LEZYNE ENJOYING SUCCESS AS AN OE LIGHT SUPPLIER
The following story is featured in the latest Bicycle Retailer, North America's most prominent trade magazine.
An aftermarket mainstay, Lezyne now finding success in the OE light market.
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — Lezyne may be the epitome of an aftermarket accessories brand, known for its pumps, seat bags, GPS computers, multitools, lights and more. But in recent years the brand has made its way into the original equipment market, supplying integrated lighting systems to e-bike makers (and at least one pedal bike brand).
For more than four years Lezyne has been working with dozens of ebike brands, both the smallest of startups and largest bulwarks of the industry.
Lezyne was uniquely situated for this pivot to OEM construction. Founder Micki Kozuschek sold his OEM component brand Truvativ to SRAM in 2004 before starting Lezyne in 2007. Along with connections to industry movers that Kozuschek brought with him, Lezyne had the advantage of doing all of its research, design, and construction in-house. Transitioning from producing accessory lights to OEM lights was relatively pain free, company officials said.
Lights now account for more than half of Lezyne’s business and a significant portion of that is OE. Being able to create lights that didn’t need their own light power source made the transition easier. The design team was free to focus on light patterns, housings, and the specific needs of each company.
“Bike lights are in a point in the industry like where car lights were in the 1920s and 30s. Lights were external with a lot of customization. But as years went on they became more integrated and custom to that brand, that’s where we’re headed,” said Brad Buxton, sales operations manager at Lezyne. Lezyne started out making a few standard lights that could be integrated across a spectrum of ebikes, then moved into custom work with individual brands.
Much of Lezyne’s success can be attributed to their knowledge of engineered optics, and creating lights that meet the intended specific purpose. “At Lezyne, we make really bright lights to do highly capable things, like lights that have focused beam patterns capable of meeting standards like the German StVZO standards. We were able to carry that over to OEM lights,” said Nathan Deweber, product manager at Lezyne.
For many of their European partners, especially the German ones, Lezyne needs to meet these StVZO requirements, one of the few specific lighting requirements in the bike and ebike industry. StVZO lights need a lens shape that keeps the beam on the road ahead of the rider and below the eye line of oncoming riders and drivers.
Beyond meeting standards, Lezyne designers work to meet the specific purpose of each bike and light they make. “They all want a kind of different look, they all have different styles,” Buxton said.
While most of its OE light business has been with ebikes, Lezyne has also moved into adding OE lights to fully human-powered bikes as well. While currently Lezyne only does this with Cannondale, the advantages of integrated lights that can run off an integrated battery that powers other electronics on the bike are undeniable, even for bikes without pedal assist. “There are so many electronic components on bikes these days, electronic derailleurs, computers, lights, etc. That’s like six batteries. If you can integrate them, you can have one battery to charge,” said Deweber.
And when electrification reaches more and more bikes, Lezyne said it will be ready. Lights are just the beginning, “We have a really good team of engineers that have been with the company for a long time with industry knowledge. We have app programers too,” said Buxton. “There is not a lot we can’t do with LEDs and everything we learn we can apply to other things. It doesn’t always move to market but we learn a lot from every project we do.”
The cycling world, even the human-powered bikes, is going electric. When it comes to making the trip easier and safer, Lezyne wants to be in the forefront. Its work has made them an early leader in the OE lights world and a desire to expand into other integrated components means it might not be long before we see other Lezyne accessories and electronic components equipped on bikes on the showroom floor.