Although e-bikes are becoming increasingly popular, we're also hearing more and more about smart bikes – these are bikes that don't have a motor, but that do have electronic features designed to make life easier for their riders. Dutch manufacturer VanMoof has just jumped on the bandwagon with its aptly-named SmartBike, which should prove particularly challenging to thieves.
Like its recently-announced motorized sibling the Electrified S, the SmartBike features a speed-displaying LED touchscreen built into the top tube. It also comes with a chain lock, the two ends of which plug into an electronic locking mechanism that's likewise contained within the frame's tubing.
In order to unlock the chain from the bike, riders can use an included wireless remote, they can swipe the screen on their paired smartphone (using an iOS/Android app), or they can keep the phone in their pocket and simply touch the bike's built-in screen – as long as the phone is within Bluetooth range, the bike will then communicate with it, to verify that it's the registered user's phone.
Should the SmartBike be stolen anyway, an onboard tracking mechanism allows its whereabouts to be monitored using the app. In fact, VanMoof guarantees that if a stolen bike can't be reclaimed within two weeks using that feature, the company will replace it with another one.
Additional features include head- and tail-lights that come on automatically as it gets dark outside, and anti-theft bolts securing the saddle and wheels – as is the case with the Fortified Invincible bike, these bolts can only be removed using a tool that comes with the bicycle.
All of the electronics are powered by an internal battery that is in turn charged by pedalling, so no periodic plugging-in is required.
The whole thing weighs under 30 lb (13.6 kg) and comes with either a 3- or 8-speed Sturmey Archer rear hub transmission. Both versions can be preordered starting this Tuesday (May 31st), priced at US$1,098 and $1,298 respectively. When the SmartBike is officially released in retail stores in December, pricing will start at $1,798.
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