Navigating in the 21st century is less about tabletop maps as it is built-in apps. However, though turn-by-turn navigation is often baked into the dash of your car, accessing the same set of features while cruising down the road on your bike is far more cumbersome, especially when you consider how vital it is to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel when faced with a smattering of potential pitfalls. Fortunately, that’s where SmrtGRiPS’ connected bike grips ($60) come in.
Designed and engineered in Germany, the hands-free smart grips are made to alleviate common problems every cyclist faces on the daily. You can easily swap the rechargeable grips with those on your bike, and once you set your desired destination and route using the accompanying Boréal app, the grips use haptic communication signals to guide you about town. As you approach an upcoming signal, for instance, the right grip will gently vibrate and become more pronounced as you get closer. Same goes for the left.
Intuitive navigation is only one part of their appeal, though. The mobile app for Android and iOS devices lets you quickly locate your bike via a distance indicator and a convenient “Ring your ride” button, the latter of which immediately prompts the SmrtGRiPS to signal their location. Moreover, you can even use the app to notify the crowdGPS network if you’re bike goes missing. Afterward, you’ll receive an instant notification whenever another SmrtGRiP user comes within 330 feet of your bike. The fact Boréal utilizes OpenStreetMaps only adds to the equation, providing you with a wealth of crowd-sourced information pertaining to bike lanes, popular routes, nearby friends, and more.
It may be some time before the SmrtGRiPS see the light of day given their Indiegogo campaign is set to end in March, but the 3.5-ounce devices will also be waterproof and run for three months on a single charge upon their debut — making them just as perfect for your rainy morning commute as your cross-country venture next summer.
Check out SmrtGRiPS on Indiegogo for more information, or to contribute to the company’s crowd-funding campaign.