There’s arguably never been a better time to find high-tech accessories for your bike. But while most are designed to serve a single function, one company, COBI, is looking to help riders access a variety of smartphone features without ever using their hands.
Think of it as a smart dashboard for your bike. The COBI allows bikers to mount their phone on their handlebars and connect it to a controller that they use by flicking their thumb. They can adjust their music, answer phone calls, track their fitness goals and more without ever leaving their handlebars.
The standard COBI package comes with a chargeable mount, a removable battery, a protective rain cover, and the thumb controller, which should be positioned near a bike’s handlebar grips. Riders operate the system through the COBI app on their smartphone, which gives access to a variety of functions. A fitness tracker can pull data from popular fitness apps, a navigation system can give directions, and a weather tool can give the forecast. The app also has music controls and can speed dial contacts and pick up calls.
The basic package costs $249. A more expensive one ($299) includes a front light that can be configured to turn on automatically when it gets dark and has a small sensor in it that can detect suspicious movements. That system will sound an alarm if it thinks a thief is tampering with your bike, and also gives riders proximity warnings, so can notify you if you’re at risk of a collision. An even pricier package ($349) comes with a rear light that includes the same automatic lighting functionality, and a proximity sensor that can detect cars and objects behind your bike.
The COBI is a bit of a splurge considering alternatives like SmartHalo offer navigation and anti-theft features for around half the price. But COBI gives easy access to calls and texts, which most of its competitors do not. So if you’re committed to listening to music and taking calls on your commute, the system might be worth the extra hundred dollars.