Looking to equip your bike properly? Aside from maintenance and tender loving care, there's nothing quite like sprucing up a reliable bike you know well with a device designed specifically to make your cycling experience smoother, safer and more enjoyable. In fact, some of the best enhancements to your next ride could come in the form of one of these unexpectedly handy gizmos you should already be using.
While it won't be the flashiest entry on the list and it almost certainly won't save your life in an emergency, starting out the new year with an easygoing ride enhancer feels less intimidating than jumping right to the crash-detecting helmets.
With that said, the Boom Bottle takes the basic concept of a portable speaker and makes it much friendlier for outdoor enthusiasts by ensuring it can stand up to the rigors of extensive travel and being jostled across trails and back roads alike without missing a beat.
What really sets it apart is its waterproof nature that even goes so far as to tout its flotation ability should it wind up in a body of water, unlike many other speakers that would sink like a rock even if they were waterproof enough to stand up to a dip in a lake.
If you're interested in taking your music with you but find yourself worrying about breaking your phone while exposing it to the elements, go with a Bluetooth connected BoomBottle and skip the risk entirely.
The concept of installing a loudspeaker on your bike might appear too out of sorts for some of you but, the truth of the matter is, that it’s an interesting and handy gadget. As we’ve mentioned, you can use it to listen to your favorite tunes while cycling, avoid imminent danger, and, of course, set the mood of your ride.
Although it’s not exactly a must-have, it would be a good idea to at least consider buying one. You never know where the road might take you or how dull it can become for that matter. Of course, it’s the cheaper alternative to smart bike helmet but don’t think of it as a thing you can simply buy off at a flea market.
Narrowing down this year's massive list of high-tech bike computers to just a single entry is a daunting task, so it may be better to evaluate what you need out of a biking computer before grabbing one.
At their core, most bike computers are GPS-enabled devices that run off of their own battery power to help you stay on course and offer backup navigation should you run out of phone battery or lose your wireless connection while also offering other assorted features like time spent riding, calories burned, average heart rate and other nifty pieces of info.
Some models even let you transfer that data to a phone app to track your fitness across multiple rides. Not only that, but bike computers are also capable of interfacing with other smart fitness devices. For instance, if you have a Fitbit or other types of smart fitness bands, you can connect them to your bike’s computer in order to compare results or to have a companion that shows you the ropes.
As for navigation, when you’re on the road, especially outside of your country, that little GPS is your sole connection to the world. We don’t want to scare you, but when you’re on your way to Rome, there’s a high chance you might lose your way.
You might get away with locking up your bike with a length of chain and a heavy padlock, but that's not exactly the easiest thing to pack into your kit nor does it offer much in the way of advanced features.
Various smart locks are available at price points to match most budgets and each one offers unique features ranging from wireless unlocking via proximity or even ride-sharing functionality between different users.
If you find them to be out of your price range, there's plenty to look forward to in the realm of traditional locks with lighter weights and improved anti-theft designs that give plain bike locks a run for their money.
Still, you will need to consider the extra muscle these smart bike locks bring. Most of them are made from robust materials like ultra-solid steel which ensure that no one can steal your bike. The smartphone-powered lock adds an extra layer of protection to everything.
Depending on the model and, of course, the price, you can get extra features such as two-step bike. In common terms, this means that the lock will require a physical key and access to the paired smartphone. Sounds like something right out of a science-fiction model, but they’re actually the future.
Bike safety is no laughing matter and often requires a fair few gadgets to really offer peace of mind. You'll be fine with a sturdy helmet and reflectors in most situations, but there's something inherently soothing about knowing you've gone above and beyond to ensure your next ride will end safely. That's where the Lumos helmet comes in, blending together a few common safety devices into one compact package.
For starters, it eliminates the need for a standalone set of turn indicators by building them right into the back of your helmet at a scale that is nearly impossible to miss while out on the road. Those indicators link up to a pair of buttons you strap to your handlebars which lets you keep both hands on the bike while signaling a turn, negating any potential falls due to taking your hands off to signal for a turn or a stop.
More impressive is the braking light that pairs up with an accelerometer in the buttons you use to signal for a turn, which can be adjusted via the helmet's partner app to ensure you're not always showing off a brake light. Seeing as proper turn and brake signals are a vital part of basic bike safety it's nice to see a device that takes some of the worry out of making sure you're seen on the road or trail.
As you can see, smart bike helmets are the epitome of road safety. More than that, it eliminates the need to buy other accessories for your bike such as turn signals. Moreover, because this is a smart gadget, it allows you to pair it with your smartphone.
Perhaps you are wondering what kind of information such a device can deliver. Well, apart from telling you the current speed, it can also ‘sense’ the proximity to other vehicles and even give you an early warning if there’s something obstructing the road.
As with most gadgets that are meant for biking, the smart helmet comes with an appropriate price tag. Our advice to you is to seek bargains. With any luck, you might walk out that shop with your helmet at half the price.
Smart bikes are best used while sharing the road with other motorists but, as we’ve mentioned, they can also come in handy when you’re on the trail.
Rounding out the list is a compact, self-powered tire pump perfect for checking up on your tire pressure before a ride to help you avoid a dreaded pinch flat at the worst possible moment. It's capable of being charged through USB and even hosts its own built-in tire pressure gauge touting an accuracy rating of within 3% accuracy.
Finding a pump that fits into light-weight carry is always a pain but finding one that powers itself and doesn't require a constant source of power to function is something of a lifesaver.
You probably know by now that a cyclist’s best friend is his pump. Without exaggeration, that little cylinder you keep carrying around in your backpack could very well save you a lot of trouble, especially when you don’t know what to expect from the road.
The so-called smart pump just takes things up a notch. With its own power source and full autonomy, you don’t need to invest too much effort into getting your bike road-ready.
Of course, belonging to the smart category, this kind of gadget comes with an appropriate price tag. But, hey, if you’re madly in love with your bike, no price is too great for cool gadgets.
Before you head out on your next cycling trip make sure you take a peek at some of the most useful and innovative bike gadgets you might be missing out on.
You never know when you might benefit from having a bike computer when you wind up on the wrong trail or a high-tech helmet that does your signaling for you. Also, remember that smart helmets are not the only upgrades your bike deserves. You might want to consider stuff like wireless speakers, bike computers, autonomous pumps, and smartphone-powered bike locks.