A bicycle big enough for kids and cargo, yet small enough for city commuting and solo fun. Stylish and clever, made in the US. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on October 18, 2013.
About this project
NOTE: despite missing our main goal goal we will honor all Kickstarter pledges so don't hesitate to push that button. See Updates for details.
A bicycle born from a simple goal ...
The answer is yes. Moving the rear wheel just six inches back created enough space to safely carry a child. Building the rack directly into the frame made it strong and stable without adding much weight. Not too big, not too small, we call it a Midtail.
The Midtail bike - a little extra length, a lot of extra possibility.
Then we sweated the details.
An adaptable bike is a great thing. A smart, conveniently adaptable bike is better. So we detailed it, and these are some of the things we love: Alfine internal gears for easy shifting, matching custom grips for parent and child (because it makes us feel good), the way the fender mounts to the frame and fork, the slope of top tube, and the utterly dependable hand-built wheels.
The result is the Kinn Cascade Flyer, a bike for every day.
“Now when I announce to the grandkids that I have to go to the post office, I’m no longer met with a plaintive wail. Instead I hear, ‘Yay! I'll get the helmets.’ Errand time has been transformed into adventure time. And to me, that’s magic.”
What Others are Saying
Outside: Is Kinn's Hybrid the Minivan of Bikes?" I find myself jonesing for the Cascade Flyer, a bike that is a commuter-cargo-tandem-kid-carrying hybrid… ... If a minivan could fit on a bus bike rack, if it could easily be carried up the front stairs into my house, if it had a Brooks saddle and a highly functional rack, then I’d probably want a minivan."
Lovely Bikes: A Look at Kinn, the US-Made Midtail" What I liked most was how the Kinn rides. It is distinctly un-cruiserish and un-cargobikish; a fast, responsive, 'sporty' bike."
Treehugger: Sleek city bike has secret family-friendly features" it's pared-down enough for minimalist city cyclists, eye-catching enough to spark interest amongst mainstream cyclists like me, and imbued with some nifty features that make it a great family bike-mobile "
Xtracyle: A Beautiful Bike" generally putting a kid seat on a regular bike takes up so much space that panniers no longer fit. Now you don’t have to chose between carrying a kid and carrying all the stuff that goes with a kid."
Kinn’s Innovative "Midtail" Design
The Cascade Flyer's amazing adaptability isn't an accident: it comes from our unique “Midtail” frame design. We found that lengthening the wheelbase by six inches was enough to ensure that a child sitting on the back would have most of his weight between the wheels. This results in good balance and keeps the weight of the load from tipping the front of the bike up. Better balance means safer and easier handling, and it makes cycling a lot more fun. We knew we were onto something when the kids started yelling, “Faster! Faster!”
We want the Cascade Flyer to be your everyday bike. It has to fit comfortably everywhere regular bikes fit: on the front of a bus, on the back of your car, down the stairs to your basement, in the bike rack at the grocery store. It’s awkward or impossible to fit a longtail cargo bike in many of these places. So the Cascade Flyer features a little twist: you can spin the front wheel around 180 degrees to point backwards. This shortens the bike by four inches and means it can fit easily in all those places. A spring-loaded detente gently holds the wheel in place – making it easy to carry and move – then simply twist the handlebars back around, and you’re ready to ride away.
BIKE ON A BUS With its Half Twist, the Kinn will easily fit on a standard bus rack, or car rack, or Amtrak hook. This is multi-modal travel.
The Kinn Multi-Rack
“When I first saw a Leatherman multi-tool I was amazed at all it capabilities; my lowly penknife was soon retired to a drawer. That was back in 1988. 25 years later, it's time the lowly bike rack got a similar makeover”
THE BASICS: The rack is built into the frame, making it very strong and stable. It'll carry 135 lbs every day without a peep. We tested it with 400lbs with no damage. Plus, its topped with a 21 x 5.5" bamboo plywood deck that'll take a beating and still serve sushi.
THE SWIVEL DECK: We call the front part the swivel deck because … it swivels! Turn a twist-lock dial to rotate the rack for a 12" wide, stable platform to carry big wide loads. Six pizzas for the game tonight? Pick up a bale of straw for the chickens? Your Kinn can do that.
THE YEPP "EASYFIT" MOUNT There's more. If you remove the swivel deck completely, it reveals a secret. We built the mounting system for the acclaimed Yepp EasyFit child seats directly into the bike. No bolt-on adapter needed. You can go from everyday bike rack to installed child seat (or back again) in 90 seconds.
You'll like these seats. The Yepp Maxi EasyFit is a multiple-award winning, brilliantly designed, fun-to-use Dutch child seat. They come in six colors and are made from the same durable, comfortable, antibacterial material used to make Croc shoes. Before we were authorized to claim Yepp compatibility, Yepp's General Manager personally inspected pretty much every weld on one of our bikes. Impressive.
ADJUSTABLE FOOTPEGS & STOKER BAR Some passengers are too big for a child seat. No problem. The Cascade Flyer handles kids from 3 to 75 years old (up to 135 lbs) with adjustable foot pegs and available stoker bar with matching brass bell.
DYLAN OR MILK? With a child seat on a regular bike there is little room for much else. If you need to pop out to the store for groceries, you can’t take your child. If you can’t take your child, how can you go to the store?Do you strap him in the back of the car again?
"With the Kinn I can carry my grand child AND panniers full of groceries. I can go to the store for milk and Dylan can come too. Try it, you'll like it."
Made in Portland
"99% of bikes sold in the U.S. are imported from Asia, and I've owned some of them. However I wanted to build this bike in my hometown, and with the help of some amazing local companies, that wish is coming true."
Our frames are handmade by Portland's Zen Bicycle Fabrication a mid-scale production facility with years of experience building everything from downhill mountain bikes to urban commuters. Zen owners Jen and David Woronets are committed to reinvigorating Oregon's manufacturing heritage. We love them. Our wheels are hand built at Sugar Wheel Works where Jude Kirsten has been successfully growing her business by outperforming the giant wheel-building machines of the 21st century.
Others who made this possible include:
ADX, a 10,000-square-foot shared workspace which became our laboratory and factory. Also, just blocks away was
Clever Cycles (voted top U.S. urban bike shop in 2012) who became both research HQ and showroom. Less than a mile away,
While we can despair over the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing overseas, we can also enjoy the creativity and determination of those who choose a livelihood making stuff right here.
"Sure, a good welder can make more money in aerospace or oil. But when I look around, I see people who want to make bikes: great bikes, bikes for you and me, bikes for life's journeys. Wouldn't it be a shame if we rebuilt the American car industry but still imported 99% of our bikes?"
Use of Funds
We’re asking for $50,000 to kickstart this project. What for? So we can transition from building a few bikes to building 100 bikes at once, which allows us to keep costs down (both for us and for you). However to do that, we need money up front to buy materials for those one hundred bikes and to pay for welders, machinists, powder-coaters, and assemblers.
The $50,000 from Kickstarter will be spent specifically on building the frames. It is our biggest single cost and biggest innovation. The Kinn team, friends and family have already invested over $50,000 to buy materials, components (handlebars, stems, etc), and wheels, as well as several rounds of design and development. We're in this together, which is a good thing.
Your backing will help us:
- Purchase the special steel tubing for the bike frame
- Pay for tooling and custom parts that reduce the costs of building in volume. For example; by making a bending form for the down tube rather than bending each tube by hand, and having a custom laser-cut drop out that reduces the cost of welding the rear rack.
- Pay the local fabrication facility which will build the frames and the paint shop which will powder coat them.
- Build a system to efficiently assemble, pack, and ship bikes.
All this work happens in Portland, so as a bonus you know your money will stay in the local economy, giving us all a tiny boost. So check out the rewards below, and let's get started. Cheers!
PLEDGE $25 - Hand Shellacked Cork Grips. Beautiful, natural, comfortable grips. Be the envy of your stylish friends. We do all the work, applying three coats of amber shellac, an ancient and durable finish. Each pair comes nestled in its own protective nest; we even include a little tube of glue for effortless installation. Sweet.
PLEDGE $35 - A Kinn "Blueprint" T-shirt. Proudly wear what you helped build. Printed on an American Apparel Ringer T with fine cotton jersey (ideal for cycling) and available in XS-XL
PLEDGE $190 - A Bike Basket with Custom Waxed Canvas Bag.
A brilliant convergence of beauty and purpose. This reward is our collaboration with two local firms: Portland Design Works and Queen Bee Creations. A handmade Queen Bee waxed-canvas shoulder bag (with limited-edition Kinn embroidery) snaps securely into PDW’s Take-Out Basket, a compact basket that attaches to your handlebars and includes a U-lock holder and an attachment for a front light.
Bike Rewards - The Cascade Flyer
PLEDGE $2,200 - Receive a Kinn Cascade Flyer Deluxe ($275 off retail) Quite a deal, and Kickstarter supporters will get their bikes before anyone else. Plus Kinns make you smile.
You can chose from two versions of the Kinn Cascade Flyer (scroll down for full specifications) :
- 8-speed Alfine IGH. The internal gears are virtually maintenance free, and it’s quiet and easy to use. You can even change gears when stopped. Comes with a chain guard to keep pant legs clean.
- 27-speed Shifting. You have hills to cross? Your regular cargo is 100 lbs? You want to cycle to Toronto? No problem – you'll love this version with its massive 625% gear range, and sophisticated Shimano rear derailleur.
- Small/Medium: for people 5' 1" to 5'9" (19" seat tube)
- Medium/Large: for people 5' 6" to 6'4" (20.5" seat tube)
- Chose one of three rich powder-coated colors:
Do it Your Way - A Kinn Frame & Fork
Frame purchases have one extra option - you can chose an unpainted frame. That allows you to make modification if you wish, and then get it painted whatever color you wish.
Kinn Cascade Flyer Specifications
Though specifications are subject to minor changes this is what we plan to build.
Frame & Fork
- Handmade in Portland, Oregon, the frame contains a blend of premium heat-treated TrueTemper and 4130 cro-moly steel tubing
- The fork is 4130 Cro-moly with eyelets for fenders and rack mounts.
- Includes Kinn’s unique built-in Half Twist Latch
Built in Multi-Rack
- 135lb (65kg) everyday carrying capacity (or 200lbs once in a while)
- 21” x 5½” Bamboo deck is 75% larger than a regular rack deck
- Built-in Yepp EasyFit window for quick and easy child seat mounting
- Pannier rails allowing a pair of panniers to fit even with a child/child seat
- Adjustable foot peg mounts
8-Speed Internal Gears
- Premium Shimano Alfine 8 -speed Hub with 36T crank and chain guard
27 Speed Gears
- Shimano triple crankset (44-32-22 or similar) and 11-34 rear cassette
- Shimano Alivio front derailleur and triggers
- Shimano SLX 9-speed rear derailleur
Wheels and Disk Brakes
- Hand built, reliable 700c x 36 spoke wheels with Alex DM-18 rims and Shimano hubs
- Mechanical disk brakes with 3-finger alloy levers
- 700 x 40 city/touring tires with reflective sidewall
Other Fine Components
- Alloy touring/city bar with shellacked cork grips and brass bell
- Velo alloy low profile pedals
- Brooks B17 leather saddle (honey color) with 27.2mm alloy seat post
- Alloy fenders - fit tires up to 42mm wide
- Kickstand: Ursus Jumbo (double leg)
Sizes & Geometry
- Small/Medium: Seat tube: 19” equivalent top tube: 21”
- Medium/Large: Seat tube: 20.5” equivalent top tube: 23”
- Head tube angle: 72 degrees Seat tube angle: 72 degrees
- Bottom bracket drop: 80mm Chainstay length: 580mm Fork rake: 45mm
- Weight estimated at 37lbs – 39lbs depending on size and options. Weight includes fenders & Ursus kickstand
You will find cool Spoke Guards, comfy Seat Cushions, and mini Stoker Bars at www.kinnbikes.com. The acclaimed Yepp Maxi EasyFit child seat is available from many bike shops or online. And while any pannier will fit the Kinn, we like Portland's North St. Bags, who also make our seat cushion. For a few dollars extra, you can even choose your own colors.
The Kinn Story
"I built the first Kinn because I needed such a bike, but couldn't buy one."
"It was December 2010 and Natalie, Max and Dylan (my grandkids) were getting older. They would tip up my regular bike if they sat on the back and it wasn't safe anymore. No problem, I thought, I just needed a bike a few inches longer so their weight would be between the wheels rather than behind the back wheel. But I couldn't find such a bike. There were excellent longtail bikes and box bikes but I didn't want or need anything that big – most of the time I'd be riding it alone to and from work."
"I was puzzled why such bikes didn't exist, the rules of physics said it should work just fine, so I descended into my basement to build one for myself. A couple of months later with the help of Tom LaBounty (of Tom’s Cargo Bikes) a bike emerged. It was stable and nimble and the grandkids wanted to go fast! Soon there was a second Kinn, built for me by award-winning frame builder Joseph Ahearne, and there it was supposed to end ... but it did not ... "
"People wanted this bike – they would follow me into cafes or flag me down on the street. They had the same needs I had: an everyday bike and kid/cargo bike, all in one. So, with the support of my neighborhood bike shop (the Bike Commuter), in early 2012 Kinn Bikes was born."
-Alistair Williamson, Kinn Bikes Founder
Thank you for reading to the end. We hope you like
what you found and that you'll become a supporter. If you have any
questions or comments please submit them, we’d love to hear from you.
Cheers, the Kinnfolk
Risks and challenges
You probably want to know: when will the bikes be ready?
Our biggest risk is frame fabrication timing. We plan to build the frames in two batches of 50 but we can’t fully guarantee those production slots until we have funding. So while the first 50 Kickstarter reward bikes are scheduled to ship in December it’s possible that any bikes after the first 50 would ship sometime in the first few weeks of the new year. We’ll be able to give a firm schedule for those bikes after we have received commitments for 25 bikes, so anyone selecting a reward will know their scheduled date. The best way to reduce this risk for yourself is by supporting our campaign early and often - so don't forget to tell all your friends.
That said, unexpected difficulties are part of most projects: employees break collarbones, rain floods warehouses, drawings get misread. Fortunately (and intentionally), our situation allows us to quickly tackle these types of challenges. Here’s how:
1. WE ARE MANY. There's a broad base of bicycle professionals in our team.
2. WE ARE NEIGHBORS. We can fix problems face-to-face.
3. WE KNOW THE BIKE. The first round of kinks are already fixed.
WE ARE MANY. Yes, Kinn Bikes is just 18-months-old, which means building 100 bikes is a big deal. But we have recruited others who are experienced: Zen Bike Fab builds hundreds of frames each month; Sugar Wheel Works has been building wheels for five years, Clever Cycles has sold nearly 1,000 child seats, and our purchasing agents have been buying bike parts for decades.
WE ARE NEIGHBORS. Distance breeds misunderstanding, and misunderstanding breeds delay. Many Kickstarter projects like ours have custom parts manufactured in Asia. At Kinn, the frame factory, the wheel builder, the laser cutters and machinists, the bamboo plywood supplier, the sewing shop, and an estimated 450 bike mechanics are all within three miles of our workshop. It is six miles to the powder-coater, but we are coping. There will still be misunderstandings, but they will be fewer and faster to fix. We are fortunate to be part of a truly collaborative culture here, and we are making the most of it.
WE KNOW THE BIKE. Last September we did an initial run of 30 frames, and slowly built them into bikes. We experienced all kinds of unexpected delays. It was often frustrating, occasionally ugly and frequently wonderful – about what you'd expect. We have learned a lot, made some improvements, and you will benefit. The parts and materials with long lead times were ordered months ago and have been now been delivered. We're ready to crank up the milling machines, fire up the welding torches and build you some world-class American bicycles.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
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Pledge $190 or more
About $190 USD
6 backers Limited (44 left of 50)
FRONT BASKET with FITTED WAXED CANVAS SHOULDER BAG. Beauty and purpose from local artisans Queen Bee and Portland Design Works. Words are insufficient, check out the photos.Less
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Pledge $920 or more
About $920 USD
FRAME & FORK - So you want to build you own? Perhaps a long distance touring bike or your dream commuter. We understand; just pledge for the frame & fork (at a $180 of retail) and let your imagination run free.Less
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Pledge $2,200 or more
About $2,200 USD
9 backers Limited (31 left of 40)
A KINN CASCADE FLYER with 8 SPEED INTERNAL GEARS. Premium Alfine internal gears mean low maintenance and quiet, easy shifting, even when you are stopped. Priced at $250 off retail. Travel Well.Less
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Pledge $2,200 or more
About $2,200 USD
0 backers Limited (20 left of 20)
A KINN CASCADE FLYER with 27 SPEED GEARS. Wide ranging Shimano gears are perfect for hilly hometowns and long distance rides. Priced at $250 off the retail. Enjoy.Less
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