Forward Progress

July 24, 2009

Hoima Bike MkIWith the successful fabrication of our first Hoima-Bike, we have moved into testing, production, and marketing for the idea. The first bike taught us a great deal about design and the processes it takes to not only build the bike, but build it right. It has highlighted our biggest issue: how much money do we put into the bicycle? This is important because while we do not want to compromise in quality, the more money we put into the bicycle the further away from a low sale price we drift. If we cannot make this bicycle to compete with the extremely cheap Asian imports (sale price no higher than $110), then we are missing the very target group for whom the bicycle was designed.MkII Weld
Another large issue is that of components to fit out the frame. Standard western bicycle components are not available here in large quantities. The only other option is to turn to the Indian importers who produce and provide repair parts for the current bottom self bicycles here in Uganda. I believe the only answer is to find a way to import boxes of the parts from western companies like Ritchey and Shimano so we have not only steady supply, but a standard of components with which to design the bicycle around.
On the marketing side of things, we are in the middle of the 17th Annual Agriculture and Trade show here in Jinja. Among all the other services and products BSPW provides, we have a Hoima bike display and demonstration of welding.Hoima Bike Display The public has responded to the bicycle very well and it draws large crowds. We get constructive criticisms, commitments to purchasing the finished product, and lots of thumbs up! I have also made good connections with academics who I plan to set up meetings to pursue collaboration with university students here in Uganda who can help with structural testing and design input. This is extremely attractive to me as it encourages greater Ugandan participation in the design and implementation of a bicycle factory. It is my hope that they can take it over and make it their own.


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