Plans to mass produce new mode of inexpensive transport
GRASSROOTS innovator Nkosana Madi’s invention drastically reduces the time it takes to get from point A to point B.
It came about almost by accident. The innovator’s idea was born when he returned to his home in KwaThema, a mere 18km from Springs in Gauteng. His father asked him why one should invest money in a vehicle if one could save by travelling by bicycle. The problem Madi faced, however, was that his bicycle was broken and his only option was to repair it himself. Madi is an avid motorcyclist and once bitten by the bug, he says, “It was hard to get off those two wheels”.
Combining his passion for motorcycles and the necessity for travel, Madi developed an inexpensive hybrid motorised bicycle.
“The concept is very simple. I sourced a motor from a local dealer, chopped and welded it to a bicycle at home and managed to create a mode of transport that works for me and can work for those in my community,” Madi explained.
While producing more such hybrid motorised bicycles, Madi tailor-made them to the needs of those who wanted them.
He had a vision to create a large number of these hybrid bicycles to help people who live in KwaThema, but work in Springs. While producing more such hybrid motorised bicycles, Madi tailor-made them to the needs of those who wanted them. Eventually he was approached by the Grassroots Innovation Programme of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Through the Department of Science and Technology and the CSIR’s Technology Localisation Implementation Unit (TLIU), Madi’s vision has now changed. He has the goal to mass produce these motorised bicycles to help his community members travel to work.
Madi has been incubated into the Grassroots Innovation Programme with the aim of commercialising his innovation and – with the support of the TLIU – turning it into a business.
“I no longer see the value in creating profit from the concept, but rather to push volume on a large enough scale that all those in rural communities around South Africa can have a better mode of transport,” he said.
Madi’s goal now is to have a fully-fledged workshop that can mass produce at least 100 bicycles per month at a cost price of R6 000, and with a knock-on effect to create jobs.