If you bike at nighttime, you’re probably all too familiar with the challenges of keeping visible on the road. Reflectors and standard bike lights often help, but a Northern California startup has a unique solution that incorporates LED lighting directly on bike wheels.
If you’re a cycling enthusiast, you may have seen or heard of Revolights in the past. The company rolled out its original LED bike lighting system after its first Kickstarter project was a huge success in 2011. But the original product was not an easy installation process and involved mounting the light ring with clips to your existing wheels. So the team listened to feedback and they’ve now designed “Revolights City v2.0,” which are bike wheels with the LED lights directly built into them.
It’s the perfect combination: stylish and safe.
“Our goal is to treat bikes like vehicles,” Revolights co-founder and CEO Kent Frankovich told Mashable at Stanford University’s Cool Product Expo on Wednesday.
That’s why the company’s Revolights Wheels incorporate taillights and brake lights, just like a car. The lights increase your visibility as you ride, making it easier for you to see your own path and allowing motorists to more clearly spot you.
It’s telling when you see it yourself: Watch the above video to see Revolights in action.
The wheels come with batteries that can be removed and charged via USB. They generally last for four hours of lighting, Frankovich said.
Revolights is raising funds on Kickstarter for this second generation model. With still 32 days left to go in this new Kickstarter campaign, they’ve already surpassed their $14,500 goal: Backers had pledged more than $25,000, as of Friday afternoon. Backers can get a front wheel for $217, a rear wheel for $229 or a complete set for $399. For backers pledging well over a grand, they’ve also partnered with San Francisco’s Mission Bicycle Company to offer new bikes with Revolights Wheels already incorporated. Shipping is expected to begin this summer.
If you’re a cyclist, what kind of bike lights do you use? What do you think of these built-in bike wheel lights? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Thumbnail and above image courtesy of Revolights by Glen McKenna. Image below by Vignesh Ramachandran/Mashable. Video editing by Bianca Consunji/Mashable. Additional b-roll video courtesy of Revolights.
Revolights released its original wheel-mounted bike light system in 2011, following a $215,621 Kickstarter campaign (tagline: “Join The Revolution”). The lights, which spin round the wheel until they form solid front and back beams, were a big hit. Revolights sold 1600 sets in 37 countries.
But then it faced after-care issues. Some buyers’ rims were too wide, and many said installation was a chore: “A lot of feedback we got said ‘the installation isn’t difficult, it’s just time consuming’,” says CEO Kent Frankovich. Revolights even had to manufacture a special tool in China, just to accommodate some customers.
So, Frankovich has come up with some refinements, and new products. A 2.0 version is compatible with more types of rim. And, Revo is working on both its own wheels, as well as its own bike, together with a local San Francisco manufacturer. Frankovich describes the latter as “matte black” with an “elegant frame”, with full Revolight integration (basically, bike porn). “It’s a beautiful bike in the day. You can’t tell the lights are there,” he says. “Then, at night, it’s a full blown light cycle.”
Revo is now running another Kickstarter drive for the wheels (likely to sell at $217 each), and selling the new version of the clip-on lights at $229 (the original is $250). It goes through its own web site currently, but Frankovich would like the lights in stores. “That would help with installation. But we really want to sell wheels, and then there’s no installation. We hope that’s more what people want it to be.”
Though the original objective was to introduce a new and innovative lighting solution for cyclists at night, the success Revolights garnered since its introduction in 2011 made it one of the best proven concept to date on crowd funding’s effectiveness. After fulfilling some 900 orders of its Revolights Wheels to customers in thirty-seven different countries, the company is onto its next project – Revolights Wheels 2nd Generation (or Revolights Wheels v2.0).
Still with the same 360 degree light projection front and back, the new riveted design means easier installation. All you have to do is to mount them onto your bike, install the magnets and go. And like before, Revolights will be turning to KICKSTARTER to get this new initiative going. Funding starts at $15 and all the way to $217 for the first dibs on the front wheel, $229 for the rear, or $399 for both. Fellow Bay Area company MISSION BICYCLE also kicked in either the Revolights Valencia fixed-gear bike or the Revolights Sutro commuter to sweeten the offer further. At the moment, it raised about half of the $14,500 needed with 36 more days to go. For more details, see the video/images after the click or visit the project’s KICKSTARTER page.
Revolights Launches its Second Kickstarter Project
Since the successful completion of its first Kickstarter project where the Revolights team raised funds exceeding $200,000 USD from more than 1,400 investors in 2011, the revolutionary Californian bike lighting innovators have been busy cooking up more good ideas. This leads to news today announcing a second Kickstarter project–Revolights Wheels. Riding on their previously designed, developed, manufactured and now-patented Revolights bike lighting system from the first project, this second project will make internationally available easy-installation ‘Tron’-lit wheels that create the same 360 degree visibility and forward projection as before. These wheels require minimal installation — just put them on your bike, mount your magnets and ride. To celebrate its newest innovation, Revolights is also partnering with San Francisco-based custom bike builder Mission Bicycle Company – a fellow Kickstarter alumnus — to offer as one of their Kickstarter rewards the ultimate commuter bicycle. The Revolights Valencia will come fully equipped with Revolights Wheels. Join the Revolution.
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