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Californian smart bike with integrated computer and lights

Is this the smartest everyday road bike you’ve ever seen? Its designers would like you to think so.

There have been quite a few ‘smart’ bikes over the years, they promise much but don’t always deliver. Volata Cycles is a Californian company looks to have developed a pretty interesting bike. It has integrated a computer into the handlebar and it can provide real-time performance data, navigation, smartphone notification and even the weather forecast. That last one could be handy for longer rides.

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The heart of the bike is a computer with a 2.4in display embedded into the handlebars that can provide easy access to all the data you could want at a glance. It includes metrics like speed, distance and heart rate, it can provide turn-by-turn navigation aids, and it can also act as an anti-theft device with a motion detection and GPS-based system.

volata cycles 3.png

volata cycles 3.png

A smartphone can be connected to the computer to provide further functionality and do things like providing notifications of text messages. A dynamo front hub charges the battery that powers the computers, so no need to worry about the battery going flat and needed to charge it.smartphone can be connected to the computer to provide further functionality and do things like providing notifications of text messages. A dynamo front hub charges the battery that powers the computers, so no need to worry about the battery going flat and needed to charge it.

This clever handlebar with its embedded computer is fitted to a bike with a belt drive transmission and Shimano Alfine Di2 11-speed gear hub, with hydraulic disc brakes. 

Volata has clearly designed the bike for the commuter who values ease of use, and furthermore, it has fitted automated lights integrated into the frame, powered by a dynamo front hub. There’s also a built-in horn for warning pedestrians of your presence.

volata cycles 23.png

volata cycles 23.png

The frame is made from 7005 aluminium with a carbon fibre fork and there’s space for 32mm tyres, with the complete bike built around Stan’s NoTubes ZTR Grail rims with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres. Bike weight comes in at a claimed 10.6kg (23.37lb) for a size medium.

Such design doesn’t come cheap, with a list price of $3,499. You can currently reserve a bike for a $299 deposit, with delivery expected in July 2017, so that’s some wait. Shipping costs $150 to Europe. The bike will be offered in four sizes and a choice of colours

volata cycles 4.jpg

volata cycles 4.jpg

If you can’t wait that long, you could always buy the Canyon Commuter 8.0 for £1,599, which has a belt-drive, integrated lights, mudguards and Alfine 11-speed hub, and with the money, you save to buy a Garmin Edge computer. 

You can read more about the Volata Cycles bike at www.volatacycles.com

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

21 comments

Avatar
Dr_Lex [445 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

All that tech, yet it has a fork with rim brake mounts (and post mount disks).  An order for the Canyon alternative might even arrive before this one does.

Avatar
bendertherobot [1450 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
Dr_Lex wrote:

All that tech, yet it has a fork with rim brake mounts (and post mount disks).  An order for the Canyon alternative might even arrive before this one does.

Aren't the rim brake mounts the front lights?  3

Avatar
KiwiMike [1301 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

No fixed mudguard mounts to be seen.

Nor rack mounts.

i.e. a bike designed by Californians, for riding in California.

 

The biggest risk being the company folding in a year or two and you being left with an expensive bike whose major USP - integrated telematics and phone connectivity - is broken by subsequent iOS/Android updates.

 

Avatar
jerome [24 posts] 1 year ago
6 likes

Throwaway bike when computer gets outdated.

Avatar
Leviathan [2729 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

No fixed mudguard mounts to be seen.

Nor rack mounts.

i.e. a bike designed by Californians, for riding in California.

 

The biggest risk being the company folding in a year or two and you being left with an expensive bike whose major USP - integrated telematics and phone connectivity - is broken by subsequent iOS/Android updates.

 

Rack Mounts? How many people do you see riding around cities tooled up to cross the outback? Horses for courses. Some people are going to see this as a cool package and don't worry about obsolescence. Intergration is coming. If you thought modern bikes look futuristic compared to 1990 then... some implied insult. 

Avatar
Ratfink [150 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

"Volata has clearly designed the bike for the commuter who values ease of use,"

and needs sat nav to find his way to work whilst checking their heart rate.

Avatar
mike the bike [938 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

I am automatically suspicious of any machine that addresses me by my first name. ( See the computer picture ).  I am not its friend, I am not its equal.  I am the boss.  I own it.  Call me sir or I will walk on by.

Avatar
BBB [455 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

Smart is a new stupid.

Avatar
Twowheelsaregreat [84 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

None of my work colleagues give a fig if I get a KOM and never congratulate me like that guy there.

Oh and that horn. Such a cheeky way to get the girls.  Pretty girls never approach my bike in amazement and wonder who the owner could be.

I'm looking at the reactions this guy's getting and now I need this bike. It will turn me into the virile alpha male that I always dreamt I would be.

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
3 likes
Leviathan wrote:
KiwiMike wrote:

No fixed mudguard mounts to be seen.

Nor rack mounts.

i.e. a bike designed by Californians, for riding in California.

The biggest risk being the company folding in a year or two and you being left with an expensive bike whose major USP - integrated telematics and phone connectivity - is broken by subsequent iOS/Android updates.

Rack Mounts? How many people do you see riding around cities tooled up to cross the outback? Horses for courses. Some people are going to see this as a cool package and don't worry about obsolescence. Intergration is coming. If you thought modern bikes look futuristic compared to 1990 then... some implied insult. 

In every city that I've visited that has a high modal share of cycling, almost every bike has a rack. They're not exactly rare in London, most regular commuters add one. I get the feeling that the guy who designed this never carried anything more than his laptop to Starbucks, but the rest of the world uses bikes for things like buying food on the way home from work.

And as for the lack of mudguards...   apart from how silly it is not to have them on a commuter bike, I'm fairly sure they would obscure the rear light if they were fitted.

Shame really, belt drives and hub gears on a fast bike is the sort of thing I'd like to see more of, but as a commuter bike this gets some of the basics very wrong.

Avatar
dafyddp [437 posts] 1 year ago
4 likes

I'm on hols in Lucca at the moment. Like it's northern counterparts, cycling around is part of every day life - I don't think I've ever seen so many older people on bikes. No one wears a helment, and (it seems) the traffic doesn't complain or go into meltdown whe some old lady goes around a three lane roundabout. There's a few hotshots buzzing around on their Wiliers, but most are single speed, 26" with racks and panniers. And bells. Security is lax, because the bikes are pretty worthless and therefore relatively cheap to replace.

Froome needs to know his VAM, cadence, speed and wattage but for everyday commuting? Give the tech a rest, and ride without a care.

Avatar
Ronald [46 posts] 1 year ago
2 likes

No, it one of the least smart / stupidest bike that's ever been posted on this site:

Short lasting, expensive technology that cannot be replaced on a product that normally is capable to last for decades.

Well and truly overpriced for what it offers on top of that.

Avatar
sanderville [350 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

The free bike will still work after the expensive computer becomes obsolete and redundant, but you can buy better bikes and choose your own computer much more cheaply.

Avatar
Leviathan [2729 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
bikebot wrote:

In every city that I've visited that has a high modal share of cycling, almost every bike has a rack. They're not exactly rare in London, most regular commuters add one. I get the feeling that the guy who designed this never carried anything more than his laptop to Starbucks, but the rest of the world uses bikes for things like buying food on the way home from work.

And as for the lack of mudguards...   apart from how silly it is not to have them on a commuter bike, I'm fairly sure they would obscure the rear light if they were fitted.

Shame really, belt drives and hub gears on a fast bike is the sort of thing I'd like to see more of, but as a commuter bike this gets some of the basics very wrong.

I don't know how many people have racks in Jakarta, but not many in the UK. They might well be "not exactly rare in London" but you will see thousands of people in a few minutes. Your observation is poor evidence.  If less than 5% of people use a rack, should this bike be required to have a mount? The design is for a specific market, if you don't fit in it find other options; you were never going to buy this anyway.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1301 posts] 1 year ago
1 like

You win man. Go buy one. 

Avatar
alansmurphy [740 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

"The evolution of your everyday life" really?

 

I use a quite short range but very reliable weather tool whilst on my bike, is it raining?

Avatar
matthewn5 [1058 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

THIS

Ronald wrote:

No, it one of the least smart / stupidest bike that's ever been posted on this site: Short lasting, expensive technology that cannot be replaced on a product that normally is capable to last for decades. Well and truly overpriced for what it offers on top of that.

Avatar
bikebot [2119 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

You win man. Go buy one. 

Not only that, I'll build it for him. One born every minute.

Avatar
NR [3 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
KiwiMike wrote:

No fixed mudguard mounts to be seen.

Nor rack mounts.

i.e. a bike designed by Californians, for riding in California.

 

The biggest risk being the company folding in a year or two and you being left with an expensive bike whose major USP - integrated telematics and phone connectivity - is broken by subsequent iOS/Android updates.

 

 

Hello KiwiMike this is Nicolò from Volata Cycles. On our bikes you'll be able to mount most of the universal racks and fenders available on the market, and we're also develop our own line of extensions (among which mudguards, racks, water cage/bottles, and more). Thanks for your comment, stay tuned! 

 

Avatar
NR [3 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
jerome wrote:

Throwaway bike when computer gets outdated.

 

Hello Jerome, this is Nicolò from Volata Cycles. Actually, for most of the features of the bike (and also the most "obsolescence-sensitive" ones) the brain is the user's smartphone, which is constantly updated. The bike firmware, which of course requires constant updates, can be updated over-the-air from the rider’s smartphone, via bluetooth. This will add new features to the bike and, at the same time, will avoid any risk of obsolescence. 

Avatar
NR [3 posts] 11 months ago
0 likes
sanderville wrote:

The free bike will still work after the expensive computer becomes obsolete and redundant, but you can buy better bikes and choose your own computer much more cheaply.

 

Hello sanderville, this is Nicolò from Volata Cycles -- thank you for your opinion.

Volata's firmware can be updated over-the-air from the rider’s smartphone via bluetooth. This will add new features to the bike and, at the same time, will avoid any risk of obsolescence. So you'll be able to ride your Volata for years and years.