It’s not often that a single new product transforms an entire industry. But that’s exactly what happened with Emeryville-based bicycle light company, Revolights. With a ring of LEDs, a USB-powered battery and a team of local designers, Revolights literally reinvented the wheel.
Ordinary bike lights provide a single light beam off the front or rear of your bike, leaving the rider vulnerable on the sides. Revolights offer full visibility from the sides, as well as a bright beam projected on the ground in front and behind.
“It’s safety meets design,” says Revo’s Drew Ocon. “We wanted to create something where safety and style went hand in hand.” It’s this combo that has pedaled Revolights to the front of a rapidly growing indie bike industry.
Like so many innovative companies, Revolights started on Kickstarter, with little more than an idea and a video. The video went viral, and the group raised $43,000 within the first week, something Kickstarter itself thought was too ambitious.
“All these people believed in the idea, and suddenly we had 1,500 backers in 37 countries, and we realized oh man, this is our job,” says Ocon. So the group quit their day jobs and threw themselves into manufacturing Revolights full time.
Despite the quick take off for the company, Ocon says they’re still trying to grow slowly. They’re involved in every aspect of production, which is done here in the United States. And if you live in the Bay Area and purchase their lights, they’ll actually install them for you and talk you through the product one on one.
The installation of the lights is a bit tedious but doable, so you might want to take them up on the offer to help. But what it lacks in ease of installation, it more than makes up for in style. The Revo team is busy in the lab working on the next phase of the lights: wheelsets with the lights built right into them, so you won’t have to install the lights.
Revolights are available for purchase online at revolights.com and at Mission Bicycle on Valencia Street; the full set retails for $229-$249.