[box type=”info” size=”large” border=”full”]Update: I’ve removed the BikeCharge from our eShop because we had a few returns from people who couldn’t install it. I’ve also had a few difficulties installing it to two out of my three bikes so I don’t feel I can recommend it to others. I’ve spoken to the team behind the BikeCharge and in their testing they’ve found it fits around 90% of bikes. There are plenty of other eShops out there that stock it, so do give it a try. What I would do before ordering one is check the clearance on your forks. If you’ve got space then you should be fine.[/box]
When I was invited to be given a sneak preview of the new version of the Tigra BikeCharge, I was intrigued and at the same time fully prepared to be disappointed. Why? I’ll explain in a moment..
The BikeCharge is a £69.95 device that can be fitted to your front wheel. As your wheel spins around, the current generated is then regulated and fed in to any attached USB device.
It also provides a front and rear bike light. Though, due to the position on the front wheel, wouldn’t be a substitute for your rear bike light.
As someone who regularly uses an iPhone bike mount to follow directions and track my cycling, the device really appeals. With the Tigra BikeCharge, I could reach my destination and have a full battery, as opposed to an empty one.
So why was I preparing for disappointment?
Well, I’ve not really had much experience with dynamo devices. Perhaps, I’ve just been put off as it feels quite a clunky system. I was also worried about whether the BikeCharge would actually fit a wide range of bikes.
Did my fears prove true?
Weight wise, the Tigra BikeCharges comes in at 0.5kg. That isn’t too bad. Considering a middle of the road Hybrid bike weighs around 14.5kg and the rider on top of it probably around 74kg.
According to the manufacturer, this should fit a very wide range of bikes. That is something that I’ve not yet had the time to test. However, from the looks of the updated adjustable design, it should be true.
The test ride
During the short 300-400 metre test ride I was looking to see how fast I’d have to go to start charging and whether I could feel the device slowing me down at all.
The device did start charging very rapidly, which is a good sign, as it means I don’t have to race like a madman to get the charging capabilities.
I also couldn’t feel it slowing me down but it was such a quick test that it’s hard to comment on this yet.
My initial thoughts
From my first initial test ride I’m fairly impressed. I think the Tigra BikeCharge has a lot of potential, especially for cycle tourers. The first units should start shipping out in the next few days and I’m excited to test it more thoroughly, when I’ll write back with a full review.
Where can you get one?
We are selling the Tigra BikeCharge in our London Cyclist eShop for £69.95. We are also selling a version that comes with the handlebar mount for £89.95. As soon as we receive it from the manufacturer, we’ll start shipping – the estimate is this will be by Friday.