Aside from the crazy city drivers, the anxiety at the likelihood of having your bike stolen is almost reason enough not to own one in the first place.
The sad reality is, most of us have had at least one or two friends post about a stolen bike in their Facebook feeds this summer.
But now, three young entrepreneurs from Chile have claimed to have created the world’s first “unstealable” bike. And yes – it was inspired by personal experience.
The former engineering students – Cristóbal Cabello (22), Andrés Roi Eggers (23), and Juan José Monsalve (24) – created a bike frame that is dismantled and reconnected to make a lock – all in just 10 seconds. The only way to steal it would be to saw through it, rendering it useless. The bike’s aluminum downtube is fitted on a sleek steel frame, and splits into two to enable the seat tube to form a reliable lock around any tree, pole, or bike rack.
After designing successful prototypes, the three men threw in the towel on the whole university thing to commit to the project full time. The research and development stage was funded with a $100,000 investment from a state enterprise fund. Like the growing number of the world’s most recently successful entrepreneurs, the group then turned to crowdfunding website Indiegogo to sell their first batch of bikes, which have been named Yerkas.
Last week, they placed their first order for 300 bikes.
Of those, 197 were sold throughout the campaign, with roughly half coming from US customers. A third went to Europe, with a small handful going to Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong. As for their home country, only 15 per cent of the bikes were sold to people in Chile.
The team ordered an additional 100 bikes that they plan to sell in Chile, before a focus on the US market in 2016. Before hitting global markets, the company plans to wait for customer feedback before increasing production. To do so, they are seeking $1 million investment from national and international financiers.
The company sold the first 100 bikes for $400 then increased the price increased to $500. In the future, however, the price will rise to $600 or more.
The bike’s mechanical components are made in Taiwan, while the steel frame and fork are made in mainland China. Manufacturing has been entrusted to a specialist factory in Shanghai.