DriBarz - The Bike Fairing for Rain project video thumbnail
Replay with sound
Play with
sound
$6,495 pledged of $52,000 goal
backers
By Jay Small
$6,495 pledged of $52,000 goal
backers

About this project

DriBarz is an exciting and totally unique product for the hard core road cyclists looking for that final but critical piece of the rain gear puzzle.  Current products in the marketplace aimed at keeping the hands dry in the rain are starkly limited compared with the rest of wet weather riding gear, and fail to deliver.  

Yet, keeping extremities like the hands feeling good on a wet ride makes all the difference. The promise of soggy cold hands can have us cutting rides short or missing them altogether only because it might rain. If you live in a wet climate for parts of the year, you know what we’re saying.  

Today’s hi-tech waterproof breathable fabrics are essential for active rain gear. They shed water but pass vapor, a must for feeling comfortable. But if you can't get rid of the humidity fast enough everything gets clammy.

Jackets and pants, combat this by having enough surface area to include big zippered vents or strategically placed breathable panels to dump trapped humid air. But a glove can’t incorporate such features--there just isn’t room. So when the sweating begins your hands end up soaked from your own sweat whether it’s raining or not. 

The other option is just to agree: your hands are going to get wet on the bike. So the use of neoprene rubber, so the reasoning goes, traps sweat but keeps the hands warm. In practice, though, it feels terrible and can turn cold after a while from all the dampness. It might work in a wetsuit, but somehow churning your own sweat into a glove and soaking in it for a couple hours is far from a palatable solution.

 

DriBarz is a removable fairing, so designed that when the hands are near or on the brake hoods, the edge of the cowling overlaps the cuff line of a cycling jacket.  This is enough to keep rain off the hands and any dry weather glove.  

Cold Weather Protection with More Bar Access and Better Looks

When the mercury just won't rise, hands are shielded from merciless wind. You regain dexterity over heavy winter gloves by going for lighter ones.  And blocking the sting lets you focus on the ride.  DriBarz does it while maintaining full access to all contact points of the handlebar.  No other on-bar cold weather product does it and looks as good.

Those can't keep your hands dry, surely.

Compared to the alternative, DriBarz is far more versatile, too, suitable over a larger range of temperatures.  And let's be clear, it was designed to perform in the rain.  But if you don't already try facing the wetter elements, the DriBarz solution for rain isn't as obvious.  
If you ride regularly in rain, however, you already know that if you stay out long enough all your rain gear is going to give up--eventually. 

But all that matters, though, is to stay comfortable for as long as the ride takes. After that, your done.  DriBarz is effective in rain because it keeps rain water directly off your gloves and leverages physics for the rest: most rain water on your arms is driven off from wind as you ride before it accumulates.  Although you might imagine it would never work in Super Storm Sandy, it works very well for damp weather you're likely to ride in.  And if things do start getting damp after a couple hours, you're either done with the ride, or a stowed pair of dry gloves is good for another two.

Rain from the outside is only half the battle.

The other half of the whole issue is venting moisture generated by your hands.  It is critical for how comfortable you end up feeling on the bike. That's why the cowling undersides are completely open to the air, so moisture escapes as fast as it's generated.  And because DriBarz reduces windchill, you can wear a thinner glove that's more comfortable and moves out moisture more efficiently.

Now this is what we mean by breathable.
Now this is what we mean by breathable.

This all works to promote that dry-hand feeling even though you're out there squarely in the rain.  And although DriBarz was developed for rainy temperatures, blocking wind when it's cold also means you can get away with less bulky winter gloves and fewer frost-bitten fingers.

Fog from hand sweat would be trapped in gloves or mittens.
Fog from hand sweat would be trapped in gloves or mittens.

 After a ride in the rain, fogged under cowlings illustrate just how much your hands need to breathe.  Even with completely open undersides and wind below, hand sweat can fog them. This is why WxB gloves overload and neoprene feels so terrible.

The DriBarz uni-bar size was chosen to accommodate small accessories such as a bike computer or headlight, a helpful feature for winter riding when daylight can run out on you.

The moment I understood the fundamental limitation of gloves, I knew a different approach had to be used. But except for extremely cold weather applications, which don't work well in temperatures warm enough for rain, non-glove bike products for hands just didn't exist. So I set to work on the problem, not to start a business or create a product, but just solve it for myself.

The results worked so well, redefining rideable weather for me, that I became motivated to avail it to other cyclists facing the same problem. Because every day is better when you've gotten in a ride.

Scroll to the end for more of the story of how DriBarz was developed.

The final design was driven by hundreds of hours of testing, evaluation, and prototype iteration. Hand-tooled cowling molds were re-shaped dozens of times, eliminating non-essential elements and adopting missing ones.  The result is a simple, robust design that I am both excited and proud to offer fellow cyclists who want to ride year round and love every ride, no matter the weather.  

Whether you face rain, drizzle, or cold, DriBarz will help you to do more of what you love to do: ride your bike!

The DriBarz design is compatible with the three major shifter brands, even side-exiting external cable routing models.  Our patent pending attachment component exploits the fact that variability in shifter size among manufacturers is small, allowing the same parts for all bikes, which controls cost.  Then we employ adjustable components along the bar width to accommodate widths 38-44cm.  

The result is a dry place for your hands to spend their time while you just focus on your ride. If you are accustomed to just putting up with wet hands, you'll be amazed that first ride when even though it's raining, your hands just aren't getting soggy.

Easy installation and removal was a big priority in the final DriBarz design.  An initial setup process configures the DriBarz fairing to your bike's particular handlebar width and shifter type via adjustable components. Once fitting is complete, the adjustable parts do not need to be loosened to remove or install the fairing.  They settle into place the same way every time without a lot of fuss. 

Installation demonstration running at 2x speed.
Installation demonstration running at 2x speed.

The DriBarz launch product is designed for drop style handlebars and will first be sold from our own online store.  Because the DriBarz fairing is such a unique product with virtually no competitors, we are excluding expensive outer packaging from our pledge goal. Our Kickstarter campaign goal is to fund essential production tooling, so riders can get them.  

As an internal stretch goal, we'll include point of sale packaging for sale in retail and other online stores. But we're guessing backers and initial customers are willing to recycle boring packaging if it means making more rides in 2016.

We have focused on the road bike first, but plan to develop a hybrid bike version for straight handlebars found on many commuter bikes. We realize the need and have had numerous requests along the way.  

We're Ready

The DriBarz bike fairing project is at a mature stage of development. Design of every component is completed and verified for functionality and manufacturability. Plastic parts have been 3D printed for functional verification while some critical components have even been fully fabricated with production tooling to make sure our vision is attainable.

Click Photo to View Artwork
Click Photo to View Artwork
                                                          

I'm an engineer and cyclist who moved to Washington State USA a few years ago where rain is likely to fall often for 6 months out of the year. Prior to moving, I rode year round, dealing mainly with cold.  But rain was a different challenge altogether. So upon arrival I explored local blogs and bike shops for what gear others used. There were great solutions for the rest of the body but not much for the hands. The best advice local seasoned riders could provide was just to accept wet hands on the bike! Do your best to keep them warm, like with an un-breathable neoprene glove, but don’t expect to keep them dry. When the waterproof-breathable glove would come up, everyone knew that for active riding, they didn't deliver. So don’t waste the extra money.

Stubbornly, I tried them anyway--many of them--because I was determined to find a way to ride in the rain and enjoy it. I found they work pretty well if you're riding at low exertion, but like all the locals said, not on training rides. When I realized why--because they can't have big vents like a jacket can-- I put on my engineering cap and went after a solution. 

With no examples to start from, early versions were almost laughable, failing across the board my list of criteria mentioned above.  They did keep my hands dry, though.

Very early prototype.  I still had not figured out how to attach a fairing.
Very early prototype. I still had not figured out how to attach a fairing.

Through many hours and miles of testing my goal was to keep reducing their size before they stopped working.  That meant some radical changes ever so often.  Once on the right track, the prototypes improved, as did material selections.  

Once the shape could be reduce to single open cavity part and still work, thermoforming made changes more controllable.
Once the shape could be reduce to single open cavity part and still work, thermoforming made changes more controllable.

Opaque materials were fine for myself.  But other folks didn't like being unable to see their hands.  It might just be a mental thing, but I get it.  It also makes them hard to put on since you can't see through them.

Some materials were a bit temperamental.
Some materials were a bit temperamental.
A late stage mold used for prototyping.  Color variations are from different layers of molding compound resulting from many evolutionary changes in the cowling shape.
A late stage mold used for prototyping. Color variations are from different layers of molding compound resulting from many evolutionary changes in the cowling shape.

Now after years of development and preparation, I am excited to offer the first really effective solution to my fellow cyclists for keeping your hands dry on rainy rides. Kickstarter campaigns focus a lot on rewards—for backers. But the biggest reward for me would be to hear cyclists everywhere say they can now ride more, on days they just wouldn't before.

Let's Make it Happen!

Please support our campaign and help us put more bikes on the roads throughout the months of less than pristine weather.  From the racer wanting an edge going into the early season, to the commuter who likes to hear when they get to the office: "you rode?" , DriBarz will make rides in the rain something you enjoy.

 

Risks and challenges

The manufacturing suppliers for DriBarz components are mostly in our local area. This reduces risk since we are able to interview and visit their facilities. Offshore suppliers We have used have already supplied production samples so that we can fully understand delivery expectations.

Some rubber parts have not had prototypes made, however, strategies are incorporated to allow a tooling adjustment without significant schedule impact, should the first articles reveal such needs.

We think we have covered the bases, but suppliers can be late despite the best planning. We will inform our backers of any such impacts as the project goes forward.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Everything counts and we really appreciate it. You will receive honorable mention on our company website as one of the supporters of the first DriBarz product.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    6 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    T-SHIRT - Receive honorable mention on our company website as one of our founding backers, plus one of our cool T-shirts that express your love for cycling-all year round!

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    EARLY BIRD - Get special pricing on a complete set of DriBarz plus your name on our company website as one of our founding backers. You can add $20 to your pledge for one of our expressive Tees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 18 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    CLASSIC US, CA, EU- Receive a complete set of DriBarz plus your name on our company website as one of our founding backers. You can add $20 to your pledge for one of our expressive Tees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    4 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    CLASSIC GLOBAL- A limited number of DriBarz fairings are being offered to global markets. If you live in the US, Canada, or the European Union, please use our reward CLASSIC US, CA, EU reward.

    Receive a complete set of DriBarz plus your name on our company website as one of our founding backers. You can add $20 to your pledge for one of our expressive Tees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    CLASSIC LOCAL - This category is for local backers only. These will not be mailed or shipped and you must arrange with us to pick your DriBarz fairing up in person.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Limited 10 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $198 or more About $198

    DOUBLE - Receive two complete sets of DriBarz plus your name (and your friend!) on our company website as one of our founding backers. This is offered to save shipping for riding buddies who want a companion when everyone else cancels for rain.
    You can add $20 to your pledge for one of our expressive Tees.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    SUPER BACKER PACK - Become a part of DriBarz! Receive one DriBarz set plus your name included in every owners manual in recognition of your outstanding support of our product launching effort. There is nothing like DriBarz so who knows where your name will end up! You also get one of our cool T-shirts, special recognition on our company website and we'll pick up the shipping.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.
  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    FLAGSHIP BACKER PACK - Same as Super Backer Pack with special recognition in the manual plus a custom engraving on the aluminum Uni-bar next to our logo. It can be your name, an expression, anything that will fit in the space (about 3 inches)

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $
    Kickstarter is not a store.

    It's a way to bring creative projects to life.

    Learn more about accountability.

Funding period

- (30 days)