Automotive Travel

Arctrike puts some power into lying down on the road

The Premise. With rising gas prices and a suffering environment, people are looking to new ways of transportation. Many choose bicycles or public transport, but for those who need a little power and privacy behind their ride, electric is the way to go.

The Product. The Arctrike is a recumbent three-wheel vehicle. The rider sits back and relaxes while he cruises down the road. It’s electric for extra power with pedals as well. A handle makes steering a breeze and front suspension ensures a smooth ride. Behind the back of the rider, the motor stays out of the way and is concealed. The trike itself looks sleek and rugged at the same time.

The Pitch. In the campaign video, the creators explain the advantages of a trike over a moped or car. It shows a man cruising around in the trike and his ride really does look quite smooth. The rest of the campaign goes into the trike’s specs along with the prototyping process. Arctrike’s creators really pushed their product to the limit in testing to ensure a great ride for all. This recumbent bike hopes to raise $65,000 CAD on Kickstarter.

The Perks. For $1,800 CAD, backers will receive the frame kit which includes most of the materials to assemble the trike by oneself, leaving out the battery, motor and other items. For $2,950 CAD, backers get the kit again, but including more materials, though still leaving out any kind of power. For $5,000 CAD, backers get the Arctrike and for $5,400 the better quality version of the trike.

The Potential. This recumbent bike seems like a blast to ride. It’s great for those looking for a fun and unique way to get around, at least in the warmer months. The creators claim that it’s safe, but stress that a helmet is needed to ride. One would also think that, being so low to the ground, being run over by a Mack truck might not be out of the realm of possibility. We’ve seen other trikes like this, such as the Horizon, which is designed to be a bit more accessible to people of all levels of ability than Arctrike. Still, Arctrike is a cool, fun, energy-efficient way to zip around town.

Cycling Kids/Babies Safety

Jyrobike swaps in gyroscopes for training wheels in helping bike beginners

The Premise. Young children face fear, injury and anxiety when attempting to learn how to ride a bike. For some, it’s natural and for others it can take a long time. Children with disabilities also struggle with the delicate movement and balance needed to learn to ride a bicycle.

The Product. The Jyrobike takes the uncertainty out of elementary bicycle riding. Coming in two different sizes, the front wheel of the bike use stabilizer technology so that the bike will not tip over, much like Weebles. The wheels have three settings. On the highest setting, the bike is its most stable and then becomes less stable with the other two settings so that when the child feels comfortable, he or she can ride on their own without assistance. The wheel charges with a microUSB and also has a speaker that provides fun sounds during the ride. A wireless remote allows parents to adjust settings while the child rides so that they’ll learn to balance on their own.

The Pitch. Jyrobike’s lengthy campaign video shows the bike in action with small and handicapped children and even shows the bike riding upright on its own to display its stability. The creators talk about the physics of bike, explaining how it works and go through the different features of their reinvented wheel. Jyrobike is striving for a $100,000 goal in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Early backers will receive the 12” wheel and wireless controller so that they can turn their own bikes into a Jyrobike for $129 or, later, just the wheel for the same price. The 16” wheel and controller go for $149 early or regularly at the same price for just the wheel. For $249, early backers get the 12” bike and wireless controller or, when the early prices run out, just the bike for the same price. Similarly, the 16” bike and controller cost $299 early or the same price for just the bike later. Reward tiers go all the way up to $5,000 with delivery set for January 2015.

The Potential. Plenty of children have learned to ride their bikes without this product. However, the thought of avoiding fear and injury is certainly appealing to both children and parents. The coolest thing about this product is perhaps its potential to help older children with disabilities. It provides the bridge needed to get over the daunting beginning phases of learning in order to really begin to enjoy cycling. Jyrobike’s intentions are noble and it definitely has a place on the market for safety-obsessed parents and clumsy children alike.

Personal Transportation

Marbel may be the first electric skateboard to pass for a standard one

The Premise. Skateboarding and long boarding have become popular ways for urbanites to get around. Bicycles are great, but don’t allow riders to easily take the subway between rides if need be. Skateboards are generally more portable, but don’t always offer the power necessary to get where we need to go in a hurry.

The Product. Marbel is an electric skateboard that claims to be the most sophisticated in the world. Coming in at 9.9lbs, it is super lightweight and can travel up to 20mph. It comes with an iOS or Android app that allows the rider to customize and design their ride by setting the top speed and acceleration rate or the rider can use a handheld remote to control speed. The app shows a map with a range on it so that the rider knows how far the lithium battery will last in the board’s 10+ mile range. Marbel‘s battery charges from empty to full in 90 minutes and uses a universal charger. The deck is made of carbon fiber and kevlar to protect the battery in all conditions while also remaining lightweight. 

The Pitch. The campaign video shows the creator talking about creating Marbel as well as his goal for creating a sustainable form of transportation. Footage also shows the board zooming around the streets of Tampa, Florida and how smooth of a ride it provides. The rest of the campaign goes through the tech specs of the board as well as shows screenshots of the very sophisticated app in use. Marbel is going for a $90,000 goal in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Marbel offers two early-bird specials for the board at $999 and $1,099 for estimated delivery in October and November 2014 respectively. The regular price is set at $1,199 and offers backers the basic package of the board, remote and app with delivery in January 2015. For a fully customized board, backers can choose the $1,999 tier which gives the backer choices of color for the wheels and deck also with delivery in January 2015. Tiers go up to $5,000.

The Potential. Marbel is indeed as sophisticated and sleek as it claims. It provides great speed, control and portability for those who like boarding about. We’ve seen similar electric skateboards recently, like the Baja Board. The Baja Board boasts speed and power, but looks very clunky, and mountain bike-like for a board. Marbel is much sleeker, discreet and lighter making it a very cool option for urbanites looking for new ways to get around.

Luggage and Bags Personal Transportation

Commute-Case scooter inches closer to Jetsons’ suitcase car

The Premise. Briefcases serve business people by acting as luggage for all of those necessary work-related items. Sometimes, however, they can become hard to carry, especially during those long commutes to and from work. Perhaps the briefcase should carry you instead of the other way around

The Product. The Commute-Case is so much more than a briefcase. It also acts as a battery-powered personal transportation device and trolley. When folded up, the case looks like any typical bag, but folds out into the two above modes. Currently, the beefed up case comes in blue, black, beige, pink, green, purple, red and gray. When laid flat on the ground, the Commute-Case is 18” long by 13” wide and 4” tall. While in ride mode, the product can go as far as 25 miles at up to 12mph.

The Pitch. Commute-Case’s relatively dry campaign video fails to match up to how cool this product is. Another video in the campaign shows how the product folds out, but does so with an animation instead of showing someone doing it, making it unclear how easy or difficult it is for the Commute-Case to switch between different modes. This product has a lofty goal of $150,000 in 30 days on Indiegogo.

The Perks. Commute-Case offers several reward tiers, but only one with the case itself. Lower reward tiers feature extra cargo bags, warning lights and t-shirts. The last and highest level of $999 gets backers the case along with an engraving option that has an estimated delivery date of December 2014.

The Potential. In the briefcase/battery-operated scooter/trolley market, the Commute-Case may be, well, the only product there is. Its interesting mishmash of uses makes this case worthy of a George Jetson type. In addition, the price seems pretty fair based on the versatility of this product. The only questions that remain are how heavy is the case and how awkward is it to ride while straddling the briefcase? Even so, the Commute-Case is a new and interesting way for commuters to tote around their stuff.