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.
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.
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.
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.
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.