BOWBOARD™ "essence of kick scooter, two cups of skateboard, a dash of bike seasoning...looks like one fun ride" Gizmag Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on December 21, 2013.
About this project
The Bowboard™ revolutionizes the most fundamental function of existence, “mobility”. By rethinking the way we move about and by doing it without fuels or batteries we enable people to have fun, improve their health, and reduce environmental impact while doing it. The Bowboard™ merges a bow, frame and spiral gearing mechanism in a ride-on device that moves you forward when stepping on the bow. While it shares elements with bicycles, kick scooters and skateboards, its main method of propulsion is completely new.
When someone steps on the Bowboard its patented technology converts this into forward motion. One of the benefits is that there are different ways to ride it. You can stay on for the entire ride (bowboarding), or you can ride it skateboard style with an alternating step and kick. When compared to other products the alternating step and kick gives the added benefit of producing an impulse from both the kick and the bow. Typical riding is to get up to speed using both the bow and kicking and then switch to bowboarding to cruise; which can be around 12 mph with a modest effort.
Watch closely...and yes that's really happening. (we were told it couldn't be done.)
Hopefully that helps you understand the mechanical end of the Bowboard. While it isn't nearly as difficult to learn as a bike or a skateboard it still takes a bit of practice to master the timing and the rhythm. You'll be up and riding in about 5 minutes, and once you master it...it's really cool!
- Durable aluminum alloy chassis
- Epoxy matrix unidirectional & cross woven composite bow for long life
- Oversize longboard wheels for a smooth ride
- Folding handle bars for easy storage and transport
- If looking good is feeling good, the Bowboard's styling is sure to help out with its sleek and dynamic design.
- Innovative patent pending spiral drive mechanism
- Maximum rider weight of 200 lbs
The next hurdle is getting into manufacturing. Since most parts of the Bowboard are completely new this is no small task. Here's where Kickstarter comes in. The funds raised here will be used for the following:
- Part revisions for manufacturability
- Manufacturing tooling and molds
- Manufacturer's prototypes
- Product testing
- Initial production runs
- Backer rewards
"Years ago, Greg and I started talking about making something for kids. We basically wanted to get them outside and having fun. We didn’t immediately have something but then later on Greg told me about a vision he had of his daughter riding a bow down the street. I immediately thought of a toy I rode as a kid…it was slow but I loved it. Well, months went by and we would talk about it occasionally and we just couldn’t leave the idea alone. So then one day I was at my office where I worked as an architect, and I was engineering a roof truss. I looked at the diagram of forces and realized how to provide the bow idea with the gear ratio it needed to go faster. I quickly sketched out the design for what would become the first Bowboard prototype. That evening I called Greg and told him he had to see this sketch and from there we were off and running. At first I thought it would be easy and within a couple of weeks I had a garage full of machinery and supplies...but I had no idea what challenges were ahead." CM
The Bowboard has been through 5 full prototype versions. Each one had its own development life that included dozens of revisions to improve functionality and increase speed. Today we have a resolved product and really know the ins and outs of its design and function like nobody else can. While it looks simple, some very sophisticated engineering is required to achieve what we have.
With the first prototype we learned a lot. We got tremendous positive feedback and many people volunteered their support. Even with what we considered mediocre function kids just couldn't leave it alone, and more surprisingly people of all ages wanted to ride it!
Form there we hired a team of engineers that design race cars to provide simulations and engineering on the gearing mechanism. The result was less encouraging than our V1 built in Chris' garage. At this point engineering was pulled back under our control and the task of designing a smooth gearing mechanism was targeted.
The result of a focused engineering effort yielded what was probably the most significant achievement in getting a quick and smooth Bowboard. It came last year with Chris' invention or the "spiral drive" mechanism. With the addition of the spiral drive we achieved smooth propulsion and a much easier ride.
Spiral Drive bench test video. Patent Pending
Quickly we built the 3rd Bowboard prototype to test the function of the spiral drive on the road, and we were thrilled. It gave us what we were looking for. It was now quick and much easier to ride. Next we needed to make it manufacturable.
We have since worked through four complete sets of manufacturing drawings and have vetted dozens of manufacturers from North America and abroad. During this process we have built 3 additional prototypes in our effort to increase durability, improve manufacturability and decrease cost. The result is that we now have a Bowboard that we will be proud to produce, and we can make it at a cost that most people can afford.
Bowboard Manufacturing Strategy
Our company strategy centered on design, development, marketing and sales of Bowboards; thus our manufacturing and fulfillment strategy was to be a turnkey outsourced activity. When we completed the drawing set for Version 4.0 we believed we were ready to find a manufacturing house to produce Bowboards! We brought on an experienced veteran as our COO to select our manufacturing & fulfillment partner(s). Companies were sought out that had a strong background in high quality volume production that were as close to the bicycle industry as possible to bid production of V4 Bowboards. During the bidding process for V4 production we focused on three separate vendors in North America as well as offshore that met our criteria. Outside of the bow, the Bowboard is a collection of custom and off the shelf aluminum, steel, and plastic parts. However, the heart of the product is the bow itself and we have paid special attention to it as a high performance, long life, and durable component. After an in depth search we have selected a North American vendor that manufactures high quality composite leaf springs for the automotive industry to produce it to our high standards.
We quickly discovered in the bidding process that V4 was not producible in the cost range desired and we quickly moved towards Version 5 development that was largely a cost reduction effort. When V5 was complete we collected new bids from the manufacturing partners (whom also made great suggestions to reduce costs in our V4). To our disappointment, our North American bidder received a contract by the automotive industry and no longer had capacity to manufacture Bowboards; thus we selected an offshore company run by an American entrepreneur to prototype V5. Our V5 prototype was built completely from the ground up by this partner with excellent quality as well as cost results and thus remains our prime vendor going forward. At this time we have incorporated slight changes made to V5 into a final document set as V6 and have a schedule of activity that takes us through a tooling, manufacturing, and consumer product safety approval process. We have complete confidence that the supply chain is ready to produce and deliver Bowboards in volume to our high quality standards.
Typically most would have you believe that you need to go to the bank or wall street to get the funding necessary to launch a product such as ours. But we can now say because of Kickstarter that is no longer the case. Kickstarter is enabling everyday people just like you to make projects just like ours become a reality. But with that said none of this is possible without YOU, our KICKSTARTER BACKER. By you selecting your pledge level in exchange for the reward of your choosing we can have a super successful campaign and begin bringing Bowboards to your door. From all of us here at Bowboard we thank you in advance for your support.
Risks and challenges
We’ve worked hard to get the Bowboard ready to go but we have a few things left before we start making it. The spiral is currently made from billet aluminum; we have a new steel and composite hybrid coming from the manufacturer that is much stronger and lighter weight. We’ve learned from our testing that this new part will give better performance than the current one in our photos and videos. Other than that there are minor changes mostly to get our rider weight limit up a little higher so if dad jumps on it, there will not be a problem...but no guarantee here, Dads can get fairly large.
At the end of the campaign you will receive a survey where you will be asked to select the details of the reward you want. This will include the size of apparel that may be part of your reward, as well as the color of the reward if applicable.
If you would like a combination of items that we have not provided as a single reward, simply select the pledge that applies best then add additional funds to you pledge amount to total all of the items you want to receive. Use the following prices to add to you pledge amount.
$349 One Bowboard in black or white
$60 One Bowboard riding hoodie in black or white
$25 One Bowboard T-Shirt in black or white
$10 One Bowboard sticker
Probably. We are working on finding out what it takes to get our CE approval for Europe and what approvals we need in other parts of the world. We do intend to have these at some point but it was not part of our initial plan. Because of all the interest we have had from other countries we are stepping that up. We will let you know in an update as soon as we know.
- (40 days)