I would like to share my experience with Fiberglass Bicycles in this forum.
I have built a prototype and done some test marketing. (N.B. The "test marketing was done in Nassau County on Long Island, one of the wealthiest counties in the United States)
I will briefly mention Alexander Bowden, who built Fiberglass Bicycles in the early 1960's. The model called the Spacelander was the most popular. But unfortunately, Mr. Bowden went bankrupt before a Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle could be produced.
I aimed my efforts at building a Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle. I wanted to let a woman design it, but there weren't enough women in the Engineering School , New York Institute of Technology.
So I let my Daughter , Mellisa design it. She said the frame should be like a moped frame, and her suggestions for the fairing was to make it a quarter scale version of the spoiler on her Uncle's Kenworth diesel truck. We debated whether to allow the spar supporting the seat to be flexible, so as top avoid the need for a suspension. I made the depth of the fiberglass box-beam at least double what she had suggested, fearing that breakage would occur (Considering that I weigh three times more than her). The width of the box-beam frame member is four inches, the same as Mellisa wanted, which makes it easy to sit on.
Here are some photographs of the completed Fiberglass Ladies Bicycle:
This bike was test marketed as "Type 9" and I used the corporate moniker "NFA Vehicles".
The Type 9 has a single, massively oversize frame tube which runs the length of the bike. The intent is have bumpers to provide protection in a low speed bike-truck crash. (Although I hit a few cars and totaled them). The fiberglass is after all, a quarter inch thick throughout, and the prototype weighed fifty five pounds (55 lbs.) Fiberglass has a working strength of 45,000 psi, so there was nothing that could crush it. (Think of a 55 pound battering ram, mounted on bicycle rims).
I've been waiting and waiting for someone to build something similar. Electra Bikes builds some bicycles with a crank-forward design, so the geometry is similar, but the styling is nowhere near being in the same ball-park. The Giant Revive is more like it, especially where the seat is mounted on a sliding track. But neither of those bicycles has a cargo box. For something similar that would do the job, you would have to go to Bakfiets.
The test marketing reveals that this could be profitable. The cost for materiel was $270.00, and the bicycle sold for $1,215.00, a decent 450% profit. I was asking $3,000.00 O.B.O. because I wanted to get enough money to build ten of them and declare it a "Limited Production Run".
(Maybe I should stick to building custom bikes, and not try to build a prototype for mass production?)
This bike has a page on the bikerodnkustom website:
Some of the features that are on the Type9 are:
Front and Rear Bumpers
Built in Fairing/Spoiler
Crank Forward geometry
Moped style Seat
and It Floats!
These features may be found on other bikes, but I don't know of one other manufacturer's bike that has ALL these features. As for the fact that it floats, I can't claim that it's 99 44/100ths % pure like a bar of Ivory Soap, but it really floats. Mellisa is familiar with Florida roads which have ditches along side them, and she asked if I could make it float. She accepts the fact that bikes might get forced off the road, on account her Uncle taught her to drive a Kenworth.
I would like to see someone build a similar bike. I can not sue anyone for patent violations, as this design is 17 years old now. I believe competition would be GOOD for business. If a customer doesn't like the price, whether it's it's twelve hundred dollars, or five hundred fifty dollars, I can tell the customer "Why don't you try that other bicycle dealer?"
If I don't have competition, I will have customers driving-me-to-drink and threatening to write a letter to the Federal Trade Commission, accusing me of fixing prices.
The only problem with such a bike is it's uniqueness, which makes my company a monopoly.