From Jay Laurens, Chief Executive Officer….
Coming in 2020…American Amtrykes…and More!
What is the status of the Amtryke prototypes being built by Bicycle Corporation of America, and when will BCA-built trykes be available for purchase?
BCA is currently working on prototypes of our ProSeries Amtrykes, the models for which we have the greatest demand. Specifically, they’re designing two yet-to-be-named models. One is essentially a hybrid of the current 1412 and 1416 and the other will blend the 1420 and 1420XL. They will be lighter than our current models and will have telescoping, modular frames for more adaptability, adjustability and portability.
The first two phases of the prototypes have been reviewed and critiqued by our Amtryke Advisory Board and multiple AEFT (Amtryke Evaluation and Fitting Training) certified therapists. It is our hope Phase 3 prototypes will be available for review in February or March of 2020, and approval for production will be granted soon thereafter.
Having said that, getting it right is more important than doing it quickly. We must ensure our new BCA Amtrykes are fun, safe, dependable and therapeutic. For that reason, our therapists will have the final say as to when BCA Amtrykes will officially go to production.
It’s also worth noting our designation for these models will likely change. The term ProSeries often causes confusion, since it implies these are high performance, competitive racing models. They are, in fact, for recreational and therapeutic use.
Which prototypes will BCA tackle next, and how long will it take to replace our entire Amtryke fleet?
The BCA team has already begun preliminary design work for our signature Amtrykes, the hand-foot operated AM Series models. Again, their focus is on adaptability, adjustability and portability. Concepts being explored include an adjustable drive shaft, a two-part modular frame, and three-piece pedal cranks of varying sizes. To date, we’ve only reviewed computer-aided designs of these models and plastic prototypes of a few components. It is premature to speculate exactly when these models will go to production, but stay tuned.
Following approval of the AM Series, BCA will move to our larger Amtrykes. The specific order in which our 1020, 1024, JT-2000, JT-2300, and TP-3000 models will be addressed has not yet been determined.
While BCA production models are being phased in, will Amtrykes from our Taiwanese manufacturer still be available?
Yes, we will continue to order our current models from Gomier until each BCA model is introduced. As the volume of trykes ordered from Gomier declines, the day could come when they are no longer willing to fill our orders. In anticipation of this remote possibility, we are maintaining a higher inventory of certain models, so we can continue to meet the demand for trykes.
Yes, our Amtryke Customer Service team will remain at the AMBUCS Resource Center in High Point, NC. The sole purpose of the ARC is to provide support to you, our volunteer members and chapters across the country, as you work diligently to inspire mobility and independence. The ARC is the hub of our organizational communication, not only regarding Amtrykes, but all things AMBUCS.
How about Amtryke inventory management, shipping and receiving?
We recently entered a contractual arrangement with BCA to provide our inventory management, shipping and receiving services. Shortly after January 1, 2020, our existing Amtryke inventory (trykes, accessories and parts) will be moved from High Point, NC to Summerton, SC, where BCA recently purchased a spacious warehouse. From that point on, all Amtryke orders will be shipped to you from the BCA facility. BCA’s warehouse team will be linked remotely to our Amtryke Customer Service representatives and our in-house inventory management and accounting system.
Our current incoming shipments from Gomier, our Taiwanese supplier, conveniently arrive in port in Charleston, SC, which is just an hour from BCA’s new Summerton warehouse. Maintaining all inventory – from both Gomier and BCA – in one location and filling all orders from there, simply makes good business sense. Eliminating the unnecessary step of transporting shipments to NC will save time and money.
Will there be a gap in service?
Yes. Before the inventory can be moved, we must conduct a complete physical inventory for our auditors and for BCA. The actual transition will also be labor intensive. This will necessitate that we essentially shut down our shipping operation.
In addition, in order to serve you better, we are updating both our membership database and our inventory management/accounting software. In order to make all of these changes run smoothly, the AMBUCS Resource Center will need to cease normal functions for a period of time. From January 1 – 10, while we conduct inventory, our Amtryke Customer Service team will continue to accept orders, but we will be unable to ship.
For three to five weeks, starting around January 13, the ARC will temporarily cease most functions including Amtryke ordering and shipping, National Amtryke Wish List as well as AMBUCS membership services including adding or dropping members, new chapters, dues, giving, officers and Scorecard.
Please note, since the systems will be in transition, we will also not be able to answer questions. Visit this website or amtrykestore.org for up-to-date information as we get closer.
We understand this shut down will cause frustrations as you seek to accomplish the mission early in the new year. But please keep in mind all these changes will help us serve you more efficiently – so you, in turn, can better serve your community.
Will the way we order Amtrykes eventually change?
Yes, over time and as BCA models are introduced, the way Amtrykes are ordered will change. Currently, because we receive partially assembled “bikes in a box” from Gomier in Taiwan, our Amtryke Customer Service must assist you in exchanging or “swapping out” seats/seatbacks, pedals and other accessories as necessary to meet a specific rider’s needs.
However, with BCA models, you will simply choose a base frame and then select the appropriate pedals, seat system and other components. There will be no need for exchanging parts or accessories. This transition, though exciting, will be a challenging one for everyone involved. For an indefinite period, depending on the model you’re ordering, you may have to use the “old” or “new” process. Once all BCA Amtryke models have been introduced, the process for ordering trykes will be streamlined significantly. Eventually, we hope you will be able to go to our website and “build” a virtual Amtryke using 3-D computer design technology, and then select it for purchase.
Given these changes, what is the future vision for the AMBUCS Resource Center?
Simply put, the AMBUCS Resource Center will continue to be exactly that, a resource for our membership and mission, but will no longer be a warehouse and distribution center. We hope to convert the existing warehouse into space that will help us better serve our members and mission. More exciting news on that in the months to come.
Chief Executive Officer
BCA Amtryke Design Standards
The list below was developed collaboratively by our Amtryke Advisory Board and the Bicycle Corporation of America team. It details the universal design specifications BCA will utilize in the redesign of each Amtryke model and accessory.
- Maintain or reduce pricing.
- Maximize therapeutic benefit.
- Reduce weight of trykes and accessories.
- Use modular two-piece frame designs, allowing for ease of transport in van/SUV/car, and potential conversion of tryke by swapping out front ends.
- Maintain or enhance stability and durability.
- Simplify assembly and disassembly and minimize need for tools.
- Simplify instruction manuals and videos.
- Simplify and standardize model naming system and serialization.
- To the degree possible, standardize seat back systems/accessories.
- Ensure all seat post brackets accommodate all seat posts, which accommodate all seats.
- Improve adaptability and adjustability.
- Explore use of numerically calibrated frames and accessories to simplify and standardize fitting.
- Reduce total number of Amtryke models.
- Equip all models with standard 9/16”, 3-piece, removable pedal cranks.
- When possible, equip models with quick release pedals and wheels.
- Explore pedal leveler design that eliminates need for cords.
- When possible, equip models with lightweight solid tires or puncture resistant tubes.
- Equip all models with a simple loading brake.
- Equip all models with simplified handlebar stem with single quick release.
- Standardize simple flag mount system for all models.
- Simplify and standardize rear steering kit design.
- Equip all rear wheel drive models with factory installed band or disk brakes.
- Equip all models with multiple braze-ons/bosses for water bottles and other accessories.
- Ensure all models are packaged within FedEx carton oversize dimension requirements to reduce shipping costs.
- Ensure controls for all models will mount on either side.
- Replace chrome components with black powder coating where possible.
- Standardize single chain rings/cranks on all geared models.
- Where feasible, explore use of internal rear hubs to eliminate need for derailleurs.
- Develop trainer roller system that works equally well with hand and foot driven models.
- Standardize mesh baskets or molded plastic cargo compartments for all applicable models.
- Design simple system for attaching oxygen tanks, IV’s, etc.
- Provide a greater range of safe, effective helmets – preferably with black polystyrene.
Read the first Amtryke Update published in the Winter 2018 AMBUCS Magazine and online.