FX Newsletter Feb 2014

If you are not signed up to our mailing or waiting list, here is our latest newsletter.  The text is below but it looks much prettier with pictures on your browser at this link.


 

Birth of the FX5, production plans for 2014, 10% of FX Bikes up for sale, upcoming crowdfunding.
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NZ Testing and Filming

While we eagerly wait for the professional photos and videos we have in post-production now, here are some links to some of the FX5 testing sessions we’ve been doing in the UK and throughout the length of New Zealand.

Keep an eye on our Facebook page and YouTube channel for the latest releases.

Dan and Brett Frew FMX BMX experts

Bevan Adlam MX BMX Racer

Motueka New Zealand

David Harker near Christchurch NZ

Sarah Sutherland GNCC Racer

Docklands Riders London

FX Bikes

Made in Italy

After looking hard at manufacturing in Milwaukee, USA, we decided that the capital investment and time required to set up an assembly operation from scratch is excessive for a startup motorcycle company.

Instead, we’ve visited prospective contract manufacturing partners in the USA, China, Taiwan, the UK and Italy.

Because many of our new components come from Italy, including the new FX5 chassis which will be made by a major supplier to KTM, Husqvarna, BMW and Ducati, it makes a lot of sense to assemble in Italy as well.

We’ve developed a great relationship with HM Moto, Italian distributors and upgraders of Honda 250-500cc motocross, enduro and supermoto motorcycles, Montessa trials motorcycles, and manufacturers of their own range of 50-125cc off-road and dual-sport bikes.

HM have won 11 world titles and make the most popular 50cc 2-stroke dual sport motorcycle in Europe.  Now HM is working with FX to deliver our full lineup of Mountain Motos!

FX Update

Febuary 2014

Oops, where this newsletter went, “We’ve pushed the design to the limit of lightness, ” the sentence was left incomplete.  It was supposed to go like this:

We’ve pushed the design to the limit of lightness, while building for the strength and durability of high performance mountain bikes and off-road motorcycles.  As the saying goes, If nothing ever broke, you wouldn’t have to test, so we are pushing this pre production bike hard to squeeze out any problem areas that may need modification.  So far we’ve broken the bash plate and the rear brake caliper mount.  These are easy to re-design, just a tweak on the 3D CAD engineering model to adjust thickness, materials and/or shaping.  Being so light has the major advantage of the bike not bending or breaking under its own weight, so once we’ve finalized this FX5 design you may be surprised how durable these bikes are.

The original newsletter is copied below…

Greetings from the South Island of New Zealand, where we are testing the all-new next-generation FX5 Mountain Moto during the downunder summer.

Here’s a recap of our highlights of 2013 and our plans for the new year.

The short version:

  • Our major breakthrough in 2013 was the completion of our first FX5 pre-production model in the UK with our MotoGP engineering partners, Harris Performance.
  • We are now testing the FX5 in New Zealand and will feed all we learn into final designs for production, targeted to start in the Northern Hemisphere summer of 2014, all going well!
  • Michael Hillman, ex Vice President of Harley-Davidson and F1 designer, has been with FX full time, managing engineering and production setup.
  • Michael and I visited and assessed many component and manufacturing vendors in the USA, UK and Italy.  We’ve selected final parts suppliers and Italian production partners.
  • Like every startup company, especially in manufacturing, FX needs capital.  We are currently offering 10% of FX Bikes for US$500,000 to qualified investors.
  • FX is researching Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platforms for launching production in 2014.

2013 and the Birth of the FX5

If you’ve been watching www.facebook.com/fxbikes you’ll know we spent a good part of 2013 in Hertford UK, just north of London, developing the first pre-production model of our next-generation FX5 Mountain Moto.

Lester Harris and his partners and team at Harris Performance have been engineering MotoGP, Superbike and prototype motorcycles there for decades, but even so, Lester says the FX5 has the lightest chassis they’ve ever built.

Downunder Summer Testing and Filming in New Zealand

After completing the FX5 pre-production model in the UK, we sent it by UPS to New Zealand for extensive testing through the long days of summer.  We’ve pushed the design to the limit of lightness,

We couldn’t miss the opportunity to film the Mountain Moto in action in the mountains of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit, and some amazing professionals have pitched in to produce a video that will be released in a few weeks.

Michael Hillman Ramps up to Full Time CTO

Long time strategic advisor to FX Bikes, Michael Hillman, has been our full time Chief Technical Officer for just over 12 months now.

Michael was previously a Vice President of Harley-Davidson.  His last assignment was the acquisition of 49% of the Buell Motorcycle Company, taking it from zero to US$50 million in sales in four years.  His role included writing the business plan, developing a dealer network in the USA, Europe and Japan as well as assembling from scratch the appropriate sales and marketing infrastructure.

Prior to that, Michael was VP of Distribution and Logistics.  Other assignments included managing a contract manufacturing operation and assessing the viability of various acquisition prospects.  Michael has held a number of motorcycle design patents in the joint names of himself and H-D.

Before joining Harley, Michael was design team leader at Brabham when they won the Formula One two years running.  Kiwis Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren drove those winning cars, so Michael’s connection with New Zealand motorsport goes a long way back.

Suppliers and Manufacturing Partners Secured

Throughout 2013 Michael and I spent considerable time in the USA (Michael is based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), the UK and Italy, visiting, assessing, developing relationships and negotiating with component suppliers, contract manufacturers, assemblers and production/distribution partners.  Michael’s vast experience in assessing suppliers’ likelihood of delivering quality parts on time has been invaluable in making these choices.  Latest component specifications can be found at www.fxbikes.com/bikes

Issue of Shares in FX Bikes

FX Bikes is working hard to reach breakeven with the minimum amount of external investment.  Until the end of February 2014 we offering 10% ownership of FX Bikes for US$500,000 to qualified investors, with a minimum investment of US$50,000.  For a limited time we are also offering 5 bundles of shares at US$10,000 each.  FX Bikes is a New Zealand company and can accept investment from local and international investors as long as they meet the requirements at this link.  FX Bikes has advanced assurance status for the United Kingdom’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) which offers the potential of very significant tax incentives to UK tax payers who invest.  Email Mike Hodgkinson at [email protected] for more information.

Crowdfunding and Kickstarter

If you haven’t seen www.kickstarter.com, it is the largest of the new “crowdfunding” platforms that allows customers to pledge to purchase new products if a minimum amount of pledges is reached.  For example, FX Bikes might run a Kickstarter campaign with US$500,000 as its minimum, and if 100 or so customers pledge in time, the payments are made and we deliver the bikes about six months later.

There are two main challenges we are working on before we can crowdfund the Mountain Moto.  The first is that companies listing new products on Kickstarter must be pretty much ready for production, with development completed and factory ready to set up and start shipping.  FX still has final development testing and fine tuning of designs for manufacturing to complete, then production tooling, testing and setup.

The second challenge is that we have a long waiting list of customers, so we need to be sure our most loyal supporters are first in line.  Kickstarter doesn’t allow for this, so we are looking at internal crowdfunding platforms to run through our website just prior to a Kickstarter campaign.

As always, I welcome your input, ideas and feedback.  “Hurry up and make the bikes” is good but we’ve already thought of that!

All the best from sunny New Zealand.

Sincerely,

Mike Hodgkinson

Founder, FX Bikes

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