Athletes love gear. For some, it’s carbon bicycle components. For
others, it’s lightweight running shoes. We all can agree, however, that we need good
clothing to do our thing. We know that the right clothes can make the
difference between a brilliant day and a bad one. We aren’t talking
about the mis-matched old stuff you use for training. We’re talking
about game day—when it really matters: that’s when you break out your
Sunday's finest. And yet after months of preparation for an
event—whether it’s a 3-day fundraiser walk, 10k trail run or 100-mile
gran fondo—we all reach for the free safety pins and poke holes in the
expensive clothing we’ve been waiting to wear. We knew there had to be
a better way.
Our objective was simple: to hold a number plate in place without
damaging our clothing (and look good doing it). We wanted a design that
was as simple as a button and as durable as steel. With over 40 years
combined experience in cycling and running events and motivated by
countless holes in our favorite jerseys, tank tops and shorts, our team
began experimenting with alternatives. We tried various snaps,
micro-velcro, double-sided tape and finally magnets. Once we started
playing with rare-earth magnets, it was clear they would be at the core
of our solution. Field testing
at events began early in 2013, and soon we narrowed down the size and
strength magnets that would offer the best performance and durability,
lowest weight and easiest handling by fingers big and
Early RaceDot™ designs
In an effort to make the magnet on top of the number easier to handle, we decided to glue to it a clear acrylic dome. The natural magnifying property of the dome enhances any graphic under it. We stressed the aerodynamic factor and refused to settle for what was cheapest. We have found it pays not to listen when you hear, "it's not possible." Finally, we found über-aero, ultra low-profile domes.
Next came the task of designing a durable, lightweight shell to keep the outside magnet, graphic and acrylic dome together, since glue alone would never hold up. This design had to allow the two magnets to lock together with a race number and fabric in between. After trying many different assemblies, the most effective one, as fate would have it, was the simplest one.
Over the last 8 months, we have been sourcing materials and manufacturing as well as putting the prototypes through rigorous testing. RaceDots™ have not affected RFID, RTLS, ANT or any other wireless timing device signals. We have been sending prototypes to timing companies and have yet to have a single problem.
We also tried different size and strength magnets, an array of domes—in fact pretty much every aspect you could factor into RaceDots™ has been carefully considered and tested. One question we received on a regular basis was, "Why not make it out of plastic?" At this point in time we feel strongly that there is too much plastic in the world as it is, and you simply would not get the quality, durability and attractive look of polished, nickel-plated copper (which is higher quality metal than a lot of jewelry being sold these days).
RaceDots™ Patent Pending Design locks the two magnets together
Having options is an important part of bringing any product to market. We know that matching gear makes you faster, so we researched colors on new running shoes, watches, bike frames, clothing, iPods and eye wear. Chances are we have something to match anything you have purchased this year or might purchase next year.
Like most athletes, we find the lack of daylight not only depressing
but a safety hazard as well. It doesn't have to be race day to snap on a reflective RaceDot™ for a
some added visibility before the sun comes up. We've been snapping them
on to our jackets, shorts, even beanies!
If you are part of an organized club or corporate team and you see value in branding healthy employees while they run, walk or
ride, the Custom RaceDot™ is a perfect choice. Have a cycling team that wants matching RaceDots™? Perfect! Band everyone on your team together and support the CustomDots perk to the right. The minimum for custom dots is 200 dots - once we go full retail this is likely to go up (and there won't be a BluRay of that awesome cycling movie, Chasing Legends included).
When you support this campaign, shipping charges will be billed once the campaign is completed. We can ship anywhere FedEx goes. Below is the nuts and bolts behind RaceDots™ and our plan to rid the world of evil safety pins.
To prove how strong RaceDots™ are, we couldn't afford a wind tunnel so we did the next best thing
Risks and Challenges
We have reduced the variables to only a few. Regarding rules by your governing body of cycling: we are currently working with UCI and USAC and hope for approval of RaceDots at the highest level. There is only one mine in the U.S. producing rare-earth magnet materials, and they cater exclusively to the military. Almost every other rare-earth magnet that enters the U.S. comes from China (bummer, we know). Each shipment of magnets into the U.S. must pay a 10% of value customs fee, which helps explain why no one else has pursued this concept. Add to that tooling and material charges, and you start to see why we need Indiegogo! We will use the money raised on Indiegogo to submit our first order for a minimum of 20,000 RaceDots™. Any lower quantity, and there simply will be no profit. Here is a look at where the Indiegogo money will go go:
We have experience sourcing from Asia, access to professional networks, and delivery ability with a vastly qualified manufacturer that specializes in magnetic products. We have also confirmed the price for producing our main run. The dots we will produced in the same factory that produced the prototypes. So we know they can do it and do it well.
Complexity of Order Fulfillment
Some Indiegogo projects have had issues fulfilling orders on time, and we are committed to not repeating this. We’ve kept the reward tiers as streamlined as possible to eliminate any confusion in fulfillment. We have researched all the fees and scheduling associated with shipping. Because magnets intensify when put together, large quantities cannot be shipped on a plane. We have set a realistic delivery date that still gets you off and running early in the 2014 season even if U.S. Customs decide to get troublesome. With this in mind, we want to match or beat our scheduled delivery date.
We have settled on our designs and do not plan on changing anything.
Indiegogo campaigns regularly fulfill orders worldwide without any issues, and we expect this to be the case with ours, too. However, we don’t pretend to have intimate knowledge of the entire world of import fees and taxes. We’ll work hard to avoid your rewards getting held up at U.S. Customs, but in the end we can’t 100% guarantee you won’t experience delays or be charged. There’s always a minute risk (just like stepping out your front door in the morning). Because the product can be mailed in letter-size envelopes, we do not foresee problems from shipping.
There will no doubt be some twists and turns in the road ahead, but with your help, we’ll all have less pins and pricks in our lives.
If you’d like to donate, any amount helps. Please scroll back up to the top of the page and choose a perk to support RaceDots™ on the right-hand side. Cheers and thank you for your support!!!