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TECH NEWS

Will this “AI rear-view mirror” enhance road safety for cyclists? Plus "performance-enhancing" sunscreen, ANOTHER cycling indicator, cyclist yells at cloud, white bib shorts and tech news from Shimano, Rapha, Trek + more

We’ve also got some summer kit from MAAP, new sunnies from Mavic, gravel handlebars from PRO and Ritchey, and that cycling sunscreen with some big old claims

​It’s time to go through the top tech stories of the week and as usual, there's no shortage. Kicking things off with an Irish tech company’s “AI rear-view mirror”, an indicator for bikes and helmets from the set of Dragon’s Den, cycling sunscreen with some big claims, sunglasses from Mavic, and a collaboration between Pirelli and Santini delivering some white bib shorts. 

Can this “AI rear-view mirror” keep you safer on the road?

An Irish tech company is launching an AI-powered camera and app that provides a rear-view livestream to your handlebar-mounted phone and alerts you to vehicles approaching too closely. The Luna Oculus system also functions as a dashcam, capturing video evidence in the event of a near miss, and maps close passes so you can choose safer routes.

2024 Luna Oculus AI camera and app  - 1

“We are on a mission to empower cyclists with the kinds of safety technologies already deployed in modern cars,” says Luna.

There’s a lot going on here, then, but at the heart of things is a compact, rear-mounted camera that connects to a smartphone app.

Luna Systems says, “The system functions as an AI-powered ‘rear view mirror’, alerting riders when rear vehicles approach too closely. The camera connects to a smartphone via Wifi and provides an app interface with a rear-view livestream with a simple and non-distracting visual warning overlay.

“The app also triggers audio warnings, which intensify the closer a vehicle approaches. The visual warning interface, as well as the warning distance can be adjusted based on user preference.”

Garmin’s Varia RTL515 features a radar and provides visual and audible alerts for vehicles approaching from the rear, while the Varia RCT715 also features a built-in camera, but it doesn’t show you what’s going on behind as you ride.

> Read our review of the Garmin Varia RCT715 here

2024 Luna Oculus AI camera and app  - 1 (1)

Luna Oculus is said to use “computer vision to detect approaching vehicles”, the idea being to give you time to react if cars get too close.

Luna also says that the system maps “vehicle proximity events” – close passes – allowing you to see where these events occur most often and plan safer routes.

2024 Luna Oculus AI camera and app  - 2

Until now, Luna Oculus has been developed as a business-to-business (B2B) design, but it’s now shifting towards direct-to-consumer sales with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that starts on 5th June 2024.

How much? Luna says the standard retail cost will be €199 (about £169) for the camera and mounting accessories. There will be several different perk tiers on Indiegogo, with discounts in the region of 15–35%. Luna will also include some tiering additions, like extended free app subscriptions (€72 per year) and warranties. 

If you’re interested in knowing more, you can visit the Luna Oculus Indiegogo pre-launch page and sign up to be notified when the Indiegogo campaign launches.

Find out more here 

PRO launches aero cockpit for gravel riding

This week, Shimano launched its 12-speed GRX Di2 groupset for gravel riding, while its sister brand, PRO Bikegear, introduced an aero cockpit designed for gravel. 

Shimano says that aerodynamic gains in gravel frames and wheels have become standard but "dedicated aerodynamic cockpits have been in short supply". So, the Discover Aero Carbon Handlebar aims to address the need to offer speed, comfort, efficiency and control in gravel riding. 

2024 Pro Discover Aero Handlebar

The handlebar features "aerodynamically optimised tops", similar aero handlebars you'd find on modern road bikes, 12 degrees of flare, and a 4-degree sweep forward which encourages riders into a more aero position according to the brand. 

The Discover Aero Handlebar is designed to be paired with the new Discover Stem 10 which comes with a +/- 10-degree angle, compared to the a +/- 6-degree angle on the existing PRO Discover stem. 

Mark Kikkert, PRO Bikegear’s Product Development Team Manager says, "integrated cockpits might be all the rage right now, but for the vast majority of riders the combination of a handlebar and stem simply allows for a better bike fit". 

2024 Pro Discover Stem 10

The Discover Aero Handlebar, priced at £349.99, is available in three different widths of 40, 42 and 44cm. The Discover Stem 10 adds seven stem length options of 60, 70, 80, 90, 100, 110 and 120mm, and is priced at £99.99. Both products will be available from August. 

Find out more here

Rapha and Factor Bikes announce a bike hire partnership 

Rapha and Factor Bikes have teamed up to provided Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) members with access to Factor's Ostro Vam, the bike used by the WorldTour team Israel-Premier Tech, as a hire option. 

2024 RCC Edition Factor Ostro Vam

RCC is an active cycling community made up of 'Chapters' based out of Rapha's Clubhouses around the world. Through their global bike hire services, members can hire a bike in cities where they don't have their own to explore on two wheels. 

The Ostro Vam is “the benchmark aerodynamic, lightweight race bike”, according to the brand, and this special edition combines Rapha's iconic pink and black accents with Factor's raw carbon fibre textures. Completing the bike is Black Inc's 48/58 "aero-optimised and lightweight" wheelset.

2024 RCC Edition Factor Ostro Cam black inc handlebar

Hire bikes will be available soon in London, New York, Miami, San Francisco and Mallorca Rapha Clubhouses, within additional locations coming within the month. For members, hire is charged by the day and costs a pretty reasonable £35. 

Find out more here

Will this sunscreen developed for cyclists improve your performance?

Solarsport has developed an SPF 30 sunscreen promising to "stop skin damage while improving performance". Who knew sunscreen could be the secret weapon we all needed to go faster? 

2024 Solarsport sunscreen

While that sounds like a huge stretch, Solarsport's claim starts to make a bit more sense in the '5 reasons why sunscreen is good for sport' page on its website.

Solarsport says that sunscreen is good for recovery, because your body doesn't have to recover from being burnt and won't divert as many white blood cells, and it means your body's cooling mechanisms are "enhanced". A sunscreen that claimed to be aero would have been more fun, but in lieu of that we'll give Solarsport credit where credit is due. 

The brands' SPF 30 is said to be an invisible, quick drying and non-greasy mist, protecting against 97% of UV rays. Solarsport attributes its performance enhancing quality to its sweat-proof formula, ensuring it won't run into your eyes during activities. Surely by that logic, no sunscreen at all is performance enhancing too? 

Anyway, it comes in a 50ml bottle which is handy for fitting into your back pocket, and is available to buy on Solarsport's website for £9.99.

Find out more here

MAAP releases "ultra-lightweight" jersey and bib shorts

MAAP has updated their Eclipse Pro Air capsule with apparel designed to "regulate body temperature and enhance performance". 

2024 MAAP eclipse pro air 2.0 jersey

> Best summer cycling jerseys

The new Eclipse Pro Air 2.0 jerseys are made from recycled fabrics and designed for temperatures between 20 and 40°C. They are designed to ensure maximum airflow during high intensity efforts and hot temperatures, utilising mesh panels and moisture-wicking technologies, according to the brand. 

The Team Bib Evo Eclipse bib shorts, which are designed for long training days, have also been updated. They feature a 3D thermo-moulded chamois and MAAP promises these bib shorts will be "so comfortable they feel like a second skin". 

2024 MAAP team bib evo eclipse bib shorts

Both the Eclipse Pro Air jersey and Team Bib Evo Eclipse bib shorts are available for men and women. The jerseys cost £160, while the bib shorts are priced at £235. 

Find out more here

Thought about adding an indicator to your helmet again recently? Here's another one

2024 BikeBreaker Firefly bike light and indicator

> Best bike lights 2024

Appearing on Dragon's Den in 2018, Steve Ransom presented a prototype indicator and brake light designed for helmets. Six years later, BrighterBikes has launched Firefly, a wireless indicating brake light system said to fit to all helmets, bikes and backpacks. 

Designed and manufactured in the UK, Firefly features hi-brite LEDs, is rechargable via USB, and offers a claimed battery life of 20 hours. The device is also waterproof. 

2024 BikeBreaker Firefly bike light and indicator

> Where cycling products go to die: bright bike tech that has failed to catch on

The system includes a finger touch control unit that can be mounted on your bike's handlebars which you can control to indicate, and the brake light activates automatically when you brake. 

So, will this finally be the cycling indicator that sees some success, or will it join the hundreds of others consigned to the cycling indicator scrapheap? We'll be following with interest... 

Find out more here 

Trek launches "smarter, sleeker and stronger" Allant+ e-bike

Trek has updated its Allant+ city e-bike with "brains, beauty, and brawn", according to the brand.

2024 Trek Allant+ 7 e-bike

> What do Trek’s plans to ‘right size’ mean for the industry… and you?

The Allant+ is designed for commuting and the new 7 and 7S models are tarmac-focused e-bikes, built with Bosch drive systems, integrated PowerTube batteries and a Shimano CUES drivetrain. 

They are equipped with an integrated 500 Wh Bosch battery that provides up to 85Nm of torque and the bluetooth-capable Bosch Smart System allows riders to connect their phone and customise their assist and Shimano CUES drivetrain. 

2024 Trek Allant+ 7 ebike integrated battery

The new Allant+ models also feature integrated lights, fenders, and a rear rack, as well as a suspension fork. The Allant+ 7 and 7S are available to buy now via Trek's website.

Find out more here

Mavic adds sunnies to its product line-up

The French brand Mavic, best known for its wheels, has now released a range of eyewear. The two frames are called the MVS Shield and MVS Aeroframe, "designed to face your next adventure". 

2024 Mavic MVS Shield glasses

> Best cycling sunglasses 2024

The MVS Shield glasses feature a half-frame design and are available with multiple lens options for different riding styles. Standard lens Shield glasses retail at €79 (around £67) while the photochromic ones retail at €119 (around £100). 

The MVS Aeroframe glasses feature a spherical lens that "provides exceptional eye coverage without compromising ventilation", according to Mavic. They also come with multiple lens options and retail for the same price as the Shield glasses. 

2024 Mavic MVS Aeroframe sunglasses

Both pairs of glasses have oleophobic and hydrophobic lens treatment and offer 100% UV protection. 

Find out more here

Are white cycling shorts a thumbs-up or thumbs-down?

Italian brands Santini Cycling and Pirelli have joined forces to create a limited-edition cycling clothing collection, featuring the new logo of the Sport Club Pirelli, established in 1922 to promote employee well-being through physical activity. 

2024 Santini and Pirelli collaboration cycling jersey

The collection consists of two cycling jerseys (starting at £100), a pair of bib shorts (£180) available in black and white (yep, white!), a base layer (£40), a gilet (£110), and a windproof jacket (£110). Matching accessories are also available, including socks (£15), a cap (£19), and a water bottle (£10). 

You can get your hands on some casual clothing too, with a t-shirt or crewneck sweatshirt. 

Find out more here

Ritchey gravel handlebar gets the SuperLogic treatment

In 2016, Ritchey introduced the VentureMax bar, and now, the brand has released the SL VentureMax gravel bar which is being elevated to the SuperLogic level. Ritchey offers four component levels, with the SuperLogic range representing the highest level of quality and performance.

2024 Ritchey SL VentureMax handlebar

The SL VentureMax bars feature a 24-degree flare at the drops and an updated Bio-Bend design, which is a unique shape that delivers support for the cup/palm of the hand, offering three hand positions in the drops: up front, on the bump and the back of the drops, according to the brand. 

The bars are said to weigh 235g (size 44cm) and are available with full or partial internal cable routing, priced at £263.90. 

Find out more here

Bonus comedy video: this engineer has no time for your e-bikes, your indexed shifting or your... front derailleurs?!

Why this came up on our recommended videos about a month after it was angrily uploaded we're not sure, but we think you need to hear YouTube fitness OG and engineer Scooby1961's take on the humble bicycle to make you appreciate your own bike a little bit more. 

In a mini-rant that would make the save the rim brake crowd blush, our self-confessed 'grumpy retired engineer' has his say on e-bikes (only for lazy people apparently) and indexed shifting, which for all its ease of use is too difficult to work on and likely to go wrong compared to good old friction shifting, so we're told. 

His next target? Front derailleurs, for similar reasons in that he thinks they're too much of a faff to maintain... so he's gone 1x, right? Not exactly, as our retired grumpy engineer says he just took the front derailleur off his triple chainring bike, stopping to physically move the chain to the next chainring when he needs to instead! We're going to go out on a limb and suggest that a faffy front mech shift is marginally more efficient, but each to their own. 

We jest of course, and the most important thing is that this internet legend is out on his bike in the fresh air. Even if he does have some unsavoury opinions, and returns home with oily hands after every ride... 

Catch up on the rest of this week's cycling tech news: 

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8 comments

Avatar
momove | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Love that the grumpy retired engineer is giving a massive middle finger to the glasses on the inside/outside of the helmet straps question!

Avatar
Hirsute | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

How many people bother with a phone on their bars instead of a proper bike computer that uses far less battery and is more readable?

Avatar
bensynnock replied to Hirsute | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

A phone is a multi functional device that can replicate many of the functions of a bike computer, and add more functions such as shown here. Not everybody wants to spend money on an function specific device when a phone will work just as well.

Avatar
mark1a replied to bensynnock | 2 weeks ago
0 likes

bensynnock wrote:

A phone is a multi functional device that can replicate many of the functions of a bike computer, and add more functions such as shown here. Not everybody wants to spend money on an function specific device when a phone will work just as well.

Well, one thing a phone can't replicate as well as a bike computer is being able to run with active GPS location, multiple sensors, navigation and recording for more than a half-day ride without having to recharge the battery, some bike computers will go up to 40 hours without external power doing all of the above.

Avatar
TheBillder | 2 weeks ago
4 likes

"the brake light activates automatically when you break. "

On most of the time for me then. Isn't there some software to help now that sub-editing by humans is a lost art?

And Rapha chapters "based out of" clubhouses... Are they in a shed in the garden? Or actually based IN the clubhouses, perhaps?

Avatar
Simon E replied to TheBillder | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

TheBillder wrote:

Rapha chapters "based out of" clubhouses... Are they in a shed in the garden? Or actually based IN the clubhouses, perhaps?

This is a pet hate of mine - "based off", "outside of", "off of" and more - they all grind my grammatical gears. No-one used these stupid phrases until a few years ago, and it's not just the yoof, colleagues who are my contemporaries (and should know better) make me cringe.

A sunscreen claiming to enhance performance should be sold alongside the dozens of useless supplements on Amazon (or maybe next to the condoms in Boots and Superdrug?) while bicycle brake lights and indicators are useless junk, maybe a toy for little kids to play with for 3 minutes before moving onto something more useful.

If this is the kind of thing that passes for tech news then I might have more in common with Scooby1961 than I thought.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Simon E | 2 weeks ago
1 like

Simon E wrote:

This is a pet hate of mine - "based off", "outside of", "off of" and more - they all grind my grammatical gears.

"Outside of" is accepted by the OED as a colloquialism although generally more suited to American usage. However if it didn't exist we wouldn't have one of Groucho's best lines: "Outside of a dog, a book is the best friend a man can have. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

I must admit though that this Giro Rob Hatch's insistence on saying "he's only twenty seconds off of the lead" has been irritating, much as I've enjoyed the rest of his commentary.

Avatar
Simon E replied to Rendel Harris | 2 weeks ago
2 likes

But no-one says "inside of" (except Groucho Marx) or "on of". It's intensely irritating and so very sloppy.

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