FX Update

In case you missed the newsletter, an inside view of FX, plans for 2012 and how you can help to launch Mountain Moto.
Wow, the months (and years!) keep ticking over…I’m amazed how much hard work can go into a project like this, how we keep getting closer and closer to full scale launch without reaching that tipping point.
I want to give you a bit of an inside story on what’s been happening at FX, and our plans for the new year. There’s more juicy detail coming in our 2012 newsletters and on our blog.

Here’s the short version:

  • Throughout the recession and 2011, while companies like Buell Motorcycles have closed down and the survivors have cut back, FX has been working in secret on the 5th generation FX-5 with our former Chief Designer of Honda R&D Japan, Francesco Santillo.
  • Our long serving adviser, Michael Hillman, ex Vice President of Harley-Davidson, has agreed to come on board with FX full time and manage assembly and operations in Milwaukee, Wisconsin (and give some of Buell’s team and suppliers some new work!)
  • We’ve also been steadily building our sales reservations, our Facebook Page and other social media, along with a new website launched just last month.
  • Like every startup company, especially in manufacturing, FX needs a steady stream of capital from qualified investors.
  • Sales reservations and social media buzz give investors confidence. This is where you can help!

New website and social media

  • The FX Bikes website at www.fxbikes.com was re-launched in November after being completely re-designed and re-built in WordPress.
  • Our Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/fxbikes is growing steadily with regular new content.
  • Twitter is one channel I don’t quite “get” yet but we’ve got a reasonable stream of tweets posting to the FX Bikes Twitter profile (@fx_bikes) and we’ll keep improving.
  • Google just launched its new Facebook contender, Google Plus, and we have good starting platforms at Mike’s G+ profile and the FX Bikes G+ Page (please add both to your Circles).
  • In the last few days Google also launched Currents, a media publishing application for iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets. The FX Bikes Edition on Currents is already published (but the apps are only available in USA so far).

Best wishes of the season and all the best for 2012!
I’m off for a well earned break and summer holidays at my hometown of Christchurch New Zealand, so please excuse lack of contact 🙂
Sincerely,
Mike Hodgkinson
Founder, FX Bikes

 

Why not release the current FX-4 design?

Some people worry that we are succumbing to the inventor/engineer’s desire to keep improving the product before release, rather than shipping the “minimum viable product” asap.
Many of the lessons we’ve learned and design changes in store for the new models are shared on a “need to know” basis (we’d like any competitors copying us to repeat our old mistakes) but here are some of the reasons for moving on from the 4th generation pictured above:
1. Our engines were originally design to be horizontal but we tilted them for better integration.  This was OK for standard engines, but could void factory warranties.  Plus there are new Daytona race engines available as upgrades that fit on the same mounts but are larger and need more space.  So the engines on the new FX-5 models are back to horizontal.
2. FX-4 uses very thin sheetmetal, formed and TIG welded.  This is tricky.  Our new models are being designed for vastly improved manufacturability (and lower cost).
3. High demand for street legal models means our base design must replace the front mountain bike rim and tire with a motorcycle rim and tire (the same 19″ wheel that is now on the rear as well).  This changes the entire design.
4. The 3 liter fuel tank in the FX-4 gave good range, but the FX-5 has a target of an 8 liter main tank and 4 liter extension (total 3 US gallons) for long range expeditions up to 600km (360 miles), further differentiating Mountain Moto and perfecting it for the super-lightweight adventure riding niche.

 

Google search for superlight motorcycles

Why Milwaukee?

After attempting or assessing manufacturing in New Zealand, China, Taiwan, Italy and USA, our number one choice for assembly and a base of operations is Milwaukee Wisconsin.  Here’s our thinking…open to your feedback:
1. The Milwaukee region is home to Harley-Davidson and the now-defunct Buell Motorcycles.
2. Cut-backs at Harley and the closure of Buell give us a skilled talent pool and excess supply capacity.
3. Michael Hillman, our ex-VP of Harley and ex-F1 designer, is based in the area and our foremost expert in manufacturing setup and management.
4. By far the majority of our customer engagement and demand is from the USA.
5. Early stage low-volume production gives the opportunity to work closely with end-users to continuously improve the product.  This is more effective when located in-market.
6. Future development and growth capital is most likely to come from US sources and a US presence will improve our attractiveness to local investors.
7. Supply of components, materials and services will always come from worldwide sources, but a strong base for in-house research, development, design, quality control, assembly, and other critical value-adding processes will be key to building our capability and strengths.

 

 

Please update your details

Here are 3 ways to update your email address (and other optional details) so we can stay in touch:
1. Click the “update subsciption preferences” link at the bottom of this and future newsletters.
2. Our Facebook Page has an “email signup” link on the left (here’s the direct link).  Just enter the email address that we have on our records and your first name then follow the prompts.
3. If the Facebook form is having problems, or if you prefer to avoid Facebook, here’s an alternative link

 

How you can help

Reserving a spot on the wait list (no cost or obligation) and sharing FX Bikes with your friends, contacts and qualified investors is the best way to help.
If you haven’t already, please connect with us using the links below and share FX with your people.
If you have liked FX on Facebook it really helps to post comments and share pictures and pages with friends.  That way FX shows up on your stream and more people have a chance to do the same to get the word out!
Mike on LinkedIn
Mike on Facebook
Mike on Google+
FX Bikes Website
FX Bikes on Twitter
FX Bikes on YouTube
FX Bikes on Facebook
FX Bikes on Google+