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Taylor Martin (left) and Steve Tam
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Safety came first for the Beacon boys.
About a year ago, Steve Tam and Taylor Martin launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to get their bike light project off the ground. They already had the design details worked out (a waterproof and theft-deterring plastic disc that fastens to your handlebars with a zip-tie) and were keen to keep it as budget-friendly as possible. They set a goal of $5,000 to cover the cost of their injection moulds and ended up raising over $10,000.
Next came nights of tedious assembly work around Tam's dining room table.
"We put together the first lights and calculated that assembling one takes about a minute," says Martin. "We had 5,000 to do." So they lured friends with nimble fingers to all-night light-building parties and launched Beacon into the bike accessory market at $30 for a pair of front and rear lights.
A light's battery life is about 120 hours. The fastener channel is designed to accommodate any zip tie from your local hardware store, though a Beacon comes smartly packaged with two ties.
They've almost sold through the first run, so a second version with updated electronics and waterproofing is on its way. So are new bag and basket designs.
"People are biking because they love biking, but also because it falls within their price range," says Tam about the focus on simplified design and affordability that's driving Beacon's expansion into other products.
"We wanted to create a bike bag that no one knows is a bike bag," he says. Their design ($195) is made from black 18-ounce canvas duck, hand-painted on the bottom with latex to protect it from road splatter. It has bridle-leather handles and fastens to your back rack with a pair of handsome inconspicuous toggles. Their basket ($45) is steel wire dipped in red, teal, black or yellow plastic. Both launch today (Thursday, April 25) on beaconbikelights.com.