Two Kiwi lads have invented a new trail bike that is so lite, a teen could lift it over a farm fence. In an era of Taylor Lautner ranking in the top 20 box office stars of Hollywood, except this new invention to fly off the racks.
FX Bikes founder and chief executive Mike Hodgkinson of Christchurch in 2002, has designed and developed a 57kg dirt trail bike. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the world’s lightest. The motorcycle is powered by a 125cc, 4-stroke Honda-Jialing auto-clutch engine. The bike’s maker says it can do 100km/h on the flat and easily climb a 45-degree slope. It’s a perfect motorcycle for scarfies (students) getting to lectures on time in Dunedin, or for students attending UCLA in California as well.
Hodgkinson says that by 2016 FX bikes will be selling 25,000 a year, which will pull in revenues of around US$80 million. He has Honda on his horizon, to market the company to for onselling.
“Acquisition doesn’t mean it all gets handed over,” he said. “We can still do the R&D and the marketing, we’ll just be owned by another company.”
Inventors often need angel investors to realize their dreams as inventors (a gift to grow economies). Hodgkinson is thankful of his Kiwi biz supports, who have angel invested $650,000 into the project so far. $2 million worth of ‘sweat equity’ has gone into the company to date.
Another US$500,000 ($628,000) funding round was open to fund the soft launch of the bikes, which Hodgkinson said would take place this year. The aim of FX is to have the bikes made in Milan, where motorcycle manufacturing infrastructure finds a good fit for company growth and expansion.
[In Milan] “You’ve got a frame maker around the corner and you’ve got a shock supplier around the other corner,” Hodgkinson said. US$5 million is needed to fully launch this innovative company’s market presence well.
Former Honda chief designer Francesco Santillo (pictured with Mike, above right) and former Harley-Davidson chief engineer Michael Hillman have been working on this project too. Japan-based Santillo, who was in Auckland this week, is now FX Bikes’ chief designer. American “extreme sports guys” and commuters are the companies invisaged market of consumers to target. The mass market model will sell for $5000, roughly equivalent to the price of a Vespa scooter.
The “super premium” model – with a stainless steel and titanium frame – will sell for $30,000.
Think of all the petrol (gasoline) saved, if more people traded in their cars for one of these. Smart inventing. On that note… Let’s go Christchurch City!
[Reporting - Christopher Adams. Photography Greg Bowker].