Last year we saw a number of advancements in bike lights and bike alarms, as innovative upstarts and established brands look for new ways to keep us safe while riding and to keep our bikes safe when we leave them locked up.
Here’s a look at some of the innovations coming our way over the next 12 months.
Lumos Bike Helmet
Not entirely new, but a product with so much potential and one to keep an eye on is the Lumos bike helmet. Coming off wining the transport design of the year category at the 2016 Beazley Designs of the Year awards and being officially launched in 2017, the Lumos bike helmet is a huge improvement for cycling navigation. Cyclists have so many inconsistent hand signals or just don’t signal at all – the Lumos helmet helps both motorists and other cyclists better navigate each other on the road. It uses embedded lights to let drivers know when the cyclist is turning or braking. A set of over 60 integrated LEDs in the front, back and side of the helmet light up in different colours to show a rider’s next move. The brake light is triggered automatically, by the cyclist slowing down. A built-in accelerometer measures speed, causing a bright red triangle shape to light up when the bike is braking. The helmet is also water resistant so it can withstand rain, sleet, snow – whatever London throws at you. It’s all charged via USB which only takes two hours and lasts just under a week if you’ve got a short commute.
The latest version is launching on March 1st and pre-orders are currently being accepted for £160.
Pollution levels in London are a serious problem, which by now is well publicised. Cyclists are among the groups affected. We’ve previously looked at some of the anti-pollution masks that are available but a new French company is pushing for further innovation in this area with the P-PUR mask. The filtration system in these new masks purportedly offers more protection than the highest EN149-FFP3 European standard. For style, it also comes in a range of eye-catching designs.
Its currently being crowd-funded and they expect the first deliveries to be made in March. The current cost is €129.
Nello Bike Bell
I’ll throw my hands in the air and admit that I’m a bit of a sucker when it comes to trendy looking gadgets. I like my bike to look nice and simple. So when I saw the Nello bike bell I thought that 2018 might be the beginning of trendy bike bells!
In short this little ball sits on its mount via a very strong magnet and puts out a 90dB sound which is a lot for a little ball of rubber. Being magnetic, you just simply pull it off the mount and pop it in your bag or pocket when you leave your bike out which is just too easy. The downside is that it does run on two small batteries – but the upside of this is that you can choose from 3 different bell tones!
The Nello is available for around £20.
You might have seen those off-brand Boris Bikes littered around London and wondered how on earth people don’t steal them if they’re not locked into a fixed dock? Well they use a lock a lot like Linka. It’s basically a lock, fixed to your bike and wraps a small bar around the wheel spokes to stop it from being ridden.
You can now buy these and fix them to your own bike. Linka is one of the leading brands making them and they launched their first version in 2016. Coming spring 2018 they’re launching their next version called Linka Leo, which has a 120dB alarm built into it and a GPS tracking accuracy of 3 meters. You can use the app to unlock your bike if a friend needs to use it and you’re not around, and it can automatically lock when your phone is a certain distance away from it. If you like the traditional chain-to-post method, you can just thread a chain, D-lock or loop cable through it.
The standard version goes for around £125 on Amazon.
The Wink Bar
Winning an innovation award at this year’s CES, the Wink Bar is a navigation, lighting, health tracking and security system all in one. Not so long ago we tested the Beeline which offers similar functionality.
The Wink Bar packs integrated 225 lumen headlights, which switch on automatically once it becomes dark, making you more visible at night. It connects to an app and once you’ve set a destination, two separate lights will navigate you providing left, right, forward and backward signals, directing you on your route, as well as letting you know if you’re receiving an incoming call or message.
In terms of protecting against theft, wink will notify you when your bike is moved – much like other smart locks/alarms. Should your bike be stolen, it will automatically be tracked, so you can locate it and alert the authorities.
There’s no pricing on the Wink Bar yet but I’d imagine, like many other smart devices – it would be an investment. It’s worth noting the company who make the Wink Bar, Velco – also have a seemingly smaller version called Tom-E. They’re small wrap around indicators (think of those stretchy lights you wrap around your bar) that connect to your phone and act like mini indicators to help you get from A to B. Again, they’re really well-designed and don’t look as offensive as some others on the market