Although electric bicycles are becoming increasingly popular for
commuting, a lot of people still don't like the idea of completely
shelving their perfectly-good human-powered two-wheeler. That's why
companies such as Superpedestrian, Evelo and Hycore
have developed electric-assist wheels containing a battery pack and
motor, that can simply be installed on a regular bike. Although most of
them are still in the "pre-order" stage, FlyKly's Smart Wheel
is now actually reaching consumers. I recently got to try one out, and
it definitely does help with the hills ... although at least one tweak
is still needed.
Consumers currently have their choice of several brake lights for bicycles,
which use an accelerometer to detect when the cyclist is stopping.
However, what if you want something that's a little smaller, simpler and
cheaper? That would be Sigma's tiny new mechanically-activated
Adding lights to a bike helmet is one way to improve visibility at night, but Chinese company Livall has gone a step further – its LED-loaded helmet also serves as a walkie-talkie and sends out an SOS alert when you fall down.
While hub motors may be quite common on commuter e-bikes, they’re not so popular on full-suspension electric mountain bikes. That’s because they add unsprung weight, which nobody wants. Various companies have responded by developing motors that are located in the middle of the bike, near the bottom bracket. These solve part of the problem, although they have to actually be built into the frame. That’s why Germany’s Bionicon has created the e-ram – it’s reportedly the world’s lightest mid-mount motor, and it could potentially be installed on existing mountain bikes.
Aiming to boost bicycle security and rider safety in one stroke, Australian designers Tosika Maluma and Carson Tully have created a wearable bicycle lock with 60 built-in LED lights.
One of the big reasons people give for not commuting by bicycle is the
fear that drivers won't notice them on the road. While various devices
are available to make bikes and riders more visible, the designers of
the 125-decibel Loud Bicycle Horn have concentrated their efforts on
another goal – making sure that cyclists are heard.
Plastic carrier bags are typically petroleum-based, take a long time to decompose and are often imported from distant countries. They're also tricky to carry when cycling. The new PaperJohn tackles all of these issues. It's a backpack made of biodegradable, 100 percent recycled paper.
Although most cyclists probably don't give much thought to their water
bottle or bottle cage, the fact is that like just about anything else,
those components can be lightened and simplified. That's just what
British cycling design company Fabric has done, with its new Cageless
Last November we first heard about MagLOCK pedals – clipless mountain bike pedals that use magnets instead of springs to keep the rider's feet attached, and that can also be used as regular platform pedals. The product fell short of its crowdfunding goal, perhaps because the pedals were kind of clunky, but MagLOCK designer Dave Williams is now back on Kickstarter with a sleeker, lighter and less expensive version.
We've seen attempts to improve the visibility
of hand-signals, but Boston-based startup Lumos wants cyclists to use
their heads when it comes to indicating turns. The company's high-tech
bicycle helmet incorporates indicators, high-visibility LED lights and
an automated brake light system in an effort to raise the bar on road