The solution came to me in a dream
by Duane Ausherman
My grandfather was a highly successful inventor. Like me, he also had Asperger’s Disorder. He always claimed to get his ideas for inventions in the night. Of course, that sounded crazy to the family.
A potential customer came in with his wife, who was a nurse. She had serious back trouble, and they asked if a BMW could have a sissy bar attached. The horror of the idea of putting something so “Harley” on a BMW was almost too much. We talked about her health issue, and I promised to research it. I got their phone number, and they left.
Within a couple of days, a dream woke me up, and it was that shocking. I knew how to make the “sissy bar” that she wanted. I couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got up at about 4 am, got dressed, and left for the shop. I was always the last person there, so my employees were sure that someone had broken in, and that is why the doors were open when they arrived. Nope, just me.
I removed a grab bar from a new BMW motorcycle in the showroom, and cut it up. I welded some bits on it to which a cushion could be mounted at what I thought was the right height for the wife.
I had to wait until 10 am when our local surplus store opened up in order to get a chunk of foam rubber. I taped the foam to the welded up frame. With it mounted on a bike, it seemed to be just about right. In the first photo is my girlfriend Elsa, and she is behind the prototype.
I called the couple and asked them to come in and get our demo bike to try out. They rode it all over on a Saturday, and she loved it. If I could get a production version made up, they would buy a new R75/5 motorcycle.
I called up the very best BMW accessory manufacturer in the country, Reynold’s Machine Tool in Salt Lake City. They agreed to take a look, so I mailed it to them for testing. They weren’t convinced, but they had a couple of customers leaving for a tour in a few days and would test it. They fabricated a backrest of their design that was attached to the luggage rack. So, two bikes with passengers left on their trip with a version of each design. They swapped bikes back and forth for less biased testing. The backrest that was attached to the luggage rack was bouncing with the weight on the rack and beating the passenger’s kidneys. Both hated that backrest so much that they removed it the first day and strapped it on the back.
That was enough proof, and Reynolds made up the jigs for bending the tubing and made up the first run. The very first one went on the new bike for my buying couple.
The only agreement with the Reynolds was verbal, over the phone. Soon, the backrest was so popular that my competitors wanted it too. Some hated me and wanted to buy directly from the Reynolds. They agreed to give me $5 a unit for those that they sold. They were totally honest Mormons and never cheated me.
I could see from my sales and their commission payments just how many were sold yearly. Being a BMW dealer, I also knew the total bike sales. My backrest was the most popular accessory for the BMW motorcycle.
When a decent used one shows up on eBay, it brings a high price.
In 2019 money, my profit from a dream was over 1/4 million. I only made it to sell another motorcycle. If only I knew how to have more of those dreams.
Updated 15 Nov. 2019