While there are plenty of important components and accessories that are mounted on a bike’s handlebars, the bars themselves are just empty hollow tubes that don’t really do anything ... right? Well, that isn’t the case with Helios Bars. Created by California-based inventor Kenny Gibbs (who previously brought us The Slug), they feature an integrated headlight, signal lights, tracking system, and several other clever features.
In the middle of the weather-proof aluminum bars, housed in a forward-protruding extension of the integrated stem, is a 500-lumen Cree LED headlight. Two lower-intensity RGB LEDs, integrated into the rear-facing bar-end plugs, serve as tail lights. When activated by one of two switches located on either side of the stem, either of these lights can be made to blink on and off for five seconds, serving as a turn signals – whether or not the rider might block motorists’ view of those lights remains to be seen.
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Using an accompanying Bluetooth 4.0-enabled iOS app, the user can set those two bar-end lights to a color of their choice. Alternatively, they can choose to activate the bars’ Visual Speedometer mode, in which those lights change color to convey the approximate speed at which the bike is moving.
The app also has a proximity feature, which automatically turns on all three lights as the user (and their phone) approaches the bike, then turns them off again as the user parks it and walks away. Additionally, using the navigation feature, either of the turn signals will automatically come on to let the rider know when a required left- or right-hand turn is coming up.
Should the bike be stolen, the bars’ included GPS module will allow the user to see its location (or at least, the location of the bars) on Google Maps, simply by sending it a text message.
Helios Bars are powered by a lithium-ion battery, that should provide approximately seven hours of use per charge. Plans call for them to be made in drop and bullhorn styles, which should both accept their respective standard brake levers. There’s currently no word on weight.
Gibbs is currently raising production funds for the bars, on Kickstarter. At the time of this posting, an early bird pledge of US$150 will get you a pair of either style in black or white – when and if they reach production. The bars can be seen in use in the pitch video below.