Sound RIDER! logo


 

ADVERTISING
Yamaha Motorcycles Street Event - Skagit

 

Cyberspeed Technologies

An exclusive interview with the man behind the MotoCam and RCam motorcycle cameras

If you ride a sportbike, you know that most are designed with little visibility in the rear view mirrors. With newer model Ducatis and Buells for instance, you might as well toss the mirrors all together unless you have a pet peeve for looking at your own elbows at speed. Simply put, they're only there because the DOT requires them, they don't do much to add to the safety of your ride.
If you operate a trailer, trike, or three wheeler it would be nice to see what's going on behind you just like those guys in the motor homes already do.

If you have a club, or know a great road, wouldn't it be great to have a camera you could mount to your helmet and catch it all on video?

With three new camera products from Seattle's Cyberspeed Technologies you can do all this at a price that fits the budget.

We took time out recently to speak with the man behind Cyberspeed Tech, Tim Ennis, the companies founder and president.

Let's begin with your background, prior to developing CyberSpeed Technologies.

My background prior to CyberSpeed Tech is electrical engineering, which I picked up at a local Tech school in Wa. From there, I went to work for Flow International, Kent, where I spent 5 years working in the R&D black hole on projects for NASA, Kodak, Pratt & Whitney Joint Strike Fighter Program, Boeing, GM, Ford, etc. We worked on things that were sent into space, used inside jet motors, drilled holes in the Kent police department armored vehicles, etc.

During my time at Flow, I chose to pursue a business degree at the University of Washington, from which I graduated in June 2003 with a focus in Information Systems. While in school, I created CyberSpeed Tech (August 2002) to address the safety and technology needs of the motorcycle industry. We've experienced success in many areas, including an entry into the annual state-wide business plan competition sponsored by the University of Washington. CyberSpeed Tech. took 3rd out of 50 teams, which landed us $16,000 in prize winnings and an all-expense paid trip to Kobe, Japan, in October 2003 to discuss potential collaboration with Kawasaki and/or Honda motorcycles.

And what about your motorcycling background?

I started riding dirt bikes locally when I was 10 years old. I gained most of my experience at the Roslin coal piles, Capital Forest Poker Runs, Moses Lake, etc.

In 2000, when I started school at UW, I decided to cross over to street bikes and purchased my Yamaha FZR 600. This is the bike I currently ride and have put 10,000 miles on to date.

What were the circumstances that led to the creation of CyberSpeed Technologies?

Immediately after I started riding street bikes, I became aware of the huge blind spot problems that riders contend with, especially when riding sport bikes. All I could see out of my mirrors were my shoulders and elbows. My phobia about being rear-ended stemmed from a 1997 car accident where I was rear-ended in my car and suffered severe back problems for 3 years. I knew that being rear-ended on my bike would be much less forgiving than being in a car.

Describe the three products you currently offer.

We currently offer two versions of the MotoCam and 1 version of the R-Cam. The MotoCam is a rear vision system designed to supplement the bike's existing mirrors and increase awareness for the vehicle operator. This is accomplished by rotating the mirrors outward to capture the peripheral blind spots, while allowing the camera component of the MotoCam to gather 3 lanes of traffic from behind and deliver the images in front of the riders eyes via a 4" color LCD monitor. No more looking over your shoulder to change lanes or ensure that the car behind you comes to a complete stop at traffic lights!!

We offer this package in a "cruiser edition" and a "sport edition" to accommodate a variety of bike types.

The R-Cam is a racing and recording tool designed to help the track riders improve upon their times, while doing it safely because they increase their riding skills by watching the video after the race. This footage helps them determine their racing lines, the angles and speeds used to approach corners, and the general distance between them and their competitors.

The R-Cam is also used by many touring riders to capture scenic footage on long journeys. This is a beneficial way to reminisce about that awesome vacation trip you took on your Goldwing last summer, etc.

Three part question: What purpose do they provide the racer/sportrider; the cruiser; the touring enthusiast?

The R-Cam is well suited to meet the needs of the racer/sportrider, helping them to compete safely and responsibly on the track.

The MotoCam is well suited for the Cruiser and Touring enthusiast, who are more safety-conscious and have a great desire to understand their surroundings and navigate through them effortlessly. These customers also take long trips and love to relive the experience through the video footage captured via the MotoCam.

That's right, both the R-Cam and the MotoCam are capable of capturing video footage when attached to recommended video camcorders.

Business and pleasure with the RCam

We recently took an RCam along the 3 PASS BLA$T route and the poker run route for Sportbike Northwest. Plugging the unit into a JVC Mini DV recorder which was stored in a tank bag, we were able to record a number of miles of roadway used in these events. The RCam rocks!! Its auto focus and auto light sensing abilities allowed us to capture footage of some great riding areas in a professional way that we could edit and upload to the web for your enjoyment. For actual footage shot with the RCam check out:

You'll need Windows Media Player to watch these.

The RCam makes a perfect companion for capturing your ride and others that are on the road with you. It's a great way to document a club ride, and with a little ingenuity you can create you very own club documentary like the Northwest Scooter Enthusiast did at:

PT/Summer 03


Where to buy MotoCam and RCam products

font class="auto-style2">On the web: Puget Storehouse br > Puget Sound Retailers: Renton Motorcycles, RMC ; Cycle Barn and Eastside Motosports

How did you go about identifying there was a market for the Motocam and R-Cam?

CyberSpeed Technologies spent many months identifying and qualifying the marketplace for the MotoCam and the R-Cam. We started this research effort at Eastside MotorSports with Carter Stevenson, who had previously worked on my bike by asking him what his thoughts were about a vision system for a motorcycle. He was instantly excited and had many ideas to share on how to bring the product to market, position it within the stores, and launch it successfully within the motorcycle industry. From there, we spent time with Ride West speaking to Brenden Frazier about the market potential for a rear vision system. He concurred with Carter, and actually steered us away from BMWs simply because they didn't yet own more than 2% of the total market share.

This information prompted us to build the first prototype and display it at the Seattle International Motorcycle show in the exhibition center in December of 2002. At this event we met several key industry players including Tim Calhoun - national sales manager for Western Power Sports, Junior Queen - parts manager for RMC, SeaTown riders club, and a host of other contacts that really showed us the ropes within the motorcycle industry. Everyone we spoke with was extremely excited about the product and its potential for dramatic impact within the powersports industry.

For here, we decided to debut the MotoCam at the Indianapolis dealers convention in February of 2003. At the show, we spoke to Parts Unlimited, Tucker Rocky, Western Power Sports, Custom Chrome International, Lockhardt Phillips, and many other dealers about the potential of our product. All of them were excited and asked us to prove the viability of the MotoCam through customer sales.

Throughout all of the above mentioned research, many customers/dealers were screaming for a racing/recording tool so they didn't have to tape their camcorders to the gas tank of their bikes. This prompted us to simultaneously develop and release the R-Cam package in May of 2003 along with the official release of the MotoCam. Junior Queen of RMC was the first one to test the R-Cam by taking it to the dirt race track and capturing some good footage.

We are proving the market place for these products day by day, with almost 50 customers since the release of these fine products less than 2 months ago. Our customers are sending us pictures from around the country with pride in their installation jobs and the safety and entertainment benefits our products are bringing them.

We particularly like the R-Cam because of its ability to record to digital video units onboard. Is there much of a market for this? If so, who are the buyers?

p >Yes there is a thriving market for affordable training/recording tools in the powersports industry. Racers and touring riders alike love the R-Cam because it captures the emotions of their journey on tape for years of reminiscing.

The auto focus and auto light reader in the R-Cam is stunning considering its small size. Is all that technology wrapped up in the lipstick size camera unit, or does some of it lie back in the junction box?

p >We use state-of-the-art lipstick cameras for the R-Cam and infrared equipped cameras for the MotoCam. You won't find better cameras anywhere for the same price. All of the intelligence is packed inside the camera, while the power box ensure that stable, clean power is delivered to the sensitive electronics inside the camera to guarantee excellent performance.

How do you go about testing the products before commercial release?

p >At CyberSpeed Tech, we pride ourselves in our technology and customer satisfaction. We vigorously test each of the components for many months before they are ever released to the public. We spend countless hours riding with local groups like the Alki Angels, MotoDragons, and VME events under adverse weather conditions to ensure that our products will perform well and meet our customers' expectations. We also engage in Beta Testing with our local dealer partners like Eastside MotorSports, RMC, and Lynnwood CycleBarn to verify that our products are built to last and deliver the results that customers are looking for.

It rains a lot in the Northwest. What's waterproof or water resistant?

p >This is the beauty of our products - they are built to last in the Seattle climate. We test in such adverse conditions as hail storms (while attending the VME), leaving the units out in 0 degree weather for 48 hours while at the Indianapolis Dealers convention, dropping the units from store shelves inside RMC, and riding wheelies to induce direct shock into the mounts and electronic components. These systems truly are built for the Seattle weather.

The MotoCam: All items water proof, except the monitor, which is water resistant

The R-Cam: Camera is water resistant along with the connectors; battery pack must be kept dry next to camcorder.

At present, you currently operate out of a basement space at a house in the U-District of Seattle. How long do you think you'll continue to do that?

p >Like many other successful garage start-ups including Apple, Microsoft, and Dell, CyberSpeed Technologies started in our basement back in August of 2002.

Our lease is up at the end of August of 2003, at which time we intend to secure a modest commercial location in the greater Seattle area to expand our mfg, distribution, development, and marketing efforts to keep up with the increasing demand for our 3 popular product offerings.

Is the business done entirely out of pocket, or are their outside investors involved?

p >To date, the company has been boot strapped by the 5 founding members. We've been supplemented with a modest cash infusion of $16,000 from the proceeds of the UW business plan competition. We intend to seek serious funding (1 million plus) in the early Fall to propel us further into the realm of "The Kings of Rear Vision and Entertainment," for the powersports industry.

What's coming next?

p >We've got a summer packed with events to help spread the word about the amazing benefits of the MotoCam and the R-Cam products. We round out 2003 with the following:

  • 6/28 - Lawman 1000 ride to Seaside Oregon/charity event

  • 6/29 - Alki sport bike event/food drive

  • 7/19 - 7/20 - LA motorcycle show

  • 8/01 - Sturgis Harley event

  • 8/27 - Harley 100 birthday bash

  • font size="3" >9/4-7 - Sportbike Northwest

  • 9/11 - 9/14 - Las Vegas motorcycle show

  • 10/29 - Visit to Kobe Japan to speak with Honda and Kawasaki about OEM potential for the MotoCam system

  • 12/15 - Seattle International Motorcycle Show

p >Do you see CyberSpeed competing in the RV market where these types of camera units are already popular?

We see the blind spot elimination benefits that the MotoCam brings to many vehicle platforms including the motorcycle. In fact, many of our existing customers are using their MotoCams for their panel vans, RVs, sports cars, etc, when they're not riding their bikes. We simply sell them an additional wiring package so they can easily transfer the cameras and LCD monitor from one vehicle to the next. For instance, a customer in California has the M400 package mounted on his Suzuki Hyabusa by day, and transfers the MotoCam system to his Calloway Impala by night. The potential applications for this technology are unlimited.

However, we will continue to focus on the powersports industry because motorcycles are one of the most dangerous vehicles on the road today and they have some of the largest blind spots to deal with. CyberSpeed Technologies is dedicated to improving rider awareness and safety through offering superior technology products that enhance operator safety and make for a more pleasurable riding experience.

Interview by TM/Summer 03


We've worked hard to upgrade this site. Click here to notify us of any problems we need to correct.

ADVERTISING
Sportbike Northwest Rally

SUBSCRIBE FREE

Subscription has its privileges - Each month Sound RIDER! publishes new features on rides, clubs, dealers and events. Don't miss out on these informative stories.

Sign up today for your FREE subscription and you'll get notification each month when the new issue comes on line. You'll also be the first to find out about special Sound RIDER! events. From time to time, we also provide valuable coupons that can save you hundreds of dollars on motorcycle services. What are you waiting for? Click here to sign up now!