Kickstarter products tend to be defined by their ambition. The crowdfunding platform is an avenue for innovative products to come to life, with start-ups getting capital to turn their dreams into reality, and backers buying into the promise of something new and visionary.
Sometimes these risks even pay off. Quite often, they don’t.
Several of the higher-profile cycling-related Kickstarters of recent years have gone down in infamy, becoming synonymous with overreach and under-delivery. You’ve probably internalised their names by now: SpeedX. Superstrata. The Babymaker (… oh, the Babymaker).
Well, good news, gang: there’s a new Kickstarter campaign to acquaint yourself with. But unlike all the aforementioned, it’s extraordinary not for its innovation. Amazingly, it appears to be completely devoid of any ambition whatsoever.
It has no fancy production methods. It barely has a brand-name component on it. It has a completely unremarkable name. It is assembled mostly from parts that you, the consumer, can buy for pocket change from AliExpress.
Let’s take a little look …
The Motion mountain bike is, at its core, a simple machine. It’s a carbon fibre hardtail mountain bike with front suspension, disc brakes, and a 1×11 SRAM groupset. So far, so ordinary.
The devil’s in the details, though.
The “ZOOM long letter to HB-870 Hydraulic Double Disc Brake” – which Motion brags about having “doubled down on” by providing a matching front and rear set of – costs the princely sum of US$37 for a set on AliBaba. That seems to be where a number of the parts are from, in fact.
Motion has also equipped a TAOK headset (US$10.35 on AliExpress), an Arteck seatpost (another AliExpress offering), and a number of other brands you’ve almost certainly never heard of, such as ROOT suspension, which, try as I might, I can find no reference to anywhere on the information superhighway that CyclingTips calls its home.
Most of those components, you get one of. But Motion is nothing if not generous, so for some of them, you get two.
Among several videos on the Kickstarter page is one of an annoyed-looking man fiddling with a quick-release skewer in a section talking up Motion’s prowess with carbon fibre, a material that they claim is “61 times stronger than Steel and 15 times stronger than Titanium”.
The frame? Oh, the frame. It’s probably fine, but also may not be, which is exciting. It looks an awful lot like this, which is better-equipped, cheaper, and comes from my favourite OEM bike brand (and second favourite social media platform), Twitter.
So, to recap: we have a basic carbon-fibre mountain bike that is a few rungs below completely generic, crowdfunded for an introductory rate of US$1,199, which is fine, I guess, but also doesn’t really strike me as a screaming deal. As a product, it is remarkable only in being entirely unremarkable.
But Motion – a brand that does not appear to exist elsewhere on the internet – has one extra trick up its sleeve.
It has produced the greatest promo video I’ve seen all year (and by “greatest” I mean “most unintentionally hilarious”.)
A copywriting masterclass
Don’t believe me? Go here and click play up the top.
It would be lazy of me to just type out the entire script – although I badly want to – so I’ve cherrypicked some personal highpoints:
- “Perfect form. Perfect function. That’s a truly balanced equation for an ideal bike design.”
- “The Motion carbon fibre bike features a carbon fibre integrated, non-wrinkle-shaped mountain bike design” that is “tightly molded, dense, and perfectly shaped and executed”.
- “A stable and wind-resistant bike that has an ultra-hard and durable yet flexible frame, ultra-light technology, and the capacity of making you feel like you’re riding a fast, safe and stylish two-wheel feather.”
- “We ride on plank roads, green roads and shuttle freely among the pedestrians. Lighter also means faster.“
- “We need to rest anytime, anywhere. Take pictures and see the beautiful scenery.”
- “Whether you are riding uphill or the beach, you only need to quickly switch variable speed and you can effortlessly ride easily.”
- “If you want to stay on the move, taking your bike with you when you can’t ride it, Motion makes it unbelievably light and easy to do it. Flexible mobility allows you to shuttle through any forest trail.”
- “Oil brake braking is safe and stable. Compared with standard settings, as a system, the resistance can be reduced by 20 grams. In other words, since the cables are completely routed inside the bicycle, the appearance is as smooth as running water.”
There’s a big world out there with lots of bikes in it, even in the midst of global supply chain shortages. Many of them are quite good, and are often even constructed with components that are a known quantity.
Motion, however, is taking a gamble that there will be buyers out there for its two-wheeled feather, in its dense, non-wrinkle-shaped form. And when the bikes arrive, many of those consumers will head out on their maiden rides – on plank roads, or perhaps green roads – before taking a rest, anytime, anywhere.
And when they do, they will look across at their flexibly mobile bike offering 20 grams less resistance, its appearance as smooth as running water, and know that they have chosen a product that is a truly balanced equation.
Whatever any of that even means.