NUS undergrads design Barpad tool kit for bikers
If you hate lugging heavy tools and are prone to losing them while riding off-road, what you need is right here.
The Barpad integrated tool kit from Rock Ready Engineering is designed by 26-year-old undergraduates from the National University of Singapore.
As the name implies, the Barpad is a simple slip-onto-handlebar tool kit that is sealed from the elements.
Its inventors - three men with a common love for off-road and trial riding - told The New Paper they wanted to create something practical for riders that they could be proud of.
Said Mr Chua Kah Yeow, who is studying industrial design engineering: "From experience, riders start to lose the (tool) bits because they chuck them into a bag or drop them in the mud.
"Once you drop the smaller bits on a trail, they are as good as gone."
The tool kit set, which can be ordered online for US$49.90 (S$70), includes various sizes of Allen key, six-point socket and Torx key driver bits, as well as an extension bar and a sliding T-bar handle. Also included are driver bits for a Phillips head and a Flat head.
All the tools, which sit firmly in individually carved slots in a closed-cell EVA foam pad, are made of chromium-vanadium steel to resist corrosion.
The Barpad can be further secured using plastic cables and comes with a vinyl wrap.
Another team member, Mr Joel Lim, recalled the fun they had trying to communicate with manufacturers in China and Taiwan.
While they were able to converse in Mandarin, they found it tough to write down details and specifications in Chinese characters.
Now, business is picking up, thanks to team member Marcus Chua, who is majoring in business studies.
Said Mr Lim, who is studying material science engineering: "Marcus was responsible for all marketing aspects and product sponsorship. We get bulk orders from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Maybe it's because they ride a lot more overseas."
The first version of the Barpad was launched in the middle of last year. The third version of more than 200 units hit the market last month.
The team said it had initially engaged local manufacturers to produce the pad, but none specialised in the EVA closed-cell foam, so they sourced for manufacturers in China.
"The foam for the pad had to be heat resistant (and it had to) resist fading," said Mr Chua. "It's similar to a yoga mat but more robust."
The team is already looking towards its next project - a waterproof backpack that is large enough to fit a full-face helmet and can be tail-mounted on a motorcycle.
For this, the men are depending on Mr Lim's expertise in sewing, which he picked up in home economics class.
He said: "It has been a journey of trial and error because you need to know about prototyping, materials and how to stitch panels properly without compromising the bag's durability.
"Kah Yeow's mother has been supportive of our efforts by lending us her old sewing machine."
For more information on the Barpad, visit https://rockreadyengineering.com