Karmic Bikes creates modern electric bikes for the human race. Kyoto is our new women’s electric bike designed specifically for you.
About this project
We’re coming off a high of delivering our first bike, the Karmic Koben to our awesome Kickstarter backers. Their response to riding their Karmic Bikes has been overwhelmingly positive. We are so happy to see people riding around their cities and towns on the Koben.
We care deeply about building the best bikes. And through our experience with the Koben, we’ve learned how to build what customers really want. It seems like the bike industry is only interested in making more variants of the same bike (gravel road, adventure road, touring, endurance road, aero road, competition road, etc.) for the same MAMILs.
We choose to make the best bikes for the human race.
We’re inspired by the strength of the wonderful women in our lives. We wanted to build a bike as amazing as they are. Introducing, Kyoto. Distinctly designed for women, we’re thrilled to be able to share the Karmic Experience with a whole new audience. Kyoto isn’t just the best women’s ebike available. We think it is the best bike for most women.
Other bicycle brands take their men’s model and “pink it and shrink it” to make their women’s bike. We think that shows a lack of respect for the customer. Kyoto is designed from the ground up with you in mind.
We think the Kyoto looks sleek on the outside, but look deeper and you’ll see that great intention went into the little touches that make Kyoto the go-to choice for everyday riding. Intuitive pedal-assist and strong brakes means you’re always in control. Bright integrated headlight and taillight, full-fenders and standard rack mounts extend the usefulness of the Kyoto.
The Kyoto is a pedelec, which means the pedal-assist technology helps augment your own riding. Its still you, just further and faster, while having more fun than ever before. Like any great technology, Kyoto is simple and seamless, you just get on and go. The riding experience is natural and intuitive. Handling is improved by the location of the battery, keeping the center of mass underneath the rider.
We have spent years developing our own advanced battery technology and successfully launched and shipped Koben. Even after all that, we are still David to the Goliaths of the bike industry. While Karmic may be small, we are definitely mighty. But rather than using our might to fight the titan competition, we’ve been lucky enough to work with them.
We’ve partnered with Shimano, the biggest bicycle company in the world, to gain insight from the development of STEPS (Shimano Total Electric Power System). While we still develop and prototype new technology in our Palo Alto garage, we’ve worked with the Shimano team in Southern California to find the right selection of components for our new model. We’ve named it Kyoto out of respect for their valuable partnership.
There are lots of design decisions that we made on your behalf, to make a much better bike than anything else on the road today. One example is using Shimano’s SLX 11-speedcomponent group. Other ebikes still use 7, 8, 9 or 10-speed components to save money, and because they think customers won’t notice.
But cheaper parts ruin the riding experience and require more work and maintenance in the long run. We think that’s really bad for the customer. We want you to have a pleasant ownership experience, and to be able to ride the Kyoto daily if you wanted to. That’s the Karmic Experience.
We also specify a 25% larger battery than most other ebikes, without any weight penalty or added bulk. This propels the Kyoto for over 50 miles of real world range in Normal boost, and even more in Eco mode. After talking to Karmic owners and beta testers, we discovered that range anxiety is a very real concern.
The 500Wh battery would be enough energy to go from the Bay to Breakers, and back again. You could ride from your Brooklyn loft to your Midtown office, and return home with juice to spare. Even in the Car Capital of America, riding from DTLA to Santa Monica is a breeze, and the ride home is faster than sitting in traffic on the 10. Keep in mind that the Kyoto still operates like a regular bike without power. We never want a customer to feel like they’ve been left stranded by their bike.
We started Karmic because we want to see more people riding bikes, and we know we have to provide value in order to stay in business. But the bottom line remains: using the best technology costs more money, and building beautiful bikes takes more time.
The development and funding model of the Kyoto keeps us honest. We hope that we’ve done a great job listening to our customers and developing a bike that fits your needs and desires. You will ultimately decide what succeeds from our product line and gets brought to market. The Kyoto will not be made without your support. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
By going direct to you, Karmic can deliver unsurpassed quality at a more accessible price point, by cutting out the costs associated with branding and retailer middlemen that you see illustrated below. Our goal is to deliver high quality ebikes to more people. Consumer direct is the best way to achieve that. Bike Shops might disagree, but our customers save real money.
We work hard to make sure the Kyoto will give you back more than what you’ve paid. For us, it has never been about the bike. It has always been about what the bike can do for you. The return you get on a Karmic Bike is health, happiness and more time spent with the ones you love.
Kyoto will be offered in two signature colors and three sizes to fit most riders. Icy Blue and Voltage Violet are the latest shades to join the Karmic color palette. We are also hoping to offer a third color – Watt Balance – as a stretch goal (stay tuned!). We think you’ll look great on any color Kyoto, but you tell us which one you like the best.
Step-through frames make getting on and off the bike easier. These bikes are sometimes referred to as ‘women’s frames’ but men and women alike can benefit from easier bike boarding. The low step-over height is also great when carrying kids or groceries. The Kyoto frame sizes range from Extra Small for our most petite riders up to a Medium for taller women and the average US male too.
Karmic Krush is designed as an intermediate wheel size of 650b, but with an all-purpose tread pattern to let you ride anywhere your heart desires. This isn’t your typical heavy “ebike” tire because we don’t make heavy ebikes. These Made in Japan fast, smooth and light tires may be the best part of the Kyoto. This is one Krush you don’t need to keep secret.
We think the Kyoto compares quite favorably to other ebikes in the same price range. Our direct to consumer model allows us to offer a better bike at a more accessible price. Backers get additional savings for their trust in Karmic and belief in this project. We like rewarding our early believers.
The Bike Industry likes to complain that women don’t buy bikes, but we believe you just haven’t been able to find the right bikes for you. From day one we wanted half of our customers and at least half of our team to be women. We don’t do it to be politically correct, we do it to make a better product.
The diversity of the Karmic team was a powerful asset during the brainstorming, design and building of the Kyoto. This isn’t just a pink paint job on a standard model to pander to female customers. Kyoto is a ground-up, clean-sheet, new model, designed and engineered just for you. We hope you love it!
There are a few different ways to support our campaign beyond getting yourself or your loved one a beautiful modern electric bike. Here are some options to choose from, or feel free to add them in addition to a Kyoto!
Karmic Commuter App – $6
Karmic Purist Bottle – $12
Karmic Tee Shirt – $24
Karmic Kids Bike – $48
Last year we started with just a handful of bikes given away to kids in our local neighborhoods. With a couple hundred Koben delivered to happy Karmic Owners, we’re planning a much bigger giveaway this year. Add your support for the Karmic Gifted Program and back us for a kids bike to be donated this holiday season. Of course, if you’re getting a Kyoto, you’ll already be giving one deserving child a shiny new bike!
Risks and challenges
So we’re back on Kickstarter to launch our newest women’s model. We learned a lot in the last year, going from prototype to production. Hardware really is hard, but seeing happy Karmic owners makes it all worth it. The challenges we faced made us smarter. The hurdles we overcame made us stronger. Our first successful campaign made us bolder. We dare to dream about what we can do now, after learning so much about building and delivering great products to the Kickstarter community.
We learned so much from our first successful Kickstarter campaign. Last year we showed a prototype bike, and it required a lot more work than anticipated to get production-ready. We were delayed by the factory shutdown for holidays, and our bikes were held up at Oakland port because of DOT! We still delivered within a year, which is pretty good for technology hardware projects.
This time, we’ve done our homework even better than before.
With the Kyoto, we’re showing a pre-production model. We have a finalized spec and firm pricing from the factory. They’re already setup for production and have committed to a 120-day lead time. Shipping takes another month to California. We deliver locally to customers in the SF Bay Area and shipping to the rest of the US takes 2-6 business days.
While we do our best to be realistic about delivery dates there is a risk of unexpected production delays, supplier issues or shipping hold-ups. You should also know that Karmic will not deliver a product until it meets our high-standards, and sometimes that takes longer than expected. We think it’s worth the wait because we want your experience to be trouble-free.
Regardless of what comes up, we will always work through any setbacks, roadblocks or delays. We will deliver, no matter what.
We appreciate your support and take your trust in us very seriously.
Thank you for believing in Karmic! #bekarmic