Toronto startup launching smart, connected bike

A Toronto-based startup is ushering in the Internet of Things – and its connected device comes with a pair of wheels and a handlebar.

Vanhawks, a startup that’s currently part of the FounderFuel accelerator in Montreal, has launched a Bluetooth-connected bike, with a frame made of carbon fibre inspired by the bone structure of the human body.

Branded as the “Valour” bike and aimed towards urban cyclists, it’s light, weighing in at just 16 pounds. It’s also been designed with ergonomics in mind, placing less of a strain on a cyclist’s back, spine, and buttocks, and it’s touted as being twice as strong as what’s currently found on the market.

(Image: Vanhawks).
(Image: Vanhawks).

The bike connects to iOS, Android, and the Pebble smartwatch, and it can guide riders on their routes, providing real-time statistics like their distance, speed, and time.

For Sohaib Zahid, the co-founder and CEO of Vanhawks, the goal of creating the Valour was to change the way people think about commuting in urban spaces, using technology.

“With Valour, we took the great invention of the past – the bicycle – and combined it with the great invention of our time – smartphones – to create the safest ride,” he said in a statement.

(Image: Vanhawks).
(Image: Vanhawks).

The Valour comes with some flashy specs, like its LED handlebar indicators, which link up to the cyclist’s smartphone for GPS navigation and turn-by-turn directions. That means riders don’t have to keep looking down at their phones for confirmation they’re on the right route. Plus, cyclists also get a blind spot detector, keeping them posted on whether there’s anything in the areas they can’t see with haptic feedback in the grips of the handlebar.

For cyclists riding the Valour bike, Vanhawks has also built an app that’s gathering route data of all of its users. That allows it to tell cyclists how to reach the safest routes. And if a bike is lost or stolen, each bike is connected to the others through mesh-network, so other riders can get alerts to keep an eye out for the missing bike.

Vanhawks is launching a Kickstarter campaign as a way of taking pre-orders, selling the bike for a starting price of $999. It’s scheduled to ship sometime this fall.

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Candice So
Candice So
Candice is a graduate of Carleton University and has worked in several newsrooms as a freelance reporter and intern, including the Edmonton Journal, the Ottawa Citizen, the Globe and Mail, and the Windsor Star. Candice is a dog lover and a coffee drinker.

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