A bicycle is a simple machine, sure, but there is plenty of room for aftermarket customization. The cycling industry itself enjoyed a massive expansion of late that’s seen it transform into a multi-billion dollar market over the past few decades — the result of manufacturers looking to help individuals train more efficiently and stay safe on today’s crowded thoroughfares.
While most bicyclists have a basic headlight and taillight, there remain a host of more sophisticated accessories capable of adding a little punch to your daily commute. From a bike pump that stealthily fits into your bike frame to one of the most advanced smart helmets on the market, here are eight of our favorite cycling gadgets.
Lumos Smart cycling helmet ($179)
We tested the Lumos smart helmet earlier this year and the device remains one of our favorite bicycle accessories. The Lumos features vivid, white LEDs on the front and a series of red LEDs on the rear, both of which provide ample luminescence for nighttime treks about town. The Lumos senses your velocity, too, and as your speed decreases, the helmet illuminates all of the rear LEDs, acting as a brake light for your bike.
A wireless, two-button remote also easily attaches to your handlebar, allowing you to activate the left and right turn signals on the backside of the helmet for clear communication with other commuters and pedestrians on the roadways. The paired Lumos app indicates the battery life of both the wireless remote and the helmet itself, and you can even adjust the accelerometer sensitivity from directly within the app. Read our full review here.
PowerTap P1 Pedals and trainer ($1,200)
Understanding your unique performance metrics allows you to train more efficiently over time. With this in mind, cyclists will surely enjoy these smart pedals from PowerTap. You can easily connect and swap P1 Pedals between bikes, allowing for quick and reliable “plug-and-play” training. The P1 Pedals also utilize Bluetooth to connect to an array of smart devices and once connected, the units monitor the cadence and speed of your pedaling.
The pedals also measure the activity of both pedals independently, enabling you to pinpoint weaknesses and imbalances in your cycling. This specific package from PowerTap also includes the CycleOps 9904 Fluid2 Bike Trainer Base. With this unit, you can quickly connect your bike to the wheel mount for convenient indoor training during colder months or less than optimal weather conditions.
Linka smart lock ($130)
Let’s be honest, it’s rather annoying to lock and then unlock your bicycle when you’re forced to make a pitstop. Luckily, the Linka smart lock connects to your smartphone and automatically locks as you walk away from your ride. If you’re leaving your bike unattended for longer stints, you can easily use the Linka in tandem with a cable to secure your entire bike and wheels.
If you’ve forgotten your phone — or if your battery dies in the middle of a trip — the Linka has a four-digit keypad for manual locking and unlocking. For added security, the Linka uses an accelerometer to activate a 100-decibel siren in the event someone attempts to move your bicycle. The device also communicates with other Linkas in the vicinity over Bluetooth, allowing it to record your location in the lock’s accompanying app. At just 1.6 pounds, the Linka smart lock secures your bike without weighing you down.
Hammerhead One ($70)
A GPS is a handy device to have at your disposal while biking around town and the Hammerhead One is one of the most functional GPS units available for cyclists. The unit easily mounts onto most handlebars and the paired smartphone app allows you to choose a route based on your distance, terrain, and weather preferences.
Rather than simply following a traditional overhead grid for mapping, the Hammerhead One uses a series of lights along the top of the unit to indicate directions along your route. These intuitive lights change as you progress, minimizing the need to incessantly check your exact location. This allows you to keep your eyes on the roadway while maintaining directional cues in your periphery. Read more about the original Hammerhead here.
Garmin Varia Radar ($200)
One of the most dangerous aspects of riding a bike around town are vehicles approaching from the rear. Thankfully, Garmin’s Varia radar takes the guesswork out of this dangerous blindspot. The rear-mounted radar detects vehicles up to 153 yards behind you and transmits this data to the paired handlebar-mounted display. This readout highlights up to eight vehicles in your blindspot, which allows you to be mindful of approaching vehicles without requiring a look over your shoulder. The radar-equipped taillight also brightens as vehicles approach for added safety. Read our full review here.
Listening to music while casually cruising about town is just a given at this point. However, some states are beginning to pass legislation banning individuals from wearing earbuds while bicycling to prevent accidents and injuries. With this in mind, a Bluetooth speaker for your bike is a great way to avoid an accident and, possibly, a hefty fine. Fortunately, this Bluetooth speaker from Venstar is one of the more versatile options on the market.
The waterproof unit easily connects to all your Bluetooth-enabled devices, allowing for up to eight hours of continuous play, which should be more than enough battery life to power you through multiple outings. Moreover, you can easily remove the Venstar from its handlebar mount, so you can clip the unit onto your backpack for a little musical accompaniment on the trail.
Blaze Laserlight ($199)
When cycling at night, a bike light is a great way to not only illuminate the road ahead of you but to also alert approaching vehicles of your presence. Unfortunately, most basic models often produce a rather limited beam with minimal bonus functionality. The Blaze Laserlight, on the other hand, dishes out an impressive 300 lumens of light. Unlike other models, the Laserlight is also capable of beaming a green LED on the ground directly ahead of your bicycle. This is extremely handy when rounding a corner or while traversing busier thoroughfares. The unit recharges via USB, too, and each charge is expected to last up to 13 hours.
BioLogic PostPump ($40)
While this list is mostly dominated by tech-focused accessories, we certainly haven’t forgotten about the basics. As anyone who has ever had a flat tire knows, a bicycle pump can be a godsend when you’re commuting. However, carrying a bike pump at all times in your backpack can be rather inefficient and annoying. With this in mind, BioLogic built a bike pump that conveniently stows within the hollow seat post of your bike frame, directly beneath your seat.