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Local bike trailer designer looks to Kickstarter to launch production

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 25th, 2011 at 11:11 am

Len Rubin has a dream to mass produce
these trailers in Portland, and he's asking
the community to help him make it
happen.
(Photo: Tamara Rubin)

Remember Len Rubin? He's the Sellwood resident whose one-of-a-kind, custom folding bike was stolen and then recovered a few weeks later.

Now Rubin is asking the community to help him take one of his other big projects to the next level. Rubin has launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign for his "M.O.M.™- the magically morphing multi-use bicycle trailer". It's a very nifty concept. Watch the fun video below to learn more...

"The concept and prototypes are legit. The thing goes together super quick, easy, and intuitively, it can do all the stuff in the video."
— Eric Herboth, TiCycles

Rubin has an ambitious goal of raising $35,053 by June 21st. He plans to use the money to ramp up production of the M.O.M. trailer, buy tooling and supplies, and ultimately, get his Portland Bicycle Trailer Company up and running.

Rubin already has a 1,200 square foot shop, he's built several prototypes, and he's committed to making the trailers in Portland using as many locally-sourced suppliers and materials as possible.

It also converts into a pushcart.

So far, a bevy of local bike luminaries including Dave Guettler (owner, River City Bicycles), Erik Tonkin (owner, Sellwood Cycle Repair), and Dave Levy (owner, TiCycles) have stepped up to become "backers" of the project. Those are some very smart people, which is an indication of how mature and viable Rubin's trailer design is.

Eric Herboth, a bike builder who works with Dave Levy at TiCycles, tells us, "The concept and prototypes are legit. The thing goes together super quick, easy, and intuitively, it can do all the stuff in the video."

Raising $35,000 will be no small feat, but then again Len Rubin and his wife Tamara have been known to tackle big things and come out on top. Whether it's launching a national campaign to raise awareness of lead poisoning (a cause Mrs. Tamara thrust herself into after finding lead in her Sellwood home), or finding a beloved stolen bike many people would have simply given up on — don't count the Rubins out.

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Comments
  • michael downes May 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I love it.........way to go Len. Simple, adaptable, scalable, all the factors necessary for a successful product.

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  • 9watts May 25, 2011 at 11:41 am

    any expansion of local bike trailer industry sounds good to me. Can't have enough bike trailers.

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  • drew May 25, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    Len is my neighbor, and I am very impressed with his trailer concept. He showed me his warehouse sized workspace, and how the trailer can accept different modules to carry almost anything. I have seen him riding around town with loads that I would use a truck for!

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  • Tamara Rubin May 25, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Thank you everyone for all of your kind words! Please follow us on twitter @TamaraRubin for the progress of the Kickstarter project and if you are up for sharing the project on twitter & facebook here's a tiny url for that too! http://tinyurl.com/4xdqozh Don't forget to remind people to watch the video - and wait for the end... I think the last 30 seconds or so (with the footage from Home Depot) are the most fun!

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  • Eric in Seattle May 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

    Has he considered offering pre-sales of the first production to dealers? This is a great design. I'd like to carry them at my store.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 26, 2011 at 8:51 am

    Eric - give me a call and we can talk. We're pre-selling trailers through our kickstarter project and I was thinking about coming up with a sponsorship level that would include a pre-sale package of a certain number of trailers for dealers/ retailers (many of the design projects have a sponsorship level like that) .... my cell in Portland is 415-609-3182. Also - we want to thank Chris Smith for pledging to pre-buy one of our trailers on kickstarter today! http://chrissmith.us/

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  • Chris May 26, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Man! Bummer they're using Kickstarter... I would totally pledge to buy one from them personally, but not through Kickstarter.

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    • Tamara Rubin May 26, 2011 at 10:56 am

      We would be happy to work with you directly! Come on over and we'll work on a custom trailer for you! (We're in Sellwood!) e-mail: tamararubin@mac.com

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  • Tamara Rubin May 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Please check out our latest updates on the M.O.M. Trailer™ Kickstarter project - lots of great news! We're almost 10% funded (funding doubled in the last 24 hours!), we have some great new sponsors, we're doing a couple of Pedalpalooza events and we've added a F.A.Q. section on Kickstarter too - http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1411829602/momtmthe-magically-morphing-multi-use-bicycle-trai/posts/81881

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  • Tamara Rubin May 28, 2011 at 11:42 am

    We just posted on our kickstarter project site (in the F.A.Q. section on the home page) how to Win/Earn a FREE M.O.M. Trailer™ - please check it out: http://kck.st/lfDvzr

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  • hallie June 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    I lived with this family for a year and a half and watched Len develop this trailer and put the prototypes to work -- he even generously lent it to me for some of my own errands, and it's a trailer ahead of its (peak oil) time.

    This is a worthy design in the hands of a very thoughtful designer and dedicated cyclist. He doesn't just sit in a tower and think about what cyclists need - he uses it daily to do what needs doing, in all weather conditions and with no limitations in his mind what a cyclist should be able to haul - his only limitations are the laws of physics.

    Whatever you'll need your trailer for, I'm confident Len is equal to the task of designing and building a plug-in for it that will work for your purposes, almost effortlessly, to do exactly what you need it to do.

    Best of luck, Len.

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  • Scott Mizee February 17, 2012 at 7:59 am

    What is the current status on this? ...such an exciting project.

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    • Tamara Rubin July 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Hi Scott - we just responded to the whole list but wanted to make sure you saw the post, please follow the link back to the original BikePortland.org article! Thanks.

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  • Tamara Rubin July 4, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    Hello Scott (and others!) We've been hard at work for the last year and have finally just relaunched our Kickstarter campaign...this time with a much more modest goal, which—if people extend the level of support we saw for the original project—we should have should be able to reach by the project's end date of July 25! Please check it out—lots of new goodies for backer rewards as well. We have also set up an FAQ section on the new Kickstarter site that should answer most folks' questions. If you have questions that you don't see answered there, let us know and we'll add to the FAQ. We've also updated our website with a fairly extensive set of the trailer in action. http://www.PortlandBicycleTrailerCompany.com Thanks everyone for your support! http://kck.st/M4WXix

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