The Noke, BitLock and Skylock may look like traditional U-locks, but they all automatically unlock and lock as the user's smartphone comes in and out of Bluetooth range. Users still have to lug them around, though, and put them on their bike when they park it. Some Korean entrepreneurs have come up with what they believe is a better idea, in the form of the front-wheel-mounted Bisecu.
The cylindrical device has a weather-resistant aluminum-alloy body, weighs just 350 grams, and is initially installed on the front wheel/front dropout within a claimed 10 minutes. It remains there permanently, using Bluetooth LE to wirelessly communicate with an iOS/Android app on the user's phone.
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When the rider walks away from the parked bike, the lock is automatically activated as their phone's Bluetooth signal decreases, keeping the front wheel from turning. Should anyone try stealing the bike anyway, a motion sensor in the lock will set off a 100-decibel alarm, plus it will notify the user via the app. But no, unless a secondary lock is being used, there's nothing that physically keeps the bike from being lifted up and carried away.
Once the rider returns, the lock senses their phone's Bluetooth signal and disengages, allowing the wheel to turn again. If they're staying close to the bike, so that the lock isn't triggered automatically, it can also be locked and unlocked manually via the app. As an added bonus, the app additionally displays speed and distance travelled while riding (by counting wheel revolutions), along with slope inclination.
One USB charge of the Bisecu's lithium-polymer battery should reportedly be good for about six months of use – the app will let the user know when that battery is getting low. Should the user's phone battery run out, the lock can also be opened by punching in a passcode using an integrated exterior button.
Plans call for the lock to be the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, beginning in the second quarter of this year. Although no official retail pricing information has been announced, a team member tells us that it should be in the range of US$100 to $150.
The Bisecu is demo'd in the following video. And should you be interested in a bike-mounted Bluetooth lock that keeps the rear wheel from turning – well, that would be the Linka.