Even if motorized bicycles turn you off, perhaps you still appreciate some of the electronic bells and whistles that are included on many e-bikes. If that's the case, then a "smart bike" might be more to your liking. One of the latest to catch our eye is the Cotlo Corvus, which features a car-detecting rear radar system and a built-in OLED display. We came across a prototype at Interbike 2015, and got the goods.
Created by Chinese tech firm Cotlo and being promoted by China's Costelo Sports, the Corvus at first glance appears to simply be another carbon fiber-framed hardtail mountain bike – perhaps a bit influenced by the design of Look's bikes, with its top tube and handlebar stem forming one continuous line.
Sitting flush with the top surface of that stem, however, is the backlit OLED screen. It displays data such as current speed, distance traveled, calories burned and cadence. Additional information, such as the bike's current location on a route map (or on a general city map, if the bike's been stolen), can be accessed via an accompanying smartphone app.
All that data is gathered by sensors such as a speedometer located near the rear dropouts, a cadence meter in one of the chainstays, and a power meter built into the bottom bracket. There's also a microprocessor located in the underside of the down tube, which includes a GPS module, altimeter, accelerometer, inclinometer, Bluetooth module and 9-axis gyroscope.
Everything is powered by a lithium-ion battery (just below the microprocessor), which can be removed for charging.
The Corvus additionally features a rear-facing 24-GHz radar module (seen below), which detects vehicles approaching from behind – it's like a built-in version of Garmin's Varia Radar. If the module determines that a car is closing in at a dangerously high speed, it alerts the rider by buzzing the seatpost. Samsung's one-off smart bike concept, by contrast, "just" uses a rear-facing video camera.
On the topic of buzzing, navigational cues are delivered from the app to the rider by vibrating motors in either end of the handlebars, as is the case with the Valour smart bike. When a left turn is coming up, the bike lets the rider know by buzzing their left hand, and – well, you get the idea.
Finally, there's also an integrated LED headlight. It automatically comes on when it gets dark out, thanks to an ambient light sensor.
As can be seen in the photos, some bits of the prototype we saw are still a little rough. That said, Cotlo is looking at producing the bike commercially, although there's no word on pricing or availability.