We are located in Western Oregon amidst an amazing array of natural materials. I have been chasing this dream full time for over two years and as a hobby for over a decade. Forming these materials for this purpose has been a challenging and inspiring experience. Along the way we've been covered by media sources including GIZMOTO, Details Magazine and Gear Junkie.
Our technology has been impact and performance tested and we are actively selling custom helmets. For our next step, we need your help.
Our objective is to fully certify the first lines of natural fiber bicycle helmets. We want to show that natural materials can work as well and better than the synthetics we are so accustomed to. Thus far, all of our prototypes have succeeded in preliminary testing at an accredited CPSC laboratory. We need your help to get 2 models fully certified for bicycle use. See www.coyledesignandbuild.com for more info.
Prototype Testing at ACT Labs in California
Our helmets are made with salvaged wood and cork (which is sustainably harvested from live trees on a ~15 year cycle.) This is the first time either of these materials have been used this way and we have patents pending for both technologies. We use epoxy that is derived from tree resins and water based adhesives to keep our footprint small.
Outside our solar energy driven shop.
Our helmets are 100% waterproof and weigh in at about 21 ounces. The way we cut the cork allows air to circulate within the shell aiding venting and heat exchange.
We have sold custom (non-certified) helmets to folks on 5 different continents and received inspiring feedback from our customers and businesses alike.
Professional Mountain Biker Ryan Leech is a big supporter of our product!
Ryan Leech sporting his Madrone burl lid.
All manufacturing and assembly is done in Oregon. We are the only domestic manufacturer of bicycle helmets. To this point we have been able to develop our products successfully using leased and outsourced equipment and services. We will continue to offer fully custom helmets, AND we have chosen the following two models to take through the expensive process of certification: Holz Model Built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir, and the Madera Model Built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir.
The certification process demands that we send large batches of each size and model. Right now this is far more helmets than we are able to produce. To finish the comprehensive certification process and get our helmets out where folks can see them we need to have tools dedicated to our project in our shop
We will use funding to bring our manufacturing operation "in house". This means buying one CNC Router for machining wood and a Laser cutting machine for cork (If you have some expertise in this area, we would love to hear from you).Machining one of our Douglas Fir Shells
A maple prototype being tested at the lab.
To mark the significance of this project, we will burn "1st Batch" inside the helmets ordered through Indiegogo (and will burn your name in too, if you'd like). T shirts will have a limited edition “Team Member” text added. Thanks for your support.
HERE ARE SOME OF THE PERKS:
T-shirt with our logo. "Team Member" will be added to Indiegogo funded shirts.
Example of a Holz model built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir
Example of a Madera model built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir
Example of a helmet interior, each one is unique.
Example of a Madera model built with Big Leaf Maple
Example of a Custom Holz built with Big Leaf Maple Burl
Example of a Custom Holz built with Walnut
Example of a Custom Holz built with Madrone Burl
Example of a Custom Legno built with Oak Burl
One of a Kind Custom. British Army Pith Helmet from Douglas Fir and Walnut
We expect to be able to deliver several of the perk helmets (Holz Model Built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir, and the Madera Model Built with Fine Grain Douglas Fir) with CPSC certification. However we cannot predict the future so we will keep our supporters in the loop regarding the extent and success of our certification efforts as they proceed. We do not expect at this point to be able to provide the “Custom” helmet perks to be delivered as certified products by March but expect to have made significant progress toward that end and further proof of performance testing by that point. For liability reasons we will only be able to recommend our certified helmets for bicycle use and owners of non-certified helmets will need to use their own judgement about how they want to use their product. If it is critical to you that you receive a certified helmet please choose another way to support us.
To determine your helmet size, measure the circumference around your head, keeping the tape level and firm, across the temples and above the eyebrow ridges. If you do not have a tape measure you can use a string that does not stretch easily and then measure the string length. Measure three times for accuracy. Check the size chart given below. For in-between measurements use the next size up.
Risks and challenges
Our work to this point has already tackled some of our greatest challenges. These include prototyping and first generation products, initial R&D around performance/safety testing, patent pending status and test sales to demonstrate demand for our product.
The most important hurdle we now face is ramping up our manufacturing capacity from an outsourced, prototyping method to an in house, truly production method. This will require a lot of footwork, attention to detail (and fundraising!). With time, experience and by working with other businesses and consultants we have developed a clear vision for what our shop and production should look like. Indiegogo is one of several resources we are using to move forward.
The certification process was not created with natural fiber or customizable helmets in mind. Therefore, we have to approach this differently. We have had endless discussions and sleepless nights pondering how to go about this. We have been faced with every question from how wood cracks to how to deal with liability issues. The government has told us we can move forward with certification and we are working with a major helmet advocacy group. With the Engineering Department at Oregon State University we are exploring new, less destructive ways of testing our helmets and helmets in general. We have also developed strong relationships with testing laboratories and with business consultants. Having done this, certification for our products will be more straightforward.
Beyond manufacturing and certification there are always other questions. Marketing, R&D, sales, patents, sourcing, insurance, financials, employees and so on. We have benefited and grown wiser from these challenges and, as a result, we were awarded first prize in the concept company division of a well regarded regional entrepreneurial competition. We are working with an MBA team from Oregon State University on a 9 month long project to work out a successful long term strategy for development and commercialization. Finally we have many great, passionate mentors who give us free help when we need it most.
The challenge most important to me as the founder of Coyle is to retain the passion, love and purpose that triggered the beginning of this adventure. It is not financial success or indiegogo success that is at the heart of doing this thing. In showing this can work and seeing people ‘get it’ I feel like we have already achieved some core of the success I had most hoped for. Now, what feels most valuable, is to share that passion and inspiration with others.
Thanks for reading.
Team on This Campaign: