Many mountain bikers swear by the pedalling efficiency of so-called clipless pedals, in which a steel cleat on the bottom of each shoe engages a spring-loaded mechanism in the pedal. Some other riders, however, just don't like the idea of being "snapped in" like that. It was with this in mind that cyclist Dave Williams created MagLOCK pedals. They're non-threatening platform pedals, that keep the user's feet in place using magnets instead of mechanisms. We recently had a chance to try them out, and generally liked what they had to offer.
Recumbent bicycles may offer a more comfortable riding position, but they typically also have pretty long chains. After all, power has to be transmitted from the pedals at the front to the drive wheel at the back. Norway-based inventor Marc Le Borgne, however, has created an alternative. His KerVelo recumbent has an 18-speed gearhub transmission built into the front wheel.
In order to remain sleek and compact, most of today's cycling multitools lack a chain-repair tool. Well, the guys at Philadelphia-based Mineral Design have addressed that limitation, with their two-part Mini Bar and Barstow system. It consists of a pocketable magnetic multi-bit wrench, paired up with a separate chain tool that sits inside the handlebar.
There are already a number of devices that allow cyclists to do things such as tracking their rides. Most of those products, however, must be paired with an accompanying smartphone that's taken along for the ride. By contrast, WI-MM's GPS- and Wi-Fi-equipped BP100 works all on its own, and stays on the bike full-time.
Casio has been making watches since the 70s, and the company has taken that experience into the Android Wear market with its WSD-F10 Smart Outdoor Watch. Introduced at CES, the WSD-F10 is designed with the outdoor enthusiast in mind, featuring applications optimized for trekking, cycling and even fly fishing.
Cyclists already have their pick of several brands of Google Glass-like smart glasses, which display data in riders' peripheral vision – this means that they don't have to look down at a cycling computer or smartphone display, taking their eyes off the road in the process. However, what if they already have a pair of "dumb" glasses that they want to keep using? Well, that's where Garmin's Varia Vision add-on comes in.
Waterproofs and ponchos might keep you dry when you're out for a walk, but they don't really cut it when you're on a bike. Your arms and legs are left exposed and it can make for a cold, wet and miserable ride. The Boncho waterproof, however, acts like a pop-up tent to keep cyclists dry.
Running and cycling gear either tends to sacrifice breathability in favor of keeping the rain out, or vice versa. The new One Gore-Tex Active Bike and One Gore-Tex Active Run jackets provide the best of both worlds by using a new material called Gore-Tex Active that provides a permanent beading surface that actually sheds water and provides greater breathability.
It was three years ago that we first heard about inventor Benjamin Krempel's PumpTire – it was a prototype bicycle tire that used wheel motion to keep itself inflated. While it was an interesting idea, it would require users to give up their existing tires, plus the peristaltic pumping mechanism would be compromised once the tread wore away. Well, he has now come up what sounds like a better alternative: the PumpTube.
A little over a century ago, the US Patent Office estimated that about two-thirds of all new patents were bicycle-related. While the figure is no longer quite that high, bikes continue to inspire inventors in a way that few other devices do. With that in mind, we thought it was fitting to present another instalment of our annual Top 10 Bicycle Innovations list. Come take a look at what 2015 brought us.