Cyckit Ltd. is a New Zealand based company specialising in designing and producing niche plastic injected moulded integrated bike saddle bags for higher end users in the cycle market.
Point Of Difference
Cyckit’s point of difference is making their bike saddle bag perform as good as they look on the cycle.
The Aeroclams are how a bike saddle bags should be designed for a cycle - Integrated & aesthetically pleasing, but of course these form attributes follow function.
Originally designed/developed for the road bike market the Aeroclams bike bags have been withstanding the rigours of off road for a good number of years so now don’t have a specific market category but more classed as ‘universal’.
The Aeroclam's Beginnings
Cyckit was founded by concept designer/ engineer & graphic designer Pat Reardon.
Pat brings his design philosophy of functional performance with equaled aesthetics to the bike saddle bag accessories market by producing a bike bag range that’s not really a saddle bag as the cycling world have for decades known them. His own design brief was design a stylish lightweight ‘hard’ replacement to the ‘style absent’ zip up under seat canvas saddle bags that dominated the market.
Pat became increasingly focused on the bike saddle bags noting that while bicycle technology was moving forward at an unabated pace the bike saddle bags had not. In fact the canvas under-seat bags had remained unchanged for years. In Pat's words 'the old canvas bags looked like a suitcase strapped to the boot of a Ferrari. They just killed the aerodynamics and look of a road cycle or any cycle for that matter. So we set about changing that'.
Pat developed a workable prototype and embarked on an extensive market validation procedure involving 125 road cyclists.
The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Inspired by the interest from all cyclists and cycle stores alike so a product development plan was conceived to bring this completely unique product to the market.
The Cyckit story started like many others – an idea, a gap in the market, a vision sketched out on paper and bought to life by many hours developing prototypes by hand in a home garage/workshop.
SHAREHOLDERS - Mike Talbot, long time friend and Hamilton based lawyer came in early as a shareholder and takes care of the law side of the business patents and documents etc. His backup is invaluable.
Development and Time
Customers often ask me 'can you just make this and that' like making the moulds was an easy task so I thought I'd write the blurb below explaining the processes and why we can't just quickly make anything.
Both the above are impossible to accurately assess as this is Cyckit's own completely new concept/design and never been successfully attempted before. There's simply nothing like this as complex to gauge development time with and also considering the multitude of punishing terrains exposing design weaknesses. Then there's the many Brand/Model saddles the Aeroclams have been designed to fit [230+ so far we know of].
Below are the many processes to complete to get through just one phase of development;
1/ Draw and make prototype by hand - Fibreglass
2/ Draw electronically the CAD prototype
3/ Rapid prototype the CAD drawing [Cheap prototype - around $200.00]
4/ Test/fit the Rapid Prototype [and keep it for a time making certain of any changes]
5/ Refine the CAD drawing to suit any changes
6/ Once certain the CAD drawing is correct, make a high quality Laser prototype [Around $1000.000]
7/ Test in real life the Laser prototype.
8/ Sign off the Laser prototype and begin the actual making of the Injection Moulds. Very time consuming and extremely expensive
9/ Get the injection moulds to the moulder and get some product moulded
10/ Test the product and make any modifications before large runs of product are manufactured
11/ Redo some of the above if something needs slight modification. It's rare for something to come through the processes without some sort of modification.
Slight modifications sometimes still need all of the above [but hopefully not the prototyping], so I keep the prototypes for a week or so thinking out and testing thoroughly. Learnt my lesson about being hasty.
2/ Draw in CAD the prototype - there is countless hours that go into even this process. I make two and sometimes three trips to Hamilton to oversee this process and nut out with the toolmaker . He's great and tells me what can and can't be ejected out of the moulds. We discuss what needs to be strengthened what and where + keeping in mind all the time to keep the product weight to an absolute minimum with maximum strength.
So we spend a huge amount of time assessing and development via a computer screen before the first rapid prototype is created.
Electronic drawing the product is one thing, then the Bolster needs to be designed and drawn. The Bolster is basically a large solid metal block that separate in half and contains the actual injection mould tool component. It's much like an engine block and has cooling water galleries but also injector pins to eject the product once moulded.
It’s all very complex and hugely time consuming to design and manufacture.
There also has to be very careful consideration when designing the injection moulds as to leaving enough room for possible future unforeseen modifications.
If the wall of the product mould is too close to the side of the injection mould, then there won’t be room for error and the mould will have to be scrapped and remade.
Found this out very early on one of the smaller moulds. Learnt an expensive but valuable lesson.
All these businesses numbered above have to be booked for time, so it can be frustratingly slow to make any progress.
It takes months and months to manufacture components. Then there's the seemingly endless refinement to iron out all the problems that show after time in use. It's this refinement that takes the time.
Quarter Mile - Analogy
The best analogy to use to simplify development for efficient cost and assembly time is like running for a quarter mile run down a drag strip and trying to shave valuable seconds off time.
The first 10 or 11 seconds are difficult enough, but refining this beyond 10 seconds enters the realm of points off seconds. 9.5 seconds is a massive amount of work to achieve compared to 10 seconds. And no one can see this amount of work for seemingly such a small gain. But it's the many little refinements that make a world class product range.
Shaving time off assembly is essential to making a business work outside Asia with their cheap labour rates.
I can now assemble a complete unit and have it in the box, taped up and ready to go in 3.5 minutes. It's been huge to design the products and packaging to get to this assembly speed.
Moulding costs globally are comparative and some of the quotes I got from China were more expensive than here and the UK for some components because product costs are similar and time is measured in minutes.
Cyckit's labour costs are as low as I can get them and minimal. The real reason companies choose to manufacture in Asia is they don't have to deal with their own employee problems and setting up the business. Not always about cheap labour.
Look forward to your support in purchasing 'Our' Kiwi made world class products!
World Class Products and Customer ServiceAs well as producing world class products, Cyckit also prides itself on great customer service with over 100 top rated Facebook independent global customer reviews that make constant mention of Cyckit's top service and communication.
As Pat says 'you can beat your chest all you like about what you do and how good you are, but it's really what your customers say about your products and service that counts'.