Fully Networked: What the Digital Bicycle of the Future Looks Like

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The (e-)bike of the future will be completely networked – whether with navigation systems, fitness trackers, or customer service. Industry insiders give an insight into the bicycle world of tomorrow.

Connected Bike: In Zukunft wird das Rad noch stärker mit Smartphone, Fitnesstracker und Co. vernetzt.
Connected Bike: In the future, the bike will be even more networked with smartphones and fitness trackers.

Digitalization and networking aren’t sparing the bike scene, either. There are already bicycle helmets on the market that navigate for cyclists via a smartphone app, or enable them to converse in a cycling group via an integrated Bluetooth intercom. “The connectivity of the individual bicycle parts among themselves and with the Internet is an interesting topic,” says Maximilian Topp, PR Coordinator Europe at Sram. “Navigation on the e-bike display is already partly available. I could imagine that we would continue to follow smartphone development with the e-bike and let it go online on its own. For example, for active traffic routing, tracking, theft protection, and touch-free payment processes in public transport.”

Bicycle of the future registers itself in the workshop

The possibilities of an intelligently networked bicycle seem endless. Daniel Gareus, Marketing Director at Cosmic Sports, sees advantages in NFC-lockable locks to improve theft protection. Maud von Hoff, Brand Manager at Rotwild, mentions the connection with fitness trackers as another important aspect. And according to von Hoff, the bike of the future will probably register itself in the workshop: “The stronger connection with customer service, such as information on inspection intervals, will certainly be interesting in the future.” 

Smartphone informs the bike community

The smartphone could become the control center for your e-bike and let your friends know about your experiences. “Sophisticated navigation offers and bike-specific tools for route planning are one thing, the community idea is another – you show where you were, share pictures, exchange ideas,” explains Sandra Wolf, CEO of Riese & Müller. “For e-bike riders, the factor of e-bike control or evaluation of the bike data is also of interest. The challenge for bicycle and e-bike manufacturers is to create a comprehensive product range that can be adapted to individual needs.”

Bike on-board computers becoming all-rounders

Users of Shimano Step, for example, can control and customize the e-bike drive system via smartphone or tablet. “Of course, other networked functions like theft protection or displaying maintenance intervals are also conceivable,” says Michael Wild, Head of Marketing and PR at Paul Lange & Co. Bosch eBike Systems has developed an all-in-one onboard computer. Nyon is a navigation system and fitness tracker in one, and also offers Internet access. Starting in the model year 2019, the on-board computer Kiox will be available specifically for the needs of sporty, ambitious riders, with a heart rate monitor networked via Bluetooth. 

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Bike customers want “smart solutions”

Tamara Winograd of Bosch eBike Systems summarizes the challenges thusly: “Awareness of athletic activity, health, and physical fitness is playing an increasingly important role today. In connection with the e-bike, users want smart solutions that enable digital networking and navigation, for example, as well as the recording of their own training data.”

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