SpeedX: the story of cycling’s most successful crowdfunding campaign

A month after Beijing-based ‘smart’ road bike brand SpeedX concluded its phenomenally successful launch on Kickstarter, Cycling iQ chatted with SpeedX CEO and co-founder Li Gang on behalf of CyclingTips to find out what happens next.

For all the attention given to the premium road bike brands, the actual number of buyers these brands represent in the global market is very likely to be less than 1%. In the end, most consumers just want a given specification at the best possible price.

Chinese tech start-up Beijing Beast Technology Co., Ltd demonstrated an exemplary understanding of both price sensitivity and marketing hooks when it launched its SpeedX brand of ‘smart’ road bikes on Kickstarter earlier this year.

To say the campaign was successful is an understatement. Some 1,251 backers pledged US$2,319,876 (AU$3.2 million) to bring the SpeedX project to life. Not only did this set a new crowdfunding record for a bike–related project, it also ranks inside the top 50 Kickstarter campaigns of all time.

All this despite the use of a model with hairy legs. The sound of seasoned bike industry marketers dry-retching might well have been heard across the U.S. and Europe.

“They are shocked,” says Li Gang, co-founder and CEO of SpeedX, when asked how some of the big bike brands responded to his company’s crowdfunding success. “They cannot do this. We just came up with three innovations – a high performance bike, the Smart Control device and an app. Giant and Merida cannot do these last two things. They are too huge to change.”

But that’s jumping ahead.

Read more at CyclingTips