Monday, March 21, 2016

New Bike Innovation Just in Time for Spring

New concept bike may reveal glimpse of future bike tech

When it comes to innovation, breaking the rules is a good thing. Especially in cases like when Robert Egger, creative director of bike-maker Specialized, wanted to make a faster road bike. He even ignored the design rules of powerful international bicycle governing body the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).

Egger calls his bike FUCI. And you can probably guess what the "F" means. "FUCI ... stands for f*** the UCI," Chris Hu, Specialized research and development engineer, told CNN.

The UCI oversees races such as the Tour de France, and has the final say in the design of bicycles allowed to compete in those races and is highly influential in the design of non-racing bikes.

"I've always felt we need to break out of that box in a very fun and decisive way," Egger said, making the point that rules aren't always meant to be followed.

According to CNN, the orange and white bike aims to push the limits of possibility. Here are some of FUCI's features:

The back wheel is bigger than the front wheel. FUCI's big wheel -- which measures almost three feet in diameter -- stores energy and allows the bike to maintain speed. The big wheel takes more effort to get moving from a stop, so the bike includes a tiny motor to help the rider with that.

Additionally, the brake lights are located inside the seat – they are visible from the rear through tiny holes in the seat's backside. Brake lights, headlights and the electric features on the bike are powered by a lightweight lithium battery charged by a bike stand. The stand also has an option for a solar panel mount if you want to go off-grid.

And, the rider's smartphone acts as the bike's brain and navigation system. Plug a smartphone into the niche between the bike's handlebars, and it operates the bike's headlights and brake lights, and monitors the tires for proper pressure. The rider uses an app to program bike routes and can use real-time data to adjust his or her route to avoid traffic.

Finally, this bike has a compartment inside the seat where a rider can store a wallet, keys, a snack, or any other small items you can think of. Another cool feature: The trunk door is magnetically latched.

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