Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

The NRG Stem has a built-in power bank for charging devices on the go, and it's now crowdfunding on Kickstarter

The stem has integrated universal USB ports, that can charge your GPS, phone, Di2 and other devices while you ride, with enough power to give an iPhone a full charge...

Fledgling component brand NRG has designed a stem with a built in power bank, that can charge your devices with a universal USB port. It's now crowdfunding on Kickstarter, with a £190,000 target to bring it into full production. 

Weighing in at 240g, the NRG stem is made out of heat-treated aluminium, and there's an LED light indicator on the top to show you how much charge you have remaining. A rubber cap fits over the top of the USB ports when not in use. Using the NRG stem means you can keep your GPS, lights and phone amongst other things topped up on the go without having to carry anything extra and/or worrying about running out of juice. The reach is 103mm with a 5° angle, and the battery capacity of 3500MaH; enough to give an iPhone a full charge. To recharge the stem itself, you plug in the 2 metres long charge cable into the port on the stem. It's also fully patented, designed and manufactured in the UK. 

Explode

Although it's the first time we've seen charging via a stem, it's not the first instance of USB integration on a bike: way back in 2011 we reviewed the Tout Terrain touring bike that had a USB port fitted under its headset via a dynamo adapter, and Dave reviewed the Igaro D1 Mod 5 USB converter for dynamo hubs in December - but on first impressions the NRG stem looks like a wire and hassle-free solution, so we'll be following its development with interest. 

When we first caught news of the stem a year ago we didn't have pricing info, but a year on NRG have now launched the product on Kickstarter to bring it into full production. They're looking for a total investment of £190,000, and you can get one with a super-early bird backing of £160 (50 are available at this price). The early bird price is £175, and the RRP will eventually be £210. Check out their website here and the Kickstarter here

*This article was first published in February 2018

Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.  

Add new comment

53 comments

Avatar
Jetmans Dad replied to number9dream | 4 years ago
0 likes
number9dream wrote:

Just type "mini USB OTG Cable" into anmazon, there are many available - crucially mportant for Everesting or recording other long rides with Garmins of the 500/800 vintage. It has a missing pin which fools the garmin into thinking it's not plugged in and hence doesnt switch it off. And yes it does work. 

The Garmin Edge forums used to be stuffed with posts about the devices being plugged into the PC and charging quite happily but not passing data, because users had simply grabbed the Mini-USB cable from their phone charger, back in the day when Mini-USB was the goto connection, and it didn't have the data pin because it was designed to just be a charger. 

Avatar
alansmurphy | 6 years ago
1 like

A 30 minute top up at a coffee shop may be enough.

 

I'm not rushing out to buy one, on the other hand I don't need a new stem...

Avatar
rix | 6 years ago
2 likes

Who has not run out of battery on a longer ride? So, on paper it looks like a neat idea...

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.
* On many cycling computers and navigation devices socket is not accessible when mounted.
* Cameras in the casing (GoPro) do not have access.
* Phone would have to be fixed on handlebars to charge.
* Can't charge anything when wet.

I mean would you buy one for yourself? To me it would be a tough sell...

Avatar
HLaB replied to rix | 6 years ago
1 like
rix wrote:

Who has not run out of battery on a longer ride? So, on paper it looks like a neat idea...

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.

 

My Edge 1000 doesn't switch off when its connected to a battery bank just when its connected to the mains or something with data transfer capabilities.

Avatar
janusz0 replied to rix | 4 years ago
2 likes
rix wrote:

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.

Well, I have an Edge Touring Plus, for all of it's bad points and inconsistencies, the only problem with charging while in use is that the backlight runs continuously. That means that you will use more of the powerbanks capacity while riding.

 

Avatar
NRGStems replied to janusz0 | 6 years ago
0 likes
janusz0 wrote:
rix wrote:

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.

Well, I have an Edge Touring Plus, for all of it's bad points and inconsistencies, the only problem with charging while in use is that the backlight runs continuously. That means that you will use more of the powerbanks capacity while riding.

It's worrying that the NRG press release https://cyclingindustry.news/nrg-stems-creates-power-bank-integrated-int... says nothing/nic/rien/nada/owt about the capacity of the power bank.  It also says "Targeted primarily at cycle commuters" which suggests that it's puny.   Take home message: This is not the tourist or sportive powerbank that you are looking for.

​Janusz0,

 

 

Thanks for the comment. The article you are referring to was written based on information at the time. The anticipated capacity for the smaller model is 2.9AMP and only likey to get better. Please do join us on Facebook where we post regular updates, also sign up for pre-relase information www.facebook.com/nrgstems

 

Thanks

Avatar
NRGStems replied to rix | 6 years ago
0 likes
rix wrote:

Who has not run out of battery on a longer ride? So, on paper it looks like a neat idea...

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.
* On many cycling computers and navigation devices socket is not accessible when mounted.
* Cameras in the casing (GoPro) do not have access.
* Phone would have to be fixed on handlebars to charge.
* Can't charge anything when wet.

I mean would you buy one for yourself? To me it would be a tough sell...

 

Rix,

 

Thanks for the comment. As the inventor and owner I will be the first user of the stem. It will be tested against many devices to confirm that it can work while the user rides and will be based on the model you have.

Thanks

Avatar
janusz0 replied to rix | 4 years ago
0 likes
rix wrote:

Who has not run out of battery on a longer ride? So, on paper it looks like a neat idea...

On the other hand, how many devices can you charge on the go?

* Older Garmins and new EDGE switch off when charging.
* On many cycling computers and navigation devices socket is not accessible when mounted.
* Cameras in the casing (GoPro) do not have access.
* Phone would have to be fixed on handlebars to charge.
* Can't charge anything when wet.

I mean would you buy one for yourself? To me it would be a tough sell...

Ignoring its other faults, my Edge Touring plus does charge on the go.  However, you need more capacity than you'd expect, because the backlight stays on.  (You can turn the brightness right down duriing the day, but in darkness you need it turned up.)

Avatar
tugglesthegreat | 6 years ago
2 likes

I thought it was going to work like a dynamo, but obviously without rotating generator and some alternative technology!  I'm sure I saw that there was this technology in development.

So if it is a power pack. It's a power pack that you can't take off your bike if you don't need it.  Why not just have a bar bag with a power pack?

 

Avatar
tugglesthegreat replied to tugglesthegreat | 6 years ago
0 likes
tugglesthegreat wrote:

I thought it was going to work like a dynamo, but obviously without rotating generator and some alternative technology!  I'm sure I saw that there was this technology in development.

So if it is a power pack. It's a power pack that you can't take off your bike if you don't need it.  Why not just have a bar bag with a power pack?

 

This is what I was talking about:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-triboelectric-generator-How-does-it-work

 

Avatar
NRGStems replied to tugglesthegreat | 6 years ago
0 likes
tugglesthegreat wrote:

I thought it was going to work like a dynamo, but obviously without rotating generator and some alternative technology!  I'm sure I saw that there was this technology in development.

So if it is a power pack. It's a power pack that you can't take off your bike if you don't need it.  Why not just have a bar bag with a power pack?

 

 

Hi tugglesthegreat,

Of course you can have this option. However, the user feedback we have had is that users would like power integrily and safely built into the setup of the bike. A bar bag could come undone, distract a user and could even be stolen if left.

Avatar
Hirsute | 6 years ago
3 likes

Doesn't say the capacity.
Might be easier just to have one of these if your phone gets a bit low
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-PowerCore-Ultra-Compact-Fast-Charging-Tec...
and a bit of velcro.
Also you don't need to carry your bike with you if you want to charge your phone when out for the day.

Avatar
NRGStems replied to Hirsute | 6 years ago
0 likes
hirsute wrote:

Doesn't say the capacity. Might be easier just to have one of these if your phone gets a bit low https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anker-PowerCore-Ultra-Compact-Fast-Charging-Tec... and a bit of velcro. Also you don't need to carry your bike with you if you want to charge your phone when out for the day.

​Hirsute,

 

 

Thanks for the comment. We have communicated previously the output is in the region of 2.9AMP. The stem once charged will indicate when it is required to be recharged (based on use). In order to enable the user not to continually recharge the stem. If you have not already signed up for news when it is coming to market, please sign up via our Facebook page - facebook.com/nrgstems.

Thanks

NRGStems

Avatar
Hirsute replied to NRGStems | 6 years ago
1 like
NRGStems wrote:

Thanks for the comment. We have communicated previously the output is in the region of 2.9AMP.

NRGStems

But that wasn't what I asked...

Avatar
patto583 | 6 years ago
0 likes

Looks like it could be good for using with a dynamo to give a consistent supply, certainly more elegant than the current options from the likes of B & M. I think there's a rectifier that is integrated in the headset cap which could make a very tidy option. Not something I'd fit to the road bike, but for the tourer I'm interested.

Avatar
aegisdesign replied to patto583 | 6 years ago
1 like
patto583 wrote:

Looks like it could be good for using with a dynamo to give a consistent supply, certainly more elegant than the current options from the likes of B & M. I think there's a rectifier that is integrated in the headset cap which could make a very tidy option. Not something I'd fit to the road bike, but for the tourer I'm interested.

It's difficult to tell with no technical details at all.

It could be just a simple single cell battery pack embedded in a stem. I'd guess a single 18650 cell as that's about all that would fit. ie. The kind of emergency "lipstick" sized battery pack you carry to add about half a charge to your phone. There's no indication it works as a 6v AC to 5v DC USB convertor, which would indeed be quite a nice solution, so you'd still need "the likes of B & M" in the middle to charge it from a hub dyno.

IME, I'd also rather have old fashioned DC jacks than USB connections too. USB connectors are generally bad with water, salt, grit and general touring/commuting abuse. It's to B&M's credit they put waterproof inline connectors between the USB ends and their E/USBWerk devices. You can then easily replace the cable ends. It also means you can charge in the rain with a cable running in to a bag with the device in it. You can't with this stem.

 

Avatar
fenix | 6 years ago
2 likes

there must be a minute market for this.

 

Just charge your kit before you go.  Now you've just introduced the problem of having to have your bike near a socket for a few hours to charge THAT up. 

Avatar
alansmurphy replied to fenix | 6 years ago
3 likes
fenix wrote:

there must be a minute market for this.

 

Just charge your kit before you go.  Now you've just introduced the problem of having to have your bike near a socket for a few hours to charge THAT up. 

 

Remember all those moaning their camera batteries don't last long enough...

Avatar
NRGStems replied to fenix | 6 years ago
0 likes
fenix wrote:

there must be a minute market for this.

 

Just charge your kit before you go.  Now you've just introduced the problem of having to have your bike near a socket for a few hours to charge THAT up. 

​Thanks Fenis for your comment. You have made a valid point. However, this is the reason it has been invented as many users including myself the inventor have run out of charge while riding and training. As a result this gives you the ability to charge any device at any point if you require. Lastly, once the device is charged, the device holds its battery until used. So no recharge required unless you use. There is an indicator guage that tells you the level of battery remaining within the stem.  For further information please sign up via our Facebook page www.facebook.com/nrgstems

Avatar
philhubbard | 6 years ago
1 like

Is it just me but for most people the battery indicator won't be visible as it will be pointing at the floor?

Avatar
joules1975 replied to philhubbard | 6 years ago
1 like
philhubbard wrote:

Is it just me but for most people the battery indicator won't be visible as it will be pointing at the floor?

Are you assuming that most people run stems with a positive angle? I don't, and most riders I see round here don't.

What they have done is made a stem that can't be flipped (otherwise, as you say, the indicator would be on the bottom, and the writing upside down), but I guess that's more a manufacturing cost issue than anything else as it means they'll have to make a bigger range of sizes.

Avatar
NRGStems replied to joules1975 | 6 years ago
0 likes
joules1975 wrote:
philhubbard wrote:

Is it just me but for most people the battery indicator won't be visible as it will be pointing at the floor?

Are you assuming that most people run stems with a positive angle? I don't, and most riders I see round here don't.

What they have done is made a stem that can't be flipped (otherwise, as you say, the indicator would be on the bottom, and the writing upside down), but I guess that's more a manufacturing cost issue than anything else as it means they'll have to make a bigger range of sizes.

​Joules1975,

​Thanks for the comment. We are making a bigger range of stems both length and battery in order to address client reuirements.  Our Facebook page - facebook.com/nrgstems has an updated video of the latest design.
 

Avatar
NRGStems replied to philhubbard | 6 years ago
0 likes
philhubbard wrote:

Is it just me but for most people the battery indicator won't be visible as it will be pointing at the floor?

Phil thanks for the comment. The battery indicator will be facing the rider. The video is just showing the stem and just finishes at the point where it looks like the indicator is underneath

Pages

Latest Comments