I spent years covering the Park & Diamond helmet fiasco and left off in September of 2022 with a story titled “Lessons Learned From The Park & Diamond’s Bicycle Helmet Debacle.” It appears there are plenty of riders who didn’t take my advice. While researching Indiegogo today, I found the Newton-Rider helmet that makes all the performance claims that Park & Diamond once made. ‘Researching Indiegogo” might be a stretch because the Newton-Rider helmet was the first campaign to pop up when searching the word “bicycle” on the investment site. I didn’t have to dig far.
This N-B concept helmet is claimed to use a different technology than Park & Diamond while claiming to deliver all the promised performance of the P&D helmet. The Newton-Bike folds, is about half the size of a conventional bicycle helmet, is light, is chipped and will pass all bicycle helmet certifications. They got a great write up from Wired (a thinly disguised PR piece that could have been generated by AI). And just like P&D, this company has yet to ship a product four years after they accepted their first investment.
The company’s updates seem eerily familiar to P&D. There are delays due to materials, construction, COVID, vacations and certifications. An April 2022 update claims the helmet is “entering the final sprint” and is beginning the certification process. I’ve never heard of a “sprint” lasting two-years. And my favorite, the company is asking for understanding because monthly updates are just too much to expect. Man, I wish I had thought of that one when I was Editor of Mountain Bike Action. “Sorry Chief, a monthly magazine is too much work. How about I do it every two or three or four months?”
The other similarity to P&D are the customer comments. They are pissed. One investor claims to have purchased another helmet and if the Newton-Rider ever shows up, it will be used as a flower pot. Others are tired of N-B backtracking on updates or not following up on claimed progress. If customers are a company’s greatest asset, Newton-Bike is in Bad shape.
ADVICE FOR INVESTING
When pitched on a product that requires a new, unproven technology or material, be wary. If it is offered by a company that hasn’t made the product yet, be very wary. Finally, understand that crowd-funding sites are high-risk investments, not purchases. They are not like buying from your local bike shop!
If you want a helmet to use and enjoy right now, go to your local bike shop. If you want to invest in a promise of a future product, dump some dough (that you can afford to lose) into a crowd-funded project and forget about it. If a product does show up, your investment paid off. Maybe.