The Butterfly Effect in the Cycling World

CHARLES LEE | 4th Apr 2015 | FEATURES

The Butterfly Effect in the Cycling World

Has anyone heard of the Butterfly Effect?  Well, the term “Butterfly Effect” – coined by well-known meteorologist Edward Norton Lorenz – refers metaphorically to the formation of a hurricane when influenced by minor perturbations such as the flapping of the wings of a butterfly several weeks earlier.

Whilst it remains a controversy that a butterfly possesses the capability to create a disaster or alter its course, one man firmly believes in this theory from a business perspective.  And it is indeed true to a large extent – If a product is good, customers (of that product) will give positive reviews.  In turn, the product will become well-received and more satisfied customers will recommend (the product) to others.  With well-placed strategies, the product might become a global phenomenon.  A phenomenon of the Butterfly Effect.

The man who believes in the Butterfly Effect is Mr Alberto De Gioannini.  The extent of his belief is so great that he adopts the name “Effetto Mariposa” (the Italian translation of “Butterfly Effect”) for his company.  As he put it across beautifully in his corporate website, www.effettomariposa.com: “In a sport where win and loss are a matter of fractions of a second (track-racing, time-trialling..), the winning ‘flap’ can be given by a tyre sealant with a formula unlike any of its competitors, or by an inflate & repair cartridge that really works.  Effetto Mariposa targets both aspects: preventing damages and creating tiny winning advantages, all this taking care of the details most are under-estimating.

As anyone would have guessed by now, Effetto Mariposa, a Limited-Liability Company incorporated in Switzerland, designs, makes and sells bicycle tools and tyre applications.  In a way to emulate the Butterfly Effect, the seemingly small and insignificant products from Effetto Mariposa are poised to be a big part of the winning formula for a racer or racing team.

Togoparts met up with Mr De Gioannini, and his Corporate Marketing Manager, Mr David Marx, at a cosy corner in Bikes and Bites, the official distributor of Effetto Mariposa products, and managed to squeeze some time from them to tell us why their products could ignite a storm in the universe of cycling.

(Mr Alberto De Gioannini, founder of Effetto Mariposa)

TGP:  Effetto Mariposa is not much heard from the local cycling community.  Could you tell us a bit more about this company?

Mr De Gioannini:  Contrary to rumours that Effetto Mariposa is a newly-founded bike accessories maker, the company has been in the industry for close to 8 years.  I created the company in Switzerland in 2007.  Before embarking as an entrepreneur, I spent most of my professional life in specialised bicycle tyre maker, Vittoria Industries Ltd, as a Product Manager where I was instrumental in the designing and engineering of bicycle tyres.  I spent a short stint of one year in 3T Cycling before I decided that focusing on making bicycle tools, tyre applications and other bike accessories (to improve the quality of every ride) in my own space is what I want.  With my experience in materials engineering and product management in the tyre industry, I am fortunate enough to be able to apply my skills to conceptualise, design, create and test products under the Effetto Mariposa brand-name.

Mr David Marx:  Whilst Alberto assumes the role of President, I am, essentially, the “face” of Effetto Mariposa.  Being in-charge of the marketing-communications aspect of Effetto Mariposa, I would say that our products are quite well-received.  Many of the products are selling well in the United States of America.  Team Bianchi and the Scott Racing Team in Italy are currently using our products for official races.  In Singapore, we have chosen well-known bicycle retailer, Bikes and Bites, to distribute our products.  As Effetto Mariposa is still “new” to the Singapore market, we are monitoring what products are best suited for the local riders.  From a general sense, the Singapore market, on a holistic view, is an attractive one for Effetto Mariposa.

TGP:  Effetto Mariposa designs and manufactures bicycle tools and tyre applications.  What exactly is the company selling?

Mr De Gioannini:  The bicycle tools and tyre-related applications that we sell are likely to be perceived by many as insignificant and unimportant.  Such perception is rather normal as the “stars” of a race are the bicycles and the riders.  Furthermore, tools are merely tools, and they could be brought from any hardware shop.  Topping it up, the abundance of inexpensive tools from various tool-makers makes it easy for professional mechanics to pick and use the wrong set of tools or to apply them in the wrong way.  But it is vital to note that the lack of proper tools and not knowing how to use them might trigger off a catastrophic incident.  For instance, a basic wrench that over-tightens a bolt or nut on a carbon frame could stress the frame to the point that it cracks.  During a ride, the frame may give way and injure the rider.  This has happened before.

Through Effetto Mariposa’s products, we want to achieve two small objectives in a big way – prevent damages and create tiny winning advantages.  Using the same example of the over-tightened bolt or nut, the breakdown of the frame would not have occurred, and the race team would have proceeded to score race points, if a torque wrench (instead of a simple wrench) is used.

Effetto Mariposa offers a wide range of products that help prevent damages to the bikes and bike parts.  We offer riders a comprehensive range of products from torque wrenches to sealants to puncture-prevention inflation cartridges.  We also sell carbon-fibre and metal structure protectants, helmet paddings and adhesive tapes for gluing tubular tyres.  The list goes on.

TGP:  Your products seem interesting.  Which one shall we start first?

Mr De Gioannini:  We will start with the Giustaforza torque wrenches.  On top of this product line is the Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench, which offers the best torque range for precision bicycle applications.  Before tightening the bolt or nut, the Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench could be configured to the exact level of torque stated on the bicycle part or technical documents.   When the correct level of force is applied, the torque wrench would give off a “click” sound.

(The Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench)

The distinctive feature of the Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench is its light aluminium body, which helps keep the weight down to a record-breaking sub-200g value.  This is important because the low weight would provide the right feedback at low torque values (i.e. the torque wrench’s lightness would not add on to the user’s force on the bolt or nut).  Riders who use bikes that are made of carbon would appreciate the Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench because they know that any extra torque, however minimal, would pose additional stress to their bikes’ carbon frames.

(Click on the video to watch the Giustaforza II 2-16 PRO torque wrench in action)

TGP:  Brilliant!  What else do you have in Effetto Mariposa?

Mr De Gioannini: The Caffelatex sealant is probably something that every rider and racing team would want to have.  The Caffelatex sealant is an innovative tyre sealant that could be used for both on and off road tyres.  The Caffelatex is injected into the tyre via the same air valve before a ride or race.  The tyre is then rotated a number of times to ensure that the liquid-based sealant covers every inch within the tyre.  Like other sealants from other brands, the Caffelatex sealant works to seal the punctured hole in the event of a tyre puncture.  But what distinguishes the Caffelatex sealant from classic sealants is the microscopic silicate particles that are used in the sealant.  These particles, which are less than two microns in diameter, are non-sluggish and quick-flowing.  When a puncture is encountered, the Caffelatex sealant is able to flow into the cavity and dry up within 20 seconds to stop air from escaping and the rider is able to continue with his ride or race without halting.  On some occasions, the rider might not even notice that his tyre has encountered a puncture!

(Click on the video to watch the Caffelatex in action)

Mr David Marx: Classic sealants could, at best, seal punctured holes on the tread of the tyre (i.e. the portion that comes into contact with the ground).  However, the foaming agent in the Caffelatex sealant covers the entire internals of the tyre, making it more effective against sidewall punctures.

TGP:  The Caffelatex sealant seems to be the link to winning a race.

Mr De Gioannini:  You are only half correct!  The Caffelatex sealant is a link to winning a race.  But it is only one of the links.  Let’s imagine a scenario in which Caffelatex is not used prior to a ride or race, and the rider encounters a puncture.  What should we do?  If that really happens, the rider could use the Espresso!

(The Espresso)

The Espresso is an inflate-and-repair air cartridge that could inflate the punctured tyre without having the rider to do anything else.  Apart from pressurised air, the Espresso contains Caffelatex sealant particles.  When the rider activates the cartridge, the sealant would work to plug the gap before the tyre is filled with air.  Traditional air cartridges that are available on the market today are solely used for inflating tyres.  Using such air cartridges would mean that the rider has to replace the inner tube or patch the cavity before inflating the tyre.  Whereas, the Espresso removes the hassle of replacing the inner tube or patching the punctured cavity.  In the context of a race, the Espresso could possibly decide the fate of the rider.

(See how the Espresso repairs and inflates a tyre)

TGP: So, any rider could carry an Espresso and activates it in the event of a puncture?

Mr David Marx:  For riders who are using 29-inch or fat tyres, the Espresso Doppio would be a better alternative.  It is 50-ml more voluminous than the standard 75-ml Espresso and is designed to inflate larger-sized tyres.

TGP: Effetto Mariposa appears to have a focus on bike tyres.  Is it not so?

Mr De Gioannini: Not everything from Effetto Mariposa is about tyres.  We also make products that protects bike parts.  The Shelter (as we call it) is a self-adhesive, transparent protection with visco-elastic behaviour which serves to protect metal or carbon-fibre structure.  With its composite, multi-layered compound, it protects by absorbing shocks and spreading them within the protective compound.

(The Shelter.  Notice that the various shapes are the actual compound protection that you will stick on the vulnerable parts of your bike.)

Mr David Marx: Effetto Mariposa also sells the Octoplus Kit, which is a universal pad-replacing kit for helmets.  The kit’s uniqueness lies with its fragmented, velcro straps, which are able to fasten themselves according to the design and shape of the helmet.  Another selling point of the Octoplus Kit is its anti-microbial and sweat-resistance properties, which help reduce odour.  As the Octoplus Kit is washable, users could save on helmet-replacing costs in the long run.

(Watch the video to see how the Octoplus Kit can save your helmet replacement costs)

Effetto Mariposa’s products are distributed by Bikes and Bites, which is situated at 3791 Jalan Bukit Merah #01-08 E-Centre @ Redhill.  They are available for sale at Bikes and Bites and selected bike shops in Singapore. For more information, please visit the Effetto Mariposa website at www.effettomariposa.com.