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Old 05-27-2012, 05:58 PM   #1
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New 1996-2004 boxster bike rack

Gentlemen,

I came up with a relatively inexpensive and easy manner to install a bike rack hitch for my boxster. I have a provisional patent and want to put out a feeler to see what u guys think in addition to getting an idea of how many to get produced (in the USA btw). $250 would include the hitch , fold up license plate frame, trunk strap and all hardware. You would still have to provide the hitch mounted rack which is made by American Tool and is 20 dollars on amazon. This rack is light weight. I discourage towing or using bike racks without the included strap. My testing shows that the bumper shocks are not a suitable mounting mechanism for the weight of two bikes and a heavier rack system without the addition of the strap.

See my beta install video here. I have yet to lay the voiceover explaining the steps but you get the general idea. Note that you still retain the ability to us the OEM tow hook with my hitch.

Not looking to get rich, just recoup some expenses and maybe put a little toward some upgrades for my car.

Thanks!

Check out this video on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66XLgAtQG9c&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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Old 05-27-2012, 06:03 PM   #2
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Old 05-27-2012, 06:28 PM   #3
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Set to public now.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:31 PM   #4
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Looks ok, but I'm not sure how can patent and idea which relies on modifying the rear crash bar and will certainly void any testing or previous approvals on it, including the rear towing eye if that's into the crash bar.

Great for a DIY project but will have issues in the market place.
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Old 05-27-2012, 07:48 PM   #5
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Good points, appreciate the feedback. The only modification is a half inch hole above the one inch hole and two bookend half inch holes Porsche engineers deemed appropriate to drill in the center of their extruded aluminum bumper. I think the steel plate bolted to the bumper strengthens the entire structure. I was shocked to see that the steel tow hook threads into a billetted aluminum block. Thinkng it would not just pull out under stress?

Thanks again for the feedback!
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:32 PM   #6
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How many folks want to carry a bike on their boxster?

I also think that the main owner age group of 40-60 is perhaps not into bicycling that much anymore, plus most have a Porsche as a second vehicle and
would not use it to haul stuff when they likely have an SUV or truck of some kind.

I hate to sound discouraging as Im all for innovations and inventions but I think as a comercial venture you have a very narrow US market niche for a Boxster bike rack.

Perhaps the European market for it is a bit bigger?

However if you could make a little powered scooter that fits in the trunk for shuttling around, on Track days to lay out cones etc, or like to park at the remote corners of parking lots, that might interest a few folks.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jb92563 View Post
I also think that the main owner age group of 40-60 ...

...if you could make a little powered scooter that fits in the trunk...
This could be very useful for those trips to walmart where it's just too durn far from the car back to the frozen foods aisle...
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:19 PM   #8
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Agreed with jb92563 about the market no longer really existing. Don't know if you recall but the 986 was offered with a very fancy bike roof rack. It had curved rails that mimiced the curve of the windows and held the bikes above the roof (which had to remain closed (or open) while the rack was in place.

I assume they never sold many and DC'd it on 987. I think I've seen one in the wild in 16 years.
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:20 PM   #9
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As a multiple product inventor and seller, I would suggest the following:

1. Spend as little money as possible to build as few as possible and let sales (and sales alone) drive the number of units that you build. If the market gets hot and they sell well, you can always build more.

2. Start selling as fast as possible. Build one and set up a simple and easy website to sell it. Then build a second unit and sell it. Never have more inventory than absolutely necessary and don't invest anymore than absolutely necessary.

3. Figure out where to find your most likely buyers. Are they Boxster owners who ride bikes or are they bike riders who own Boxsters? You'll find Boxster owners here on the 986 Forum but you'll find bike riders on the Bicycling.com and other bike affiliated forums.

4. For every person in an online forum who says that they would buy one, multiply the total by 0.33 and you will have a much more realistic number of actual sales to expect.

5. Don't spend any money on a formal patent until you've sold enough units to pay for the patent from the profits.

6. When calculating profits, include ALL of the costs plus a reasonable value for your time and be sure to include taxes. Also include returns. When the math is done, if you're not able to make a reasonable true profit, then stop and figure out if can charge more or reduce your expenses. There is no point in working for free hoping that someday you'll figure out how to actually make money.

If you want to know about my experience with selling products online, using Google and Yahoo ads, and/or getting your product into retail stores (and their online counterparts), PM me because I've been there and done all of that.
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Old 05-30-2012, 08:15 AM   #10
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Well as a cyclist (have four bikes) I can tell you about the only two racks that exist for this car.
First I had the Bird. The owner of the company installed it himself. Very nice idea only problem was it made contact with the rear of the trunk like yours. Unfortunately somone plowed into when I stopped in a 7-11 one day. Bastard took off. I had to get the car on my mechanics lift to blast it off.
Then I went with the Willwood rack. That's also a very well made rack. Drilling the holes was a little bit of hassle because the holes had to line up perfectly. Also, it's not cheap and it doesn't llook like I'm going to fit two 29ers on their maybe two road bikes. Actually I don't think you can even buy this rack anymore. I bought it second hand from one forum member after a search that took a really long time. Long enough to miss most of the biking season. I think that rack would work better if there were a composite/plastic bike carrier to reduce weight instead of the hevay Yakima/Thule steel carriers. And you can't use a ball hitch which eliminates the majority of carriers from both makes. One of those would be simple solution.

I suggest using actual video clips and not the slide show. I think at this point everyone has a fast internet connection on their phone or desktops. There's definitely a market for this given my frustrating experience in trying out more than one option.
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:14 AM   #11
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[QUOTE=NoGaBiker;292018]Agreed with jb92563 about the market no longer really existing. QUOTE]



I have the Bird bike rack on my car. It does fine. I use it almost every weekend.

And, yes like any real cyclist my bikes are worth more than my car.




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Old 05-30-2012, 11:44 AM   #12
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[QUOTE=fatmike;292100]
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoGaBiker View Post
Agreed with jb92563 about the market no longer really existing. QUOTE]



I have the Bird bike rack on my car. It does fine. I use it almost every weekend.

And, yes like any real cyclist my bikes are worth more than my car.

/
Well, I didn't mean that "there are zero people who would ever use a bike rack on a Boxster." I just meant that the vast majority of 986s are not the owner's only car, and as such would never be chosen for bike hauling duties. I doubt there are enough people who need such a rack (and don't already have one) to make a business case for this product.

And besides, as any REAL cyclist knows, you get an Element as a bike hauler so you don't have to leave the babies out in the elements, or even take a wheel off!

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Old 05-30-2012, 12:31 PM   #13
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A Boxster bike rack would work for 996 and perhaps some Caymans with some modifications.

Personally, I like taking my Boxster to go riding. It's the only time when I get to enjoy the car and enjoy my other toys. Can't ride during the week for commuting for the most part, bike theft is too risky and I use mass transit which eliminates the Boxster. going home to switch cars is a drag. And driving a "utility" or "family" vehicle on the weekends is the last thing I want to do.

As it stands now if you were to buy a Boxster and wanted to buy a bike rack for it, I think you have literraly only one option that's ready to ship. The Bird.
I find it hard to imagine that there aren't hundreds if not thousands of Carrera and Boxster owners who would like to leave the minivan or SUV at home. But frankly I'm more surprised Porsche didn't think up a better solution for this. I don't think there is a better free ad campaign than seeing a couple in convertible with two bikes neatly mounted to the rear. Porsche already runs TV ads to show that their sports cars are not as impractical as is widely believed.
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Old 05-30-2012, 03:26 PM   #14
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I'm not sure if we're helping the original poster or not. I suspect that NoGaBiker is right that the market is pretty small. You do have to be crazy to put a bike on the back of your Boxster right?


By the way, I rode the 6 gap in your neck of the woods last year. That Hogpen is something else.
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Old 05-30-2012, 04:07 PM   #15
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Quote:
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...But frankly I'm more surprised Porsche didn't think up a better solution for this. I don't think there is a better free ad campaign than seeing a couple in convertible with two bikes neatly mounted to the rear. Porsche already runs TV ads to show that their sports cars are not as impractical as is widely believed.
You don't remember the OEM bike rack available for 986s? That's the one I mentioned earlier in the thread. They sold about 3 of them, iirc.

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Old 05-30-2012, 06:47 PM   #16
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Hmmm...

Willwood System - Porsche Hitches and Bike Racks
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:56 AM   #17
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The willwood system is great but expensive and I think more involved of an install plus it's pretty much always visible as is the bird rack system.

In addition the options that are out there are too expensive for me plus I like to weld and tinker. Ease of use is what I was looking for and I think this works. I've got ten coming in early July from a professional fabricator and plan to sell each with the folding license plate and all hardware for $150. It's still the cheapest out there and I think leaves no trace of a hitch when not in use. I won't get rich, just will offset my cost of development and maybe get a 220v welder for my other projects.

Website and product should be available in late August. (I'm moving in July so won't have too much time to complete.)

I like all the feedback, it was very helpful!!

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Old 06-20-2012, 09:25 AM   #18
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I know that this sounds obvious, but since you live in the wonderful Sate of Commiefornia, don't forget to get the necessary legal approvals like a home business license from your city (if required) or file your business with the state. Also be sure to keep good records of expenses so you can calculate profit/loss for income tax purposes. Having a home business and not keeping accurate records can lead to a lot of headaches come tax time. And be sure to collect sales tax and file it quarterly with the state, they definitely want their share.

Of course, you can choose to ignore all of this and just sell a few on the side on yoiur own but realize that if someone files any kind of formal complaint for any reason whatsoever, you're going to have some explaining to do.

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