There are dozens of bike computers on the market. There are also a few GPS bike security systems out there, like the SpyBike. The ShySpy merges those two types of trackers into one, providing a GPS-based platform that monitors both performance and theft.
The thing about a GPS bike tracker is that it's a piece of hardware that you hope proves to be a waste of money. In other words, you hope that your bike is never stolen in the first place and that the GPS tracker equipped to it sits quietly and is never called upon. Even with an anti-theft tracker on your bike, you're still best served by using more traditional security measures, such as a good lock. So why spend hundreds of dollars in equipment and service costs for a system that you want to stay completely idle?
ShySpy, a new design from WRD Systems and online cycling community Cycleboom, presents an answer. Much like the BikeSpike, the ShySpy hardware packages a second major function with its GPS security tracking feature so that users get a little more out of the investment.
On an average day, the seat post/tube-integrated ShySpy collects a cyclist's geodata and tracks his or her cycling performance. ShySpy designers are still working out the specific measures for the final version, but they mention usual suspects like speed, distance pedaled and elevation. The data is stored on an SD card for later upload and can also be sent with the integrated SIM card. ShySpy's designers also mention the possibility of adding Bluetooth to the device for wireless uploading.
In terms of anti-theft functionality, the ShySpy system tracks the GPS location of a stolen bike and sends this information to an accompanying desktop or mobile app with the help of a quad-band GSM SIM card (sold separately). The system includes an alert function that can monitor a parked bike and notify the owner if it moves outside a predefined area. The victim can view the location of his bike on Google Maps or by simple SMS-delivered coordinates, report it to the police and attempt to get it back.
The ShySpy's battery lasts for up to 30 hours during active tracking and five weeks in standby mode (connected to the network but not actively tracking). This means that users won't constantly have to recharge the device, and even if the bike sits idly for days or weeks on end, there's a good chance the ShySpy will have some battery power to snap into action in the event of a theft. It's recharged via USB and, on non-metal bikes (e.g. carbon fiber), via an available wireless induction charger.
The ShySpy creators appear to have a good idea for a dual-function product, however, they still have a long way to go. It seems like they were a bit premature in launching a Kickstarter campaign last month, before fully defining the design, hardware and function set of their product. The Bluetooth seems like it's an essential element of making this a functional bike computer on par with competitive products. As it is, the product relies on clunky SD upload or paid SIM card transmission for relaying basic, everyday tracking information, which feels kind of half baked. The USB port is for charging only, so it doesn't support data upload.
The ShySpy Kickstarter campaign ended unsuccessfully this week, raising around a third of its goal. The designers plan to work to secure other funding sources to bring the ShySpy to market. Hopefully, they'll clean up the design a little and make it a fully functioning bike computer/theft tracker. We'll keep our eyes out for the ShySpy's return.