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TECH NEWS

Vodafone launches Curve Bike Light & GPS Tracker

New device is designed to help you find your bike when parked and help locate it in the event of theft

Vodafone has launched a new Curve Bike Light and GPS Tracker that incorporates an alarm that sounds when it is moved and tracking via a smartphone app to help you locate your bike if it is stolen.

2021 Vodafone Curve light and GPS - 22.jpeg

Vodafone’s Curve multi-purpose GPS tracker has been on the market since last year; it’s the fact that it’s now incorporated into a rear light that’s new.

The light itself has three different modes – blink, pulsating, and solid – and also acts as a brake light, shining brighter (up to 40 lumens) when you decelerate. It shines brightest if you brake suddenly.

2021 Vodafone Curve light and GPS - 4.jpeg

It also features an impact detection system that can notify your chosen contacts if a fall is detected. It can send either a push notification, a text, or an automated call to let them know where you are.

When your bike is parked, you can set a movement alert that activates a 107-decibel siren to ward off potential thieves.

Moving the bike will also trigger location alerts to the Vodafone Smart App on your smartphone so you can track your bike in real-time if it moves without you.

2021 Vodafone Curve light and GPS - 13.jpeg

“Unlike Bluetooth-only trackers, it has a built-in Vodafone Smart SIM that connects to the Vodafone network so the bike can be checked from a distance,” says Vodafone.

You can set zones from the Vodafone Smart App, allowing you to get alerts if your bike enters or leaves a chosen area. The GPS tracker also allows you to record your rides.

2021 Vodafone Curve light and GPS - 11.jpeg

If you can’t find your bike when parked, you can use the app to make the device play a sound to help you out.

The Curve Bike Light and GPS tracker is IP67 rated (meaning that it can stand immersion in 15-100cm of water for 30mins) and is designed to fit to your bike’s seatpost.

You twist off the light and remove the tracker from the seatpost for charging. Vodafone says that the light will give you up to 7.5 hours of use while the tracker lasts up to 4.5 days on standby.

2021 Vodafone Curve light and GPS - 8.jpeg

Vodafone says that its research reveals that poor visibility and dark conditions on the roads [53%], fear of being hit from behind [44%], poor bike security [26%] and being in an accident unnoticed by others [26%] are among the top concerns troubling riders in the UK, and that this device tackles all of these issues.

The Curve Bike light and GPS tracker is priced at £79. On top of that, you need to pay a connectivity subscription of £3 per month for a minimum of 24 months, or £4 per month for a minimum of 12 months. It's available now via Vodafone's website and will be available in-store soon.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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11 comments

Avatar
SlackSquadron | 2 years ago
0 likes

Not sold on this. Seems easy to remove either directly, looks to be a torx screw, or by removing the seat altogether. Useless if you have quick release clamp on your seat post. It's also a bit of an advert that the bike is worth pinching if the owner has forked out £79.00 and a monthly subscription.

Avatar
mdavidford | 2 years ago
1 like

I don't get it - what's to stop the thief twisting off the tracker and leaving it lying in the road sounding its alarm to itself while they saunter off with the bike?

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
4 likes

The tracker is in the bracket which uses a security screw to fix it to the bike. When you twist off the light, that arms the tracker. The tracker is charged via the light, so you never need to remove the tracker from the bike (as long as your commute is of sufficient duration to keep it topped up!).

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Sriracha replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
1 like

That's an important detail there! Not quite how it is written up in the article:

road.cc wrote:

You twist off the light and remove the tracker from the seatpost for charging.

But just to clarify, if you leave the light on the bike at the café stop - and the bike is gone - then you've lost both, and no tracking?

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to Sriracha | 2 years ago
2 likes
Sriracha wrote:

just to clarify, if you leave the light on the bike at the café stop - and the bike is gone - then you've lost both, and no tracking?

Tracking is always on. Removing the light 'arms' the siren and movement notifications.

This does have the potential to be a well thought through solution for regular commuters. The tracker 'piggyback' charging via the light is a neat idea, especially if you store your bike outside. If you are used to removing lights for charging - this adds tracking without having to manage another device's charging regime.

We now wait for the product reviews to see what the reality is!  3

Avatar
Sriracha replied to HoarseMann | 2 years ago
1 like
HoarseMann wrote:

We now wait for the product reviews to see what the reality is!

A review would be interesting. A proper one, which also delves into what happens to the tracking data, who has access to it, what the Ts&Cs allow them to do with it, even how secure it is against, well, theft (yes, the data)

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fincon1 | 2 years ago
0 likes

I wonder how it compares to the Apple AirTag that I've just been reading about. I like the idea of a tracker but they all seem to be flawed in some way.

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Sriracha replied to fincon1 | 2 years ago
0 likes

Apple are busy making the AirTag less useful to covertly track people. Of course that makes it less useful for covertly tracking anything, including your bike.

Not sure how that would play out. If a thief is alerted within a few hours that the bike they nicked is being tracked maybe they will abandon it. Or maybe they will locate the tracker and remove it.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/6/3/22516178/apple-airtags-tracking-device...

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Velo-drone | 2 years ago
2 likes

Hmm, not mentioned in this - the Curve tracking is decidedly glitchy. The location will jump about periodically even if the thing isn't moving.

It often struggles to locate the tracker. It generally does so eventually but can take up to 20 mins.

I use the standalone tracker - attached discreetly to the bike. Don't get me wrong, it's def great for a little bit of peace of mind, and if someone did make off with the bike then I'd probably be able to find roughly where it was.

But don't get oversold on this ... it's not as accurate or reliable as it really needs to be for this purpose yet.

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AlsoSomniloquism replied to Velo-drone | 2 years ago
0 likes

"the Curve tracking is decidedly glitchy"

Not GPS as such but I had similar results from the 1st generation SeeSense where you could set up a tampering alerrt whilst in close location to the phone. It would go off randomly with no one nearby and the bike not moving. You could also setup a home location to be not alerted in and it still would alert. Didn't get the funtionality with later generations so not sure if they improved it. 

Avatar
HoarseMann replied to Velo-drone | 2 years ago
2 likes
Velo-drone wrote:

The location will jump about periodically even if the thing isn't moving.

I've got the first gen V multi tracker and it does the same thing. I've worked out that it happens when the device is indoors and it does a periodic location update, it uses a rough cell tower location instead of GPS or WiFi location. Ends up triggering a gps ring fence alert for me, which is a bit annoying, but I'm used to its foibles now.

In use it's been pretty good and reliable for me. If it's not moving, it will go into a low power mode, so getting an updated location can take a few minutes. When it's on the move, then the location updates are reliably prompt (a minute or two). You can set the time interval that it logs location from 1min up to 2 hours and you get a rough breadcrumb trail of where it's been, which is a nice feature.

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