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.


Driving Daimler’s 40-ton eCascadia big rig isn’t just fun, it’s electrifying

Daimler Trucks brought its all-electric eCascadia semi-truck to the 2019 CES, and invited us to take the wheel. What does it feel like to drive one? Simply electrifying, of course.

Worried about commuting in winter weather? Nissan has the answer

The Nissan Altima midsize sedan is now available with all-wheel drive. To advertise that fact, Nissan's Canadian division slapped some tank-like tracks on an Altima to create a one-off show car.

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.
Emerging Tech

Look forward to your morning commute with one of the best ebikes available

A proper ebike is perfect for commuting or a trek along the trailhead, with most offering pedal assistance and a long-range battery. As more brands offer their own take on this innovative way to get around, it's hard to distinguish the…
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.
Emerging Tech

Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences is preparing to launch its first artificial meteor shower over Japan, serving as a showcase of its prowess in the space entertainment sector.
Emerging Tech

Glowing space billboards could show ads in the night sky

Look up at the night sky in 2020 and you might see an ad for McDonald's floating among the stars. A Russian startup is working on a project that uses a constellation of small satellites in low-Earth orbit to create glowing ads.
Emerging Tech

New brainwave reader tells teachers if students are concentrating

Massachusetts-based startup BrainCo has developed brainwave-reading headbands which can reportedly help reveal if students are concentrating in class. Here's how they're being used.