This week we're mainly talking about our new mudguard and the kickstand designs. These have been in development for many months and are now ready to be revealed. Let us know what you think!
One of the key features of the FLIT-16 is the ability to easily roll it while folded. While we're very proud of the low weight we've achieved in the design (15kg vs 20kg for a typical folding ebike), we also know that this is not a weight that most will want to carry for longer than they have to.
We also wanted to avoid a design where the folded ebike ends up being rolled on very small castor wheels attached to the top of the mudguard or frame. This is because these small wheels work well in flat workshop conditions, but struggle with real life broken pavements, cobbles, or gravel.
For the front mudguard this was simple enough: a conventional design worked well. The rear mudguards was much more complicated.
While designing our rear mudguard, we worked through literally dozens of prototypes, from spring-loaded retracting mudguards, to ones that fold up, down, or around the frame, to ones that can be removed while folding. None of these could satisfy our main design criteria: effective at stopping spray to the rider and key components, doesn't interfere with rolling, good and reliable user interaction, and consistent design with the rest of the ebike.
The mudguard we have settled on is an unusual one: it is flat with a strip of metal at its core that, when pressed in just the right way, rolls the mudguard up and tucks it away under the rear light.
FLIT-16 with rear mudguard deployed
FLIT-16 with rear mudguard rolled up
This isn't new technology: it's the same principle used in the slap bracelets that were a fad amongst kids in the 1990s. More impressively, it has also been used in extendable robotic arms for decontaminating nuclear power plants, and has been tried on bikes before. (For the more technically minded amongst you, the engineering term for material that behaves like this is a bistable structure. There's a useful intro video here).
What makes it work particularly well on the FLIT-16 is that the position of the deployed mudguard close to the wheel means that splash on the rider is reduced to a minimum, and no other components, such as the rear light or brakes, are interfered with by the position of the mudguard when folded away.
The FLIT-16 kickstand deployed
The FLIT-16 kickstand folded
Luckily, a conventional kickstand works well here without interfering with the fold, although we have had to specify the correct size and picked a design with a robust mechanism that will survive years of wear and tear. We have also adapted the design to prevent the kickstand rotating around the rear wheel axle as this could put it out of position and damage the paintwork.
Kickstand or Mudguards for Existing Backers
What we've shown you here is a sneak peek of what will be added to the website over the next couple of weeks, with the mudguards priced at £60 for the pair (front and rear), and the kickstand priced at £15.
As a first batch backer, we are committed to giving you the best deal on accessories. So, if you would like to add either the mudguards or a kickstand to your order, then please wait for the next backer update in a fortnight's time when we will send out a discount code that you can use to add accessories at the lowest price.
Fully Charged Show
FLIT on the Fully Charged Show
In Taiwan, parts have started to pour off the production line in the frame factory. Next update we'll have some photos to share with you.
If you have any questions in the meantime please feel free to get in touch!