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Lumen: A Retro-Reflective City Bicycle's video poster

A 100% retro-reflective city bicycle inspired by late nights, city lights, and full moons. Designed and built in San Francisco. Read more

pledged of $15,000 goal
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This project was successfully funded on April 17, 2014.

A 100% retro-reflective city bicycle inspired by late nights, city lights, and full moons. Designed and built in San Francisco.

About this project

Funded! Thank you for your enthusiasm and support. We're excited to get to work and say thanks by delivering your rewards. If you missed the project live you can still get your retro-reflective Lumen bicycle below:

The Lumen is the first of its kind: a bicycle designed specifically for city riding with integrated retro-reflection. 

This patented innovation returns any light that hits the Lumen's frame and wheels directly back to the light source. Available single speed or fully geared, in 5 sizes, the Lumen is the world's first commercially available retro-reflective bicycle.

By day the Lumen is a deep charcoal gray, with a slight iridescent sheen. The embedded reflective material adds a unique visual depth.

At night, with direct light, the Lumen's frame and rims glow with dramatic effect. There's no on/off switch, no batteries required. This integrated illumination helps identify the rider to surrounding road users.

Not all reflections are the same. Retro-reflection works by returning light directly to its source, rather than bouncing, scattering or diffusing the light.

Retro-reflection is focused, creating a signal that is brighter and more intense. By coating the entire frame and both rims, the Lumen has more reflective surface area than any existing bicycle solution. Each bike will be painted with hundreds of thousands of microscopic spheres. As light enters those spheres it boomerangs right back to the source. This effect - known as “cat’s eye” - is visible up to 1,000 feet.

The inspiration for this project was born out of our daily/nightly city riding. As we passed hyper-reflective street signs surrounded by dark cyclists we asked “Why can’t this technology be applied to a bicycle frame?”

It turns out there was a good reason. Retro-reflective solutions have previously only been available in 2D formats. They could be applied as stripes on the road or as the backing of a stop sign. But this wouldn’t work on a 3D bicycle frame. And then we met the guys at Halo Coatings.

Halo Coatings develops innovative technologies to enable the application of reflective coatings to 3D surfaces. Halo holds patents on the retro-reflective powder coat that is used on the Lumen, as well as a patented liquid coating technology that can be applied to plastic, rubber, and other composite substrates.

Developing an exclusive partnership with Halo Coatings was the first big step. Next, we had to see it for ourselves, on our own bikes. 

There are very few shops in the world with the equipment and knowledge required to apply this unique coating. We sent a small batch of newly built frames to southern California to have prototypes coated. Once back in San Francisco we built those frames into bikes and took to the streets. The results were astonishing, by both day and night.

While the reflective coating on the frame is a new innovation for city bikes, the craftsmanship and experience needed to turn those frames into bikes is already ours. We've been building high quality city bikes for 5 years, and riding them for combined decades.

Each Lumen bicycle has been designed with the full compliment of our experience. The components are a curated mix of practical and durable to get you to work, the movies, the store. Anywhere and everywhere reliably. Every Lumen bicycle will be built by hand in San Francisco.

The frame is hand-welded 4130 double-butted chromoly steel. Double-butted means the tubing is stronger where it needs to be, and lighter where it can be. Steel means it can handle the daily rigors of riding and locking without any structural compromise. The Lumen frame's craftsmanship is guaranteed for 50 years.

We're offering 3 complete bike designs for your support, one single-speed bike and two geared bikes. Both geared Lumen are spec'd with Shimano 8-speed internal hubs. For more details on our gear hubs, click here.

To see the full build details of each bike, including more photos, click here.

For your support we've developed a host of rewards to help brighten any night ride.

We will use funds raised through this project to bring the Lumen bicycle to market. The retro-reflective coating application is highly specialized and requires a significant financial investment to meet manufacturing minimums. This campaign will allow us to paint an initial fleet of frames and deliver fully built reflective bikes.

Mission Bicycle Company was founded in 2008 with the goal of building the most innovative and beautiful city bikes available anywhere. Each bike is designed by each rider and then built one at a time, by hand, in San Francisco, CA. We focus exclusively on cycling as transportation through design, advocacy, product curation, and commuter support. We continually re-imagine both the city bike, and the function of a bike company.

This project grew out of the shared experience of our staff of daily/nightly commuters. Together, we're working to put Lumen bicycles on streets around the world.

Thank you,

Jefferson, Kai, James, Dan, Ryan, David, Kelly, Jacob & Tucker

's video poster

Risks and challenges

Because we rely on 3rd party vendors to supply us with the components that we need to build our bicycles, supply chain challenges are our biggest risk. As a 5-year old business with the experience of two successful Kickstarter projects we know we can proactively minimize those challenges and employ our experience in resolving them if they do arise.

We've done the due diligence on the product and have the infrastructure in place to produce for our backers at all reward levels.

Learn about accountability on Kickstarter


  • 50cm, 53cm, 56cm, 59cm, 62cm

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  • Yes, but not at the advertised international price. Unfortunately the shipping costs are extremely high. If seriously interested please email us prior to backing and we'd be happy to work with you on getting a quote.

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  • The Lumen was conceived to have only what was essential. Since there are many ways to add fenders, racks, bottle cages, etc... without eyelets or braze-ons we chose to leave them off. If you're interested in adding any of those accessories we'd be happy to help.

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  • Given the broad array of bikes, sizes, components, and configurations it would be impossible to succinctly answer this question.

    The major build specs are below. If you're not sure please let us know before making a pledge.

    Valencia Single Speed rear dropout spacing: 120mm
    Sutro Internally Geared rear dropout spacing: 132.5mm

    Both frames:
    Head Tube 1 1/8"
    Seat Tube 27.2mm
    Bottom bracket 68mm English thread
    Caliper brake mounts

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  • Mission Bicycle is the exclusive builder of Halo retro-reflective bikes. We only build our own, new custom bicycles and it is not within our scope or mission to retrofit existing bikes. We're a small staff and that is outside our service offering.

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  • One decal, for one side of the bike only.

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  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    51 backers

    [MOON PHASE DECAL] . . . Designed and printed in house on reflective durable vinyl. Apply or remove without damage.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $35 or more

    33 backers

    [LUMEN T-SHIRT] . . . Front: Moon phase design. Back: reflective logo positioned for passing motorists. American Apparel T's, printed in San Francisco.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $499 or more

    21 backers

    [FRAME & FORK] . . . Single speed or internally geared frameset, available in 5 sizes.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,245 or more

    12 backers

    [LUMEN 1] . . . Complete single speed bicycle featuring black details and a bullhorn handlebar.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $1,595 or more

    13 backers

    [LUMEN 8] . . . Complete 8-speed bicycle featuring silver details and a riser handlebar for an upright riding position.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $2,500 or more

    4 backers

    [LUMEN 8SE] . . . Complete Special Edition 8-speed bicycle. Built with premium components including Shimano Alfine Hub, Sugino mirror crankset, Brooks leather, hand-made German tires and more.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)