Plenty of new and interesting products have been emerging since the first edition of the Funding Cycle, our sidelong look at the world of crowdfunding. We've been busy digging out the best and brightest new campaigns that need your help, as well as some that (in our opinion at least) aren't shining quite so brightly.
iCycleSafe – Smart Bicycle Detection System
Back when I was younger, I was always told to pay attention and be careful of other people on the road. It didn’t matter whether I was driving, riding my bike or walking down the street. It’s a valuable sentiment, and just because you’re paying attention doesn’t mean the person in the car next to you isn’t texting, asleep at the wheel or drunk.
Being on a bike you’re a vulnerable road user and a truck can take you out and be none the wiser. It’s also not uncommon for turn lines to cross through the bike lane, which creates the potential for collisions.The iCycle - Smart Bicycle Detection System is designed to combat truck and bike collisions using infrastructure.
This system uses two fibre-optic sensors in the bike lane, which trigger an LED warning sign similar to those present at some pedestrian crossings, to let the driver know there's a cyclist in their blind spot.
While it appears if successful, this piece of infrastructure will only initially be installed in Belgium and The Netherlands, it’s something we hope (dream) that other countries will follow up on. That said, at the time of writing it seems not everyone agrees with us about the 'hotness' of the iCycleSafe – it needs plenty of help if it's to reach it's to reach €50,000 goal.
This past week in New South Wales, controversial new bike specific laws began, and police have been cracking down on (targeting) cyclists speeding, running stop signs, not wearing helmets or missing a bell — yes you’re legally required to have, “a bell, horn, or similar warning device, in working order.” (Does your voice not count?)
Despite this little known road rule, most don’t ride with a bell because well, they’re ugly and not very cool. Knog has sought to change that with the Oi, which our UK team have already cast an admiring glance over. Melbourne-based Knog, a company known for making locks and lights that look as good as they function, has decided to reimagine the bicycle bell.
Their campaign launched on March 2, 2016 and at the time of writing has raised AU$587,000 (more than $446,000 / £310,000).
There’s something to be said for creating something that solves a problem that everyone has. Many crowdfunding campaigns have combined multiple items people were using into a single unit or building upon an existing idea to make it better — think Fly6/Fly12 or Fix It Sticks.
The XO Smartlight/Tool is not one of those things, for cycling at least.
Essentially the designers have combined an LED flashlight and multi-tool into a single bulky looking unit. Frankly this is a product that would be much more useful in that drawer in your kitchen that has random screwdrivers, flashlights, batteries and spare keys rather than on a bike.
The unit itself looks huge and appears to takes up more space than my biggest multi-tool and brightest light (battery pack included). There’s no way you’re going to be able to get the XO into tight spaces to tighten a waterbottle cage or slide your saddle back. While there’s some clever use of magnets to hold the bits in place, using a magnet to attach the light/tool to the handlebar mount seems dubious — how likely is it to stay attached in a crash?
Finally using coin cell batteries is also a bit of an oversight. While they do last longer than rechargeable options, you have to go out and buy additional batteries every time your light dies — so they also create waste.
To the XO creators' credit, plucking a hex adaptor on the front so the light can be used to illuminate what you're working on is great, and as we mentioned the way the bits are stowed is pretty neat.
Yet another ‘budget friendly’ powermeter has been released on kickstarter, this time in the form of the Tempo: “An affordable, user programmable high performance power meter for both the novice to competitive cyclist."
We can hear you saying now, "Hang on, how can an affordable powermeter not be hot?" Well, maybe we're being harsh here, but take a close look at this unit… does it look strikingly like another unit already on the market? Maybe a Colorado based company, whose name rhymes with pages?
We’re all for innovation, and even borrowing ideas, but if you borrow an idea, you need to improve on it in our book. The Tempo seems to be a Stages without Bluetooth and available on fewer types of crankarms. You’ll also need to buy an ANT+ USB stick for firmware updates, and there are no claims on accuracy.
To be fair though, it’s only US$295 – so if it works and is accurate then that’s chump change to add arguably the most valuable metric to your training.
The team at Yerka Bike have told BikeRadar they should be shipping by the time you read this. You’ll remember the Yerka is an ‘unstealable’ commuter ride, where the bike itself is the lock.
To secure the bike, the down tube splits and folds out to the non drive side, and is secured to the seatpost by a key turn lock — so to steal it a thief would have to make the bike unrideable.
Quite some time ago we brought you news of the Ding, a clever dual beam front light, that not only illuminates your path, but also the ground below for ultimate visibility. Having met its funding goal and raised over AU$100,000 dollars, Ding moved forward to making the light a reality, but it has been far from easy.
With a bit of extra capital to play with, the team at Ding opted for a few redesigns – most notably upping the output 400 to 850 lumens.
Despite all their hard work, an employee of an electronics supplier they were working with decided to run off with AU$37,000 and make their products, “somewhere cheap and nasty.” Luckily they caught it in the nick of time, but had to start over with a new supplier.
As you can expect this caused some delays, and Ding is currently in the final stages of hardware and firmware testing with fulfilment pinned for mid-April.
There’s also a patented rear light in the works with a similar dual beam design.
The Limits power meter has been a source of controversy and speculation since its launch, and the latest news doesn't do it any favours. This month on their blog, the Limits teams announced more delays, projecting fulfillment will begin in April.
The latest delays are the result of faulty battery end caps and a change in hardware. While testing of the battery caps, the locking mechanism began to deform and crack. Limits says design changes are currently being implemented and that things are now looking up.
Also for those who’ve been keeping score at home, there were some inconsistencies in the power data Limits posted in their updates. The problem has apparently been identified and a hardware change implemented as a fix.
Either way, those that have backed the product aren’t overly happy at such delays.
As usual, if you’ve seen a product that you think we should know about, mention it in the comments below or contact Colin at colin.levitch(at)immediateaus.com