This will be the first post of a series that will be featuring our Nighthawk custom cargo bike builds. Unlike most other manufacturers, we produce our own frames and don’t outsource this work to the Far East. Doing so, allows us to modify each bike to needs and liking of the customer. So too was the story with this bike.
Request from the customer
A pass door to be added for a dog or a child into the left-hand sidepanel. Sidepanels should be black without logos. Custom color – RAL 4009 – pastel violet.
We suggested that the door should open forwards. So just in case, the rider forgets to lock it, it will slam closed when riding rather than get stuck somewhere. Custom color for panels and frame is not a problem.
We started by 3D modeling the door opening. Once that was done, we knew the sidepanel would need some reinforcement not to bend around the door. We figured the easiest would be to add another layer of sturdy DiBond material around the door and try it. If that fails, we would weld a small metal frame for the door. Next, we acquired several types of hinges and latches from a local hardware store to test.
The pass door worked like a charm right from the start. We managed to find a latch that has a spring stopper inside so there is always some tension for the latch not to open accidentally. The double layer of DiBond around the door worked well and panel is rigid. Client choose Pastel Violet for the frame, which turned out to be a real looker! Another great custom cargo bike on the road!
“It looks sick man. […] I’ve already sent the photo to a few mates and everyone’s commenting on that door. Amazing job, turned out a lot better than I expected. […] I went for a one hour bike tour outside the city under pouring rain – it was a fantastic ride!”
After last year’s Berlin bike show, we already signed up for 2017 in June. 2016 had been deeply positive, we got some good resellers, a lot of interest, a steady stream of sales throughout the year that followed and some genuine fans. Obviously we had some expectations going into 2017’s edition – and Berlin did not disappoint.
How was it for KP Cyclery?
As mentioned, 2017 was similarly positive, we had a ton of interest in the Sidecar and nice Bike Hanger sales. I must admit, I thought that since our Sidecar is so different from all other cargo bike variations, there would be some that would say ‘that doesn’t make any sense’. But the notoriously engineering-minded Berliners and Germans seemed really impressed by our ingenuity. The Sidecar turned heads at our booth and even more so when out for a test ride. The tilting function amazed people with a constant crowd of cameras pointed at it. Surely there ought to be a few of them riding around Berlin soon.
Our friendly neighbours
One might expect that all of the exhibitors at the fair would be competitors and thus not overly friendly towards each other. However in the bike industry, it is the complete opposite. We we’re lucky enough to be neighbours with other remarkable visionaires – Halbrad (half-bike in English) and Brix / Sandwich bikes.
At first sight, we thought Halbrad we’re exhibiting a type of a foldable bike. After close inspection, it turned out to be what I called an unfoldable foldable bike. Designed to be allowed on trains without bike ticket, this nifty little thing is quite fun indeed.
Across from our booth, were the Dutch geniuses from Brik and Sandwich bikes. Brix bikes stood out with their crankshaft technology and Sandwich is a bike, with a frame made from planar surfaces – you can have the fun of assembling the whole thing.
Our two favourites
Other than our own stuff turning heads, there were some real gems to look at. Our own personal favourites were the PonyJohn bike by Retrovelo’s founder Frank. The bike features hydraulic steering, electric motor, and electric gear. As the man himself said – ‘that’s the maximum you can get out of a bike.’ The hydraulic steering really blew my mind.
The 2nd favourite of the two was KleinLaster. This bike just stood out from the rest by the sheer passion that is seen in the craftman-ship. The whole frame is beautifully brazed and later filed down for an outstanding finish. What we loved is that the frame is kept without paint, only a clear coat goes on top of the raw frame, displaying the welds in their natural beauty. And of course the chain that connects the handlebars to the front fork is just cool to look at.
As said, 2017 edition of BFS was once again a hit. We will certainly be present again in 2018. Aside from that, the life in a small and young company is always a rollercoaster and turbulent. We are hoping to do at least a few more shows this year – let’s see how things play out in the near future. Keep following the blog, Instagram and Facebook and we will surely pass on a message of other shows where you can find us.
Talking as a physical product company – crowdfunding is an excellent tool from companies to present an idea and turn it into a product fast. It is a platform that puts smaller and larger companies on a relatively plane playing field – so that all of us can pitch an idea to a large crowd like Tim Cook on Apple’s annual iPhone release. Whilst there are countless niche platforms, some regional, some area specific, there are only 2 truly global names when it comes to reward based crowdfunding – Indiegogo and Kickstarter. As we have used both, we would like to share what we have learnt so that you can make the best choice with a shortest possible learning curve.
The volume – First of all, let’s look into some general, non-project specific, numbers and comparisons between the two platforms. Firstly you should know that whilst Indiegogo is available for creators around the globe, Kickstarter isn’t (supported countries can be found here). While this can be an issue, there are many creators opting to favor the latter platform, going the extra mile to register a company in one of the supported countries. Why so? Perhaps the most obvious reason in sheer traffic – according to SimilarWeb extension, Kickstarter gets 54,7 million visits every month vs Indiegogo’s 26,9 million. Further more, the success rate on Kickstarter globally is currently 34,5% versus 9,8% on Indiegogo (up to some debate as unsuccessful project often get deleted). You can check out all stats on Kickstarter yourself by using advanced search and excel.
Marketing budget – On the other hand if you have deep pockets, and know your way around using Google and Facebook ads, then you might look towards Indiegogo as they have implemented those tools directly into the platform. With a few steps, you can connect your project pages to tracking pixels and retarget visitors so that you have a larger chance of sealing the deal with your project visitors. On top of that, Indiegogo is moving towards being a marketplace for projects that have already been funded throught their In Demand section, which is essentially a marketplace where you can keep selling your project even after the project has ended.
Funding type and currency – Other basics we would like to mention here, but not in great detail are that Indiegogo allows you to create a project with both flexible funding and fixed funding. Flexible funding meaning that even if you don’t hit your goal, you still get the money you raised. Fixed funding means that you only get to use the funds once you exceeded the funding goal. All Kickstarter project run on fixed funding platform. Another factor is that Indiegogo lets you choose the currency for your project, Kickstarter will run on a currency of creator’s country. As we took part of an event for Kickstarter creators in Copenhagen, a crowdfunding agency showed us how badly the success rate of project had dropped once Kickstarter expanded to Denmark. Part of the reasoning being that it took so much commitment to register a foreign company to even launch a project, but one reason could simply be psychological. If you sell a product which cost 750 DKK or 99€ then it will be much easier for people to go for the 99€ price mark, it simply seems smaller, this applies especially for US based supporters, only used to dealing in one currency. This may well be a solid factor as 76,9% of all project are launched in US, thus creating a US based community of supporters.
Alright – time to talk about our specific experiences. By now, we have run 4 campaigns on Kickstarter, and we started 1 on Indiegogo. Here are the projects in chronological order –
The two projects we want to focus on are the two last ones. They are virtually the same project, launched on different platforms. Why did we launch on 2 different platforms at the same time? Well we didn’t. First we launched on Indiegogo. For the first time since launching our company, we had some funds, not much, but some funds for marketing of the campaign, and like mentioned above, Indiegogo has some things going for it that Kickstarter doesn’t. So based on our experience, we thought it would go at least as good as one of our project in the past. But this is where it all gets interesting.
Just like with other projects, we had prepared our media list, organized our contact etc. More tips on this here. We went ahead with the Indiegogo launch and got pretty decent traffic for the first couple of days. Only a few backers, but decent traffic, so we were not giving up. After the first days, the traffic slowed down, only generating between 30 and 6 visitors a day. We had set up our retargeting ads, so that gave us a little bit more visibility, but as a strong start is the most important part of a crowdfunding project, then is simply didn’t have any meaning continuing as we failed to get much funding and media coverage. Thus we wrote to Indiegogo explaining our situation and they luckily agreed to take down the project.
About a week after this, we launched the same project on Kickstarter. We had of course wasted some good leads as we couldn’t approach all of our contacts again, but even so, the internal traffic was about double that of Indiegogo within the first days and continued to be so throughout the project. More importantly, we got a steady stream of backers and went 5x over the initial funding goal.
Easy decision making – Although 50 000 DKK is not something you will read about on the cover of New York Times, it goes to show how different these platforms are. What’s really clear is that Kickstarter generates far more traffic for a ‘non-viral’ project – which most projects are. Beyond traffic, Kickstarter payments work differently – Indiegogo charges your card right at the time of your pledge, but Kickstarter only charges your card in the end of the campaign. This means you can decide whether you like the product or the idea today, and figure out the money part during the next 30 days (or whatever the amount of days left). And if you didn’t you’ll get a notice and 14 days to fix your payment. Now this will create a few ‘bad payments’, but it makes decision making much easier which translates into numbers.
Further more, the last graph goes to show jsut how powerful the internal community of Kickstarter is. With 16 on Indiegogo, we only received a couple of internal backers, on Kickstarter, 73% of the total of 82 backers were internal. An while we didn’t show up on any charts on Indiegogo, Kickstarter quickly upgraded us to a ‘project we love’ status directly further traffic our way.
So which one should you choose? Kickstarter or Indiegogo? If there would be only one answer, then there would probably only exist one platform. If you have a large marketing budget and a lot of online marketing experience or Kickstarter simply isn’t supported in your country, you might opt for Indiegogo. Plus one might argue that the truly viral projects get their millions on either of the platforms anyway. But for small companies just breaking into the world like us, Kickstarter simply makes far more sense. The size of the community they have built directly translates into numbers, both in internal traffic and in backers.
As an extra tip for creators – especially those hoping to start a full-time business through crowdfunding – crowdfunding alone will, in most cases, not finance your whole project. There will be all sorts of unexpected problems – for example the Coolest Cooler, which at one point was the most funded project on Kickstarter, raised 13 million USD, had to sell on Amazon to be able to ship Kickstarter products. Instead of only relying on crowdfunding, either work out a flexible deal at your current workplace or make a deal with someone who will back you financially. Crowdfunding can be seen as a platform where you prove a concept in real world. You might only raise funding for 20% of the cost of the initial setup for the production, but you prove that there are people willing to pay for this product. This gives you an option to say for example – we need 100 000€ this year, if we get 200 customers, and 40 000€ in sales from crowdfunding, will you come in with 60 000€ as a partner?
Write or call if you have any further questions or comments.
So much has been going on during the last week or two that our ambition of writing an update has fallen flat on its ass, sitting in the back of our minds. Luckily, last day of this week happens to be a bit more relaxed to take a few minutes to give a quick update on what’s been going on.
New product photos & new frame colours – Last week was largely spent on something that had been long over-due, product photos of all our bikes. So we took a couple of days, built all the different combinations of bikes and took nice clean photos of them. You can see the results when looking at the product page of our bikes and designing your bike. PS! Life as a KP Cyclist just got a lot more colourful – many new frame colours!
We have some bikes for sale for a bargain – Over the years we’ve accumulated some frames with small scratches or defects by the paint shop. We took some time to look through them and uploaded them to our website as a separate product. It is a full spec bicycle, with very small paint defects, but a huge discount of 200€. Check it out, you might score a bargain! This Laguna Blue frame in any components configuration is one of the bicycles available.
Moving a head with prototypes – All the buzz around our Kickstarter (more on that coming below) has not been able to keep our hand off our prototype products, we’ve meen making steady progress with both the Sidecar Bike, which is now also available for purchasing separately from a bicycle and our front rack.
The biggest news last – our KICKSTARTER IS BLASTING THROUGH THE ROOF – After launching the Bike Hanger 2.0 firstly on Indiegogo where it really didn’t pick up, we were feeling a bit beaten down, especially given the past experience with Kickstarter. We took a few deep breaths, and decided to try again on the latter platform. We’re really glad to say it has taken off like no other project we’ve launched in the past. With the first 5 days, it’s already over 300% funded with more than 50 backers! We couldn’t be more thankful for all our backers, it’s a nice ray of sunshine during the years of hard labour, labour of love, but none the less a lot of it. Here’s the Kickstarter video if you haven’t already seen it:
Thank you all for keeping an eye on us, and wishing you a fabulous weekend!
Kicking things off on a +1 personal note, our founder Kaspar got married in the end of August. The wedding day went really-really well and some other ‘all-familiar-KP-Cyclery-faces’ were represented like our filming mastermind Birk and hustler Gedi.
At the same time, we’ve been designing our new logo and planned the slight re-branding to go hand-in-hand with our growing popularity outside of Denmark. Madis from Uus Stuudio is the person to blame over the revamped logo. From now on we will be called KP Cyclery. For some time we will run the two names side by side to make the transition smoothly. Soon the main domain will be kpcyclery.com.
Over the last 2 weekends you might have noticed us out on 2 design markets. Firstly Designerspace market conveniently located on the same premises as our studio. It went pleasingly well with many new Bike Hanger owners, and even some custom orders. The next weekend we were at Finders Keepers in Valby. A nice venue with a lot of space was equally greeted by strong interest – resulting in Bike Hangers now being out of stock. Which leads to our next and biggest piece of news..
..We are ready to start producing The Bike Hanger 2.0! The 2nd generation will be even better looking, easier to mount on the wall, and really stable. We’ve been shooting the video over the past 2 weeks. It’s been a tiring work, but it’s now being edited. As we value your input in this the most, and feel like you deserve the first look, then here is the preview link: https://www.indiegogo.com/project/preview/2eb02e98
The campaign is not yet finished, but if there is anything you’d like to see, that we have not covered, or any ‘excess fat’ on it then we would like to hear from you. The campaign will launch around the 10th of October – so arm your sharing guns – you, spreading the word will make all the difference in the World 🙂
It’s been a while since we last had a moment to properly sit down and write something. And no – we have not been lazy, quite on the contrary – there’s just been so much happening. So we will try to cover the 5 biggest leaps that we’ve taken since May.
The beautiful ladies’ bike – The question ‘Do you have a bike for women?’ has been asked countless time. It took us time, but it’s here. A beautiful women’s bike in what we like calling Rivera Yellow. It boasts a gorgeous lugged mixte-style frame, a nice front rack and mudguards as standard. If you like it, act fast, we currently only have one left!
The Perfect Urban Bike – We curated the best bits of some of the most popular configurations to create The Perfect Urban bike, which we launched through Kickstarter. The project was a large success, we hit our goal fast, after which it slowed down a bit, but we’re very thankful for everyone’s support. Along the way we learned a few new lessons which we will discuss in another blog post to help others with crowdfunding.
Sidecars – We started building sidecars for different bicycles. We are in the process of testing a universal way of mounting the sidecar on almost any bike, and we’ve created a completely one-off for a client in the UK. Unlike other sidecar we’re making, this one does not allow the bike to lean in corners. This was a request by client as it will be installed on a chopper bike, and the goal was to make the ride more stable at low speeds.
The Bike Hanger 2.0 – Based on feedback and our own ambitions, we’ve continued to develop our most popular product. Tests of our innovations have been very pleasing, and we are nearly ready to start full production of the 2nd generation Bike Hanger. As to do so will require a little boost – we will be preparing an Indiegogo campaign very soon.
New name and currency – And the biggest news will be last. Our image will get a little overhaul as our client base is growing rapidly outside of Denmark. We will be slowly transforming from KP Cykler to KP Cyclery to have a more sticking name and brand outside of our beautiful Denmark. With those news, we have updated our online store and changed the currency from Danish Kroner to Euros.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully the next post won’t have to wait this long. I hope you’re all having a wonderful summer and it is as warm where you’re reading as it is here.
It’s been quite busy over the last month to say the least. There was a huge order of our Bike Hangers by Monoqi from Germany of just under 100 units, production version of The Sidecar Bike finished and a new version of our bikes is rolling out.
Thus far we have been selling the Hangers to resellers like Steel Vintage Bikes from Berlin, Jooks from Tallinn, Westside24 from Düsseldorf, Omniia.dk, Monoqi and others for just a few pennies staying in our pocket after production. As there is more and more interest from resellers, then we will be pushing the price up next week from approx 100€ to about 120€ per Hanger (coupled with the launch of The Bike Hanger 2.0 – more on that soon). That means it is a good idea to order one from our webshop now 😉 Above mentioned shops will still have it for about 100€ until the current stock sells out.
At the same time we’ve had great news from here in Denmark. Having just finished the first production-ready Sidecar Bike, we’ve taken it to the Danish Cycling Federation’s shop (Cyklistforbundet) close to Torvehallerne in the middle of Copenhagen. You can go and test it there + they will be stocking our Bike Hangers from June. There was more Sidecar news from Bike Rumor, as to our surprise we were featured on their website – http://www.bikerumor.com/2016/05/19/hang-bike-wall-like-trophy-kp-cykler/
Lastly, perhaps the biggest news of the 3. We are just about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for our latest creation – The Perfect Urban Bike. We’ve noticed people getting slightly confused on all the different options we offer for building a bicycle. So we’ve created the ultimate package – puncture protection tape as a standard to save you from annoying flats; steel frame for a lovely ride; Brooks leather as standard; our Porteur bars for a good speed/comfort balance; Kickshift for no maintenance gears and of course smoking looks. All this comes in at modest 6995 dkk (approx 935€). Here’s a preview link for you (yes it’s not live yet, but we love you, and should get the first look).
That will be it for now, stop by our new bike studio at Ingerslevsgade 103 when in Cph 🙂
It’s been a little while since the last post – we’re looking to get back into it now as we’ve successfully moved the shop to our new location in Copenhagen (Ingerslevsgade 103, Kbh 1705 if you’re curious to stop by ;) ). Here’s a piece on something that’s been cooking for a while – leaning sidecar history.
Leaning sidecars were first invented by Freddie Dixon, an English motorbike racer, way back in the 1920’s. Dixon was the first to figure out that by having the sidecar passenger control the tilt of the car with a lever, instead of the sidecar being rigidly fixed to the bike, it was possible to take turns a lot faster, and he used this idea to great success in his motorbike racing career. Leaning sidecars were further popularized in the same decade in American motorcycle racing, although now the focus was on having the sidecar wheel tilt by itself, giving the bike rider control. The technology used in these tilting sidecars has come a long way, and we have now been able to come up with our very own leaning sidecar for a bicycle, allowing you to easily carry goods around without knocking the bike itself off balance.
Leaning sidecars have many advantages which they can bring to your bike-riding, that make them an excellent choice for anyone who wants to be able to carry things on their bike with ease. With a leaning sidecar, riding the bike feels normal, and you aren’t constrained by having to compensate for the added weight of the sidecar. You’re able to take corners as you normally would, leaning in and taking them faster, as the sidecar is able to tilt freely to match the curve of the corner. Furthermore, since the sidecar is able to move independently, you don’t have to worry about holes in the road knocking you off balance – the sidecar can move over these without affecting the stability of the bike itself. On a three wheeled bike, you might notice that the bike rocks around when moving over holes, but this is not a problem with a leaning sidecar.
At KP Cyclery, we’ve specifically designed our leaning sidecar bike to match the demand springing up for more efficient, effective bikes. With more and more households choosing not to have a car, it makes sense to enable your bike to carry goods such as groceries home easily. You’re sure to be impressed with how much weight it can cope with – in testing, we even managed to fit an armchair onto it!
Stylish and functional, this bike makes a great choice for those who want to cut through urban congestion with ease, and carry goods around safe in the knowledge that they are still doing their bit for the environment. The only constraint on what you can ferry around is your imagination, so you’re sure to find that it adapts to your particular needs perfectly. If you have good balance, and hang on tight, you can even fit a person on it, so it really is suitable for everyone. We look forward to seeing what you can do with yours!
**Rasmus K, if you’re reading this and haven’t checked you inbox, then do so, you just won a set of magnetic lights.
Ever since we finished the 1st Sidecar Bike prototype in mid-November 2015, we’ve been throwing everything at it to test its limits. Here are 5 different loads we’re most impressed about.
5. Groceries – perhaps it’s not as impressive as the rest, but it rightfully deserves a place in the list. You can probably relate to this one if you’re like 44% of Danish households and don’t have a car. The weekly grocery run can be quite annoying if non-motorized, especially if you end up buying something larger you didn’t plan. Carrying it on handlebars can be hassle, but throw it on a Sidecar and you’re not even thinking about it.
4. Ice hockey gear – us, hockey players, are known for having a crap-ton of armor. Without a car, it’s almost impossible to transport. But luckily a sidecar can easily handle one large bag, just make sure to strap it properly.
3. Two sidecars – or rather the material for 2 more sidecars. I must say I was a bit nervous about loading the 2,7 meter long steel pipes and wooden planks on the Sidecar Bike. But the 4 km ride turned out to be smooth as a baby’s behind.
2. Six frame sets – instead of taking the van, I thought of seeing how well the Sidecar Bike can handle a longer ride – 14,5 km one way to be precise. The climbs were a bit slow, and I admit that I got a bit pissed after chasing a group of roadies for a few kilometers without being able to catch them..
1. My lovely fiancée – this one was more for fun than anything, but it does work. You can see her filming the ride on the following video:
From heavy to super long to super high, our Sidecar Bike has not fallen short with any cargo we’ve thrown at it. It has been far more valuable and versatile than we first imagined. As we produce all Sidecar Bikes in-house, it can be customized for practically any special cargo, but what would you use it for?
A sidecar bike is a great way of extending the capabilities of your bicycle. By having a sidecar, you can easily transport cargo that is simply too large for panniers and racks. But have you ever wondered how a sidecar bike works? It seems like a miracle that it is able to stay attached without causing the bike to tip over. However, there are two simple methods which are used to keep everything balanced- sidecar lead, and toe-in. In this article, we’ll explain just how a sidecar bike works, so you won’t be left wondering anymore.
The “sidecar lead” refers to the horizontal distance between the rear wheel of the bike, and the rear wheel of the sidecar. The greater this distance, the less of a risk there is of the bike and sidecar tipping over. However, a bigger sidecar lead will also cause the sidecar’s tires to wear out more quickly, so it’s important to get the sidecar lead just right.
The other way that a sidecar bike stays balanced is known as “toe in”. The weight of the sidecar means that the bike will be constantly pulled towards it- something that could pose a big problem if it isn’t dealt with. To counteract this, the sidecar will typically be tilted slightly towards the bike itself. The bigger the sidecar, the more toe in is required, both due to the increased weight and because of the wind resistance that could knock the bike off balance.
As you can see, it requires a lot of skill to get the balance just right. We’ve worked hard to ensure that every measurement on our sidecar bikes is just right, so that you can be sure of a safe journey, every time.