Companion Bike Seats - Now Your Bike Seats Two!
Safely carry a passenger on your bike! Includes an optional, locking stash-box too. Easily installs on a wide variety of bicycles.
Your Bike Is No Longer a One-Person Vehicle
Motorcycles have room for a passenger ... and now bikes do too! With a Companion Bike Seat, now you can bring a friend along for the ride!
My best friend from pre-school and I started Companion Bike Seats in 2011 with the goal of putting a second passenger on a bicycle. It's been a long journey since then: we had our first two prototypes made by Rick Hunter, a custom bike frame manufacturer in Santa Cruz, in the fall of 2011. The first seat cushions were made by a friend who does auto-upholstery repair down in So Cal. It was at this point that we decided to add the stash-box to our bike seat. We found a welder to make another 8 bike seat frames for us, created the necessary tooling, and by the spring of 2012, our bike seat had a stash-box.
Next step (and probably the hardest) was finding a manufacturer for our bike seats. Initially, we were intent on having Companion Bike Seats made here in the US. But after 6 months chasing down quotes from over ten different manufacturers that were all too expensive, we reluctantly realized we had to go abroad to make our bike seats. We spent another couple months exploring manufacturing partners in China, Taiwan, Costa Rica, and Belize until we were finally introduced to a factory just outside of Shenzhen that was able to handle all of our manufacturing needs. By the fall of 2012, the factory was building their first bike seat for our review. We went through four iterations with them over a 9-month period of time, adding a lock to the stash-box, then making sure the stash-box was water resistant (for riding in the rain) and adding reflectors onto the rear of the bike seat frame.
In mid-July, we finally received our "golden unit" (which ended up going to Burning Man this year) and gave the factory the go-ahead to make the first hundred Companion Bike Seats. Visit our blog and our FB page for photos taken over the last two years. The first hundred bike seats were delivered to us in early October, and we couldn't be more pleased with how they turned out! Here are some of our first customer reviews.
Now for the catch: we've since sold out of this first shipment, and when we tried to order a hundred more bike seats from the factory, they raised their minimum-order-size from a hundred to a thousand units. And that's why we need your help! We need to raise an additional $20,000 to pay for this significantly larger order-size and have the factory continue making more Companion Bike Seats.
Companion Bike Seats easily install onto a wide variety of different bike sizes and geometries, with wheels up to 27.5 inches, including most mountain bikes, city bikes, and cruisers. It works with many electric/motorized bikes and bikes with internal hubs as well. It easily supports passengers up to 200 lbs (and actually took over 4,000 lbs before it bent).
The first hundred bike seats we made were all black and include a locking, waterproof stash-box underneath the seat cushion for storage. Turns out the stash-box holds a six pack of 12-oz cans perfectly (sweet serendipity). With your help, we'll be able to offer Companion Bike Seats in two different colors, black or white. We'll also be able to make a very limited quantity of bike seats without a stash-box.
Here's what one of our first customers said about his Companion Bike Seat: "My Companion Bike Seats rack passed the rain test this week with flying colors! Last night I rode it to a high school in East Oakland to teach some teens techniques for avoiding bike theft, and the lockable compartment was a great visual. Then, I stopped to pick up some pizza today and my lunch made it home with zero soggage despite a downpour. Great job!"
Bike-commuting is growing in popularity in cities throughout the US, and Companion Bike Seats makes it even more accessible by turning virtually any bicycle into a cargo bike with room for another passenger. If you've already got a rack on your bike, why not make it a Companion Bike Seat, and have the option of carrying a passenger whenever the need should arise? It's functional, and a whole lot of fun too!
Take a friend to dinner on your bike and bring your leftovers home with you, pick up your kid from school, run errands around town. Now that you've got room for a passenger on your bike, you can use your car even less!
We're really excited about our bike seats and we hope that you are too. Thanks in advance for your interest and support in Companion Bike Seats!
Risks and challenges
We ran a Kickstarter campaign for Companion Bike Seats a year and a half ago, and though we didn't meet our goal then, Michael and I stuck with it and were able to bootstrap the business over the last year and a half to make our first hundred bike seats. At the time of the campaign, we had a couple quotes for manufacturing, but nothing was firm. We didn't know what minimum-order-sizes would be, so we set our goal to $35K, which was our best guess at the time in terms of expected cost to make a thousand bike seats.
Now that we have a manufacturing partner, we know exactly what our costs will be to make a thousand bike seats. The $20K from this campaign, coupled with the money earned from our first hundred bike seats, will be enough to cover the total manufacturing costs for the next thousand Companion Bike Seats.
While we are raising this money for our next order of bike seats, we are also finalizing and handful of small change-requests with the factory: revised gasket assembly, a couple packaging-related items, and updating the turn-buckle assembly slightly to accommodate an even wider range of bike sizes. We expect to have all of this finalized and confirmed with our factory by the end of the campaign. We will place the next order with our factory as soon as our campaign is completed.
Manufacturing will take an estimated two months, then it's another month en route from the factory in China to us. We expect to be delivering bike seats three months after completing a successful campaign. As is always the case, delays can crop up in between now and distribution, however this will be our second order with the factory and shipping providers, and we're confident that most of the bumps have been ironed out the first go-round. We'll do our best to deliver your bike seat to you according to schedule, and will absolutely keep you updated if anything comes up that might delay that delivery.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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