Cyclists trying to navigate unfamiliar city streets have a growing number of options available to avoid yanking out their smartphone at every fork in the road. Signaling devices that mount on the handlebars and built-in LED indicators are just a couple of recent examples, and now UK-based startup Onomo is looking to get in on the action with its Haize navigation system. Working much like a compass, the device points the rider in the direction of their destination but leaves them to work out the route.
Mountain bikes' handlebar stems are a bit of a compromise. They put the bars at a length and angle that are generally good for most types of riding, but that aren't necessarily ideal for any one. While adjustable-angle stems do exist, most still don't let you change the length. Well, that's why Spain's 3FStech created the AIM stem. With the push of a button, it lets riders switch between three bar angles and reach lengths.
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.