- Ximeg/Wikimedia Commons
When you buy a new bike, it doesn’t come with the bells and whistles that make it as safe or easy to ride as it could be. At minimum, you’d need to make sure you have a helmet, lock, and pair of lights before riding; but there’s another class of innovative accessories that can take your bike to the next level.
Here are some of the most useful ones.
The Garmin Rearview: To deter cars from tailgating
Being tailgated is never fun – but on a bike, you don’t have the shell of a 4,000-pound car to protect you.
The Garmin Varia Rearview is a tail light that brightens and flashes at the driver behind you if their car is coming too close to you. If you pair it with a Garmin GPS device, you can set the GPS to beep when a car gets too close, notifying you as well.
You can grab a Rearview (without the GPS) on Amazon for $200.
A Blaze Laserlight: To project a bike symbol on the road in front of you
How to make the most of the @santandercycles @transportforlondon & Blaze collaboration: 1. Look out for bikes with lasers – identified by the basket stickers. 2. Ride them at night, when the laser is activated. 3. Leave your feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org And take a pic of yourself (not while cycling!) & share it with the world #TrailBlaze
The Blaze Laserlight is a 300-lumen LED light that projects a bright green bike symbol onto the ground up to 20 feet ahead of you. That way, drivers and pedestrians can be alerted to your presence in advance.
The light is USB chargeable and encased in a heavy steel enclosure. It lasts 13 hours with each charge, and easily pops on and off your mount – a definite plus since this is an accessory you wouldn’t want anyone to steal.
The LaserLight is available on Blaze’s website for $200.
Revolights: To create a protective light display
- Courtesy Revolights
Lighting just the front and back of your bike isn’t always enough to make drivers aware of your presence – side collisions are always possible.
You can mount these USB-rechargeable LEDs on your spokes to give your wheels an impressive lighting system that drivers can’t miss.
You can grab some lights on Amazon for $199.
A Tigr lock: To flexibly secure your bike
If your bike’s decked out or expensive, you should take special care to secure it. The Tigr 1.25″ bike lock is a great option if you’re looking for something lightweight.
It’s about a pound lighter than a decent Kryptonite lock and can extend to cover both wheels and your frame. It snaps to the top of your frame while you ride, so you won’t have to jam a bike lock into your backpack or pants pocket.
There are some caveats, though: Review site the Sweethome points out that a resolute bike thief could breach the lock with an angle grinder in minutes. But to be fair, Kryptonite’s secure New York bike locks also don’t stand a chance against that kind of theft. It’s a good reminder that a bike lock is a deterrent and not a guarantee – you should store your bike indoors if at all possible.
You can get a Tigr lock on Amazon for $175.
Knog Oi: To make your bell stylishly blend in with your handlebar
- Courtesy Knog
Australian bike accessory maker Knog has designed a bell that looks nothing like the bulbous noisemakers you usually see on handlebars. Instead, the Oi is a low-profile band that clamps around your handlebar.
And unlike a regular bell, it plays a slightly lower-pitched chord, which you can hear in the company’s video. The result is a bell that takes up less space and blends in with the rest of your bike’s handlebars.
The Oi comes in five finishes: aluminum, black aluminum, copper, brass, and titanium. Knog had a successful Kickstarter campaign for the bell, and is sending early shipments to backers this month. In the near future you can expect to see retailers stock the Oi for $19.95.
A Noke: To lock your bike via Bluetooth
Noke, a company manufacturing products that can be unlocked via Bluetooth, will release a U-lock in October. The product comes with an accompanying app that registers the lock and allows you to unlock it through your smartphone. For those who don’t own a smartphone, the company also sells a $25 key fob that can be used to open the U-lock as well.
The first Noke U-Lock orders will ship in October. You can order one on Noke’s website for $109.
A FOBO: To monitor your tire pressure
Getting a flat on the road can be a disaster if you’re biking to an important meeting.
Since not everyone has the time to check if their tires are safely inflated every week, the Fobo will do that for you. The device clips into the valve where you usually pump your air, and will ping your phone via Bluetooth to let you know when the air pressure dips critically low.
You can grab a FOBO on Amazon for $99.
A Torch T2 helmet: When you need more lights (on your head)
You can never have enough lights. The Torch T2 helmet integrates both a white front light and a red back light to make you more visible when biking at night. The helmet is USB rechargeable, and the lights can last 6 hours on full blast or 36 hours on a strobe setting.
You can grab a helmet on Amazon for $150.
SmrtGrips: To tell you where to turn
SmrtGrips are a handy addition for people who have straight handlebars.
Once you install them, the grips sync up with your smartphone’s navigation apps. When you need to make a turn, the grips vibrate on the left or right to let you know which way to go.
If you’re looking for your bike, the grips can also signal the bike’s location on an accompanying app. If any SmrtGrips user is close enough to it to pick up the signal, the app will give you the exact GPS coordinates of your bike.
The grips aren’t commercially available yet, but you can sign up to be notified about preorders on SmrtGrips’ site.
A Cricket: To sound a silent alarm
- Courtesy Cricket
The Cricket is a silent alarm that sticks to the bottom of a bike seat. The alarm has an effective range of 150 feet, and when you pair it with an iPhone app, it’ll alert you if your bike is moved. Much like the Tile Bluetooth tracker, it’s designed to help you keep a close eye on your bike when you’re nearby, but it won’t work if you’re more than a couple buildings away.
But if you’re, say, grabbing dinner with a friend and you have to leave your bike outside, you’ll know if it’s being stolen. The alarm doesn’t make any sound, though, so if you’re looking for something that will scare your bike thief away, consider a different option.
You can grab the Cricket for a cool $44.
Sherlock: To keep track of your bike’s location at all times
- Sherlock Bike
The Sherlock is physical GPS tracker that hides inside the tubing of your handlebars. The device consists of a chargeable GPS tracker and a Bluetooth module that pairs with your phone, both of which are wrapped in a flexible material that can bend to accommodate almost any shape.
If your bike moves when the Bluetooth signal isn’t connected to your phone, you’ll be sent a push notification warning you about a possible theft. It’ll even map out where the bike is being taken.
The device isn’t on sale to the public yet, but you can subscribe to Sherlock’s newsletter for updates.
A SmartHalo: For turn-by-turn navigation
Like the SmrtGrips, the SmartHalo will give you turn-by-turn directions, eliminating the need for you to pull out a phone to check where to go.
The circular device is mounted in the middle of your handlebars, and displays color-coded directions on its surface. If you need to turn right, it shines a green half circle on the right. If you need to make a U-turn, a half circle will glow in the opposite direction. When you’ve gotten to your destination, you’ll see a full green circle.
The device pairs with an app that will also keep track of other metrics, like distance traveled, calories burned, and elevation gained.
The device also has a built-in front light that turns on when it gets dark and turns off once you’ve stopped pedaling for a set quantity of time.
The SmartHalo ships December 2016. At $139, it’s a good value for features that will make your bike much smarter.
The COBI: To turn your bike’s handlebars into a smart dashboard
If you want to access your music, calls, and navigation without ever pulling your phone out of your pocket, the COBI ensures you won’t have to lift your hands off the handlebars.
The device situates your phone securely on the handlebars, and connects a joystick that allows you to control various functions just by flicking your thumb. You can flip through apps and functions without ever touching your phone.
Pricing for COBI systems starts at $249. You can purchase one on COBI’s website.