WHO WE ARE
Simply put - we're gear heads. We build toys, we race cars, we ride bikes, we enjoy the outdoors. Fun is at the top of our list. Collectively, our professional background is in manufacturing with an expertise in in Lean enterprise. Our daily pursuit is to constantly reduce waste in our business to allow ourselves to bring higher value to our customers. Using Lean principles throughout, we’re able to be more nimble allowing us to develop and manufacture products in a high cost region (California) while bringing a better value to our customers. We took our time coming up with each new iteration based on problem solving and feedback.
The basic design was developed in 1995 for personal use. When we considered the design, we determined that the most consistent parts of a bike are the front wheel and the bottom bracket/crack. Frame geometries can be radically different depending upon the brand but they all use a front wheel and crankset. So how do you make a rack that fits every bike?
The next big area of focus was developing and anti-rattle feature. We noticed how often we would see bikes flopping around on racks. This isn’t necessarily a problem for some bicyclists, but for those enthusiasts that have more expensive bikes, it’s discomforting to see your bike wobbling when you’re looking in the rearview mirror.
We applied for a patent in 2002 and eventually were awarded a patent in 2005. From there, we started to refine the design using Lean principles. For our first commercial product, this meant reducing the amount of parts that don’t directly affect how the bike is held. Things like nuts and bolts, while cheap to purchase, are actually over-used and quite expensive when you consider the design elements that they’re tied to.
We eliminated as many superfluous bits and pieces as possible and the result was a very simple and robust bike rack. While light weight wasn’t our primary goal, the original rack weighed about 18 pounds. We didn’t even know this would be a big deal for customers until they told us. Our first commercial design was released in 2003 and only sold it locally. We updated the design in 2007 and introduced an elevated feature: we found that many vehicles have a hitch that is low to the ground and this creates potential ground clearance issues for the rack. We were also able to simplify the rack for manufacturing and shed another pound in the process. This rack weighs then weighed 17 pounds.
THE DOVETAIL IDEA
In 2016, we decided that we could make the rack even lighter and the idea finally struck us: We concluded that we could separate the receiver from the rack itself, which would mean that the rack could be lighter by not having a dedicated receiver attached to it. Being a bunch of manufacturing guys, we’re very familiar with how machine tools are made with dovetails because of their rigidity. The dovetail has been around for thousands of years so we simply applied our own spin on this very old design. The result is a super reliable, wiggle free connection between the hitch receiver and the rack. It’s precise enough that it can be transferred to any other vehicle that has our Dovetail receiver and it will fit the same. We are the originators of this concept for use in bike racks. The end result is a bike rack that weighs 12 pounds and is still very strong.
We continue to develop new products regularly and are always taking customer feedback to tweak and improve our offerings.