Company History

Don Miller and CVT Model In the late 1990’s, Donald C. Miller, a cycling enthusiast, became interested in building the world’s fastest bicycle. Although he had no formal engineering training, he analyzed the system components and determined that the transmission was a limiting factor. He looked around for new ideas, and came across the concept of a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Believing that a continuously variable transmission might help him achieve his objective, Don conducted a series of experiments that led him to develop a new CVT concept for use in a bicycle transmission.

In 1998, Don and a group of investors formed Motion Systems, Inc. (MSI) to develop the technology he had conceived. By 2000, he had filed the first patent applications for a design that he felt could be implemented for a bicycle and seemed to address all of the traditional weaknesses of a CVT. At the end of 2000, as part of a process to provide additional funding and guidance, Miller and The Weiss Group LLC, an investment and startup advisory firm, joined forces to form Motion Technologies LLC (Motion Technologies). Motion Technologies acquired MSI's intellectual property and development rights with Don serving as the CEO.

In 2003, a second financing round for Motion Technologies provided funds via a private placement for the validation and continued development of the technology. The company retained a prestigious independent testing laboratory in Texas to perform validation testing of the technology. The testing quickly verified the technology's potential to provide significant gains in simplicity, scalability, and durability. The testing also indicated that the technology had potential applications far beyond just bicycles - to virtually any device that has a transmission or that can benefit from speed or torque variation.

Robert A. Smithson, a transmission expert involved with the testing laboratory's preliminary assessment was so impressed with what he saw that he joined the Company first as a consultant and later as Vice President of Product Development and subsequently served as the company's Chief Technical Officer.

As development progressed, it soon became apparent that the technology's potential was even greater than originally anticipated. Smithson discovered that the technology would also support the implementation of an infinitely variable transmission (IVT). Miller and Smithson additionally identified a potential application in the area of wind energy. At that point, management determined that it would be appropriate to obtain further funding and additional executive talent and immediately began an aggressive funding effort.

On April 13, 2004, Motion Technologies LLC became Fallbrook Technologies Inc. and in May, auto industry veteran Bill Klehm became Fallbrook's President and CEO. Don Miller then became Vice President of Advanced Research. Fallbrook secured additional funding via a private placement and accelerated research and development by assembling a staff that includes many top engineers in the transmission field. Several of these engineers came from the Texas testing laboratory that had initially evaluated the technology. The accelerated R&D effort began producing tangible results later in 2004, when the Company signed its first agreements with manufacturers.

In September 2006, Fallbrook introduced the first commercial CVP transmission for bicycle and light electric vehicle (LEV) applications. The Company’s core technology and product would take the name, NuVinci N170. The NuVinci name represents a “tip of the hat” to Leonardo da Vinci who in 1490 sketched what is considered to be the first documented continuously variable transmission.  Volume production for the Company’s first European and US OEM customers, Batavus B.V. and Ellsworth Handcrafted Bicycles Inc., began in January 2007. Also in 2007, NuVinci technology won several awards for innovation.

The following are selected Fallbrook milestones since 2007.

2015 - 2016

2013 - 2014

2014: 
  • Sold DynasysTM  Auxiliary Power Unit Business to Tridako
2013: 
  • Cyclist Geoff Harper took a NuVinci® and Gates combination bikes on "Unchained Iceland" adventure
  • CEO Bill Klehm made comments before a Congressional Committee (and subsequent follow-up comments) about the JOBS Act and Reg A+
  • Pegasus Harmony™ eBike won the Telegraaf test 
  • Dana Incorporated opened a Global Technical Center near Fallbrook headquarters
  • Began expansion in Europe, adding new sales representation, a Europe-based marketing manager, and a new lead creative agency for Europe

2011 - 2012

2012: 
  • Launched new website
  • Signed licensing agreements for automotive primary transmissions with Allison Transmission Holdings Inc. (NYSE: ALSN), Dana Incorporated, formerly Dana Holding Corporation {NYSE: DAN)
  • Signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Team Industries, Inc for use of NuVinci CVP technology in North America and Europe for electric and gasoline light vehicle applications
2011: 
  • Established a Transportation Industry Advisory Board of former senior auto industry executives to assist in product planning.
  • China’s Shanghai (Yangpu District) government selected Fallbrook Technologies and Advanced Strategic Leadership (ASL) Partners to develop transmission drives for electric vehicles
  • Acquired the business of Hodyon LP, developer and manufacturer of the Dynasys™ Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). Hodyon operates as a wholly owned subsidiary.
  • Formed a joint venture with Ningbo Shentong Group to develop and market NuVinci® Technology in China.
  • Launched the NuVinci® Harmony™ Intelligent Drivetrain, the first auto-shifting CVP transmission for e-Bikes.

 

2008 - 2010

2010: 
  • Announced entry into automotive market with NuVinci® Delta Series – accessory drives, drivetrains first in industry to increase both fuel economy, vehicle performance
  • NuVinci® Delta Series drive test demonstrated potential for annual fuel savings of up to $1,500 for bus AC unit
  • Introduced and began selling the NuVinci® N360™ ─ a new generation of its bicycle CVP drivetrain. The NuVinci N360 is 30% lighter and 17% smaller, provides a wider ratio range and smoother shifting, and is less expensive than the original NuVinci bicycle CVP.
  • Raised US $39 Million to accelerate commercialization of NuVinci® transmission technology. New international investors included Macquarie Capital Markets Canada Ltd., and its related parties, Sustainable Asset Management (“SAM”), of Switzerland, and Ningbo Shentong Auto Decorations Co., Ltd. (“Shentong”), of China. Existing investors also participated in this financing round
2009: 
  • Spun out the Viryd division as a standalone company, which licenses NuVinci technology from Fallbrook for use in wind power applications.
  • Closed $25.4 million venture investment round, led by NGEN III, LP and Robeco.
  • Introduced NuVinci CVAD (continuously variable accessory drive) capability
2008: 
  • Created in-house manufacturing capability using a subcontract manufacturer for NuVinci drivetrains for bicycles.