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World’s First Connected Bike Grips (smrtgrips.bike)
60 points by conner_bw on Dec 22, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 56 comments

A quick look around my living room and the bar end of every flat bar bike I have is beat up and chewed up. Not a stellar place to put important pieces. Much like most "bike innovations" these don't seem to cater to those who use their bikes on a regular basis.

I imagine this would be extremely useful for bike couriers. Less so for people who ride the same route each day, but still pretty cool if you ride for fun.

A smart watch with Google Maps already provides haptic navigation. Not sure I'd want two more things I have to charge daily.

Funny the video talks about safety, but none of the riders wears a helmet. Also no mention of power/battery longevity.

In countries where people bike a lot, biking isn't treated as an inherently risky behavior. Instead, it's more akin to how we treat walking or driving a car, which we feel comfortable doing without helmets even if they would save lives on occasion. This alternative attitude to biking risk encourages more people to bike, which makes it safer for everyone as drivers become more accustomed to seeing and watching out for bikers. Keep in mind, most people don't die from accidents, they die from disease. Riding 20 miles a week on a bike cuts your chance of heart disease in half. Given that heart disease is our biggest killer in the US, we'd do well to stop treating biking as a risky behavior and instead encourage people to bike whether they choose to wear a helmet or not.

Do you actually bike? I ask because the statement "in the US, we'd do well to stop treating biking as a risky behavior" will come as a surprise to anybody who spends any amount of time in the saddle on US roads.


Do you live in sprawling suburbia? In a lot of major cities it's fairly safe, and it becomes safer the more people bike. What's stopping people is that it's perceived as being risky. I don't think we need to abolish helmets for that, but the perception that you will die of head trauma if you're riding a few blocks to the coffee shop is a bit much.

Suburbia definitely contributes to this problem with large multi-lane roads, hostile to both cyclists and pedestrians alike. A lot of their cycling projects also seem to be focused on multi-use paths, which are unlikely to bring up the count of commuter cyclists. They're poor to use as transportation or training options, which often leaves suburban drivers confused or frustrated when "there's a perfectly good path for you over there."

I don't own a car and my bike is my primary form of transportation. I live in San Francisco and bike almost every day.

So based on your experience biking in the most bike-friendly city in the nation, you're recommending that everyone in the U.S. go sans helmet? This seems, at best, naive.

I never said people should ride without helmets. And there are way more bike-friendly cities than SF.

I live at a block with a two way stop at the intersection. A few weeks ago a student was pedaling at a healthy clip --25-30 mph, I was walking on the same direction as she was. The street she was pedaling down has a stop sign, the cross street does not. A lot of cyclists kinda sorta slow down a bit at the stop sign. This day, a car was coming down the hill on the street with no stop sign. The cyclist didn't stop ---not did the car (it did apply its bakes) which had the right of way.

She was wearing a helmet and she left a nice dent in the side of the car. She came out of it stunned but alright. I doubt she would have had the same outcome had she not worn a helmet.

She wouldn't have needed a helmet if she had heeded the stop sign and the fact that the car had right of way. I don't know if it's a regional thing, but a disturbing number of cyclists in the Bay Area ride like idiots. I've had numerous near-misses with bikes as a pedestrian, and I've seen some astonishingly bad behavior by riders who caused minor accidents and then tried to blame the driver of the car they careened into. I intervened in one such situation (where the rider was screaming racist obscenities are a car full of elderly passengers that he had just plowed into and threatening them with arrest and legal action) to point out that not only had he been going far faster than the car he hit, which was pulling in to park, his bike had no brakes. 'I own several bicycles,' he puffed 'and my other ones have brakes. I'll just show one of those to the police when I file the incident report.' He was less than pleased when I took a picture of him with his bike and told him to try it.

I don't think I have an anti-bike bias - I don't own one now, but I rode for years and the only motor vehicle I've owned was a motorcycle; I don't like driving a car unless I have to.

What you day is true but we wear safety devices in the event something unforeseen happens --in this case an accident. Maybe she was tired wasn't paying attention, etc. This provided protection from this event. The world isn't perfect nor are we so its not unreasonable to try to hedge against an accident within reason...

I'm neutral on helmets. I'm just perplexed as to why a population that claims to feel so much at risk on the road also exhibits a disturbing lack of regard for traffic rules and the safety of others.

Yes, I agree. Both motorists and cyclists need to understand each other. Myself, both a cyclist and motorist, can assume some negative aspects --for example, feeling exasperation at a cyclists slowing down traffic --for example when they ride side-by-side. But also when I'm a cyclist, I can assume some negative aspects exhibited by cyclists --not coming to a full stop, etc... It's about education and becoming cultured in both transport modes... That is not seeing stopping at a stop as 'inconvenient' (the same way we don't feel inconvenienced by having to wait for a crosswalk light.)

So a helmet allows you to survive cycling incredibly unsafely?

Was the student going down a hill? I'd have to be facing some major deadline to be going 25mph on a bike on a straightaway.

From my understanding, she was on her way to work from the uni. I think it was more accurately about 20mph.

Yes, helmets do provide some protection, but so would helmets for pedestrians, five-point safety belts in cars, safety belts in buses, etc.

Unless it was seriously down hill or with a serious tail wind, and she was extremely lucky, I bet she wasn't doing 25-30 mph.

I think that bet is safe because the world one hour record for women is about http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hour_record#One_Hour_records_... 29 mph.

Also, a bicycle helmet doesn't do much good in a head-on impact at 25 mph. It only gives you a few mm of deceleration distance. So, if the impact was at 25mph, that dent in the car likely did way more for her than her helmet.

While I agree that going that fast minimizes or negates the saftey of the helmet, your hour-record link is useless here. While cycling on a flat surface, I easily club up to 30 mph (for a stint). On a downhill, I've had to use my breaks to stay below 40 mph. The parent post did not say she was sustaining that speed for a whole hour, plus this was downhill. Despite how fast she was going, she should have been going slower and riding defensively.

You're right she was likely going about 20 mph. She was on a 'ten' speed. The street she was on is on a slight downward incline. I think helmets provide protection for some scenarios a d agent either useless or burdensome. In other words they are worth their while and I think it provided her with protection in this case.

I've heard this argument and don't buy it. Technically I think you are correct--if you presume there's an inverse correlation between helmet use and cycling rates, the health benefits of riding would save more lives than would be lost by the lack of helmets.

But it's not a tradeoff. Cycling rates have skyrocketed over the last 5 years in SF and NYC, without any real change in attitude towards helmets. We can thank bike lanes.

The car analogy doesn't hold water either--the most effective safety device for cars is the seat belt. Nobody thinks seat belt use is a sign of a risk-obsessed driver, and likewise, wearing a helmet doesn't mean you treat biking as a risky behavior. In both cases they're just sensible precautions for a common activity.

Here in the Netherlands almost no one wears a helmet on a bicycle. There have been studies that suggest cars are less careful with cyclists who wear a helmet.

There is also evidence to support that cyclists are less careful when they are wearing a helmet (theory of "risk compensation") though some studies differ.

I've found that cars drive closer to me when I wear a high visibility jacket. Seems that because they can see me better they feel comfortable driving closer.

that's a poor excuse to not wear a helmet. I guess if you are in a city and the only thing that you worry about are cars then it's reasonable.

Where I am, there are more things than cars that will take me out, and a helmet is one thing that protects me.

Low hanging or falling branches, massive potholes that can kill your tires and bike wheel, people carrying large objects out of the trunk of their car - so even if they are driving safely, it only takes one snapped bungie cord to have a piece of furniture come at you...

Always wear a helmet regardless of how safe you think cars are being!

You should avoid the obstacles while cycling. You should also stay within the safe speed limit, especially in areas with obstacles.

Same rule applies for driving, walking, and basically everything.

Most people live in cities, so your anecdote does not help.

Roughly 80% of americans live in urban areas. That still leaves 60 million people.

According to http://www.bicycling.com/news/advocacy/ride-smart almost half of car-bike accidents are due to cars turning left, and NOT seeing the cyclist.

Roughly 4.4% of the world's population lives in the USA. That still leaves 6.8 billion people.

There are many, many places where the option to ride without a helmet does wonders for cycling culture.

If we consider the entire world, the percentage of city dwellers drops to roughly 50%

I'm genuinely interested in the benefits of forgoing safety equipment that is readily available, easy to use, and proven to save lives.

Perhaps my experience is skewed because I almost exclusively do mountain biking. You couldn't pay me enough to ride on urban streets contending with cars.

The same benefits as forgoing a helmet when walking down the street.

The average speed on Netherlands bike paths is 8 MPH. The US runs around 20 MPH.

There are several videos of cycling in the Netherlands on YouTube. Most of them have been speeded up because they look so slow.

Because EVERYONE in the Netherlands rides a bike, not just the super healthy sport types.

Part of the reason you wear a helmet is to reduce reliance on what drivers do as it relates to your safety.

Helmets are pretty universally known to reduce traumatic brain injuries.


There are on only two paragraphs about this in the Wikipedia link you gave, and the second one ends:

Elvik writes "When the risk of injury to head, face or neck is viewed as a whole, bicycle helmets do provide a small protective effect. This effect is evident only in older studies. New studies, summarised by a random-effects model of analysis, indicate no net protective effect".

I'm guessing you didn't read it and assumed it supported your preconceptions?

(Going to politely revoke my snarky response to your snark)

I specifically mentioned head injuries (TBIs) - there are two meta analyses listed, the point you listed went beyond that (to include neck and face injuries). The other meta analysis also supported its TBI-reducing benefits.

Edit: If you're looking for the pertinent line from the analysis:

"With respect to head injury, the answer is clearly yes, and the re-analysis of the meta-analysis reported by Attewell et al. (2001) in this paper has not changed this answer."

Apologies for any snark.

What you actually said was, "Helmets are pretty universally known to reduce traumatic brain injuries."

This is wrong and not what you are now saying. You are now saying that among people who have suffered brain injuries, helmets are known to reduce traumatic brain injuries.

If the helmets make it more likely that you suffer an injury in the first place, it's not really a consolation that they mitigate the effects. There are actually reasons why many people oppose compulsory helmet laws.

I'm sorry, but I'm having a hard time parsing what you're saying. Both meta analyses supported my initial point.

Every damn time. Could we please stop equating dangerous behavior with cycling being dangerous?

If both cyclists and other traffic behave normally wearing a helmet whilst cycling is as idiotic as wearing a bullet proof vest while walking.

Not everyone lives in the US where the cycling culture is a mix between cyclists racing through traffic where the drivers can legally get away with murder.

From the video (at around 2:02, CadSoft EAGLE frame) they're using Nordic Semiconductor's nRF51822 Bluetooth Low Energy & 2.4GHz Wireless SoC.

I don't produce electronics that much anymore, but I very fondly remember working with EAGLE. I hope they have fixed the issues with redrawing that we had.

Yeah. It rocks now :D

I use EAGLE to make the breadbord, Proteus for simulation, and NI Multisim to produce the schematic to print on paper (they look nicer than Proteus' or EAGLE's schematics).

I also use LT Spice for simulation. It depends.

5.0 was pretty messed up but they've gotten the display issues sorted out since then.

I'm surprised they are using smrtgrips.bike when they own smrtgrips.com.

If these get popular, I wonder if they will be a target for theft, and then what can be done to fix that.

Let the app register each set to an account, and don't let the grips work with any device not authenticated with that account.

That's a good idea, but people will steal them anyways. Sometimes things get stolen for no reason ~ e.g. my bike seat got stolen. I'm pretty sure they didn't need it.

Cool, but it's not really solving a problem anyone had.

Did anyone really have a problem with directions when biking? I mean the great thing about a bike is that it's pretty easy to come to a stop and grab your phone if you get lost.

I've never had a problem finding my bike, even amongst a rack of hundreds. Getting the bike out... now that's a problem worth solving!

And connected biking? Wtf? Nearby friends? If I'm out on a ride and one of my friends is nearby, but I'm not biking with them, why the fuck do I care? Am I going to stop my ride to pull them over and say hello?

If I have a phone in my pocket with the capability to call out directions verbally, I sure don't feel compelled to buy some overpriced bike grips that'll have to be charged, and might get stolen.

Does any one know how is this device secured to the handlebar? From the video it looks like it's just 'insert, twist and go'; but then won't it be prone to theft?

Like most bike parts.

How often will I have to charge it?

How do I prevent it from getting stolen?

Can they make a model wear the grips pick up your heart rate? PLEASE!?!? This would be the coolest most insanely awesome mod I'd to to my bike! v2 v2!

Watches with heart rate monitors have been available for a while, and you can use them when running, or walking, or sitting on your ass.

Built into handlebars seems limiting, and error prone--what happens when you're wearing gloves, or braking

I think this is interesting, bike has to be more smart. Yes, I know many device like smart watches have similiar features already, but I personally like those features are in my bike, not on me. By the way, I hope this smart bar can be inserted in Motoped.

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