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Helix Update?

Old 01-03-17, 09:03 PM
  #251  
Dahon.Steve
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
With regards to the team working on Helix; while is has been just me for the past few months there are so many people involved
Interesting.

There are "So many people involved" does not mean they are part of the team anymore. If in fact he was working by himself for the past two months, this extensive team was dissolved.

Last edited by Dahon.Steve; 01-03-17 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 01-04-17, 01:59 AM
  #252  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Interesting.

There are "So many people involved" does not mean they are part of the team anymore. If in fact he was working by himself for the past two months, this extensive team was dissolved.
I think what he is saying is that his organisation is just him but he still has lots of contracted parties executing in his behalf.
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Old 01-04-17, 10:18 AM
  #253  
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This thread is devolving into something decidedly unhelpful.

There are those - who probably invested in the Kick Starter campaign, and others who have been eyeing a folding bike as a potential purchase - hoping (desperately perhaps) the project will succeed and are asking for any detail that gives a glimmer of hope. Wow – a folding bike with some innovations that might distinguish it from the current market! Really? Cool. Since this is the folding bike forum, there’s a lot of appeal behind the Helix and what it represents.

Then there are those who are bashing it, almost from the outset: too cheap given it’s made of titanium, too ambitious in its design and production, too few communication updates, lack of management oversight, etc. In some cases, the assertions verge into libel: accusing the Helix founder of starting a scheme that cannot possibly be fulfilled, or worse, that he’s a crook. Really? Well, you better have some evidence.

Those who put money into the KS campaign should have asked themselves: if I commit US $2000 and never see it again, can I live with the consequences? Sure, if the bike materializes, that’s the best case scenario, but be prepared for the worst case scenario. At the end of the day, KS is a great promise at best, and a bad gamble at worst.

Those who keep bashing away at it – enough already. Please. Yes, fulfill your public service commitment and advise everybody that this is a gamble until a physical bike is available for commercial sale, but everybody’s heard you – three times over. If the bike never materializes, is Helix guilty of over ambition, poor management, and some bad business decisions? Probably. Is Helix a crook? Probably not. If you want somebody’s money for nothing, there’s likely an easier way to do it than to propose and build a prototype for an innovative titanium frame bike on KS that appeals to maybe 10% of the cycling population (when most of the general public doesn’t even know – or care - what a folding bike is), and go through this headache for more than two years. He probably had the best of intentions – and it didn’t work out. So be it. It certainly would not be the first business initiative to suffer such a defeat.

Caveat emptor – or as close as you can get to it anyways. If the bike actually shows up, great! Those who invested will be rewarded for their faith, and will say to the naysayers, “I told you so.” If the bike truly dies and Helix shuts down for good, all the holdouts will feel vindicated for their abundance of caution and say to the believers, “I told you so.” Life isn’t about guarantees. Case in point… I found out a co-worker’s daycare suddenly closed doors on the first day back in the new year. Now she has to re-arrange child care on the spur, nevermind losing any money paid already for an established business. This is arguably a lot more critical than a folding bike.

Time to move on… but if you really want to engage in an enjoyable, no-win thread, head over to the Safety forum and ask about helmets… now that is a LOT of fun.

Last edited by Ozonation; 01-04-17 at 10:26 AM.
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Old 01-04-17, 10:51 AM
  #254  
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I'm quite happy to continue talking about this project any way I see fit. "Time to move on" is not your call, and your allegation that a bike forum commenter could be guilty of libel sounds like a legal threat I reject. Put a lid on it.
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Old 01-04-17, 11:16 AM
  #255  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
This thread is devolving into something decidedly unhelpful.

There are those - who probably invested in the Kick Starter campaign, and others who have been eyeing a folding bike as a potential purchase - hoping (desperately perhaps) the project will succeed and are asking for any detail that gives a glimmer of hope. Wow – a folding bike with some innovations that might distinguish it from the current market! Really? Cool. Since this is the folding bike forum, there’s a lot of appeal behind the Helix and what it represents.

Then there are those who are bashing it, almost from the outset: too cheap given it’s made of titanium, too ambitious in its design and production, too few communication updates, lack of management oversight, etc. In some cases, the assertions verge into libel: accusing the Helix founder of starting a scheme that cannot possibly be fulfilled, or worse, that he’s a crook. Really? Well, you better have some evidence.

Those who put money into the KS campaign should have asked themselves: if I commit US $2000 and never see it again, can I live with the consequences? Sure, if the bike materializes, that’s the best case scenario, but be prepared for the worst case scenario. At the end of the day, KS is a great promise at best, and a bad gamble at worst.

Those who keep bashing away at it – enough already. Please. Yes, fulfill your public service commitment and advise everybody that this is a gamble until a physical bike is available for commercial sale, but everybody’s heard you – three times over. If the bike never materializes, is Helix guilty of over ambition, poor management, and some bad business decisions? Probably. Is Helix a crook? Probably not. If you want somebody’s money for nothing, there’s likely an easier way to do it than to propose and build a prototype for an innovative titanium frame bike on KS that appeals to maybe 10% of the cycling population (when most of the general public doesn’t even know – or care - what a folding bike is), and go through this headache for more than two years. He probably had the best of intentions – and it didn’t work out. So be it. It certainly would not be the first business initiative to suffer such a defeat.

Caveat emptor – or as close as you can get to it anyways. If the bike actually shows up, great! Those who invested will be rewarded for their faith, and will say to the naysayers, “I told you so.” If the bike truly dies and Helix shuts down for good, all the holdouts will feel vindicated for their abundance of caution and say to the believers, “I told you so.” Life isn’t about guarantees. Case in point… I found out a co-worker’s daycare suddenly closed doors on the first day back in the new year. Now she has to re-arrange child care on the spur, nevermind losing any money paid already for an established business. This is arguably a lot more critical than a folding bike.

Time to move on… but if you really want to engage in an enjoyable, no-win thread, head over to the Safety forum and ask about helmets… now that is a LOT of fun.
I agree with you. Been thinking the same
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Old 01-04-17, 11:20 AM
  #256  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
I'm quite happy to continue talking about this project any way I see fit. "Time to move on" is not your call, and your allegation that a bike forum commenter could be guilty of libel sounds like a legal threat I reject. Put a lid on it.
What, you can say what you want, but others can't ?
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Old 01-04-17, 11:42 AM
  #257  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
I'm quite happy to continue talking about this project any way I see fit. "Time to move on" is not your call, and your allegation that a bike forum commenter could be guilty of libel sounds like a legal threat I reject. Put a lid on it.
Your reply and its implications says it all.
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Old 01-04-17, 12:33 PM
  #258  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Your reply and its implications says it all.
Yes it does. We don't need a lecture about a "bike company" currently trying to get more money for a "bike" the original investors haven't seen yet. I'm all for feeling bad for the guy that he didn't know what the hell he was doing, but what he's doing NOW is unethical. He needs to either produce a bike for the KS folks, or return the money. Nobody in their right mind would support the current Ponzi scheme, which is he's trying to get future buyers to pay for the bikes he hasn't delivered to the original buyers yet. Intentionally or through incompetence, Helix is a scam.
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Old 01-04-17, 12:33 PM
  #259  
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Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
Wow – a folding bike with some innovations that might distinguish it from the current market!
That is the magic here.... it really is the rare new design that is different, functional.... and beautiful. That magic makes for a long & active thread.

Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
is Helix guilty of over ambition, poor management, and some bad business decisions? Probably. Is Helix a crook? Probably not.
Agreed.

Originally Posted by Ozonation View Post
a co-worker’s daycare suddenly closed doors on the first day back in the new year. Now she has to re-arrange child care on the spur
Daycare for this thread may be the answer.
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Old 01-04-17, 01:07 PM
  #260  
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Like I posted awhile back (a post that got deleted) there are T**** bashers that will never be happy unless they are proven to be right. Let them whine all they want. I would bet money that even if the bike were to make it to the light of day, there will still be something about the bike they will find to complain about.
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Old 01-04-17, 01:30 PM
  #261  
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Old 01-04-17, 02:38 PM
  #262  
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Originally Posted by ward00 View Post
Like I posted awhile back (a post that got deleted) there are T**** bashers that will never be happy unless they are proven to be right. Let them whine all they want. I would bet money that even if the bike were to make it to the light of day, there will still be something about the bike they will find to complain about.
That's a silly bet. Everyone thinks the Helix is a cool folder, especially at the prices quoted. The issue is that people have spent money on it, and he wants more without producing a bicycle yet. If he ever gets there and everybody has the bike they bought, yay on him. I'm not optimistic, but it could happen.
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Old 01-04-17, 04:10 PM
  #263  
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That's a wickedly cool design. Cool enough that some Chinese company is probably going to start knocking it off and selling them for cheap. And when they (or anyone) does, I want one!

To everyone complaining about their investments, I'm sorry but if you thought the money you were "paying" Helix was actually legally binding whatsoever, then KS has failed to convey the bedrock of their platform. It's not you, and it happens to a lot of people. Some people have personally tracked down failed KS campaigners because they turned out to be frauds. But that's really it... there is ZERO legal implications by sending them your money. It's just a vote of confidence in the form of dollars. And get this, either way Kickstarter takes their cut... which is on the order of 8-10% of the total money raised. That's right... for a campaign like this Kickstarter makes somewhere around $226k as soon as the campaign finishes. And then there are chargebacks and all sorts of crap that happens where backers find a way not to pay. And THEN you have to pay taxes, which can take around 40% OF THE REMAINING AFTER FEES.

My point is that Kickstarter campaigns are hard, and just because this failed and you didn't get your money back doesn't mean this guy is bad or a crook or a fraud. It's probably a combination of crappy real-life things that can't be planned for, combined with improper planning, combined with inexperience, combined with a little bit of good ol' bad decisions. The REAL problem is that you didn't know what you were getting yourself into when you hit that "Back this project" button.
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Old 01-04-17, 05:58 PM
  #264  
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I have to give the designer credit for getting this far. It is VERY obvious he isn't a crook. I still believe he is doing everything necessary to make this a success. I spoke too negatively before - while it isn't a certainty he will either fail or succeed in the long run - that depends on sales and profit - but right now, I am satisfied that in the short term he will succeed.
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Old 01-04-17, 07:26 PM
  #265  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
I have to give the designer credit for getting this far. It is VERY obvious he isn't a crook. I still believe he is doing everything necessary to make this a success. I spoke too negatively before - while it isn't a certainty he will either fail or succeed in the long run - that depends on sales and profit - but right now, I am satisfied that in the short term he will succeed.
Glad to see you're still reasonably optimistic. I am as well, but not enough to put down the requested 50% for a pre-order.
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Old 01-04-17, 11:22 PM
  #266  
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Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
That's a silly bet. Everyone thinks the Helix is a cool folder, especially at the prices quoted. The issue is that people have spent money on it, and he wants more without producing a bicycle yet. If he ever gets there and everybody has the bike they bought, yay on him. I'm not optimistic, but it could happen.
Hi Joe,

I'm curious, do you have financial skin in this game?

Full disclosure, I do.
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Old 01-05-17, 01:59 AM
  #267  
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Wow, this was fun to wake up to!

Jur, really appreciate your continued input - balanced and informative as ever.

The design is special and I do believe the designer is doing all he can to make it happen.

I'm on the pre-order list and need to decide on committing the deposit in 20th or not.

Risk of delay aside, the question is how big a risk is there that the company will fail with orders (KS and pre-order) unfulfilled and investment/deposits lost.

Discounting the scam scenario, I guess the two key risk drivers are an insurmountable cashflow crisis or a design flaw in the product design or manufacturing process which results in the manufactured product ultimately being non-viable either from a quality standpoint or in terms of profitability at a marketable price point.

As has been observed in earlier posts, capital may have been eroded by delays and changes in manufacturing approach, in particular the unexpected need to invest up front in dedicated production tooling and capability. This could lead to cashflow issues.

Where he's got to and assuming a sound business case and proof of market interest e.g. a healthy pre-order book and the KS interest, would be significant positives if he needed to secure further investment. The track record of delay would of course count against.

On the sound business case front, inherent profitability is perhaps another question given the assertions by some that "you can't do a Ti folder at that price". Previous posts have highlighted the arguments against this concern: bulk pricing, Ti tubing not that expensive, relatively low spec components, the price hasn't been hiked for pre-order etc.

The second risk is the less graspable risk for me. The product design has been iterated numerous times and there seem to have been small numbers of prototypes. The design is pretty innovative and the current configuration of the organisation sounds light on actual manufacturing experience outside of equipment vendor support.

I'd appreciate people's thoughts on this and any further insight from backer comms.

I guess in the end, it's all a lot of speculation and comes down to how passionate you are about having the product ( pre-ordering may be a factor in keeping Helix alive) and how much you can afford to tank the deposit (I wonder if my credit card purchase protections would cover the deposit in the event of non-delivery?).
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Old 01-05-17, 02:07 AM
  #268  
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Originally Posted by hasbeen View Post
Hi Joe,

I'm curious, do you have financial skin in this game?

Full disclosure, I do.
Nope. I got on the initial email list, but I never believed he could produce a titanium folder at the prices he claimed. But I expected them to happen by now at a more realistic price; I had no idea THIS quagmire was coming.
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Old 01-05-17, 10:34 AM
  #269  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
Wow, this was fun to wake up to!

Jur, really appreciate your continued input - balanced and informative as ever.

The design is special and I do believe the designer is doing all he can to make it happen.

I'm on the pre-order list and need to decide on committing the deposit in 20th or not.

Risk of delay aside, the question is how big a risk is there that the company will fail with orders (KS and pre-order) unfulfilled and investment/deposits lost.

Discounting the scam scenario, I guess the two key risk drivers are an insurmountable cashflow crisis or a design flaw in the product design or manufacturing process which results in the manufactured product ultimately being non-viable either from a quality standpoint or in terms of profitability at a marketable price point.
A third risk driver would appear to be this guy's management ability and experience.
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Old 01-05-17, 04:03 PM
  #270  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
I'm on the pre-order list and need to decide on committing the deposit in 20th or not.

Risk of delay aside, the question is how big a risk is there that the company will fail with orders (KS and pre-order) unfulfilled and investment/deposits lost.

Discounting the scam scenario, I guess the two key risk drivers are an insurmountable cashflow crisis or a design flaw in the product design or manufacturing process which results in the manufactured product ultimately being non-viable either from a quality standpoint or in terms of profitability at a marketable price point.

As has been observed in earlier posts, capital may have been eroded by delays and changes in manufacturing approach, in particular the unexpected need to invest up front in dedicated production tooling and capability. This could lead to cashflow issues.

Where he's got to and assuming a sound business case and proof of market interest e.g. a healthy pre-order book and the KS interest, would be significant positives if he needed to secure further investment. The track record of delay would of course count against.

On the sound business case front, inherent profitability is perhaps another question given the assertions by some that "you can't do a Ti folder at that price". Previous posts have highlighted the arguments against this concern: bulk pricing, Ti tubing not that expensive, relatively low spec components, the price hasn't been hiked for pre-order etc.

The second risk is the less graspable risk for me. The product design has been iterated numerous times and there seem to have been small numbers of prototypes. The design is pretty innovative and the current configuration of the organisation sounds light on actual manufacturing experience outside of equipment vendor support.

I'd appreciate people's thoughts on this and any further insight from backer comms.

I guess in the end, it's all a lot of speculation and comes down to how passionate you are about having the product ( pre-ordering may be a factor in keeping Helix alive) and how much you can afford to tank the deposit (I wonder if my credit card purchase protections would cover the deposit in the event of non-delivery?).
Here are some thoughts regarding being able to deliver KS bikes:

If you assume that the factory setup cost especially large pieces of complex machinery are bought outright, then that could present a problem. A much smarter way is to lease such equipment, amortising the purchase cost over some years. That's what you do when buying a new car too. So in that scenario, there isn't much upfront cost and KS production should not present any serious cash problems. So my previous pessimism didn't take that into account; I only had thoughts for outright buying which isn't very smart.

The CEO has been very smart so far with making sure the bike design is reliable and producable. I am guessing he would be smart in this too. He has been very careful up to now wrt manufacturing; that has caused some delays but if the final outcome is much better then delays are good. Better to be circumspect than to rush into something.

Also, the cash burn rate seems to have been quite low; because he has been working alone for perhaps 6 months or even more during this design refining stage and the patenting of new technology, there have been no unnecessary payroll payments either. So in hindsight, that is also on the plus side of the ledger.

(You can see I tend to fluctuate wildly; I'll be quelling any negative thoughts which are not helpful.)

Regarding the 50% deposit and attached risk for production pre-orders, I read (read back over it this morning again) that you can cancel your order right up to the moment of delivery. You can even send the bike back unused within 30 days; in that case postage would be on you. So it seems the risk is mitigated. If you have that in writing too, then I would be inclined to go ahead. Perhaps a quick email to confirm.
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Old 01-05-17, 04:40 PM
  #271  
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Originally Posted by Gibsonsean View Post
I'd appreciate people's thoughts on this and any further insight from backer comms.

I guess in the end, it's all a lot of speculation and comes down to how passionate you are about having the product ( pre-ordering may be a factor in keeping Helix alive) and how much you can afford to tank the deposit (I wonder if my credit card purchase protections would cover the deposit in the event of non-delivery?).
Once you recognize that your deposit may be necessary to "keeping Helix alive," then you have to admit that putting down a deposit is inarguably imprudent and constitutes an act of faith rather than a sensible business decision. The thing about acts of faith is that you do them in spite of the evidence, not because of it.
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Old 01-05-17, 05:45 PM
  #272  
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All power and hope to the folks who already have money on the line, but I think it'd be slightly insane for anyone to invest more now. Somebody needs to be seen unpacking their own Helix, then maybe we can discuss thoughts of this fellow actually being in the bicycle business.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:20 PM
  #273  
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Originally Posted by harlond View Post
A third risk driver would appear to be this guy's management ability and experience.
Not fair, I think.

Weak planning and expectation management (and otherbclassic perfectionist behaviours) = risk of delay = risk of cashflow crisis.

I don't think we have evidence either way on his business management capability but he's got this far and seems to have been prudent with funds and thorough in his approach.
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Old 01-05-17, 06:32 PM
  #274  
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Originally Posted by jur View Post
Here are some thoughts regarding being able to deliver KS bikes:

If you assume that the factory setup cost especially large pieces of complex machinery are bought outright, then that could present a problem. A much smarter way is to lease such equipment, amortising the purchase cost over some years. That's what you do when buying a new car too. So in that scenario, there isn't much upfront cost and KS production should not present any serious cash problems. So my previous pessimism didn't take that into account; I only had thoughts for outright buying which isn't very smart.

The CEO has been very smart so far with making sure the bike design is reliable and producable. I am guessing he would be smart in this too. He has been very careful up to now wrt manufacturing; that has caused some delays but if the final outcome is much better then delays are good. Better to be circumspect than to rush into something.

Also, the cash burn rate seems to have been quite low; because he has been working alone for perhaps 6 months or even more during this design refining stage and the patenting of new technology, there have been no unnecessary payroll payments either. So in hindsight, that is also on the plus side of the ledger.

(You can see I tend to fluctuate wildly; I'll be quelling any negative thoughts which are not helpful.)

Regarding the 50% deposit and attached risk for production pre-orders, I read (read back over it this morning again) that you can cancel your order right up to the moment of delivery. You can even send the bike back unused within 30 days; in that case postage would be on you. So it seems the risk is mitigated. If you have that in writing too, then I would be inclined to go ahead. Perhaps a quick email to confirm.
Yes, he did mention in Sept update that CNC tooling was a monthly outlay.

I didn't know about the 30 day return policy. That is good to one off/low volume faults or just not getting on with the bike. That and the cancellation are both only good in a non-failure scenario of course.

I am somewhat reassured on the quality risk though.
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Old 01-05-17, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by harlond View Post
Once you recognize that your deposit may be necessary to "keeping Helix alive," then you have to admit that putting down a deposit is inarguably imprudent and constitutes an act of faith rather than a sensible business decision. The thing about acts of faith is that you do them in spite of the evidence, not because of it.
There is a difference in an act of faith in spite of evidence and one in the absence of conclusive evidence. Nothing wrong with faith. Faith and greed built the western world.

As for sensible business decisions, buying Helix is not, for me at least, a business decision. It will be useful but us not essential and certainly is not an investment - provides no distinct return beyond the pleasure of having it.

I therefore think more in terms of risk/reward.

Least risk is wait and see/do nothing as I have no dependency on the product.

Deposit is higher risk that I lose money but perhaps lower that I don't get what I want (if the deposit helps keep Helix alive - unlikely in my view either way), with the reward that I get what I want earlier than 'wait and see' and have the pleasure of 'being invested'. If I can also mitigate the risk of loss using credit card protections, then it is all upside .

In fact my main worry is more that I buy something that doesn't live up to its promise in terms of quality/utility - always a risk with early adopting a new product, particularly when there are no reviews or market feedback.
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