A utilitarian bike accessory—the mudguard—has gotten a sleek new redesign thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign. With stainless steel lending it a minimalist aesthetic, Plume is a mudguard that looks good enough to steal (but, according to the product’s creators, it was designed to prevent theft.)
A mudguard is a piece of (usually) plastic that floats above the rear tire of a bike to prevent mud and other filth on the street from splashing up at a cyclist’s rear. Typically, mudguards aren’t much to look at and can break easily. The uninspiring design leads many cyclists to make their own mudguards out of bottles, cardboard, and the like.
While Plume’s nice look is a bonus, its top selling point is retractability: when not in use, it coils up in a tidy ball. Supposedly, the Plume won’t recoil when driven over bumps in the road. "You can actually use it while cycling. You can bring it out and just as easily recoil it while pedaling," cocreator Dan McMahon explains in the Kickstarter page’s video.
That video, along with another one showing a test ride of a Plume-equipped bike through a puddle of water saturated in orange paint, spraying the surrounding white walls but leaving the biker’s white lab coat pristine, has helped the Kickstarter campaign soar to more than $30,000 in just two weeks, surpassing its $18,000 goal. The creators, McMahon and Patrick Laing, say they’ll use the money to pay for production costs on Plume’s first run.