The balance bike isn't a new idea, but it's one that's been gaining steam over the past several years. Balance bicycles and hybrids like the Wishbone Bike and ZumZum have been popping up regularly, positioned as learning tools for young children. Entrepreneur and inventor Tom Mackenzie believes the balance bike can be an effective commuting tool for adults, too. His Levicle is a simple, compact folding bike that gives your legs the power and glide of wheels.
When it comes to bicycles with different types of seating positions, everyone is familiar with uprights and recumbents. There is, however, a lesser-known third option – prone. While these have formerly been limited to one-off bikes aimed at speed record attempts, Bird of Prey Bicycles is now offering a semi-prone aimed at everyday users. It may look a little quirky, but it's claimed to have several advantages over other bikes.
If you only cycle occasionally, a bike will just sit gathering dust or not be worth buying in the first place. A new service called AirDonkey provides a third option – a sharing system that lets people rent out their bikes when they're not using them or hire one just when they need to.
On-bike electric drives like the ConoDrive and Electron Wheel aren't the only means of adding some electric muscle to your pedaling. Powered bike trailers like the compact Ridekick or cargo-hauling Brouhaha bring their own drive wheels and give your pedaling a little extra oomph. The new, UK-designed Wheezy is a compact, easy-to-use electric trailer option. Make your bike a little more Wheezy and you can expect to be a little less so.
When it comes to power for bike lights, there are two main options: batteries that have to be charged/replaced, and dynamos. The latter either push against the side of the tire, have to be pre-built into one of the hubs, or require magnets to be mounted on the wheel – in all cases, dynamos also create a slight braking effect when in use. German inventor Dirk Strothmann's Magnic Light iC, however, lets the wheel spin freely and doesn't require the installation of anything other than the compact light itself. Is it too good to be true? We tried out the latest version, in order to find out.
If you want electric bike power without buying an all-new e-bike, you'll need to look into add-on electric drives like the Rubbee and Bike +. And you can add the new ConoDrive to the list. This system is designed to keep bike weight as low as possible and give you maximum electric engagement when you need it and no efficiency drop when you don't.
Bringing a separate bike lock along on a ride is apparently quite the
hassle. It must be, as we've recently seen locks that double as a seatpost, saddle, handlebar and water bottle cage, along with a couple of bikes
where the lock is part of the frame itself. What about the pedals,
though? Yep, those have now been covered too, with the Pedal Lock.
Although we've already seen various illuminated turn indicators for bicycles, the fact is that cyclists should still also be using traditional hand signals. Activating an electronic indicator while also making a hand signal, however, could be a bit of a hassle. That's where the TurnCycle comes in. It uses the rider's hand signals to automatically activate a separate LED turn indicator.
It was just a couple of years ago that we first heard about See.Sense
bike lights. Using integrated sensors, they can determine when the
rider is doing things such as going through a road junction, navigating a
roundabout, or moving through lanes of traffic – they can also tell
when the sun is going down, or when vehicle headlights are approaching.
In all cases, the lights respond by shining brighter and blinking
faster. Now, their inventors have added even more functions by creating a
connected version of the lights, known as See.Sense Icon.
Although there are bicycle head- and tail lights that are designed to emit light from the front and sides, most of them just shine straight ahead. Attaching lights to the wheels is one way of increasing side visibility, but not everyone wants to take that approach. The Brightside offers a simpler solution – it's a clip-on side-facing bike light.