Skip to main content

Better than a dynamo hub, Cydekick charges your phone as you pedal, or anything with USB

The hassle with biking gadgets is they draw energy. Even if you’re running everything off your phone (Strava, music, GPS, video, the occasional pic, message, or phone call) the serious worry is that your battery will die before you get where you’re going or shortly after you arrive. There are battery packs, yes, but that’s yet another thing you have to remember both to charge and to carry with you.

Cydekick has thrown all that out the window. If you ride a bike, Cydekick turns the very motion of pedaling into a charge for USB devices.

The geniuses behind Spinetics, the company that designed Cydekick are Nicolas Zamora and Bethanny Hamm, two cycling-centric entrepreneurs who make clear that they care about making biking more accessible, and even more green, while making the world a better place in general. The end result of their passions is a frictionless bicycle generator that can mount to either the front or rear wheel.

The Cydekick creates energy via electromagnetic induction (you know, spinning magnets), which means no tire-rubbing. one portion of the device is fixed to the frame, the other to the rotor, and the spinning action of these opposing magnets creates energy.

A few major bike parts manufacturers, Shimano and SRAM among them, use this tech to make dynamo hubs, but using that kind of hub means buying a complete wheel or building a wheel especially for that hub. Dynamo hubs are definitely not after-market, pop-on-and-go solutions, while the Cydekick is just that, since it’s external to the hub. The nature of the design means those with disc brakes can’t mount the Cydekick on the rear wheel – it’ll be a front-wheel only venture, but it can go on either wheel for users who don’t have to worry about that.

The power is also used to run the high intensity front light and optional tail light, but since rechargeable lights are relatively easy to come by, the star is the USB charging system. With it you can plug in anything that takes USB output, including your phone, your camera, or your bike computer. It also has a battery pack that you can plug into the wall to charge if necessary (though that rather defeats the purpose).

The Cydekick comes in two packages at the moment; the Pro and the Mini. The Mini doesn’t come with the USB charging system, which makes me wonder how many hours it would take for the batteries in a standard high-intensity light to burn out, and how many times that would have to happen to break even on the cost of the Mini. That said, it’s impossible to quantify the environmental cost of how many batteries end up in landfills (along with their packaging and all associated waste).

Spinetics warned basic specs might fluctuate as they add more design improvements, but the weight as of publication is 1.08lbs for the Pro and .595lbs for the Mini. The details on the generators will be released with the launch of their Kickstarter campaign, July 30.

The CydeKick Pro will cost you $275 during the Kickstarter campaign, $150 for a Mini, both limited editions. While being able to charge anything with a USB by pedaling is a huge plus, even this die-hard commuter isn’t sure that the price point makes sense. Keep in mind, a dynamo hub goes for $75-$100 new, and between $100-$300 for a complete dynamo wheel. For those building their own wheel, tack on another few bucks for spokes and nipples. For those without that expertise, add on another $50-$70.

For sure the tech required to make the Cydekick isn’t cheap, but is the device versatile enough to appeal to a wider segment of the cycling market than die-hards like messengers, tourers, and daily commuters? One possible backer pointed out that most people in those categories already have lights, and making the light and optional add-on might save backers (and future retail buyers) some bucks. Let’s hope Spinetics takes that advice.

Editors' Recommendations

Aliya Barnwell
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Aliya Tyus-Barnwell is a writer, cyclist and gamer with an interest in technology. Also a fantasy fan, she's had fiction…
AI turned Breaking Bad into an anime — and it’s terrifying
Split image of Breaking Bad anime characters.

These days, it seems like there's nothing AI programs can't do. Thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence, deepfakes have done digital "face-offs" with Hollywood celebrities in films and TV shows, VFX artists can de-age actors almost instantly, and ChatGPT has learned how to write big-budget screenplays in the blink of an eye. Pretty soon, AI will probably decide who wins at the Oscars.

Within the past year, AI has also been used to generate beautiful works of art in seconds, creating a viral new trend and causing a boon for fan artists everywhere. TikTok user @cyborgism recently broke the internet by posting a clip featuring many AI-generated pictures of Breaking Bad. The theme here is that the characters are depicted as anime characters straight out of the 1980s, and the result is concerning to say the least. Depending on your viewpoint, Breaking Bad AI (my unofficial name for it) shows how technology can either threaten the integrity of original works of art or nurture artistic expression.
What if AI created Breaking Bad as a 1980s anime?
Playing over Metro Boomin's rap remix of the famous "I am the one who knocks" monologue, the video features images of the cast that range from shockingly realistic to full-on exaggerated. The clip currently has over 65,000 likes on TikTok alone, and many other users have shared their thoughts on the art. One user wrote, "Regardless of the repercussions on the entertainment industry, I can't wait for AI to be advanced enough to animate the whole show like this."

Read more
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more