About this project
As cyclists who regularly ride in the city, we are vulnerable to distracted and neglectful drivers. We wanted to do something to change that and have some fun while doing so. Bike Balls are more visible and noticeable than your average bike light, making you more safe and confident as you ride through the city streets at night. It takes grit, wit, and huge balls to ride in the city so show 'em what you got!
We got the idea for Bike Balls when we started to hang normal bike LED lights off of our seat rails. The regular lights would swing under the seat while we were riding and were quite suggestive, but pointed down which wasn't optimal. Our old bike lights also needed to be taken off every time we parked or they would often be stolen. We wanted to address these issues, while creating a fun product.
Bike Balls is a rear bike light designed to be mounted on the back of your bike seat. They hang off of the seat rail, and naturally bob-around while you ride.
Bike Balls feature two major innovations that increase your visibility:
- First, we placed the LED inside of a silicone shell so that the whole housing glows. This is an improvement on current lights that produce a small pinpoint of light. This increases the lit visible area from 18 square mm to 1872 square mm. That's 104 times more lit surface!
- The second innovation is the movement of the light. The design of the housing ensures that the light bobs-around on the back of your bike seat. This random movement grabs the attention of people behind and beside you, ensuring that you will be noticed. Noticed bikers don't get hit as much. That's science.
Bike Balls have an outer silicone housing that holds a red LED module inside. We are using a very high grade silicone to ensure that the housing will last years while being subjected to the elements. The silicone body forms a tight seal around the LED light and its electrical components to keep them safe and dry. The LED module is very efficient, powered by two replaceable coin cell batteries, and we’ve designed the power button to be integrated right into the silicone, simplifying the assembly.
Bike Balls has three modes: two party modes where the light can be set to flash on and off in slow and fast patterns, and one that turns the light on solid.
Gently squeeze the Balls to turn the light on and switch between the modes. Gently squeeze again to turn the Bike Balls off.
We have designed the mounting strap directly into the silicone housing. The silicone strap wraps around a seat rail and then clips to itself. We've designed this mounting system to be secure enough to stay on during hard and bumpy riding, while at the same time being easy to put on and take off.
Bike Balls also feature a system so that they can be semi-permanently attached to your bike to prevent thieves from stealing your 'Balls (don’t you hate it when that happens). Simply feed one of the supplied zip-ties through the opening in the mounting strap, securing it in its closed position. You can leave your Bike Balls mounted securely in this fashion as your run errands in the city. The zip-tie can remain on even when it is time to replace the batteries.
We have experience and the capabilities to get Bike Balls produced, but we don't have the capital it takes to invest in tooling and to order our first production run. That’s where we need your help! For any pledge amount, you are supporting cyclist safety and visibility in a fun way. You can also help us reach our goal by sharing our campaign with your friends!
We are confident that we have come up with a great product that addresses all of our design criteria. We have made production quality prototypes that we are happy with and we feel good in progressing to the final product.
Before we commit to tooling we are going through one more design revision to make Bike Balls even better. We will be beefing up the strap and its clip to make it more durable, and we'll be looking at ways to minimize the weight of the silicone to optimize materials usage and to save on shipping costs. We have also designed the packaging, and some fun small rewards specially for the campaign.
If we are successful in reaching our goal, we can start on production of Bike Balls as soon as our campaign ends. The tooling and samples will take approximately 2 weeks, and production of the components will take another 2 weeks. Our packaging will be made in tandem with the Bike Balls. We will get the all the parts into our studio a week after that, and ship them out as fast as we can. We expect to get all of the orders out by the end August if not sooner, so you can show off your Bike Balls this summer!
We’re a team two of designers that have dedicated their lives to using their skills for learning and fun. We live in Toronto, Canada, where we design objects from our imagination and help other people bring their ideas to market. Thank you for joining us on our journey.
Scott B: Scott is a ballin’ designer. Having led the industrial design on two very successfully crowd-funded campaigns, Bublcam and Matter and Form, Scott brings his vision and development skills to Bike Balls. When he’s not designing, Scott likes to log mileage on his mountain and road bikes.
Heather L: When Heather decided to leave home to study Industrial Design, she showed her mother a brochure of what program was all about. The brochure featured a picture of a prosthetic leg, and for many years, her mother thought that she was in a four year program learning how to make prosthetic limbs. Bike Balls was a natural extension of this, including her passion for cycling in the city.
SPECIAL THANKS: To Pat Maloney and Mark Matechuk from Random at Best for helping us with our video!
- BALLS OUT -
Risks and challenges
We know from our experiences as industrial designers that there are always some risk involved when creating something new, and that working with overseas manufacturers can introduce its own challenges.
We anticipate that if there are any issues, they will only have the effect of extending our delivery times. To minimize this, we have strategically selected a manufacturer that had both prototyping and production capabilities. By involving the manufacturer early in the development process, we have had time to establish a good relationship with each other. We trust their judgement and capabilities - as shown in the quality prototypes that they were able to supply us with for our campaign.
There can always be small issues that arise during tooling and moulding of the parts, but we will be dedicated to working as hard as possible to minimize these risks. We will be sure to update everyone should any issue arise that could impact our delivery date.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
On solid/steady light mode you can expect to see ~100 hours of burn time.
On flashing mode you can get ~190 hours of burn time.
For replacement batteries, use 2 x CR2032 (coin cell).
What we hear when we get asked that question is that your pockets will be plenty stuffed with Bike Balls, so if you do not want the reflective keychains that we originally included, we won't be too upset.
We will be happy to substitute your keychains with extra replacement batteries to give your Balls even more juice to ride all night.
At the end of the campaign we will send out a survey to all of our backers to see if they would like the keychain or extra battery option. In the meantime, we are not able to change the wording to reflect this substitution in the Rewards as the campaign has already started.
We're getting a lot of requests for blue Balls for some reason. We don't get why anyone would want to advertise that they have blue Balls? Unfortunately, at this time we will not be introducing any LED colours other than red Bike Balls. Perhaps in the future after the campaign, but our balls are tied right now.
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