Kickstarter Roundup: KillSwitch, ToolB, Fire Cannon

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July 19, 2017

Many industries would be nothing without their original garage engineers, and nowadays the wealth of reference information on the internet, plus technologies like 3D printing becoming more accessible, are enabling them to get their ideas out there. Because it’s open to everyone, sometimes that gets a bit weird. Other times, someone invents Shockwiz and gets bought by SRAM.

Here are three campaigns we found recently:

ToolB:

Kickstarter: ToolB

The creator of ToolB hates riding with a backpack. While the leather bodies give this a Brooks-Enduro aesthetic, the durability of leather is a sound reason to pick it. We’re not so sure about the viability of exposing tools to British mud, but it may appeal to you:


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Killswitch:

Kickstarter: Killswitch

It’s been obvious for a while that convergence and automation are both trends in mountain biking. Apps that can talk to power meters, cameras, and your drivetrain; lights that brighten automatically when you descend, wireless droppers, electronic shifting: these things are not necessarily becoming standard, but they’re available. It all points toward further integration, and some efforts right now, even from big manufacturers, are just a little bit shonky, so they’re right to approach the area carefully.

One approach, that you need a serious amount of engineering muscle to get right, is to build that integration into everything from the ground up. That’s expensive, takes a long time, and getting it wrong publicly will tarnish the idea forever.

Another approach, much more open to DIY inventors, is to 3D print some external switches and actuators to attach to existing equipment, and that’s exactly what Killswitch have done:


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Your seat hits a mechanical switch when it’s dropped, which opens your shock. When your seat goes back up, it locks the shock again. At present, their prototype only does fully locked and fully open – no word on whether or not they’ll include a middle setting to give you traction without pedal strikes on technical climbs.

Unusually, they’ve got most of the way to their goal without posting any updates at all.

Fire Cannon:

Kickstarter: Fire Cannon

Around 2009, there was a small scene of hobbyists machining their own light housings and using home made or off the shelf LED drivers to make mountain bike lights. That died out as laptops and cordless power tool made the 18650 battery format ubiquitous, with cheap imports from Asian factories building on the back of that to supply extremely cheap bike lights. Of course, as many people found the reliability of them wasn’t necessarily great, and there’s not been much in the mid range between expensive-and-works or very-cheap-but-might-fail-horribly.

Hailing from Italy, the creator of the Fire Cannon is trying to make a reliable, bright light for off road riding, that doesn’t cost the earth:


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