect your electronics. This means your device is always safe, even if you’re screaming downhill at 30mph!
The capacity of the Atom's removable battery pack is 1300mAh and its output charge is 500mA. This means the battery pack will give you a 70% charge on your iPhone 5 from dead flat, anywhere you need it. Your bike just got powerful…and so did your pocket.
We worked hard to keep the Atom low profile. The generator weighs only 300 grams. It is 7.5” tall, 3.0” wide, and 1.2” deep, including all component parts. With only three moving parts (a drive gear, idler gear, and magnet rotor), the Atom is incredibly dependable as well.
The Atom is our first product. We’ve poured almost two years of time, energy, and brainpower into it, and we’re asking Kickstarter to help us bring it to fruition.
Why use the Atom? Power up now, and save it for later.
The Atom is as much a luxury as it is a necessary convenience for modern connected cyclists. If you take stock, it quickly requires two hands to count the number of phones, tablets, GPS’s, bike lights, gadgets, and gizmos that require juice.
We see the Atom as an essential everyday tool — in fact, if you used just the Atom to charge your phone that would bring us overwhelming joy. The truth is, for many, the Atom will be a convenience, a source of entertainment, and peace of mind. All of the apps we rely on — GPS, Strava, MapMyRide, email, Instagram and a quintillion more — suck precious battery that never seems to last quite long enough.
With the Atom, you'll never be far from a charge — one powered with your own two legs, capturing something you were already creating, and putting it somewhere you can use. When you’re ready to ride, just plug in your device and put it in a pocket, saddle bag, frame bag, cradle, or just strap it to your bike — whatever works for you.
Ride to work, a coffee shop, or into the hills and you'll have a portable charge pack at your beck and call. No more stopping around town to plug in or asking friends and colleagues if they have an iPhone charger you can use for five minutes. Your legs can provide all the power you need. Put those calories of yours to good use—get where you’re going and never worry about being out of power again.
The Siva Cycle story
On the surface, Siva Cycle is a bicycle accessories company; dig deeper, and you’ll find we are also a distributed power generation company. The bicycle is an amazing source of renewable energy, and we’re building products to help keep the lights on with pedal power. What gets us up in the morning is that, the only limit to the amount of electricity you can produce is how long and how often you ride.
Siva Cycle’s design brain, Aaron Latzke, is an engineer and a born inventor. On a work assignment in Belgium a few years ago, he rode a slew of bicycles with old-style dynamo generators rubbing front wheels to give him waning, unsteady light. “Awesome technology,” he thought, “…in 1950.” So, he set out to create the 21st century bicycle generator for hyper-connected riders. Ready to go right out of the box, the Atom is fuel for the future of cycling. It’s designed for our modern, connected lifestyles, and inspired by cyclists of the past.
David Delcourt, Siva Cycle’s other co-founder, has worked his entire career in energy and sustainability, and for all of those years he’s been getting around on two wheels whenever possible. A couple years ago, constantly on the road, working out of coffee shops, and continuously finding himself amongst the throngs looking for spare outlets, he started thinking seriously about inventing new ways of generating on-demand power. His two-wheeled companion was the obvious solution: the bicycle as its own energy grid. And when he told his idea to a mutual friend of he and Aaron's, it was a few short months before Siva Cycle was born.
Bigger picture: Why the Atom really matters
From the very beginning, in addition to thinking it’s a great idea, we’ve been strongly motivated to create the Atom by the need for power where there is none. The more research we did, the more we learned about the 1.5 billion people in the world that have no access to electricity.
We realized it’s too big a problem to solve on our own, but if we could give our backers and our community a chance to give back in a small way, our collective effort could become an increasingly bigger part of the solution.
For that reason we are going to give one Atom generator to people who need it most for every ten sold. It’s a small start, but a start nonetheless. Other companies we admire and support, like Patagonia and Tom’s Shoes, have set a great example on how responsible business practices can really make a difference. We aim to follow suit and hope that you will join us.
We’re in conversations now as to where the first generators will be shipped and will let our supporters know when it’s decided. Please back us and help us share clean, renewable energy sources with the world.
Prototype vs. Production Model
We made our Kickstarter video and took all of these photos with fully functional prototypes—these are not renderings. As we transition from prototype to production, certain elements will change. 3D printed parts will become injection molded to vastly improve quality and durability. Design details will firm up and round out the aesthetic of the Atom. Production quality magnet rotors and stators for the generator will increase power output and decrease cogging torque, a one-two punch that will make it easier than pie to operate and charge your devices faster.
But we're excited to hear from our backers. We will survey our supporters for suggestions, improvements and comments to work with one of the best resources we have access to: you. Small design changes incorporating your feedback will be taken into account in our final production run, and we’re confident that, together, we can put the finishing touches on the Atom.
What's in the box?
Included with the Atom are some accessories that will get you up and charging in no time. We provide the generator, the removable battery complete with an embedded USB plug, a 3-ft. ribbon cord with adhesive backing for carrying power from the generator to your device, the under-seat USB power plug where you will plug in your device, an allen key for tightening the USB power plug, and hook and loop straps (as an alternative mounting method to the adhesive for the ribbon cord). And that’s it! No other tools needed, except whatever you use already to remove your rear wheel.
Will the Atom fit my bike?
The Atom is designed to fit on the rear wheel of rim-brake bicycles with just two prerequisites: 1) a minimum of 20mm of space between the rear dropout and hub flange (where the spokes mount), and 2) the hub flange must be less than 3.0” diameter. We’ve tested a large number of traditional, urban, performance, and touring bikes (it works with panniers and fenders!) and nearly all have met these requirements.
NOTE: Bicycles outfitted with disc brakes may have the option of installing the Atom on the non-disc side of the front wheel, provided that there is 20mm of space between the front dropout and the hub flange. Our product is not yet optimized for use with disk brakes; but rest assured that a future model is in the works for this application.
Single speed and fixed gear bicycles with flip flop hubs will work if the non-drive side cog is removed and the previously mentioned space requirements are met.
NOT Compatible: Unfortunately, coaster brakes (brakes that are engaged when you pedal backwards) are not compatible with the Atom. Currently, we have not found solution to this problem.
What about theft, my paint job, and damage?
The Atom is conveniently locked in with your back wheel for anti-theft purposes. In other words, if your back wheel can’t be stolen (i.e. it is locked up with the bike when you’re not on it) then you’re good to go. The battery pack slides on and off, safely secured while you ride, and removable as soon as you get to where you’re going. For added safety, you can always quickly remove the Atom entirely in a matter of minutes.
The Atom does not make contact with most bike frame. Even if it does, we provide a soft, foam surface that will keep both the generator and your bike’s paint job safe. The adhesive ribbon cord is safe for your paint and can be removed without damaging that smooth, sleek paint job. If you prefer to not use the adhesive, we provide hook and loop straps to connect the power cord to your frame. Lastly, you can always choose to bypass the use of the ribbon cord and simply charge the battery pack while you ride for power in your pocket once you get where you’re going.
$10 – YOU'RE BUILDING MOMENTUM: Thanks for helping us move forward! You'll receive updates from this Kickstarter campaign and will be featured on our website as one of our Pedal Heroes.
$35 – YOU'VE GOT STYLE: You’ll receive a Siva Cycle t-shirt in the size and color of your choice, and will be featured on our website along with our other awesome Pedal Heroes. (t-shirt available in grey or off-white)
$85 – PIONEERING POWER: You'll help us get rolling AND you’ll receive the very first Atom generator packages—at $20 off full retail price—to effortlessly charge your phone or electronics via USB while you ride. We love early adopters!(color: black)
$95 – YOU’VE GOT POWER: Get the Atom generator package—at $10 off full retail price—and charge your phone or electronics via USB effortlessly while you ride. (color: black)
$130 – STYLISH POWER: Get the Atom generator package and effortlessly charge your phone or electronics via USB while you ride (color: black). AND receive a Siva Cycle t-shirt in your size. (t-shirt available in grey or off-white).
$5,000 – TESTING, TASTING, & TEAM: You're on the team! Join us for an overnight bicycle trip in Napa, CA to test prototypes and pre-production models in September 2013 while sipping on some of Napa Valley’s finest. We’ll give you your choice of the very first Siva generator prototypes and pre-production models, get your feedback and recommendations on how to enhance the product, invite you to write a test review for our blog, and of course taste a few wines along the way. (We'll cover accommodations and meals, and up to $450 airfare for your transportation to San Francisco. BYO bike to ride).
Siva Cycle will be proudly assembling Atom generators right here in the USA. We have local California manufacturers producing the electronics, US manufactures producing the generator components and assembly, and partners in China producing the Atom's housing, cables and battery. We will personally be overseeing the entire first run of Siva Cycle generators for quality assurance. We plan to begin shipping to you, our backers, in late Fall 2013.
-April: Finalize design & launch Kickstarter campaign!
-May: Place pre-production orders with US & China manufacturers
-June-July: Receive pre-production units and test, modify, perfect
-July-August: Place full production run
-August-September: Set up assembly facility in California
-October: Assembly and testing of generators
-November: Begin shipping Atom generators to backers
Your support will help us fund the first production run of Atom generators. We've had some great feedback, and are excited to be able to share the Atom with our backers. Our $85,000 funding goal will cover tooling and setup costs, materials, enhanced generator parts, hardware for producing the products, and labor for assembly right here in the USA.
A special thank you to TAKENOBU, for allowing us to use his incredible music for our video; his music is available at http://listen.takenobumusic.com. This video would not have been possible without Ivan Bercholz who directed and produced our video. And additional thanks to Obhi Hazarika, Nisan Perera, Annie Goodsill, Yurij Roman Lojko, and all the friends of Siva Cycle.
Risks and challenges
We face all of the common risks and challenges associated with manufacturing a physical product. Working with manufacturers and third-party suppliers, we’re at risk of dealing with production or shipping delays as well as quality control issues. The good news is, our team has significant experience designing and manufacturing products; one member of has brought over 1,000 products from the design to mass manufacturing stage. We promise to keep you and the Kickstarter community up to date with any challenges that may arise—including the solutions we'll deploy to fix them.
Quality control is among the highest risk factors. We use lithium polymer batteries which have high levels of reliability, but remain susceptible to bad units. To mitigate this factor, we sourced and tested high quality batteries for the prototypes, and will use the same batteries for production. The same goes for our electronics and generator core components.
LOCAL ASSEMBLY AND DESIGN
Our product engineering, design, and prototyping have all taken place in the San Francisco area to make sure the process is of the highest quality. For the full production run, assembly will be completed in California under our scrutiny. From circuit boards to generator cores, we've tried to take as much risk as possible out of the equation by employing local resources where we can speak with our production partners face to face, should we need to troubleshoot on the fly. Nonetheless, quality control issues do arise and we've tried to account for that in our project goals.
ALL ABOUT THE TEAM
We’re a lean, mean, team of designers, engineers and entrepreneurs. Our advisor core is made up of career professionals that have helped shape the vision, and more importantly, guide the execution of the project. Together our team has designed, manufactured and marketed thousands of products. As a start up with limited resources, risks are significant, but so are the rewards for us and for you—our community of backers.
OTHER QUESTIONS? LET US KNOW!
Should you have any concerns regarding the risks and challenges of the operation, please don't hesitate to contact us. We will continue to update you about our process and our progress, with the transparency and credibility that each one of our supporters deserves. Thank you so much for reading (and, fingers crossed) backing the Atom!
The $85 level is a way to say "thanks" for those supporters that back us in the early stages of the campaign. The reward is the same, just a thank you to the earliest adopters!
The Atom will have provisions in place to keep the wet, weather, and mud where they're supposed to be: on the outside. We are utilizing industry standards for seals and bearings that have well documented track records for water and corrosion. Also, the Atom is designed in a compartmentalized fashion to create a tiered level of defense against the elements.
The Atom holds up to a waterproofing standard of IP-4 (wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_Code, see Liquid Ingress Section) which means that it can withstand splashing water from any direction.
In plain english, the Atom will hold up to anything you can throw at it, so long as you're not submerging it. Rain, even if heavy, will be no problem, battery or no battery. The Atom will be with you producing power no matter the weather.
The Atom works well with fenders as it mounts inside the confines of the frame. Aaron has fenders on his bike (a Surly Cross-Check) and the Atom fits great. For racks, depending on the type of rack and the mounting point on the frame, there may be a need for a small spacer (~5mm). We've tested it on all the bikes we can get a hold of and the 5mm rule has been holding true.
We are designing the Atom with the ability to charge the battery pack from a standard USB port from any source (e.g. wall charger for smartphone or computer). We don't want to limit the use of the Atom. So in that spirit, the battery pack can be charged on the bike or on your desk, used on bike rides or hikes; your choice of how to use it.
The resistance is very small, and is proportional to how large your charging load is. At full generating capacity, it is akin to riding with your tires at 70 psi instead of 90 psi, or pedaling up a 0.3% grade. In our use around town, it is very difficult to tell that it's on the bike.
The battery used in the Atom is of the same quality as that which you'd find in any high end electronic device: iPhone, Galaxy SIII, etc. These batteries have a published lifetime of 300-400 cycles from dead flat to 100%. Since batteries are typically used within a particular range of charge (say 45%-100%), the usable lifetime of the battery ends up being longer compared to the full cycle lifetime. So if you have a smartphone that is still going strong despite being used everyday for two years, you can expect the same out of the Atom.
Currently the Atom is not optimized for disc brakes. The path to adapting the Atom for disc brakes will entail moving the product body from the rear axle to the front axle. Due to the nature of how disc brakes reference the calipers on the frame, there is simply no room for the Atom and the brakes to coexist in the same space. As a work around, you may be able to utilize the non-disc side of the front axle as our point of access onto the bike. This varies however from bike to bike. As we transition the device to the front, the form factor will be adapted as we design for durability, protection from impact, and other elements that the front axle placement presents.
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