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Thursday, April 5, 2012

GripRings: A bicycle grip made of individual silicone rings. [Kickstarter Project]

WHO? 
WHAT?
GripRings are currently a clever idea in pre-production form. The concept is pretty simple. In fact, chop a heavy rubber tube into sections and you have our first prototype: grip rings.
Each grip is no longer an indivisible part. Instead, each grip is configured by stacking rings onto the handlebar against one another. It means you can use as few or as many rings as you want to change the width of your grips, extra wide or even down to the little grips used with twist-shifters. 
The design has advantages beyond just length customization. Until now, it was difficult to mount grips inset from the handlebar edge, such as near the stem. Narrow or wide, GripRings can be installed more places. 
Finally, since each grip is built from a series of colored rings, our grips achieve a new level of playful pattern making. Team colors are an obvious option. But there are way more possibilities than pennant waving might suggest. There are 12 colors and 14 locations across two standard length grips. How many permutations does that make? 1.28391846e+15. 
(Maybe you want to check our math.)
WHEN?
The idea for GripRings was one of many that we considered over the past couple years. Then it rose to the top like precious metal in a boiling cauldron. Actually, it wasn't quite that cool. We simply thought we'd step up the level of passion and purpose in our work. What do we love? Bikes. We went down our list of product ideas and GripRings boldly jumped out. 
That was a year ago, and it's been a long development process since. We've tested lots of other grips and lots of our own. Harder materials. Softer materials. Larger diameters. Smaller diameters. Higher wavelength colors and shorter wavelength colors. 
If we can successfully get support for our Kickstarter project, we'll be able to place a mass production order right away. Higher pledge Kickstarter backers will get their GripRings from the bit of stock we have coming to us shortly. Later, hopefully mid-summer, we'll then be able to take delivery of our first bigger order. We have some local shops eager to begin offering GripRings for sale. Plus, by then we should have our own website polished and ready for business. You'll be able to come direct to us and order as many or few rings as you'd like, in whatever colors, and see what the patterns will look like before you checkout.
WHY?
Well, we've already drafted a mission statement for Spurcycle. As a company we want:
To deliver well-engineered products that bring ease and excitement to cycling as a lifestyle, making the bicycle as a means of personal and social health a more obvious choice for more people.
In less business-school language that means:
We truly believe introducing a bicycle into your daily routine will make your life better. If you can arrange a good cup of coffee in the morning, a bit of purpose in the day, a beer by evening and a little ride somewhere in between... It sounds dramatic to talk about saving the world, but you can always start with what's right in front of you. 
There are some things social and industrial evolution seem to have gotten right. You see lots of sexy technology in the bicycle industry these days. It's fantastic and has helped build excitement for bikes as sport. We love it all, but with Spurcycle we'd like to help make more regular cycling activities fulfilling: bike to work, ride to the grocery store, pedal over to a friend's place, or cruise over to the neighborhood café.
WHERE?
In one of the happiest places on the planet, a city filled with daily riders, beautiful bicycles, and a growing appreciation for the power of a velo-enabled lifestyle... San Francisco, California. This is where we plan to start the Spurcycle ride.
HOW?
We're confident in our grip design and eager to start designing more products for Spurcycle. If we have a successfully funded project, we'll have the runway we need to make this product available internationally. Here are some immediate next steps:
  • Review pilot production parts and make final tooling modifications.
  • Finish paying for the second half of our production tooling. (Tooling was started with only a partial payment.)
  • Place our first large volume production order for resale.  We need to hit some minimum order quantities to get our part price low enough to turn a profit and keep funding future product development.
  • Hire a web developer to code a custom GripRings "builder" within our ecommerce platform. We need a pro who can provide our customers with an intuitive interface.
THANK YOU
We would like to thank those that helped us pull this project together...
Thanks to Orville Shook for helping fund early GripRing development.
Thanks to Joe Luttwak with Black Bird Guitars for our intro soundtrack, lending us audio equipment, and providing valuable feedback while putting the script and video together.
Thanks to Melissa Cook for learning to pan a camera and being part of the video shoot.
Thanks to Adisti and Astra Soedarsono for help creating all the graphics and identity for Spurcycle.
Thanks to Chris Miksovsky for helping us make some tough design decisions and for keeping the office quiet while filming— and for lending all the lighting/tripod equipment (perhaps unknowingly). 
- Nick & Clint

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