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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 03-31-05, 09:18 AM   #1
Frank Schaefer
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Tandem Accesory

My name is Frank. I'm trying to introduce a tandem product into the market place. Therefore, I will probably get flamed for Spam, but would appreciate a little possitive feedback before being turned into complete toast.

I got a patent on this product and have lined up manufacturing. We have very little distribution and we aren't even sure of the best way to get it out.

The product lets you ride solo or tandem with a regular mountain or hybrid bike.
It attaches at the rear drop-outs and seat post with cable splitters that extend the rear brake and derailleur cables.
It makes a rigid frame tandem that rides just like a regular tandem.
It takes 5 minutes to put it on OR take it off, no tools, and is great for adults and children.

Sooooo, its out there and I wonder what you tandem enthusiast may think of it. I know you're already dedicated to tandems, so the product won't be marketed to you, but hopefully I can get some constructive feedback on where to take it/what to do with it. You can see all the info at my site
www.cyclemorph.com

Thanks/Please don't hurt me,
Frank
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Old 03-31-05, 10:31 AM   #2
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Interesting concept. But I am sure it will void the frame warranty of the bike it is attached to.
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Old 03-31-05, 11:10 AM   #3
Frank Schaefer
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Yes, that is a problem we haven't been able to address. Bike manufacturers are pretty good about honoring warrantees. However, I'm sure they would be leery of our product and they have no reason to work with us.

So far, the tandem adapter hasn't hurt any captain's frame. Neither has the Xtra Cycle, which also extends the rear triangle. We have done the "cover-our-rear" thing by:
limiting use of the tandem adapter to mountain and hybrid bikes.
no carbon fiber frame parts or seat posts on the captain's frame.
limiting combined weight of captain and stoker to 350 pounds.
no department store captain's bikes or stamped rear drop-outs.

People who have tried the tandem adapter say the frame is as rigid as most mid-range tandems and our MSRP is $550.
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Old 03-31-05, 01:56 PM   #4
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Saw Cyclemorph at Interbike couple years back. A bit complex for the average rider; it takes longer than 5 minutes to originally assemble all these parts plus you haveto 'buy' some things not in the kit; by the time you get done, you still don't have a real tandem.
In that price range folks will buy a wally-mart product which is another issue altogether.
While your product has merit, it has very limited appeal. Don't quit you day job!
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Old 03-31-05, 04:59 PM   #5
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I think as long as Raleigh and others are making a solid tandem available in the $600s ... your appeal will only be to those with space limitations. Maybe it's a way to travel with a solo bike and a tandem option.

Good Luck! It is always exciting to see innovative bike stuff.
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Old 04-01-05, 08:04 AM   #6
Frank Schaefer
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rotflmao- Hey Zonatandem, I'm definitely not quitting my day job! It's definitely a niche market product.

Interbike a couple of years ago was a prototype. A lot has improved since then. Now, the unit looks a LOT better and we sell it with everything for a regular conversion- derailleur, V-brakes, Truvative cranks, chain, cable splitters and cables, etc.

Initial set up takes about 45 minutes and after that it really is about 5 minutes to put it on or take it off.
We want the price just under $500, but I have to get quantity up and refine over head.
At $550 we hope to attract those who like bike culture, wouldn't buy a Wally tandem (support wally world and poor components= bad) and want more than a trail-a-bike-type accessory.
Also, we are hoping people who are involved with disabled riders will consider it an option for working with blind, physically or mentally challenged riders- without the hassles of a tandem, special car racks, etc.
The T.A. really is a superior product and can go against most mid-range tandems when comparing rigidity.

The biggest problem in marketing is it's hard to describe it in e-mails and phone calls. Those I show it to in person vary from "yeah, I guess it's cool, but no one will buy it." to "Wow, that's about the most inovative thing I've seen in a long time for bikes."

Thanks for the input guys-
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Old 04-01-05, 10:29 PM   #7
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Frank:
Love your wally-mart statement!
Have ridden on tandems with many visually/physically/challenged individuals and it is a very rewarding experience. Perhaps stressing in your brochures/advertising the part that Cylemorph is more easily transportable and without the high cost difference of S&S fittings could garner you a few more adherents?
Good luck!

Pedal on TWOgether!
Rudy and Kay/Zonatandem
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Old 04-02-05, 07:11 AM   #8
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People will buy just about anything so, given enough time and the right price I'm sure you'll begin to sell your product. At present, your price would appear to me to be the biggest barrier to mass consumer consumption / experimentation.

However, if you haven't done so already, I'd have your lawyer make contact with the folks from Norco, Pacific, Bike-E (out of business), Vision Recumbents/ATP (out of business), etc... to find out where their development and/or production processes failed to identify product weaknesses that led to consumer recalls or product liability litigation / settlements, since this is perhaps a bigger potential issue long-term than marketing your product. Again, the trick is making a successful product that results in an increase in your net worth somewhere down the road, not a pile of debt or a bankruptcy.

Again, as someone else noted and as even implied in your FAQs, your product relies heavily on the consumer's mechanical aptitude and the integrity/quality/durability of the bike (and the rear seat/chain stays in particular) to which your device is being hitched. Those two factors alone are enough to raise the hair on the back of my neck in terms of the potential for failure. I withhold further speculation about the product since there's only so much you can deduce from photos.

However, speaking of photos, you might reconsider some of the ones you have on your Web site, e.g., trick riding and riders who are clearly mis-fitted on the Morph, never mind some of the footwear and head protection issues. While you're certainly within your rights and your models don't violate any laws that I'm aware of, since it is a product information site the images convey "instructions" or "examples" of product use that consumers could point to as a way of defending themselves in future litigation.

Here are some links to the recall notices:

Norco / Adams Trail-a-Bike
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml05/05080.html

In-Stepp Trail-a-Bike
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02148.html

Pacific Bicycles Alley Cat
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml02/02040.html

Riteway Trail-a-Bike
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml98/98053.html

Bike-E Recumbents
http://search.cpsc.gov/query.html?co...set=iso-8859-1
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Old 04-03-05, 05:20 PM   #9
Frank Schaefer
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Wow Tandem Geek, what do you do for a living?

I will visit those websites. Good good advice. Also, good advice on the models. I am slowly re-doing a lot of pictures, so they all have helmets, but never considered the legal ramifications.

My patent lawyer told me this process was like a frog being boiled alive in cold water. The frogs pretty much don't know it's too late 'till it's over. We figured we would assess the situation at the end of this selling season.

Interesting you should mention Vision Recumbents. We used them to build some of our first prototypes...

Thanks again for the input.

Frank
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