SHYSPY GPS Tracker seeks Kickstarter funding

Compact GPS tracker fits inside seatpost and can could help you find your bike if it gets stolen + video

by David Arthur   February 22, 2014  

Bike theft is a constant source of worry for most cyclists, whether it’s locking bikes up at the office or keeping them in a shed or garage at home. That’s where the new SHYSPY comes in, a GPS tracker that fits inside the seatpost of you bike and can track the location of your beloved bicycle if it gets stolen. It’s currently on Kickstarter and seeking £40,000 funding

Put simply, SHYSPY is a GPS tracker that you fit to your bicycle and, in the event your bike is stolen, should aid recovery by showing you the location of your bike. It’s completely invisible to potential bike thieves as well, because it’s concealed inside the seatpost. Unlike some other anti-theft products, it can’t easily be removed, in fact it’s doubtful a bike thief would even know the bike they’re stealing has a bike tracked inside the frame.

The tracker uses a GPS module and a SIM card to provide accurate location details straight to your computer or smartphone. The 2500mAh battery is claimed to last about 30 hours, and can easily be charged wirelessly or via USB. The tracker can be powered down into passive mode, so not tracking its location, and that extends the battery life out to a claimed 5 weeks.

The tracker fits inside the seatpost of your bicycle and uses a mobile SIM card along with a GPS module to accurately track the location, and is able, to deliver the location of your bicycle to a desktop computer or mobile phone. It’s small, just 22mm side by between 150-200mm long, depending on battery options. They’ve produced a list of compatible seatposts over on the Kickstarter page, worth checking before you decide to invest.

The tracker has obvious bike theft potential, but the company behind it also says it can be used to track and record your ride activity, much like a Garmin or smartphone app using GPS. Apparently activities can be tracked using the smartphone app and download to GPX which you can then upload to a website like Strava or Endomondo. Which makes it more compelling than a device that is basically unwanted weight most of the time you're riding. For town and city commuters though the little extra weight will be of no concern. 

SHYSPY has also produced a version of the tracker which uses GSM tracking, using mobile phone mast triangulation, as a low cost alternative to GPS. It’s only accurate to within 100 metres. It relays location data either to your phone via SMS or through the SHYSPY app.

SHYSPY is currently trying to raise £40,000, with 25 days to go. You can pledge just £1 to support the project, but £33 will get you the GSM tracker, while £55 will get you one of the early bird GPS trackers. There are currently just 43 out of 100 of those left though, so you might want to be quick if you want one.

If you can’t guarantee theft prevention, then the new  SHYSPY aims to make locating a stolen bicycle easy. I had a bicycle stolen from an office I used to work in a few years ago, and never saw it again. If I had had a tracker such as this fitted inside the frame, I might have been able to track its location and possibly stood a chance of retrieving it.

Find out more at www.kickstarter.com/projects/385904042/shyspy-gps-gsm-tracker-for-bicycles

12 user comments

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I'm sorry, but with hearing about what happens with stolen decent value bikes in the UK, this is not going to work.

They strip the wheels, groupset and anything else of value off the frame. As the frame is the most identifiable part and holds most if not all of the serial numbers....They get dumped, cut up of scrap...etc

Now in America, this may be a different story, you have a massive country, where you can get rid of the full thing, also you can get to Mexico and Canada....

But to me, it is still a fairly obvious place to look. If you want to design a "sneaky" tracker, it needs to build into something that is NOT obvious, A crank arm? A brake calliper?

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [8669 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 13:51

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I'm inclined to agree with Gkam84. After having my bike pinched at the Tour Ride last year, the headset bolt and bottletops were found at the side of the road nearby. I would have had no idea why the thieves removed these but apparently you can get trackers disguised as those parts.

This device seems a very practical solution and will provide a bit of reassurance incase of an opportunistic theft, but unfortunately the career criminals who are increasingly targeting road bikes round the country are wise to these sorts of things.

posted by sporran [39 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 14:07

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Given that we'll all soon have our seatposts stuffed with our groupset battery, I'd want something which integrated with that rather than an entirely separate item, needing its own charge.

posted by Scrufftie [19 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 14:31

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As soon as any new tracking device, lock, alarm, etc., comes out, you can be sure that it is studied carefully, and that information gradually spreads amongst the criminal fraternity.

The rose tinted assumption that criminals don't know how to surf the internet, use social media, or even take a look at cycling websites such as this one, is a false one.

I don't want to be completely unconstructive, so may I suggest a "chip" that can be scanned might be more likely to win approval with cyclists. It's certainly what's done with lorries, that are also prone to being stolen and broken down for the parts.

"Hey..... Let's be visible out there."

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posted by Neil753 [451 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 16:55

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A lot of bike thieves are not part of a sophisticated criminal ring and I doubt they would think to check if the bike was fitted with a device such as this. If you can find out the precise location of your frame on a smartphone the second you find it has gone missing (or maybe there will be an app which can send an alarm if the bike start to move - how good would that be?) then you stand a much better chance of recovering it. I've been there, when you find an empty space where you bike was left, it is a gut sickening feeling. Not even knowing which direction your bike has gone, or exactly when it was taken is possibly the worst part - you imagine it might have just been nicked, and you start looking around for anything resembling it heading off into the distance, just in case. It is a hideous experience to go through. For me this would be well worth having, but these days I live in the middle of nowhere where crime is pretty much non-existant, and I never have to leave my bike anywhere it might get pinched. One of he reasons I left the UK....

posted by caaad10 [99 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 17:26

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Should approach Team Sky for funding as they could have done with this product overnight. Contact them today and could be an opportune time to get in touch with them. 20 free trial items could well get full sponsorship.

Tommy

posted by highto [14 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 18:06

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Most bike thieves are unemployed scum who nick your bike to buy their next hit from the local drug dealer. While there are 'pro' bike thieves that target high value road bikes, most bikes are nicked by low intellect scum I described above. These thieves aren't going to consider that there's a tracker in the seat post. Not until such devices become commonplace.

A good idea if they are cheap enough. I had an £800 mtb nicked two years ago and recovered by police following a tip-off. The thief sold my bike for £30 then shot that £30 in his arm. The front light I had left on it was worth more than that!

posted by Critchio [101 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 19:05

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Scrufftie wrote:
Given that we'll all soon have our seatposts stuffed with our groupset battery, I'd want something which integrated with that rather than an entirely separate item, needing its own charge.

That is a cracking idea and one you should patent immediately!

posted by Pauldmorgan [159 posts]
22nd February 2014 - 19:17

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This product already exists. Google Spybike

Paul

posted by bike boy [3 posts]
23rd February 2014 - 9:00

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This looks like a bad 'copy' of the garmin gtu10 which as far as I can tell is much more useful as it's smaller more portable and waterproof.

posted by pinecooler [9 posts]
24th February 2014 - 9:57

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there is a serious flaw with this kind of technology.

1) I don't want my bike to be stolen in the first instance. this doesn't prevent it. but by labelling my bike as being GPS tracked, the theif can easily remove this or take measures against it.

2) it is battery operated, i.e. has an operating shelf life.

3) it is not smart, i.e. it is tracking all the time, as opposed to at the point of theft, thus by prolonging operating time

4) it can be easily removed/tampered with which renders this uselss.

basically it is a gimmick and only useful if you don't have a phone or bike computer...therefore it should be marketted as a GPS accessory for the likes of Strava as opposed to anything else.

If you want proper tracking then micro/nano tech that is built into the frames and utilise kinetic energy of movement is the only way. I suspect this kind of technology is years away.

posted by ricky1980 [21 posts]
25th February 2014 - 14:53

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Critchio wrote:
Most bike thieves are unemployed scum who nick your bike to buy their next hit from the local drug dealer. While there are 'pro' bike thieves that target high value road bikes, most bikes are nicked by low intellect scum I described above. These thieves aren't going to consider that there's a tracker in the seat post. Not until such devices become commonplace.

A good idea if they are cheap enough. I had an £800 mtb nicked two years ago and recovered by police following a tip-off. The thief sold my bike for £30 then shot that £30 in his arm. The front light I had left on it was worth more than that!

I think you may mean "drug addict" rather than simply "unemployed scum" for the casual thief

Organised thieving tends to need workshop space and a bit a of know how so most rings involve people who are in employment (often in the cycling trade) and making money on the side by illegal means

If I wanted to read sweeping statements like "unemployed scum" I would read the Daily Mail rather than wiping my arse with it.

posted by MKultra [196 posts]
27th February 2014 - 13:50

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