Project image
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$10,548
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
45
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 29 2015 3:00 AM UTC +00:00
$10,548
pledged of $20,000pledged of $20,000 goal
45
backers
Funding Unsuccessful
The project's funding goal was not reached on Sat, August 29 2015 3:00 AM UTC +00:00

About

Finally, a bike light designed specifically to be worn on your helmet!

My name is Grady Pace, founder of Trail LED. I am an avid mountain biker, insatiable risk-taker, and Olympic-caliber tinkerer living in Dallas, TX. 

Mountain biking is a passion of mine. It all started a few decades ago when I decided to drag my bike up a ladder to see if I could ride down the roof and land on my wheels. And even though I am getting long in the tooth, I still like to get a little crazy on my bike. It helps me stay sane-ish. 

We ride at night a lot in these parts—mainly when it's 100+ degrees in the summer (like today) or when it gets dark at 5:00 pm in the winter. Seven years ago, I was mountain biking regularly after work to relieve stress and stay in shape. In other words, I was hitting the trails with a mission—not to putt around and enjoy the snakes and thorny scenery—but, I found myself frustrated with the fact that I never felt like I could ride as hard at night as I could in the day.  Specifically, I was limited by the lights that were available on the market.

I wanted a lot of lumens so that I couldn’t get ahead of my light, and I wanted the light on my helmet. Unfortunately, I found that the lights that were available were uncomfortable on my helmet, and I felt limited riding with only a bar light.  

Virtually all bike lights currently on the market are designed to be mounted on the handle bars first, with a helmet mount created as an after-thought. As a result, most lights are too heavy and bulky to be worn comfortably on a helmet. When they are mounted on a helmet, they sit very high causing neck fatigue, helmet movement, and the possibility of being knocked off your head (or worse) by low-lying obstacles.  

It was my frustration with the bike lights on the market that sparked the crazy idea to design a light SPECIFICALLY for the helmet. I knew it would have to be a radically different design. And while I was at it, it should also be the brightest light in the industry, right? Challenge accepted.

Some epic tinkering ensued, Trail LED was born, and what emerged was our revolutionary, patented design that is feather-light, hugs the helmet, packs a lot of lumens, mounts easily, and sits a mere ¾ inch off the helmet—in short, the first light SPECIFICALLY designed to be mounted on the helmet. So in other words: mission accomplished! We achieved exactly what we set out to do. 

OUR LIGHTS

We currently have three lights in our fleet, all built on the same patented design. 

The XXX

The Trail LED XXX houses three high-performing CREE LEDs and emits 1800 lumens in the best color temperature in the industry. The anodized aluminum light body weighs only 50 grams and maintains our patented low-profile, arched design. The simple, integrated mounting system also allows unmatched flexibility and convenience in mounting to your helmet or handle bars. Run time for the XXX is 3 hours on high, 6 hours on low, and 27 hours in emergency mode. Charge time is 2 hours. 

The DS

Our DS houses five high-performing CREE LEDs and emits 3000 lumens in the best color temperature in the industry. The anodized aluminum light body weighs only 100 grams and maintains the patented low-profile, arched design used in all Trail LED lights. The simple, integrated mounting system also allows unmatched flexibility and convenience in mounting to your helmet or handle bars. Run time for the DS is 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low, and 18 hours on emergency mode. Charge time is 2 hours.

The Halo

And last, but CERTAINLY not least, is our flagship light and the Granddaddy of all bike lights, the Trail LED Halo. The Halo is quite simply the most revolutionary bike light on the market in both design and output. It houses ten of the highest-performing CREE LEDs available and emits a wicked 6000 lumens of the best color temperature available. All of this awesomeness is housed in the same anodized aluminum light body as all Trail LED lights and weighs less than 200 grams. It maintains the same patented low-profile, arched design used in all Trail LED lights and mounts just like our XXX and DS. Run time for the Halo is 2 hours on high, 4 hours on low, and 38 hours in emergency mode. Charge time is 2 hours. 

And if all of that isn't enough, all Trail LED battery packs boast a 1:1 charge ratio, meaning you only need two battery packs to run continuously for 24-hour races. 

All lights come with one battery pack, charger, 2 helmet mounting rings, 3-D printed Trail LED bar mount, 3-D printed Garmin-style mount adapter, and 3-D printed GoPro-style mount adapter.

Trail LED XXX with bar mount
Trail LED XXX with bar mount

WHY WE ARE DOING A KICKSTARTER 

Mountain bikers and endurance racers who have used Trail LED lights have overwhelmingly said they will never ride with any other light. They love the feel; they love the beam; they love the color temperature; and they love the hand-crafted quality. But the most common theme among competitive riders using our lights is that their night laps are where they consistently close the gap and win their races. Just the result we were looking for!

We are currently highly involved in the local mountain biking scene. We love supporting the community and we love being a grassroots kind of company. We’ve made a name for ourselves locally and have been very successful on a small scale. But if we are going to expand into other markets, we need to take it up about 10 notches.

Providing support where it matters most.  (24 Hours in the Canyon)
Providing support where it matters most. (24 Hours in the Canyon)

Although we set out to design an epic helmet light for off-road cycling, we have a small but growing fan base in the ATV and Motocross community and we are really excited about that. We believe, based on the feedback that we have received, that Trail LED lights are perfect for this market. They are low profile, light weight, have optimal color temperature and deliver so much usable light that ATV users and Motocross riders using our lights never feel that their light is a limiting factor---in short, just like our mountain bikers, they are able to ride like it’s daytime at night.

We see a great opportunity to expand into the ATV and Motocross market, but need to get over the hump with manufacturing costs. 

As with any small company that provides a manufactured product, production is the biggest challenge. Specifically, the cost of manufacturing on a small scale can be quite exorbitant. The purpose of this campaign is to reach a price point in manufacturing that will allow us to increase our manufacturing capabilities and release our products into the ATV and Motocross markets. 

WHY SHOULD I RIDE WITH A LIGHT ON MY HELMET?

Trail LED XXX
Trail LED XXX

I believe the idea that it's optimal to ride with a bar-mounted light was actually born of the fact that most bike lights are impractical on the helmet.  To really push the envelope and get the most from a night ride, you need to be able to see where you are going and not where your bike is pointing.  

Additionally, your helmet is much more stable than your handle bars where vibration is concerned.  The light from a bar light is going to jump and vibrate much more than the light from a helmet-mounted light.

Our unique curved design has also addressed the issue of insufficient shadow definition from a single light.  The arched design of the LEDs renders an effect we call Multi-Point Shadow Definition (MPSD), making an additional light on the bar unnecessary for sufficient shadow definition.

BUT WHY ARE YOUR LIGHTS SO EXPENSIVE? 

Yes, our lights are competitively priced. They aren’t cheap, primarily because we don’t build cheap lights. We didn’t decide to build a small family business from the ground up so that we could sell low-quality, imported lights. That is not our conviction. Trail LED's conviction lies in building quality, non-disposable lights that are guaranteed for life. We do not view our lights as disposable or a temporary investment. We view them as an important long-term investment in your safety.

At a recent event, I had a conversation that I have quite often. A perfectly nice guy was making small talk and said, “Yeah, I really like your lights and all, but I only paid $30 each for these three imported lights I have on my bike and altogether I have the same lumens as yours.” First, he didn’t have the same lumens, but we’ll talk about that later. Second, he had three lights on his bike…with three batteries. And how many lights had he thrown away in the past four years? Four. All told, that’s about $210 plus tax spent on seven different lights that have inferior color temperature, a poor beam pattern, poor battery life, don’t come close to producing the lumens they claim, and have no lifetime warranty.

And he was perfectly fine with that. And I was perfectly fine with that because I understand that not everyone is our customer. Our customer is someone who expects comfort on the helmet, a great beam pattern, the best color temperature available, actual claimed lumens, long battery life, and a stellar warranty.

For what it’s worth, I get it. We live in a time where virtually everything is cheap and disposable. I have a cheap imported toaster oven in my kitchen, but my life doesn’t depend on it. When that toaster oven dies, it might ruin my frozen french fries, but I won’t be depending on it for life and limb as I'm barreling downhill in the woods in the dead of night at 30 mph. 

Trail LED Halo and bar-mounted XXX
Trail LED Halo and bar-mounted XXX

LET’S TALK ABOUT LUMENS 

There are unfortunately many lights currently on the market with lumen claims that are wildly inaccurate. According to published CREE data, the lumens that are claimed are not even theoretically possible in lab conditions, given the number of bulbs used in the light. So you cannot confidently pay $30 each for three separate imported lights and assume you are getting a lot of lumens. You might be getting half the lumens claimed. There really is no one stopping companies from making wildly inaccurate claims with regards to lumens, and many companies do so with abandon.

We are proud to say that all Trail LED lights have been independently verified by MTBR, so you can be confident you are getting the lumens claimed when you purchase our lights.  In fact, since these lumen tests were done, we have upgraded our LEDs and optics and significantly improved our output.

Halo beam shot posted by a customer.
Halo beam shot posted by a customer.


ABOUT THAT “WEIRD” MOUNTING SYSTEM 

Everything new seems weird until you try it. All of our products are designed with the “K.I.S.S.” methodology in mind. Whenever you add additional parts to mount a light, you add weight as well as points of failure. In order to keep the light mounted directly to the helmet, we had to think of something no one had ever done before. It may look overly-simple, but that really is the point. With each fin on the light being a potential attachment point and the mounting bands being flexible, a tight custom fit for any helmet is easily achieved with minimal additional parts and weight. 

HOME GROWN

All of our lights are manufactured and hand-built right here in the USA and that is how we intend to keep it. We are uncompromising in our resolve to provide the best quality products on the market, and to us that means manufacturing and building them right here in the USA. Each Trail LED light body is milled from a single block of anodized aluminum in Ashville, NC and hand-assembled locally in my home office in Texas. We also use local Dallas, TX companies for our packaging materials, t-shirts and cycling caps. We love nothing more than keeping it local and MADE IN THE USA.

BEING GREEN 

At Trail LED, we go out of our way to be as environmentally responsible as possible. For starters, we build quality lights that last for years. You will not purchase seven of our lights and throw them all in a landfill within four years. Additionally, a big factor in our decision to keep our manufacturing within the US and purchase from local vendors as much as possible is to avoid additional greenhouse gases associated with international shipping.  We are also proud to say that our race van is solar powered.  Even our most requested swag item, the Trail LED unbreakable silicone pint glass, has saved numerous plastic cups from the trash heap at our sponsored events. We have many regulars that show up at our events with their silicone pint cups in hand. We also recycle all shipping materials we receive, whether we reuse them for shipping or they find their way into our compost pile.

LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY

Because we have faith in the quality of our products, all Trail LED lights carry a limited lifetime warranty. If we determine that your light is not performing as it should due to a manufacturing defect, we will repair it and send it back to you at no charge. 

User-caused damage is repaired for cost of parts and labor. If you run over your light in the parking lot or run head-first into a tree (and hopefully walk way unharmed), you can send us the light and we will repair it and send it back to you for cost of parts and labor.

Our batteries come with a 90-day warranty. 

UPGRADE PATH

We don’t believe in disposable products, so we offer an upgrade path for all Trail LED lights. Technology is constantly improving, so when a marked improvement arises in one or more of our components and we upgrade our lights, we will offer an upgrade to your existing light. Cost will be determined by the price of components and labor cost. All upgrades are announced on the website and via email and social media.

WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO

In short, our motivation is not to be “successful” or make millions of dollars selling lights. What drives us as a company is our personal conviction that the quality of our product is of utmost importance to the safety of our customers. We operate 100% within the boundaries of those convictions with every decision we make. Whether we make millions selling lights or wind up just paying the bills, what is most important to us is knowing that what we are doing and the products and services we are offering are top notch and something special.

REWARDS

Click the logos below see our reviews and customer comments.

  
    

Risks and challenges

No one wants to see a good idea executed poorly. We have worked extremely hard to ready this product for Kickstarter and full-scale manufacturing and fulfillment, but here are what we see as the potential challenges:

MANUFACTURING: We have an existing relationship with our light-body manufacturer and have all of our specifications and drawings dialed in. They know our product and have manufactured it before, so we do not foresee problems. However, machines and tooling can and do break without notice and this could potentially cause slight delays in manufacturing.

FULFILLMENT: Sometimes things go awry that can’t be planned for: a supplier misses a deadline, a machine breaks down, or a shipment gets lost. These things can cause delays in fulfillment.

At this time, there are no Li-ion battery manufacturers in the USA, so our battery packs are imported by necessity. Working with overseas suppliers has the potential to pose unique challenges. Communication can be challenging with drastic differences in time zones, shipping delays are hard to address, and lost freight can pose significant challenges.

To minimize the possibility of fulfillment setbacks due to our overseas supplier, we have done our best to anticipate national holidays (which often cause delays) and use manufacturers with which we have an existing relationship. We have also enlisted an experienced buyer to help insure smooth sailing with our overseas supplier.

In short, we have done our due diligence in working with excellent companies and manufacturers who routinely deliver quality products in a timely manner. There will no doubt be some surprises along the road, but any obstacles will be addressed promptly and with the overall goal of making the best possible product for you.

Any pledge amount brings us one step closer to our goal. Help us take our lights into a new market by clicking the ‘Back This Project’ button at the top of the page, or by helping us spread the word by sharing our page.

If you have any questions, please check the FAQ section below. If you don't find the answer your looking for, don't hesitate to send us a question or post a comment.

We raise a Trail LED silicone pint in your honor, and say THANK YOU for your help!

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Wall of Fame: Thank you forever!! Your help at any level brings us a step closer to our goal. All backers at all levels will have their name posted on the Wall of Fame on the Trail LED website and Instagram and FB pages!

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    Sili-Supporter- You will receive the legendary Trail LED indestructible silicone pint glass. All the cool people have them.

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    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Half-dressed Supporter- You will receive the Trail LED indestructible silicone pint glass, along with the Trail LED “Mine Goes to 11” t-shirt! With your shirt and silicone pint, you are almost ready for a party.

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    8 backers
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    Pledge $85 or more About $85

    Swagged-Out Supporter – You will receive the Trail LED indestructible silicone pint glass, the “Mine Goes to 11” t-shirt, and the epic Trail LED cycling cap. Now you are ready to partay!

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    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    6000 Lumen Test Drive – Grady will personally meet you for a ride on a local Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area bike trail and allow you to test drive all Trail LED lights, including the wickedly insane Trail LED Halo. (Limited to the Dallas/Fort Worth, TX area only. Date TBA with backer.)

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    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Early Bird XXX – The first 25 backers get the Trail LED XXX for $50 off retail.

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    Limited 19 backers
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    Pledge $315 or more About $315

    The XXX Backer – You will receive the Trail LED XXX 1800 lumen light at $35 off retail price.

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    0 backers
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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    The DS Backer – You will receive the Trail LED DS 3000 lumen light for $50 off retail value.

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    Pledge $800 or more About $800

    The Ultimate Racer – You will get a Trail LED DS for your helmet and a Trail LED XXX for your handle bars at $100 off retail price.

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    1 backer
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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    You will receive the Trail LED Halo 6000 lumen light for $100 off retail.

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Funding period

- (25 days)