Cycling has never been easier nor more connected due to the plethora of gadgets attempting to be crowdfunded that help both lead and light the way. Still, there;s always room for more innovation, a challenge that continues to push small teams to create new, fun form factors like the Shoka Bell.
Like others, the Shoka Bell is a connected bike bell that helps cyclists find their way, light their path, alert others, and alert them to possible theft. Users can consult its companion app to find the safest routes from point A to point B, made safer by real-time updates from other Shoka Bell users. (It also lets users consult routes taken by friends, see anyone nearby, and upload pictures to Instagram, too.) And since it’s equipped with eight front-facing LEDs, the path to point B is made clear without blinding others in the process. Its small joystick can be flicked in different ways for a variety of sounds, from silly sounds for some fun to very loud warnings to avoid accidents, with users given the option to either stick with the set of stock sounds included or download others for more options. When stopped, users can easily detach the Shoka Bell because of its magnetic mount while still being alerted to possible foul play if they stay within 800 feet via a smartphone notification.
All this is powered by a battery that lasts for 200 hours, meaning users need only charge it once every few weeks. A Shoka Bell comes in four fun, bright colors and goes for $119, and is slated to ship May 2017. Its Kickstarter campaign is looking for $75,000 by September 1st, 2016.
The Shoka Bell takes the BluBel’s crowdsourcing navigation feature and adds some silly sounds and a pop of color, not to mention its easy magnetic mount. Privacy advocates will worry about its ability to show location to others, but it’s probably something that can be turned on and off. Another great feature is its automatic brightness and loudness feature depending on place — a thoughtful addition that is very much appreciated.