Mac Ride - A Unique Child's Bike Seat for Riding Off-Road
The sleek, minimal design, with your child in front, ensures there is nothing between you and your greatest family adventures.
WHAT IS MAC RIDE?
Mac Ride is a unique seat for children that goes on your bike between you and your handlebars.
Mac Ride is about you taking your child with you to explore the streets, the paths and off-road terrain.
Mac Ride is strong, lightweight, ergonomic, easy to install, interactive and - perhaps most important of all - FUN!
There is a particular age at which children begin to want to do everything that their parents do, and yet they are not always physically capable. For our kids it began somewhere around the age of 2, and has carried on for years afterward, depending on the activity.
As a mountain biker and general outdoor enthusiast, I wanted to share my love of off-road adventure with my kids. And so we took to the hills, camping, skiing and hiking. The kids loved it. But when it came to my true passion, mountain biking, I found the opportunities to share with my kids sorely lacking.
Everyone has seen kids riding on bike seats. The concept is nothing new. There are a vast number of commuter seats for children on the market and many of them are excellent for getting around the streets. But I wanted a seat that was also suitable for the trails. Since I couldn't find what I was looking for, the solution was to build one.
Drawing on my experience as an engineer, I designed a saddle that enables a child to benefit from the suspension already built into modern mountain bikes. I threw away the notion of a clunky moulded seat with shoulder straps, because they help to conduct the bumps of a trail through to the child. I allowed the child to sit as a rider sits, upright and independent, sharing the handlebars so the rider and child can truly adventure as a team.
And now here we are, with our US/Canada patent pending, working toward production.
THE MAC RIDE DIFFERENCE
But why should anyone purchase Mac Ride over some other front-mounted bike seat? Well, that's an easy one.
STATE OF DEVELOPMENT & PROGRESS SO FAR
At the end of 2012 we moved from concept sketches, to plasticine, to CAD models. Early 2013 was spent building prototypes for testing. Summer of 2013 we produced more advanced prototypes seen below.
The 10 prototypes have been sent far and wide for testing and feedback from some adventurous Moms and Dads. Ranging from Emie in Scotland, Louis in Australia, Anika and Van in Whistler, Keats on The North Shore and many more in between, Mac Ride has seen a wide range of children on a wide range of bikes in a wide range of locations. A huge thank you to all who have tried and tested. Feedback has been fantastic and very encouraging.
Now, the modified design is ready to go to manufacturing. Only small changes will be made between the 10 prototypes and the final Kickstarter production run.
HOW THE FINAL DESIGN WILL DIFFER FROM THE PROTOTYPE
The latest prototype is very close to the final product. The only additional features will be a rubberized overmold on the saddle for child comfort and for adding grip. This is difficult and expensive to prototype, but easy to achieve and very common in mass production, seen in everyday items from power tools to toothbrushes. The majority of the other parts will remain relatively unchanged.
We overcame many challenges in order for Mac Ride to deliver on our vision. We tackled - and RESOLVED them - one by one.
1. Making it trail ready, so it doesn't rattle the child. - DONE!
We got rid of the plastic seat which just conducts the bumps up the child's spine. By seating kids on a seat just like a regular bike rider, they benefit from the bike's suspension and their own natural shock-absorbers, their knees.
2. Making it strong enough to survive trail rides. - DONE!
Mac Ride is constructed with aircraft-grade aluminum (6061 T6) and steel, and the spacers are made of Delrin, a good strong plastic with a low coefficient of friction (this helps it slide well within the bracket that clamps around it so it has a minimal effect on steering).
3. Making it adjustable for different sized bikes and kids. - DONE!
Mac Ride fits all bikes with A-headsets (99% of mountain bikes use them). These have a threadless steerer tube and come in either a 1 1/8" or 1 1/4" (new standard from Giant called Overdrive II) sizes. Mac Ride will not fit the older 1.5" steerer tube which is being phased out.
The horizontal tubes have telescoping action so it will shrink or stretch to fit most mountain bikes and the stirrups are adjustable for both length and angle. This allows larger children to enjoy the Mac Ride as long as their feet are kept out of the way of moving parts.
4. Making it comfortable for the child. - DONE!
The seat is designed like a horse’s saddle, so it's comfortable and self-leveling (no matter the angle the child will always rest in the lowest part of the scoop). With their feet attached to stirrups with flexible footstraps, their legs will remain active and engaged, retaining blood flow and comfort, unlike more traditional child bike seats.
5. Having zero impact on the bike's performance - DONE!
Mac Ride attaches at only two points on the bike: 1. a clamp goes around the seat post, where damage is uncommon and not a serious issue; and 2, a custom Mac Ride spacer replaces an existing 10 mm spacer on the steerer tube of the bike, and the Mac Ride attaches to that spacer. The spacer needs to be installed (see details below) and then remains on the bike, but once the spacer is fitted the seat can be removed or attached as often as you like in less than a minute. The bike can then be ridden normally with just the spacer with zero impact on the bike's performance.
Time is precious, especially with kids around tugging at your trousers to get riding. The first time you use Mac Ride, you need to spend a few moments (at most 5-10 minutes) in order to set it up for the bike. Once that's done, you can add it or remove it from your bike in less than 1 minute, every time.
Mac Ride is designed and the final product is assembled in Canada. Approximately half of the parts are manufactured in Canada and the other half in China. Our manufacturing centres meet IS0 9001:2008, the international standard for quality management. The same manufacturers that built the prototypes have also been prepped and are ready for the full production version.
Assembly will be done by our small team here in Vancouver out of our small but capable workshop/garage.
Weight = 3.4 lbs.
Length of horizontal tube, fully collapsed = 14 inches (20 inches with clamps).
Length of horizontal tube, fully extended = 24 inches (30 inches with clamps).
Length of stirrups, fully collapsed = 11.5 inches.
Length of stirrups, fully extended = 15.5 inches.
My kids are my world, and so although I enjoy challenging myself when I ride alone, I would never put my children at risk. But that is not to say I won’t give them the space to explore. In the normal course of pushing their boundaries and learning about their bodies, sometimes they get the odd bump or bruise. And I'm ok with that.
We take safety very seriously.
Mac Ride is designed with safety in mind, even though some of the ways we address it are not the same as more conventional child bike seats. We believe that the Mac Ride way is in some ways even more safe than conventional seats, and more fun too.
Safety is important, and all parents must take responsibility for the safety of their children. We believe that Mac Ride is among the safest - and most fun! - bike seats on the market today.
We have broken down some of the chief areas of safety with regards to child bike seats, and our philosophy.
SOME COMMON SAFETY TOPICS
Glen - Founder & designer. With a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering from Strathclyde University Glen has over 15 years experience designing a wide range of products. Fusing his love of riding, kids and engineering cool new products - Mac Ride was born.
Katie - With a background in marketing & communication (and mother of 3 at perfect Mac Riding age), Katie is helping with a variety of the day-to-day tasks required to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Our testers - Ten families located all over Canada, Australia and Scotland have been using and abusing Mac Ride and sending us their feedback for months. Thank you to all for their generous help and feedback.
WHERE KICKSTARTER (AND YOU!) COME IN
We are currently wrapping up testing our second round of prototypes in various locations around the world. We don't anticipate any significant changes other than the rubberized overmold mentioned above. The funds we raise here on Kickstarter will be used to pay for our tooling expense and to cover the minimum order requirements with our manufacturers, all of whom we have used before and who have been prepped for this Kickstarter production run. This is the version that we intend to take to market and to serve as the jumping off point for this and all future Ride More Innovations projects for getting outside and having more fun with kids. The funds will also be used to cover shipping to get the product into your hands!
At the $50 reward level you can support the campaign and get this T-shirt. Once the campaign is funded we will reach out to you for your preferred size.
Our production timeline will be as follows:
November 2013 - Kickstarter campaign launches
December 2013 - Kickstarter campaign closes
January 2014 - orders placed for incentives and production of parts for Kickstarter units
February 2014 - incentives shipped and received by backers
April 2014 - parts received and assembled in Vancouver
May 2014 - units begin shipping from Vancouver
June 2014 - Mac Rides received by backers, in plenty of time for summer riding!
Risks and challenges
Like many of our Kickstarter cohorts, there are risks involved in building and delivering such a product. The biggest unknown is with regards to the fulfillment of Kickstarter orders. We are confident that the amount of money we are requesting will be sufficient to pay for the tooling to make the machinery required to manufacture the parts for Mac Ride.
We have used the expensive machining process to produce all prototypes so far. When we hit our Kickstarter minimum, we will do a bulk order using castings and injection moulds, and since we have not yet used this process or produced such a large quantity there will inevitably be issues that come up - timing, supply chain, delivery logistics, etc - none of which can be dealt with and resolved until we do the actual order in real-time.
Our team is at the ready, though, and we will make sure we nail and quickly resolve whatever comes up, and keep our backers well informed. We know you understand these kinds of challenges are inherent in producing a product of any kind, but since we were asked to discuss risks & challenges, it seemed we should acknowledge what will be our biggest obstacles until we get through our first large-scale order.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)