The uptake of cycling around the world’s cities, big or small, doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. According to Statistica: in the US alone “the number of cyclists/bike riders saw a big increase between 2012 and 2014, increasing from around 51 million riders to slightly more than 67 million riders in 2014. Prior to 2012, the number of cyclists only increased slightly each year.”
As the trend continues, so will the innovations in the products that cater to the urban cycling scene. But what are the technological and engineering shifts the market is witnessing and what do you need to look for when deciding what to buy? Here are some pioneering innovations that have quickly gained momentum alongside the cycling trend:
First things first; the bike. Gone are the days where you just need to peddle extra hard to get to work or run your errands. A new generation of electronic bikes, or e-bikes, is promising to keep your daily trips environmental while giving your legs a rest.
One of those bikes is Mate, which was introduced to the market late August after a successful crowdfunding campaign. The founders of the Copenhagen-based company were inspired by their own biking culture, where about 50% of all citizens commute by bike. The manufacturing company claims that the bike is the “coolest, most affordable” e-bike people can buy.
The bike includes an electronic motor that allows it to go up to 20 miles per hour and is especially useful for going up-hill. The bike can run up to 50 miles on a single charge, which ranges between four to six hours. The bike also comes equipped with a 5-volt USB socket that allows bikers to charge their mobile phones. Aside from being electronic, the bike is also foldable, making it easier to carry.
“Mate is our answer to bring people to bike again,” founder Christian Michael says. “The 3 step fold system makes it easy to take Mate with you wherever you go. Simply fold the frame and the stem and adjust the seat post – done! When it’s time to go, just grab the handy carry handle and take your Mate with you.”
Riders who enjoy a challenge can turn off the electric assistance and peddle between the six speeds the bike has. The company has collected over USD $3.8 million in its campaign on Indiegogo, becoming the seventh most successful campaign ever, within just two months of launching. The Mate is available on the company’s website with a 65% discount, selling for US $699 instead of its US $1,999 original price.
If you already have a bike or purchasing an e-bike is out of the budget, Rubbee is a technology that can turn a regular bike into an electronic one with a 25 km/hour speed.
“Rubbee is a revolutionary electric drive which can be mounted on any bicycle in just a few seconds,” the company says. “With an integrated clamp mechanism it can be mounted on bicycles in just a few seconds and the innovative drive motor with an integrated battery pack keeps you going without having to pedal for more than 15 miles.”
With a seasonal sale, the price of the device is EUR €690.
It goes without saying that the bike and the helmet go hand-in-hand. The role of the helmet has developed, however, to become more than just a protective gear; several smart helmets have been recently released to cater to cyclists’ needs and to offer them the best and safest experience.
Just like other smart helmets, the Livall helmet can signal right or left to vehicles behind the biker. The helmet also
comes with a nano sensor that configures the bike’s surrounding environment into readable data on the biker’s phone app. What is unique about this helmet though is that it is built to register when the biker has an accident which allows it to automatically call for help if the cyclist losses consciousness.
“Once the G-sensor senses unusual gravity acceleration, the emergency signals on the helmet will be turned on and an SOS alert will be sent to your emergency contacts automatically. Very useful when you’re cycling alone,” the company says. The helmet also comes with speakers so that the biker can make phone calls and communicate to fellow riders in his contacts grid.
“Morpher folds and unfolds quickly and simply so it’s perfect for cyclists who want to carry a helmet more easily,” the company says. “Morpher is initially aimed at all cyclists; especially those urban ones who find normal helmets cumbersome to carry around all day. Eventually it will also be marketed to other users of sports safety helmets.”
Made out of a material the company names Enkayse, Headkayse’s designers state that the helmet is flexible and takes the shape of the bicycler’s head, with added durability.
“Enkayse is a new material which manages the energy of impacts, so it can protect from hits again and again. It flexes to the shape of your head for better comfort and security,” the company says.
Going unnoticed is a challenge urban bikers face on a daily basis, especially at night. Volvo came up with paint that could be sprayed on one’s bike to make it shinier and more visible for vehicles. The spray can also illuminate the helmet and other clothes and accessories used for cycling.
Meanwhile, California based company Monkeylectric designed led lights that can be attached to the bike’s wheels, are dustproof and waterproof. The lights only need to be charged between four and six times per year.
Pure Cycles removes the needs for lights all together and made an illuminating bike that costs an average of US $350 to US $400. The company’s co-founder Zach Schau told the New York Times that their bikes are “actually the light itself” which makes it a more permanent solution. The bikes are manufactured in Asia, which is the main factor to why they are considerably cheap.
Despite the challenges cyclists face to be seen by other vehicles, their parked and locked bikes are extremely visible to thieves. Several companies have been working on developing locks that can keep the thieves away and keep the bicycle owner alert.
To combat saddle theft, Seatylock came up with a seat that also turns into a lock.
“Hundreds of bike saddles are stolen every day – leaving riders no choice but to take their saddles with them. Let alone the burden of carrying the saddle wherever they go, they also need to adjust its position every time they put it back on,” the company says. “Another issue is the fact that most high security locks are bulky, ugly and not really user friendly. In a reality where elegance and comfort are as important.”
“You’ll get notified instantly if someone even tries to steal your bike or a part of it. In case of theft, you can see the location of your bike on a map within 250m (800ft). Just send the police there and get your bike back,” Moow bike says.
One particularly effective anti-theft locks soon to hit the market is the Skunlock which contains chemicals that prompt vomiting if someone tries to cut through it.