A million thanks to our amazing backers for allowing Black Kite Cycling packs to become a reality! If you missed the campaign, find us at blackkitecycling.com to see what we're up to.
Because we've all been there. It's called love. You take your bike to the movies, to work, on long windy journeys to unknown destinations; up sweaty hillsides to watch beautiful sunsets. You turn down invitations to ride the subway, to carpool, to walk down the block, even when it's with a date. At times, they just get in the way.
Then, suddenly! Things get complicated. Your shoes are scuffed, your jeans; threadbare. Even a messenger bag is too cumbersome, and taking off your entire bag to get to your bike lock every time you stop just doesn't seem right. Luckily, that's where our packs come in.
Ultra convenient, minimal and light, strategically placed pockets let you take out your phone, wallet, or bike lock without ever having to take off the bag. And it's all handcrafted in the U.S.A.
- Convenience: we take out our phones (to check for directions, text messages from mom, etc.,) all the damn time! Same goes for our wallets. An open back pocket that you can reach while riding lets you do that with way less hassle.
- Accessibility: roll tops are cool, but velcro-ed top loading flaps are cooler, AND faster! A side zippered entry also lets you grab your lock with the strap still on one shoulder.
- Size & weight: when there's only a pen in your pack, should it still weigh 4lbs? The simple answer is no. This little guy comes in at a scant 16oz. The truth is, most messenger bags are big and heavy. But on most days, we don't need to fit two week's worth of groceries in our bag. We sacrificed size over weight for optimal comfort with the way you'd use this bag most. There's enough room (16L) to fit lunch, an extra set of clothes, a packable jacket, shoes, a bike lock, and still room to spare for a few small grocery store essentials.
- Padding: backstabbing never got anyone anywhere, which is why our pack is fully padded with EVA foam and lined with a HDPE recyclable plastic insert (it's the same stuff that makes gallon milk jugs). Ergonomic, padded straps are thoughtfully shaped to keep your shoulders happy.
- Materials: a bag should be durable. Built to last, this pack is sewn with 1050 denier ballistic nylon, one of the strongest weaves out there, and is fully lined in nylon pack cloth.
- Organizers: an inside divider that's accessible from the top and side zipper, helps keeps things organized and a 5" inner pocket fits smaller items. The jersey style back pocket ensures that you'll always know where your wallet and phone are.
- Water resistance: made with a durable water repellant (DWR) coated fabric on the outside, and lined with DWR coated fabric on the inside, we graded the seams between the outside and the liner fabric, so seepage through seams will be slower than a hungover turtle on a Sunday morning. It probably won't withstand a tsunami (most things won't), but a rain shower should be just fine. We decided to take this path instead of seam sealing to keep costs low, because of...
- Price! we wanted a bag that was accessible, that everyone could enjoy. We don't want you to have to think twice before deciding to support a bag that will make your ride exponentially more awesome. And it's still manufactured in the USA.
And.. for those days when you just don't need to carry a pack, we made a pouch that can be worn on your hip belt or your handlebars. It's secured with velcro so you won't have to remove your belt to remove the pouch. It features an inner, zippered pocket for security, a U-Lock holster, and enough room for an extra tube, flat-fixing essentials, snack bars, and a packable windbreaker.
If you've ever experienced an unwelcome draft down your neck during the cooler months, this neck warmer is key. Handmade in Oakland, of a super cozy, mid weight heathered jersey, this reversible warmer is a welcome update to the stodgy fleece neck warmers of yore. Because it's reversible, you get two wearing options, and it's way less fuss than a scarf!
Please note: This fabric is a close approximation of the final fabric. We will send out another photo once we have the final fabric. With this particular jersey type fabric, we are unable to secure large quantities before the kickstarter is funded.
Need I say more? Show your water bottle, local speed limit sign, or anything else with a smooth surface some love. Made in Portland.
With your funding, we'll be able to cover the costs of producing all of the rewards right here in the USA. We'll be able to pay for local labor costs, fabric and trims, counter-samples (RD&D), shipping & handling, and kickstarter and credit card fees. To get a better understanding of how much these things cost, here is a giant pie chart:
We want to bring manufacturing back to America. There's nothing quite like supporting and working with local craftswomen and men. But the truth is, factories want to make sure that they're spending time and resources making production ready samples for businesses who will eventually give them a job. And that's exactly what we're aiming for. But they also want to know what our final production numbers will be before they agree to take a job and fit it into their production schedule, and we can't give them that information in good faith until this project is funded. This is the reason why we haven't settled on a factory yet, and I'd like to be transparent about that. We can't commit to a factory until we know that that factory will have the production capacity to fufill our order in the timeframe we need, so that we can get it into your hands in time.
Rest assured, we have all of our patterns approved by professional patternmakers and ready to go. We have our suppliers lined up. We have a techpack (a blue print of sorts), that has all the instructions for making the bag, that has been reviewed by factories and given the check plus. And, we have working, final prototypes that the factory can reference when determining their assembly process.
And so, we have a few American factories that we've been speaking with that have great workmanship and work ethic, but there hasn't been a final decision, and there won't be one until the numbers become more clear. And I hope that's okay with you guys. Your support will help keep manufacturing in America, and when this project is successfully funded, it will also put American-made goods in your hands. Goods with a story, and one that you can be proud of.
If our timeline looks long, it's because we're being honest with ourselves and with you about how long it takes to manufacture.
Kickstarter is a place where seriously awesome, super supportive people like you allow one person's dreams to become a reality. And that deserves a whole lot of gratitude. And so, I'd like to say, thank you for your support!!! Big or small, every bit helps!
I'd also like to give a serious set of thanks (as well as a vacation), to my amazing friend and filming angel Colin Leiker. Elle Anderson and Gabriel, for being in the film, Jen Messier, Amanda Hulsey, and Dirk Lewis for all their help, and Angela Contreras for making a sweet logo.
People continually amaze me with their generosity.
A Black Kite is a nose diving, sharp eyed bird of prey. It's a flying object, blotted by the sun and buoyed by the wind. But most of all, Black Kite stands for the desire to ride. It's epic centuries and daily commutes. It's wearing a spandex superhero outfit, or just your favorite jeans. It's the belief that your experience on two wheels should be as pure and amazing as possible, and we want to make the gear that makes that possible.
Risks and challenges
Manufacturing isn't easy. Factories often aren't sure of what their workload will be, and so if they are taking other orders, timelines get pushed out. They don't always interpret tech pack instructions correctly. Quality control has to be implemented along the way. However, because we are making this in the USA, close to home, and because we already have our final prototypes and techpacks, we'll be able to make factory visits, be more connected with the factory, and be able to better manage the process. We are also giving ourselves a generous timeline and are using an experienced distributor, so that packages will get to you as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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