Thursday, May 23, 2013

Fancy Handlebars

I came across this today and just had to share:

First, a few notes about the article itself. I take issue with a few points in the very first passage:

In general, bicycles haven't adopted the same high-tech features as many cars. Turn signals are done by hand, and GPS equates to using good old-fashioned brain power or the information you have on your phone.
Bicycles haven't adopted the same high-tech features as many cars? So state-of-the-art tire and braking compounds, super lightweight materials, automatic transmissions, and wind tunnel-tested designs don't count? And is the author really referring to turn signals as 'high tech?' Because I had turn signals on my 1957 GMC pickup truck, and I never really thought of that old rig as 'high tech.' I could go along with the author in considering GPS to be 'high tech,' but if you think bicycle-based GPS is confined to your phone, then you've been living under a rock for pretty much the last two decades. Garmin alone has 5 bicycle-specific GPS models. So there's that.

With that said, I have to admit that the proposed electrified handlebars are pretty cool. The built-in headlamp is tantalizingly Iron Man-esque, with its chest-piece location and integrated proximity sensor that fires the thing up when you approach. The idea of the speedometer is pretty cool, but I don't get the impression that it provides the rider with their actual speed; rather, it sounds as if a color is shown that corresponds vaguely to the speed the bicycle is traveling. I very much like the GPS tracking function that allows you to find your bike if it's stolen, although the pay-as-you-go requirement is pretty lame. And the turn-by-turn directions might be kind of nifty, though I must say that I'm a visual aid kind of guy myself and have a tendency of getting confused by turn-by-turn when I don't have a good overall sense of the route. I think the rear-facing lights and the turn signals are just plain useless and probably difficult for a motorist to see, depending on their position relative to the bicycle.

I guess the question of the day is, would I pay $200 for a set of fancy handlebars. The answer? I might.

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