A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
Vincero Design is about hydrating your passion (and ours!). We started with a system geared towards performance-minded riders, and now are expanding our focus, and portfolio, to casual riders.
Vincero Design started in 2008, and was built upon the belief that there are materials which can push the envelope in cycling performance. Initial products considered included a crank and as two systems utilizing magnets -- a pedal with an integrated strain gauge to measure power, and a water bottle system. After a careful review of the market, we embarked upon building the water bottle system.
When we founded the company, we established goals of providing market and product leadership as a cycling accessory manufacturer, and felt our products should be more than just composite materials and magnets. The first was a nod to the quality of workmanship found here in the U.S. coupled with not chasing margin improvements by offshoring manufacturing. The second was about the environment. Today, all of our products are recyclable (in fact, we offer to replace and recycle for our customers while giving a discount on a future purchase). This is great for the customer and the environment. Additionally, we manufacture everything within a 50 mile radius of Boulder. This provides a reduced carbon footprint on top of being able to provide attention to the slightest detail or change.
Today we have distribution on every continent which has a cycling contingency. Our largest presence is in Europe, followed by the Americas, and then Asia. Each of our distributors likes the fact that we are accessible not only to them, but are willing to participate in local events and charities.
It is through these distributors that we have established our relationships with professional teams (one of which is Team Rytger) who provide incredible feedback on improving our system – which is in its 3rd generation now.
Our leadership of Joe, Robert, and Tim all share the balance of Sales, Engineering, and Marketing efforts/activities as our company continues to grow.
Design Tenets & First Product
We have a design belief that strongly aligns itself with the 10 Principles of Good Design by German industrial designer Dieter Ram’. If you have not heard of Dieter before, he is behind some of the most iconic designs in the modern era. Our system is innovative, aesthetic, unobtrusive, honest, environmentally friendly, and is as little as possible.
With this foundation, our system uses a pair rare-earth magnets to increase hold to offset the vibration and shock loading that the bike encounters wherever it goes. The minimal physical shape of the mount allows it to mate perfectly to the slot on the bottle, hides when there is a bottle, and does not distract from the beauty of the frame when the bottle is absent.
A quick side story is we have a competitive mountain bike rider who reached out to us and relay his experience with the system. He went over the handlebars while racing and instinctively got up to pick up and put his bottles on his bike. After a few frantic moments of looking for them near his bike on the ground, he realized the bottles had not even come off!
Bernat Guàrdia (above), the Spanish National Champion in Downhill in 2009 & 2011, shows the durability of the Vincero Design edge16 system with a stratus20 bottle.
Lastly, the products we build are designed to be safe to use for hydrating. Never have we used a product that contains BPA, DEHA, or DEHP. The materials in our products are certified to comply with the FDA’s and California’s regulations, and are classified as “Food Safe.”
For insight on our customer-driven product design, one has to look no further than when we lauched our product with an "off the shelf" cap. We found it and liked how it implemented a valve which reduced the number of steps to hydrate while riding. We equated this into less time with your hands off of the handlebars and therefore a bit safer to use. However, we received feedback for a use we had not considered – many riders only drink off of the bottle on the down tube. This means that on a long ride it would become necessary for the empty down tube bottle to be moved to the seat tube (and vice versa). We soon realized that an "off the shelf" design would not meet our -- and our collective customers' -- need.
We knew we had to either find a new cap or build one of our own. As you guessed it, we did the latter. However, we just did not build a cap which people could hold in their teeth which had a valve. By deciding to build our own, we incorporated other features to appeal to more riders. For example, one which continues to provide positive feedback is the ability to disassemble and wash individual parts to prevent mold from electrolytic drinks. This keeps you healthy. We added the push/pull nozzle so you could throw it in a bag or your trunk and not worry about something compressing the bottle and leaving a mess to clean up.
We’ve been praised in the media. Traditional print as well as blogs from here and all over the world have given us top marks even though they were admittedly skeptical that a system which only holds a bottle on one side could be better than one which envelopes it in a cage. They would always initially share a bit of disbelief because to them it was counterintuitive. To us, it is a solution steeped in science (and tested over and over...and over).
This recognition has also led to a collaboration which is the basis for this Kickstarter project. We partnered with Brompton, a UK bicycle manufacturer, and adapted our system for their commuter bike – one that is folded and carried on the subway. The challenge was that their bike folded and bike cages were too bulky and prevented the bike from folding. So we created a system which attached where the handlebars meet the frame. This led us to the cruiser cup.
The Problem with Cruiser Bikes
More than anything, a cruiser bike is an enjoyable way to get from one place to another, while being able to take in the scenery along the way. It might be a ride on the beach, to the grocery store, class, or just around town. Cruising is more relaxed and enjoyed with having the beverage of your choice literally at your fingertips.
However, the designs we see all suffer from the same thing – the drink either spills all over you and your bike, or launches out of the holder. Either way, you are either drinking less, cleaning up more, or looking for another drink altogether. None of these options are attractive if all you want to do is enjoy a drink while you ride.
We've all ridden, or seen someone riding, a cruiser bike. They are a great and comfortable way to take in the scenery by yourself or with a special someone. Sometimes, this may include bringing a drink with you or going to a coffee shop during the ride. This is a great way to enjoy a beverage while cycling. The challenge with bringing a drink with you (and assuming you can securely and safely put it in the holder) is:
It gets jostled. It spills. It may even jump off the bike altogether.
Our ATTRACTIVE Solution
We think we have an attractive solution (in more ways than one). Like our water bottle system, this design is simple…and elegant. We have taken our patent-pending design and applied it to the cruiser cup. Magnets safely hold your favorite drink in place, and allow for a solid and secure connection between the mount and the cup.
We have designed a cruiser cup using magnets and other innovations, built to keep your cup securely on the bike (and still let you easily pick it up and drink). Leveraging our patent-granted (in Europe) and patent-pending (U.S.) design, we initially developed for the performance cycling market, we have created a new product geared just for enjoying your drink while cruising on the beach, around town, or to class.
Our design may look like others, but is flexible enough to hold a drink or a cup (like the one you’d get at a coffee shop). This is great for when you’ve don’t want to be reminded of what you drank the previous day. :-)
On the side which attaches to the handlebar, we have a grip which is adjustable based on different diameter handlebars, and has a rubber insert to maximize grip -- regardless of where is it attached.
What makes this system special is that it leverages a proven design we have been refining over the past 8 years with the help of some of the most particular sets of riders – road, mountain, downhill, and cyclocross riders. We are on our 3rd generation product which is lighter, easier to disengage, and provides better feedback on proper engagement – which is key when you are focused on the road!
Additionally, this adaptation of the mount to the handlebars will open up the possibilities to easily add a mount for smartphones which secures it to your bike and looks clean when the phone is mounted (as well as when it is off!)
How Is This System Different?
How will using our system be different? Easy, it will not spill when you use the cup, it will not jostle if you put your cup inside of ours, and will not jump off your bike when you hit a bump. Best of all, when you want to bring a drink, it will be there for you. When you go on a ride, you can enjoy all that you brought, and wear none of it on your clothes.
We decided to ask you to join us in building this product in order to:
Accelerate bringing this to market
Provide customer input on features/details to the final product
One thing we learned when we launched our first product was users provided feedback on how our design prevented them from using the system the way they had previously used the system ours replaced. These use cases would not only have been easy to implement but also at little to no extra cost of tooling (versus adding it to the mold at a later date).
We wanted to do get the Kickstarter community behind us so that we could accelerate this to market. In any mature product development lifecycle, once a product is in the latter stages, it becomes more of a function of capital and less about time. This is where we are, and together, with Kickstarter, we can hit our funding goals and deliver for your riding pleasure this Summer.
Since personalization is integral to almost any product sold these days, we are thinking of ways to make your cruiser cup special. Options we are considering are: a custom logo on your cup (to show off your school, shop, or company) as well as custom colored tops (white can be so plain!). We may branch out further to offer custom colored cups as well. So join us on this ride! We look forward to delivering you a product you can enjoy every time you ride your bike.
So companies in the product development process usually get asked “What is the Target Addressable Market?” and, we have found ours. It is very straightforward: There are people who like to ride bikes and people who like to drink. We exist at the intersection of those two areas.
We know our target market is you, and want to put this in your hands.
Based upon the research we have done, our experience in building injection molded products, and thorough discussions with our manufacturing partners, we have come up with these estimates for the cost of the product.
Tooling is the largest expense coming in at 44%. Tooling covers all of the parts which need to be created in order to manufacture parts. This includes testing of materials for durability, fit, and the ability to decorate it (for those of you who want to support a specific team or organization).
Assembly and Manufacturing comes in as the second largest expense. Nearly 30% of the funds raised will cover all of the prep work, manufacturing, and post production work to finalize the system. This covers everything from inserting the magnet securely to applying a polycarbonate protection. We’ll do a sample run to dial in production to make sure a quality product meets our high expectations comes out exactly the same every time.
The result of all of our efforts is to manufacture the parts, assemble the system, and get it in to your hands in a presentable package.
While we would like to believe and tell you there are no risks in this project, we know there are. The good news is we have no dependencies on such things as travel faster than light, cold fusion, or breaking laws of physics. This is a question of “when” and not “if” as we can assure you that the design is 90% complete and it is only a matter of time to make this product real. This leaves proper tooling as the only outlier milestone to creating this product. Assuming the tooling shop in Longmont, Colorado, we have used for the past 8 years has immediate availability when the design is complete and the product works as envisioned (with no tweaks to the design), we will have a product ready to deliver at the end of Summer 2017 – still plenty of time for taking your cruiser bike out and enjoying a drink. In fact, to streamline the creation of the mold, we will kick off finalization as soon as the project is funded (regardless if the funding campaign has closed). If the tooling shop does not have immediate availability and/or the product needs some design tweaks, then we will have a product ready in time for Late Summer / Early Fall 2017 riding season (at the latest).
Risks and challenges
We have calculated and mitigated as much as we can. Using our knowledge of design complexity as the capability/availability of our manufacturing partners, we believe (as of 22 April 2017) it comes down to: