Personal Transportation

Virtue Pedalist combine car and motorcycle, makes Smart cars feel fat

Cars are a costly necessity for many consumers who need a way to travel to and from work each day where there are no public transportation options. In addition to the upfront cost to buy a car, there’s the frequent need to buy fuel that’s bad for the environment and the, hopefully less frequent, need to repair the vehicle.

Virtue Pedalist, the latest vehicle from company Virtue Cycles, combines elements of an electric bicycle, cargo bike, velomobile (bicycle/car combination) and a tadpole tricycle (a recumbent tricycle with two front wheels). It has two front wheels, one rear wheel, and an outer shell that shields the driver from sun, wind and rain. There are three modes of riding it: pure pedaling, pedal assist in which its electric motor multiplies the user’s pedaling power, and electric-only throttle mode.

Although riders can cycle as fast as they want with the first two modes, the throttle-only speed is limited to 20 miles per hour so that it can be legally classified as a tricycle, rather than a moped or scooter, under regulations in California and most other U.S. states, according to its Kickstarter campaign. The Pedalist will cost $4,499 and ship in November. The company is hoping to raise $100,000 by May 21.

Cycling Kids/Babies

Swedish Påhoj offers a stroller and bike seat in one for the young on the run

Travelling with a toddler or small child can be quite the chore. Especially when you consider carseats, strollers, and other safety measures that must be taken.

The Swedish-made Påhoj hopes to make transporting kids a bit easier. This combination child bike seat and stroller clips onto bikes, but also has wheels for ground travel. The black seat looks like a much sleeker bike seat with holes in the back for ventilation. It comes equipped with foot rests and a retractable handle that stays out of the way on a bike, but comes in handy for the stroller. Påhoj is lightweight and has an adjustable harness for kids of different sizes.

The only thing missing from Påhoj’s campaign is specification of which ages the product is appropriate for. Other than that, this product will definitely come in handy for parents, especially those in bike-friendly cities and countries. One will cost kr2,260 (~$249) with estimated delivery in December 2015. Påhoj is looking for kr500,000 (~$57,800) in funding on Kickstarter.


Halfbike offers full fun wth sequel combining jogging and biking

The original, foldable Halfbike introduced a standing tricycle design with pedals back in March 2014. Now, Kolelinia is back with the Halfbike II, a update to the the original Kickstarter success.

The Halfbike II’s design is largely the same, with Kolelinia opting to upgrade the original’s prototype-esque components to increase its aesthetic and functional appeal. A combination of laser-cut aluminium and impregnated plywood ups the Halfbike II’s durability, resulting in a 18 lb. frame that can support people with a height up to 6’4″ and weight of up to 200 lbs. As a result, its combination of jogging and riding make for a novel form of exercise that will no doubt turn heads. A Halfbike II will run $399, with an expected ship date of October 2015 should its campaign reach the $50,000 funding mark.

The bicycle is a design that will no doubt stand the test of time due to both its simplicity and versatility. As timeless as it is, it stil doesn’t mean it can’t be iterated upon. The Halfbike II makes a valiant effort and succeeds, adding a new dimension to a design that would otherwise be similar to the Me-Mover. A severe reduction in cost from the original Halfbike will ensure this version’s success.

Connected Objects Cycling

JIVR chainless e-bike folds in half, uses Bluetooth to show how cool you are

The quest for the perfect e-bike has left a path littered with many grand ideas that have never panned out. Every now and then, though, pearls like the Impossible and LEAOS emerge, offering something new and pushing the idea of what an e-bike can really do.

The JIVR Bike, a folding, chainless, beacon-enabled e-bike, is certainly one of those ideas. It’s sleekly designed frame houses a brushless motor and lithium-ion battery that offers riders 20 miles of pedal assist on a single charge, with a top speed of 15.6MPH. Bluetooth integration allows riders to log everything from distance traveled to calories burned, not to mention other applications that will likely emerge through upcoming JIVR hackathons. When a ride is completed, it takes just four moves to take the JIVR from an e-bike to a piece of luggage weighing in at 33lbs, thus making it extremely handy in a pinch.

The company is offering interesting incentives not seen from other, similar campaigns. One is called JIVR Care, a service that will see someone from the company make a house call within 48 hours to fix the bike in the likelihood something breaks or goes wrong. The second sees JIVR offering backers the opportunity to grab the product for as little as $1,055 by enrolling in its JIVR Ambassador Program. In exchange, participants will have to commit to ride the bike for at least 50km, write reviews, and engage in social media for a few months. Both of these initiatives set the company apart from the competition. Further, both initiatives demonstrate’s the company’s support for the long-term, though interested participants must be located in a relatively short list of pre-approved cities.

The JIVR Bike has an estimated ship date of September 2015 provided the campaign achieves its $105,600 goal by April 10.


Cycling Virtual Reality

WideRun VR lets you bike through any world while staying put

There’s nothing like a long, challenging bike ride on a crisp day surrounded by the hustle and bustle of city life or the lush landscapes of nature. Granted, this is only true so long as there’s no rain, sleet, snow or extremely cold temperatures. Put simply, inclement weather is a cyclist’s biggest enemy, often leading to missed opportunities for both pleasure and fitness.

WideRun’s marriage of both cycling and virtual reality eliminates the tedium of stationary biking, offering eager cyclists a chance to ride in diverse environments when they’re forced to stay indoors. Of course, the biggest challenge with all VR experiences is achieving a suitable level of immersion. WideRun’s system accomplishes this by employing a bike trainer engineered to apply pedal resistance and let cyclists turn their handlebars; these two variables are essential in convincing riders that they’re riding the Great Wall of China or through an abandoned, zombie-infested city.

While WideRun is compatible with any bike, it is currently only compatible with the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and smart TVs (for those who don’t have access to a VR headset). No matter which route a cyclist chooses to take, WideRun must be connected to a smartphone or PC. In exchange, the software lets users check their performance, ride with community members, and challenge other riders as a means to keep things interesting.

The full system can be had for $446 with an expected ship date of April 2016. The campaign is looking for $44,475 in funding by May 2, 2015.

While WideRun claims its pedal resistance can successfully mirror the feeling of riding uphill, it may not do enough. Because the system lacks the means to transmit other types of feedback — like bumps in the road or uneven paths — the fullness of the experience might be compromised. Still, the product is very well thought out, sporting similarities to the VirtuixOmni.

Aquatics Cycling

Glide along the water with the Schiller S1 water bike

Water sports present the opportunity for athletes to enjoy thrilling activities with little risk. As long as they’re wearing a lifejacket, they’re good to go.

Schiller S1 is an exciting new entrant to the water sports market, offering athletes the chance to cycle on the water. This water bike consists of a rust-resistant bike that sits in between two floatation devices. Using a catamaran-like design, the Schiller won’t sink. In addition, a rudder attached to the handles allows for steering while pedaling backwards sends the bike into reverse. Schiller includes a pump to blow up the floaties, which can subsequently deflate for maximum portability. One unit will cost backers a whopping $3,950 for their own with expected delivery by July 2015. Schiller is looking for $100,000 in funding by April 11.

Schiller’s campaign boasts about how portable this bike is, with owners being able to take it on a train, plane or in a car. Backers should beware, however, because the bike weighs a total of 70 lbs. Such heft isn’t exactly considered portable. However, in all other aspects, this is a fun product thatoffers a great way to get out on the water without getting super wet.

Cycling Nutrition/Hydration

BackBottle cuts you some slack, keeps hydration in reach

Quick and easy access to water or a sports drink is a must for any serious cyclist or triathlete. Understandably, hydration packs are extremely popular for this very reason. But because hydration packs can only hold so much liquid, riders are often forced to carry another bottle or two with them. This can be quite burdensome. And for serious riders who race competitively, awkwardly reaching for a bottle mid-ride may even result in a disqualification

The BackBottle addresses  all of these problems by offering 18oz of easy-to-reach hydration specially designed to neatly fit inside of a riding jersey’s back pocket. The BackBottle form factor is just big enough as to remain steadily in place no matter what kind of terrain a cyclist is riding over. This helps give riders who might otherwise worry about hydration packs flying off their bodies some much needed piece of mind. Between a hydration pack and the BackBottle, athletes can breath easy knowing that they wont need to make frustrating pit stops for water at nearby gas or support stations.

Unfortunately, most bike cages won’t support the BackBottle’s odd shape so some riders might opt for two bottles instead of one. A single BackBottle goes for $10, while four can be had for $30. The product’s estimated ship date is September 2015, provided the $7,777 campaign goal is met by April 3.


EasyTurn turning signal eliminates doubt while cycling

Both novice and experienced cyclists alike face dangers when riding on roads filled with other cyclists, cars, and trucks — a simple collision always carries the risk of injury or even death. As a result, a cyclist is always responsible for signaling their intentions on the road, especially when turning. However, who’s to say that those on the road can understand such signals, or perhaps even see them in the first place?

The EasyTurn is a brake signal designed to be more visible to others on the road. It accomplishes this via a slanted design that can be seen at wider angles. It sports both left and a right turn signals, as well as an red emergency light that flashes when the product senses that the cyclist is braking abruptly. Cyclists can control the left and right turn signals with a wireless button that can be attached to the handlebar so as to be always within reach. Early birds can grab an EasyTurn for $59, while everyone else can get theirs for $79. An estimated delivery date of July 2015 is listed provided the campaign’s $25,000 goal is funded by April 20.

EasyTurn is compact, easy-to-install, and simple to use piece of safety equipment. Just as important, it’s not terribly expensive. Products similar to EasyTurn include WingLights and 8rlicht, the former of which features minimally designed handlebar-mounted turn signals than can be controlled with simple taps while the latter offers a programmable LED board that hangs off the back of a bike. While WingLights might prove to be worthy competition, 8rlicht may be too complex relative to what EasyTurn provides.


Night Shift bike lights are simplicity wrapped in attitude

No matter the terrain, a well-lit bike ride is a safe one. But with a plethora of options that are functionally suitable for the job, picking one is less about what it can do and more about how it looks.

As such, the rally-styled Night Shift bike light by GRIT makes the choice easy. The product is a combination of a high-powered tactical flashlight wrapped in a bomber-style silicone holder, making it both rugged enough to withstand all sorts of abuse, while being modular enough to always have choice in what lights to use. Because of this, riders can switch out batteries or entire lights on the fly, and aren’t limited to one charge as with other products like Double O. The 200 lumen Fire Road model goes for $28, and the 700 lumen model goes for $58, although it’s possible to only buy the silicone housing for $14.

The product’s modularity, simple styling, and color selection instantly make this something to look out for, and marks a break from increasingly smart bike lights like the Augur Wolf. It’s simplicity affords it a lot of versatility, something that will appeal to many.

The $8,000 campaign is ready for mass production, with an expected delivery date of April of this year, but only if it raises the money by the time the campaign ends on March 8.


Leafxpro shields cyclists from the rain, keeps commuters dry

Riding a bike to work—or anywhere, for that matter—is a great and environmentally-friendly way to get around and stay in shape. The only problem is that cycling can be near impossible when it’s raining.

patent-claimedTo protect from getting wet, the LEAFXPRO was created. This product attaches to all different kinds of bicycles. A clear flap acts as a windshield to protect the rider from rain, but still gives them a proper field of vision when riding. Similarly, another flap rests against the rider’s back to protect from the dirt and grime that the back tire usually kicks up. To make matters even better, the LEAFXPRO was designed in such a way that it won’t slow the rider down.

The LEAFXPRO looks a little bit ridiculous, however. There’s no type of windshield-wiper system in place to wipe water away from the front flap, either. It seems likely that in windy conditions the product might act as a sail. Still, it’s at least some protection against the elements for cyclists. Backers can donate £99 (~$151) for their own, with estimated delivery in September of this year. LEAFXPRO hopes to raise £20,000 (~$30,500) in funding.