Various bicycle components companies have been attempting to market suspension handlebar stems since at least the 90s, mostly to little success. Indeed, many of those stems are now mocked, with their overbuilt construction, pogo-like springs or stiff elastomer dampers. But now Michigan-based manufacturer Aeroforge is taking another crack at it, using modern technology to create its StaFast stem. We took it out for a few rides to see how much difference a couple of decades make.
Although we've seen a number of bikes with built-in locks lately, the Dutch-made BluLocks bike still manages to bring a fresh approach to the concept. It combines an external chain with a locking mechanism that's located inside the seat tube.
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.