June 1, 2014
From his Anaheim, California, machine shop, Tormach PCNC 1100 owner and motorcycle enthusiast Brian Carmichael manufactures the OMNI-CRUISE, a universal throttle lock/cruise control that he designed to enhance the riding experience for motorcycle enthusiasts around the world.
The idea for OMNI-CRUISE came about when Carmichael was looking for a way to ease the stress on his wrist while riding. “I realized that the imported plastic cruise controls weren’t of a high enough quality for me to put on my bike. So, I decided to make one out of metal,” he said.
Carmichael’s throttle lock design is completely universal, fitting most motorcycles and scooters on the market. It installs in seconds and at just ¼ inch wide is the thinnest on-grip product available on the market today.
When Motorcycle Magazine featured a review of the OMNI-CRUISE, Carmichael’s business changed quite literally overnight. Carmichael recalled, “Motorcycle Magazine wrote an article on my product. The article came out on a Thursday and it was obvious I’d be sold out by the following Monday, so I turned in my resignation at my day job and got to work ramping up production in my shop.”
Carmichael initially prototyped his invention on a small hobby mill before switching to a Tormach PCNC 1100. In doing so, he saw a significant increase in production volumes and a significant decrease in per part machining time. “Switching to the Tormach PCNC 1100 changed my production volume from being able to make about 75 at a time to the batch I’m running right now which is 1620 OMNI-CRUISES and is going to be a little over 5000 individual parts,” he said.
“The fixtures I had when I first started were ¼ inch thick and measured 6” wide by 16” long, which would yield 12 halves of the cruise control from each plate. If I stacked the fixture plates three tall, my machining time ended up being 4.5 minutes each. With the Tormach PCNC 1100, my current fixture holds 18 parts and I’m able to run them four plates thick. So, every time I hit Cycle Start, essentially I’m cutting 72 parts. I’ve gotten my unload/load time down to about 20 minutes in an hour and a half of machining, which knocks my time per part down to about 1.6 minutes.”
Production volumes aside, Carmichael said he saw the popularity of the OMNI-CRUISE coming a long way out. “There are 9.5 million registered motorcycles in the United States of America. If I’m able to target half of 1% of the market, this will exceed my expected annual income for the rest of my life if I worked until 100 at my other job.”
Customer feedback on the OMNI-CRUISE has been nothing but positive. “The number one thing I hear about my product is its quality,” Carmichael said. “Everything they touch is molded plastic and people are not used to seeing the attention to detail or the level of quality into after-market parts, especially in the $50 price range.”
Each OMNI-CRUISE is finished with a micro-grain textured powder coating that is both abrasion resistant and easy to grip. To protect from wear against the brake lever, Carmichael machines the bottom piece out of Delrin plastic. “There’s a Delrin slide all the way around the bottom, which needs to be plastic because it comes in contact with a chrome or powder-coated brake lever — otherwise it’s going to wear the brake lever before the OMNI-CRUISE,” he explained.
Carmichael added, “Honestly when I started making the OMNI-CRUISE, I figured if half the people that bought my product liked it, I’d be satisfied. But the vast majority of people who’ve even touched it have either bought one or plan to. The overall sales have been a lot better than I ever thought they would be, considering I haven’t really even done any traditional advertising yet.”