Every year the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) generates tons of hype and excitement (yes, those happen simultaneously — for all cool new gadgets there are also a number of half baked ones).
This year there are also some hype and some interesting new concepts and some not so new ones in the bicycle world. Of course – the delineation of "innovative" and "not so much" are purely mine…Some of the companies mentioned may have different opinions
- Samsung announced that they are partnering with TREK and displayed handlebars integrated docking station for their Galaxy 3 tablet. I do agree the idea is a good one. The tablets and smart phones alike pack significant amount of compute capabilties which could be used for series of health and bike monitoring tasks / applications. Well, but how new is this ? In my view — NOT so much… I have had a braket for my iPhone on my bike for about 2 years now and my iPhone with the assistance of several apps has been tracking my speed, exercise specifics..etc. Here is the Samsung one
- Samsung also announced the ability to charge the Galaxy 3 tablet while pedaling. Now that is cool!
- Schwin announced a simple navigation system which I think is a nice and low cost gadget for many bike enthusiasts. the product interfaces and works with any Android or Apple iPhone device; gives voice turn by turn directions; attaches to the handlebars with an included/provided mount; and uses a 10-hour rechargeable battery; The NAV system is available for US areas;
- Finally, (for now) Faraday announced a brand new electric bike for use around the city. The new model is Porteur 2014. at price tag of $3500. The company has been taking pre-orders at CES; The bike is really neat and stylish — key aspect – where are the batteries?
Yesterday afternoon I continued on the quest to figure out what is the best solution for a bike rack for my SUV. Armed with the initial knowledge from research on the Web, I decided to visit the dealership and see what they would recommend. The Web information was relatively scarce – my biggest issue was that the pages I found did not provide enough detail on the options.
As I stated in the previous posting – I had located two rear mounted bike rack options – one mounted to a hitch (well actually there are multiple options for the hitch mounted) and one that is drectly attached into the bumper of the SUV
So, after visiting with the dealership I found that for the BMW X5 there are really only two options:
a) the rack that attaches into special socket directly into the SUV bumper. Very nice integration story BUT:
- only works with the BMW X5 – i.e. not portable to another vehicle if needed
- and only can support up to 2 bikes — apparently there was an extension option for two more bikes but the guys in the dealership could not locate the option in their catalogue — most likely the option has been discontinued. So if you want to transport 3 bikes — our case – then you are out of luck!
b) install a hitch at the dealer — and then purchase a hitch mounted bike rack. This is a much more expensive option but at least it is more versatile and allows you to consider multiple bike racks from Thule, Yakima, BMW and others.
Here are a couple of additional carriers I will look into before I make a final call on which path to take:
I like the lock cable on the Thule bike rack – but based on discussion I had with the local REI guys these sort of bike racks are not the easiest to use in terms of loading and unloading bikes. At any rate, I will do some testing once the hitch is mounted on the vehicle. Stay tuned…..
With the start of a New Year I think most of us jump head first into resolutions on how to get more exercise and outdoor activities in our life. The intent is for more hiking trips, more gym memberships and training sessions, skiing trips for those who live close to or can visit often the ski slopes…..and on and on. For us, the mountain biking enthusiasts – the same holds true. Now is the time to tune up (if you have not done so already) your favorite bike, make sure it operation is as smooth as possible and make the plans to hit the trails.
If you are wondering where those trails may be in your target geographic area, do not hesitate and proceed to the Bike Trails section on this blog.
Once you have decided where to go, you will need to figure out the option for how to transport your and potentially your family's bikes. This is where I am now. Need to figure out a new solution for my bikes given the SUV we have.
Over the years I have used bike racks that are rear door or trunk mounted – using straps and the weight of the bikes as a way to secure the system. Those racks are low cost BUT are not an option for many bikes – I finally hit that problem with our 29ers. The frames – especially that of my wife's bike, does not allow to use those racks.
On my previous vehicle (a station wagon) I had gone with the Thule roof rack – which was able to handle up to four bikes, but now with the SUV, that option went out as the vehicle is too tall which makes it very difficult to put bikes on the roof. So now I had to search for new options.
There are a couple of those it appears:
- rear mounted bicycle carrier that is specific to BMW and attaches to the towing eyelets on the rear bumper. Here is an image of what I found on the web — still have to talk with the dealer on what options they can offer
- The second option I am considering is the hitch mounted Thule bike rack — shown in the Amazon box above. This is more versatile from standpoint of being reusable to multiple vehicles with a hitch and also being able to expand to 4-bike carrying option
Well, I will be checking these two options out in the next few days and will report on the results as soon as possible.