From intelligent lights, to enhanced reality mapping, a helmet that listens to your heart and more… we pick our favourite trending cycling tech of 2017
6 cycling tech innovations you need to know about
The app that labels your view
Viewranger Skyline, Free
One of our favourite mapping smartphone apps has just added an awesome new feature which will enhance every ride (and walk for that matter) – whether it’s into the unknown, or even a regular favourite. Viewranger’s Skyline augmented reality feature sounds futuristic but ‘all’ it actually does is combine the image captured through your phone or tablet’s camera with live mapping information to label the landscape in front of you on your device’s screen. To use it you simply point the phone at any part of the view you’re admiring or exploring and the app will annotate and name the hills, villages and features framed on your screen. To date Viewranger’s Skyline feature can label over 9 million landscape features around the world on sight – a feature which brings alive any view on any ride, and further enhances the 6 million routes and trails, free maps from around the world and ride tracking and logging features already available on the app. Worried about data and data roaming costs? Don’t be, working offline, the app doesn’t even need phone or data signal to show you where you are and what you’re looking at.
SeeSense ICON+ lights, £150
If Inspector Gadget had a bike, these would be his lights. With twin CREE LEDs that give 250 lumens of seriously bright but not dazzling rear visibility, and 420 lumens at the front, these lights will keep you safe and seen at night, even in heavy traffic. Weighing under 64g each they give 270 degrees of visibility, are water proof up to IP67 and visible from up to 2km away!
All good but not necessarily innovative, you say. That’s where the Icon’s in-built sensors come in, so it can react to your ride. Approach a roundabout, road junction or see car lights up ahead and the ICON will start to flash brighter and faster. Connect your smartphone with Bluetooth and you can control brightness and runtime, check your battery and get prompts when they need charging. Park the bike and a movement sensor will turn the lights off after 3 minutes to save power. The same sensor alerts you if someone messes with your bike. It will even alert emergency contacts if you crash, sending them an SMS alert and your grid reference via your phone.
Training with your head, and heart…
Lazer Z1 Lifebeam lid, £300
Taking integration and wearable technology to the next level are helmet manufacturer Lazer. The Z1 has a bright red LED light for extra visibility, magnet-mounted sunglasses, and even an in-built heart rate monitor. Using technology designed for monitoring military pilots’ vital signs, the waterproof and shock-proof optical Lifebeam sensor is integrated into the helmet’s headband, connecting wirelessly to most fitness apps on smartphones, watches and cycling computers. Plus, the Z1 is a top quality road helmet with 31 vents and Lazer’s Rollsys retention system.
X-Bionic Effektor Biking Powershirt (£135) and Power Bib Tight (£195)
So much textile tech has been put into X-Bionic’s latest range of performance cycling clothing that you’d be forgiven for thinking that wearing it in a race might be deemed ‘mechanical doping’. Aimed un-apologetically at the highest, best-heeled end of the market, the Swiss company’s Effektor jersey and the matching bibs claim to leave no stone unturned in the search to fulfil your potential. First, it claims to boost your strength and conditioning, with X-Bionic’s Partial Compression technology, which puts pressure on specific parts of your muscles with the finely ridged inside of the jersey, ‘reducing muscle vibration’ under load, ‘improving the uptake of oxygen and nutrients to muscles, enabling faster regeneration.’ Second, it enhances your performance and recovery via the proven benefits of graduated compression. And third, it harnesses the performance boosting nature of your body’s natural cooling mechanism – sweat. This latter benefit is achieved with X-Bionic’s 3D-BionicSphere ventilation system on the front and back of the jersey which ‘unleashes the important cooling power’ of sweat, saving valuable energy needed by the body to go faster, easier. There is a mind-numbing amount of tech jargon involved with the X-Bionic brand but don’t’ let it put you off if you’re not into the science. As X-Bionic themselves say: “Leave the technical details and design to us and just enjoy the premium product.”
Make every ride a race…
Garmin Edge 520, with live Strava Segment data, £250
Competitive fitness and route logging app Strava has enjoyed a stellar rise among bikers, with its addictive route segment leader boards – effectively making leader boards for climbs, descents or routes around the world. Now the app has won its own King of the Mountain badge by being integrated into leading Garmin’s new Edge 520 cycling computer, bringing the self-gratification of the highly prized golden crown icon to a screen on your ‘bars, as well a myriad of performance metrics, route mapping and navigation.
CYCL Winglights £27 (Fixed), £38 (Magnetic)
Fans of BBC’s Dragon’s Den will already be familiar with the Winglights, after the product’s inventors scooped £45,000 from Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins.
Available either fixed, where the bar-end indicators replace your handlebar end caps, or as magnetic versions, which pop off your bike when it’s parked up, the Winglights are designed to increase cyclists’ safety when turning. Best for flat handlebars they are great for commuters, leisure riders and mountain bikers.