Our company Nikola Innovation is developing a revolutionary road bike pedal technology providing riders comfort to their knee and hips while improving performance. We began this journey over six years ago entering into a bike industry that commands $70 billion a year in sales and over a billion riders in the world. Our focus is establishing a brand through science driven development and results orientation.
In 1899 the Commissioner of the US Patent office, Charles Duell, allegedly stated “Everything that can be invented has been invented” I am guessing if he actually said that and had I been around in the 1800’s, he’d likely have encouraged me to try farming or carpentry or a realistic trade instead of being an inventor. After researching patents in the bike industry, Charles would have fallen off his horse if he saw the numbers of patents issued for our beloved bike since his time.
Here are the quick facts regarding the patents in existence related to the bike. Researching just “bicycle” patents, you will find over 1.22 million patents exist, but that’s not the whole story. Searching individual cycling component blossoms the number to over 2 million. The bike frame has over 635,000 patents issued which is amazing by itself. Take 10 steps back from the frame built in the, 60’s, 70,’s and 80.’s and as my neighbor pointed out, he can’t see a difference Handlebars have over 400,000 patents, bicycle wheels anther 131,000. There exists 237,000 patents issued for the bike pedals and we added one more in 2013 with two more pending. A measly 57,000 for the bicycle seat which is ironic the most uncomfortable part of the bike has the least amount of patents.
The reason I started this exercise is to understand what has been discovered and avoid infringing on other’s patents. What made this exercise easier is we developed a motion more so than a component. A road bike pedal moving laterally in prefect unison with the crank arm is a new thought process and a natural way to pedal. Hearing from the nearly thousand people who ride or tested the Nikola pedals stating the motion “feels natural” is music to our ears.
When developing this performance pedal, our three goals to convert non-believers to believers were:
1. Must be intuitive to ride with no re-training necessary.
2. Low cost of change for bicyclist meaning no need to buy a new bike to gain the benefit
3. Most importantly it needed to work providing natural feeling comfort and performance.
Beginning in November we will send out a featured bike related patent which deserves merit and fun to read about. We welcome your thoughts on an area of the bike you wish to hear more about.