More than 324,500 projects have launched on crowdfunding website Kickstarter since 2009, raising more than $2.3 billion to make garage dreams come true. Some makers use the platform to gauge interest and raise awareness of a product (see: Smartrope, an intelligent jumprope backed by NYC-based company Tangram Factory), while others absolutely need your dollars to live (meat soap, grilled cheesus). Design and tech are two of the platform’s biggest categories in terms of dollars earned, but the competition is fierce: only 33 percent of design and 19 percent of tech projects get funded. These five products perfect for triathletes beat the odds, met their mark and are on the market now—or coming soon.
Fully funded at $20,380
Susan Tahir felt that triathlon bags on the market were too cumbersome, so the San Francisco-based triathlete and entrepreneur created Story38 Alliance and set out to design the perfect bag for training and racing. The resulting Carrier backpack is really two bags in one. The large bag stores your bigger items while a smaller waterproof bag can carry all of your wet gear. The two can be buckled together to carry everything you need on race day. A removable inner bag divides the compartment, while a shoe/dirty laundry bag keeps your dirty items separated from the rest. It can carry up to four water bottles, and each pocket was designed to hold specific gear to make it easy to find what you need.
Fully funded at $319,765, six times its goal
The team at Coros wanted to enjoy music on a ride without it being dangerous. So they created the Linx, a helmet that can play music, podcasts and take phone calls. Rather than placing a speaker in your ear, the Linx uses a small pod that sits on the front helmet strap and uses bone conduction to play what you want. This leaves your ears open to listen for fellow riders, cars and other potential hazards. A remote placed on the handlebars can control volume and phone functions. Additionally, the Coros has an app that can track your workout, give you directions and workout prompts along the way. It can also send out a text to a loved one when it detects an impact.
Fully funded at $88,226
Founded by three mechanical engineers, Redshift Sports created the ShockStop Stem to isolate road bumps and make your ride even more comfortable so you can ride farther. The ShockStop uses small elastomers at the base of the stem to allow it to pivot up and down to act as shock-absorbing suspension. The idea is that a smoother ride lets you ride faster for the same effort, and it lets you focus on what’s ahead rather than trying to avoid cracks and bumps. Redshift’s first product, the Switch Aero System, was also launched on Kickstarter. The Switch Aero System is a seat post that adjusts forward, and rails that attach to your handlebars so you can use aerobar extensions to turn your road bike into a tri bike.
Fully funded at $12,620
Swedish design and engineering firm Frankly has more than 55 designers, many of whom are swimmers, triathletes and surfers. This group set out to create the perfect set of earplugs that would prevent swimmer’s ear without blocking sound. A ring with a small antenna-like portion keeps things in place, while the core, which you place in your ear, uses acoustic mesh, a fabric that can be woven to allow sound to come through while keeping water out. Finally, a rubber seal protects your ear canal as a final defense against the elements. These can be used in the pool or in open water and will let you use all of your senses to increase your performance.
(available in August 2017)
Fully funded at $1,186,983
From BSX Technologies, makers of the wearable lactate threshold sensor, comes the new LVL hydration monitor. Worn on your wrist and similar to a Fitbit, it will be the first hydration-monitoring wearable on the market. The pitch: The LVL uses red light rather than the green light used on other wearables since red light can penetrate deeper into the body. This is what allows the LVL to measure the water in your blood, and since hydration affects your sleep quality, ability to think clearly, mood and heart rate, it also monitors those metrics for a more complete picture of your status. Its real value lies in the ability to get real-time updates on a small OLED screen. The LVL uses a proprietary algorithm developed through hundreds of subject trials to give prompts telling you, for example, to drink 10 ounces before your workout to get a 3 percent boost in performance. Two small buttons on the side allow for navigation and input. The rechargeable battery will last up to four days.