The second prototype pannier hooks arrived from the factory last week and they fit perfectly onto the side of the bike seat storage compartment, so I gave the factory the go-ahead to start manufacturing. The factory got started this week and should be all finished up with the pannier hooks by mid-November, which means that pre-orders will ship out in early December, just in time for the holidays.
A customer from Washington DC that bought his bike seat about a year and a half ago wrote me this week with the coolest story - he and his girlfriend > fiance > wife rode their bicycle with the bike seat to and from work every day. It was such a big part of their daily routine, that they decided to include their bicycle + bike seat in their wedding photos! They had met while working at the Washingtonian, and the magazine wrote a story about their wedding, including several of their wedding photos in the story. I included one of them below, the rest can be found at the Washingtonian story. The Companion Bike Seat even made it onto their wedding website!
Not to brag, but I'd like to think that Companion Bike Seat played a small but important part in spurring this love story along. Either way, it's always awesome to get such great feedback on our bike seats. Here's what he had to say:
I'm sure you don't remember me, but we corresponded a few times back in June 2014 when I had a few questions about installing the bike seat. You were really helpful and patient in answering my questions.
It's official, the first manufacturing run of bike seat backrests is complete, and they shipped out from the factory this afternoon! This is a picture of one of the many pallets of backrests at the factory just outside of Shenzhen, just before they were loaded onto trucks to take to the port. It'll take another 3 to 4 weeks to get here to SF, but we're still on track to have the first backrests ship out to folks before the end of October. I'll provide an arrival date as soon as I receive one from our shipper.
We ran into a couple snags with the backrest manufacturing in early August that resulted in a delay of more than a month to resolve. Apologies for the delay with the backrests, but these things do happen with the first mfg run of a new product, as we've learned from the bike seat already. We've been working extra close with the factory over the last month to make the necessary changes, and the backrests are now expected to be finished by the end of next week, Sep 18!
From the factory, it will take three to four weeks for freight shipping to arrive here in San Francisco. Pre-orders will ship out as soon as the shipment arrives, and are expected to be sent out during the week starting Oct 19. As long as everything goes according to schedule now, backrest orders will be received before the end of October, just in time for Halloween and trick-or-treating.
The prototype modified peg for ebikes is finished and ready to test out and verify it works. There are two modifications to tour standard bike seat peg with this prototype.
The first is a slot cut out of the side of the peg, to allow the power/throttle wire to feed through and back into the wheel. The second is the hole for the peg was tapped to M12x1.25 (12mm diameter by 1.25 mm thread pitch). This peg can screw directly onto 12mm diameter axles and does not require axle nuts to tighten down onto the frame.
To install this peg, you'll disconnect the power/throttle wire from the axle, unscrew the existing axle nut, then screw on the ebike peg, feed the wire back through the slot in the peg, and connect it back up to the wheel.
I'll provide more pictures of the peg once I've been able to install it on an appropriate ebike and make sure it works. Once it's proven out, I'll make these pegs available on the website!
The first prototype pannier hooks arrived this week from the factory for review and they're very close to being ready for manufacturing. There are a couple of details to work out with the specs, and we're requesting a second prototype from the factory to iron them out. But based on the turn-around with the first prototype, we should be able to start manufacturing within the next month!
eBikes today come in all sorts of different configurations: rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, mid-drive (power is applied to the crank set where the pedals are). For some rear-drive systems, the motor is housed in the center of the rear-wheel, and the throttle and control wire feeds in to the motor through the center-point of the rear-axle on one side. To date this configuration has posed a serious challenge to installing a Companion Bike Seat because this wire gets in the way of properly installing the peg onto that side of the rear axle.
Last week I started working on a potential solution for this eBike setup, and I'm making good progress! Below is a picture of the almost-finished "prototype" peg, with a slot in the side to be able to feed the throttle wire through after installing the peg onto the axle. The only thing left is to get the proper sized tap to thread the holes of the peg so that it screws directly onto the axle (without required axle nuts). Once this is done, I'll be able to do a test-install with this updated peg and see if it works!
Depending on how the test installation goes, I will hopefully be able to offer these "eBike pegs" for purchase on the website very soon!
Photos of the first prototypes of the pannier hooks for Companion Bike Seat arrived today from the factory! The edges are a little rough and the paint job needs some cleaning up before it's ready for manufacturing, but overall they look good ... definitely headed in the right direction.
A little cleaning up of the rough edges with a file, then the prototype pannier hooks will be shipped here for physical review and testing.
I took Companion Bike Seat out for an early morning ride down Valencia Street in the Mission, and passed a cafe playing some music as they were prepping for the day. Of course I just had to dance!
I heard back from the factory this week on manufacturing progress for the backrests, and we now have a delivery date for completion! They'll be finished and ready to ship on August 10th. From there, it will take another three to four weeks for freight shipping across the Pacific Ocean to San Francisco. Once I receive them, I'll prep all of the pre-orders and will ship them out immediately after!
If all goes according to plan, the backrests will be shipping out right around Labor Day, just in time for back-to-school!
I also have some great news about the pannier hooks. Now that the backrests are almost complete, I've started working with the factory on prototyping the new pannier hooks for the bike seat! Initial prototyping will take about 7 to 10 days, and I'll share pictures of the progress made as soon as I have them back from the factory.
More updates to come soon!
Remember, ALWAYS wear a HELMET!