Photochromic glasses are great for things like heading out on evening bike rides, as their tint gradually lightens while the sun goes down. If you're bursting in and out of shadowy forests or zipping through dark tunnels, however, the slow reaction time of such glasses just can't keep up. That's where Uvex's Variotronic glasses come in, which use electrochromic tech to change tint in just a tenth of a second. I recently got to try a pair out, and there's nothing shady about them.
Bike computers are certainly practical for more serious cyclists who are looking to gain an edge wherever they can. But most of us don't need fancy fitness or altitude data to get from A to B. French startup Asphalt Labs has developed a gesture-controlled ride assistant that brings some basic but useful functions, like navigation and call alerts, to the handlebars of commuters.
The Interbike trade show has drawn to a close for another year, and once
again it proved to be a treasure trove of cycling-related innovation.
Join us, as we take a quick look at some of the gadgets, gizmos and
complete bikes that caught our eye in Las Vegas.
We've seen cycling gloves and jackets
with built-in turn indicators before, although the former still
requires you to take your hands off the bars to signal, while the latter
requires you to wear a jacket even when it's warm out. The Elecwear
cycling vest, however, attempts to address both of those issues – plus
it lets you listen to music, earphones-free.
Even if motorized bicycles turn you off, perhaps you still appreciate
some of the electronic bells and whistles that are included on many
e-bikes. If that's the case, then a "smart bike"
might be more to your liking. One of the latest to catch our eye is the
Cotlo Corvus, which features a car-detecting rear radar system and a
built-in OLED display. We came across a prototype at Interbike 2015, and
got the goods.
Smarter smartphones, bike computers and fitness trackers have come to offer a wealth of information to cyclists on their performance, but they still invariably draw focus away from the road. At Interbike 2015, electronics company Kopin was showing eyewear aimed at placing ride data in a more convenient place, directly in the cyclist's field of vision. The Solos smart glasses pull metrics such as heart rate and average speed from connected devices to offer real-time feedback on cycling performance.
Some people find it a hassle to ride around with a bicycle lock, which is why firms like Interlock offer products such as a seatpost that doubles up as a bike lock. Its latest offering, the Denny Handlebar Lock, is a handlebar that pulls apart to function as a U-lock.
Visibility is a crucial part of cyclist safety, but it's also important that their turning intentions are relayed to other road users. Hand signals were the only option in this area for a long time, but in recent years we've seen technology, such as the Zackees cycling gloves, designed to improve the visibility of turn signals at night. The Lumenus jacket on display at Interbike takes a similar approach, but goes a step further by letting cyclists be guided by the light.
It wasn't long ago that we tried out the FlyKly Smart Wheel,
a motorized rear bicycle wheel that instantly turns a regular bike into
an e-bike. Given that it goes in the back, however, it's a little
tricky to put on and take off, plus it leaves you stuck with just one
gear. Belon Engineering's new Electron Wheel avoids those problems, by
replacing the bike's existing front wheel. We recently got to try out an advance demo unit, and it works just as advertised ... although it's a bit of a monster.
Cyclists who ride in the rain typically stay dry by wearing
waterproof-yet-breathable jackets and pants. According to Vancouver,
Washington-based engineer Jay Small, however, waterproof cycling gloves
have a harder time keeping out the rain while also letting the sweat
escape. His solution? Use regular dry-weather gloves, and his DriBarz