The Jiggernaut: Build Your Own Bike for Less

Jiggernaut
Project: The Jiggernaut – Bringing bicycle frame building to the masses
Goal: $5,000
Due date: Tuesday, March 27
The Jiggernaut has already raised more than $7,000, far surpassing the original monetary goal.
Why it’s good: David Heisserer and Dillon Hodapp of Mixed Media Engineering have had their projects featured by Popular Mechanics and Twin Cities Business. Their latest venture, The Jiggernaut, is a lightweight, affordable bike frame jig–an essential piece of equipment for building bicycles, but one that’s typically sold at much higher prices and for industry insiders. The Jiggernaut offers novices on a budget the chance to assemble their own bikes, a task made even easier with kits that include tube sets and accessories along with the jig. The lower price doesn’t mean a drop in quality: The Jiggernaut packs flat for easy shipping and storage, and is adjustable for many shapes and sizes. The positive response on Kickstarter inspired the team to launch website Flat Pack Foundry to sell their products. Hodapp and Heisserer clearly put a lot of effort into making The Jiggernaut an ideal commodity, and their work has paid off already.
Rewards: The Jiggernaut itself, Hodapp says, “was an obvious reward, but we also wanted to include a full bike building kit.  We learned from perusing frame building supply websites that they are very confusing and don’t really provide the newbie with confidence that they are buying the correct parts, so the kit was another reward.” Donors who aren’t ready to spring for an actual Jiggernaut can give at the $25 level to receive a small laser-cut model of the jig.
Why Kickstarter: Besides doing away with some of the basic work and financial risk of trying to fund a start-up, Kickstarter has also allowed the team to collect pre-orders and interact with customers even before bringing their product to market. “We have many customers coming up with uses for the jig that we had never considered,” Hodapp says. Prospective Kickstarter-launchers, he suggests, should give themselves plenty of time to get ready even before launching. That includes researching websites that might be interested in your project and preparing a press kit to send out once the page goes live. The Jiggernaut team’s careful planning extended to their video, which Hodapp says they scripted and storyboarded ahead of time, adding, “We wanted a bit of a vintage Beastie Boys feel.”
Last word: Hodapp says, ”We are grateful for our early success and hope that it continues to snowball.”
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