Bikebiz.co.uk gets lots of emails and phone calls about "ground-breaking" inventions which will reshape the bike market.
But now and again we get to hear of a product that is genuinely of interest and publish the details in the hope a major player in the market takes up the idea and runs with it.
Many innovative products fail to fizz because their inventors choose to do all the manufacturing and distribution themselves. Unless the inventors have the deep pockets, the genius, the high-society connections and the persistence of a James Dyson, they generally fall flat on their faces.
Mark Hoey of Hyena has invented a brilliant product but has the sense to know he can’t take it to market himself. Three years in development, the Talkin Spokes product could be a huge seller but despite Hyena being a company with business angel backing and 20 shareholders, Hoey (the company’s chairman as well as the product’s inventor) recognises the mass market potential of Talkin Spokes and wishes to licence the technology to a mass market player.
In the view of Bikebiz.co.uk, Talkin Spokes should be developed for market by a global manufacturer with existing muscle in the LED sector.
So what is it? It’s a three inch box you attach to the spokes of a wheel. It displays a text message via 12 flashing LEDs as the wheel rotates. Shop owners could ride around town at night with Buy from Bloggs Cycles as their text; Critical Massers could flash rude messages at motorists; and children could spell out swear words to upset anybody over 45.
The unit – powered by two AAA batteries – is in two parts, one of which stays attached to the bike wheel, the other can be snapped on and off for security and for text programming.
It comes with 20 pre-set messages, including Christmas greetings and names of the top Premiership football teams, but users can input their own text, none of which is displayed upside down as the wheel rotates (the pic above is of an earlier product, which did display text upside down).
Hoey reckons Talkin Spokes could be sold at £9.99. Recognising it could be a flash-in-the-pan fad if not developed correctly, Hoey is already adding features for the second generation of Talkin Spokes. One potential feature could be the downloading of graphics from the internet.
The product was going to be exhibited at the Cycle & Leisure Show in 2000 and was plugged as a must-see product by this website but Hyena Games pulled out of the show at the last minute in order to perfect the product.
Two years later and Mark Hoey is ready to launch for real, but with backing.
"We feel now at this stage we should hand over the manufacturing and distribution of the product to an experienced company in the trade that is capable of fully exploiting the market potential and achieving mass production and sales," said Hoey.
"In return we seek an outright sale of the product or an initial payment with royalties on sales. We are prepared to support the hand-over process and assist in electronics design for any required refinements."
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