Helmet startup Skully Helmets, the San Francisco based company that is building a helmet with an integrated heads-up-display system, has quietly pushed back its delivery to customers to December 2015.
Initial hopes from the company were to have product in the hands of consumers by the end of 2014, with that date being solidified to May 2015 once the company started its Indiegogo-powered pre-order campaign.
Anyone in the industry could have told you that was pie-in-the-sky forecasting though, as finished models were not even available at the start of the campaign, let alone other factors like certification, production, and distribution.
With $2.4 million raised from just under 2,000 pre-orders on Indiegogo, Skully has now had the capital to actually bring its helmet to market. The question some bean-counters are asking though is how much of that $2.4 million has gone to R&D, and how much of it will go to order fulfillment.
Though Skully is mum as to whom it has partnered with to make the helmet, our sources suggest that the startup company is buying a private label helmet from a budget manufacturer in China.
This means that even if Skully is getting helmets at near retail pricing, something it surely is not, then there is ample margin in the Skully AR-1’s $1,500 price tag for the company to build the helmets for customers and finance the R&D necessary to make the AR-1 a finished product.
Therefore, the December 2015 delivery date seems like the most realistic date that we’ve heard thus far from the Skully team.
The company reports on its website that “beta testers” now have the AR-1 and are testing it, presumably in the wild, though with over 100,000 people signing up for that program, that program was more of a lead-generation example to show investors, rather than an honest appeal for people to test the helmet and help with its development.
As far A&R knows, no actual journalist has been allowed to ride with the Skully AR-1 on a motorcycle, with demos limited to in-office visits.
However some publications have signed non-disclosure agreements with Skully, and may have early access to the product. Those publications seem to be the same ones giving Skully rave reviews on the company’s website.
When we had a chance to wear the AR-1, and decline signing the NDA, the HUD was limited to a demo mode only, presumably since the actual feature modules were still underdevelopment — this was back in August 2014 though, so hopefully things have progressed further since then.
Given the praise the moto-journalist world has shown the Skully AR-1, without actually touching a real, working, finished product, it’s clear the market wants to see technology and progress come into the motorcycle helmet space. We do too, to be honest.
One has to wonder though, is Skully and the AR-1 the answer to that call, or is like some of the other startups we have see in the two-wheeled space, and merely vaporware? As always, time will tell.