betting tips, daily bettingbetting tipsbetting tips, free betting

Helios LED bars and a roll-up mudguard

Commuter, Concept 16 2641

Helios-LED-bar- prototypeAfter a public debut at the Bay Area Maker Faire over the weekend, the smartphone controlled LED Helios handlebars are getting a lot of attention on the web (well deserved attention, I believe).  The tagline on the website is, “transform any bike into a smart bike with Helios Bars.” That is a pretty big statement, but these bars include much more than a 500 lumen front light and integrated turn signals. Once the bars are installed, you can download an app and connect them to your iPhone via Bluetooth 4.0 Low-energy (hopefully an Andriod app is coming soon too). The phone becomes the control center for the Helios bars, allowing the user to vary the color and intensity of the lights, and set several other smart features.  The rear facing lights can function as a visual speedometer, changing color as you speed up or slow down.  They can also function as turn signals, operated by tactile buttons on either side of the stem.  In addition to light features, there is a GPS that allows the owner to see the coordinates and Google Maps location of the bike from anywhere in the world within seconds.

helios-LED-handlebarThe bullhorn version of the bars will come out first with a $199 pricetag.  A drop bar version is in the works to be released soon after. The project will launch on Kickstarter tomorrow, so check the website for a link and more information.

Plume-retractable-mudguardAnother bike accessory on Kickstarter at the moment is the Plume recoiling bicycle mudguard, designed by Dan McMahon, a Brooklyn based designer, and Patrick Laing, a designer in London. Plume is a simple and elegant design for a mudguard that is there when you need it, and out of the way when you don’t. If you have seen those slap bracelets for kids, you know the basic concept… and you may have the same concern that I did initially. Will this thing coil up unexpectedly and spank the rider in the rear after the first big bump? I was glad to see that Dan and Patrick addressed that concern in the video, and they show a rider descending stairs with no movement from the Plume at all.

Apparently I am not the only one who likes the idea. They have already surpassed their funding goal and still have about a month to go on the Kickstarter campaign. You can find out more about the product there, and jump on the bandwagon to back the project if you are so inclined

Related Posts


  1. MZUNGU May 21, 2013 at 2:27 pm -  Reply

    Cool, I love fixie handle bars. A couple twist of the Allen keys and the $200 Handlebar+light is mine to own. No need to detach any cables or nothing…..

    …being nasty aside, I like to have my light adjustable, Frankly, after a few years of night riding, I prefer to have my light as low or as far from my eyes as possible(I mount it on the fork), this way potholes or rocks show up more prominently as shadows, something you don’t get for mounting it on a helmet or handle bar.

    That mudguard is just to high and too far from the wheel to be really effective, it’ll probably can only manage to block off a small strip of the spray at the center….leaving you a skunk like clean strip in the back. 🙂 Sorry, neither gets my vote for practicality.

    • James Thomas May 21, 2013 at 2:43 pm -  Reply

      Not sure about the adjustability issue, but Helios does address the potential for theft. On Twitter, they mentioned that the “bars are installed with security screws & (they) provide you with a special tool for installation/removal.”

      …and yeah. closer to the wheel is definitely better for the mudguard. This is a better alternative than not using one at all though.

      • MZUNGU May 21, 2013 at 3:37 pm -  Reply

        Hahaha, Didn’t read that much into it, putting that much money into an urban bike just don’t make sense to me, thief in San Francisco are now sawing Aluminum and Carbon frames in half instead of the lock to get the expensive components… As for the mud guard, I would of think it is just as easy to mount that thing on the seat-stays or brake bridge to bring it closer to the wheel…it wont look that bad.

  2. Andy May 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm -  Reply

    Did anyone else notice that in both the Kickstarter and Plume images only show clean dry bikes? Amazing that people would actually back this without them proving the concept with a video clip or image of someone riding in the rain. I can assure you that based on the height it needs to be at, and the lack of a curve around the wheel, you’ll still get soaked and this will be a pointless gimmick.

  3. Andy May 21, 2013 at 4:21 pm -  Reply

    Decently budget handlebars on around $40. Adding bluetooth, GPS, a 500-lumen light, separate turn lights, the buttons to actuate the lights, a lithium battery, and be able to sell it for $200 seems very fishy to me. There are some $20-30 lights at that lumen range, but they require a significant amount of cooling, which is not going to happen if it’s embedded in a metal handlebar, so expect the light to burn out in a month.

    • James Thomas May 21, 2013 at 4:57 pm -  Reply

      I haven’t seen the specs, but based on the claimed 500 lumen output, I would guess they are using a 10 watt (or less) LED module for the front. The rear facing ones are probably more like 3 watts. As you mention, thermal management is always important with LEDs, but I don’t see an inherent problem with this application. I would guess that the machined bar end plugs are designed to allow heat to dissipate into the aluminum bars, effectively making the whole product a heat sink.

      They are using Cree LEDs, and Cree is very good about providing engineering support to customers. Hopefully they took advantage of that, and shortened LED life won’t be an issue.

      • Andy May 21, 2013 at 5:07 pm -  Reply

        Have you used a higher power headlight before? I have a 200lmn one that if I’m not moving, it’s quite warm. I can only guess that a 500lmn light can’t be any colder. I really don’t think handlebars make a good heatsink – Generally these lights have flanges and lots of space to dissipate the heat, as opposed to this one that shoves it in a metal tube. Maybe for winter you want warmed grips though?

        • James Thomas May 21, 2013 at 5:44 pm -  Reply

          Yes, I have used quite a few headlights, and I actually have a good bit of experience working with LEDs. In fact, I am currently designing a group of enclosed lighting fixtures using a 1200 lumen, 16 watt light engine. As I mentioned, any LED product (installed lighting or a bike light) needs a sufficient heat sink, and some products are better designed than others. Your 200 lumen (roughly 3w) LED headlight may get hot because it is small, and they don’t expect you to touch it while riding. If you shove a foot long tube over the end of it though, and I doubt you will feel it if you grab the other end. A bicycle handlebar may not be an ideal heat sink, but it does have surface area exposed to the air. That is a much better scenario than many of the common LED applications I see, which is why large heat sinks with fins are often necessary (in a recessed can light or an automotive headlight for instance)

          Also, I initially said sub 10 watt LED to be conservative, but I would be very surprised if the main light in this application is that high. Like I said, I think it is feasible if they did it right.

          • Andy May 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm -  Reply

            In a nutshell, this is why I tend to get annoyed by Kickstarter. I doubt a useful product will come from this, at least at this pricepoint and longevity. But we’ll see. I can’t recall too many bike projects that actually made it past the CAD-porn phase and Kickstarter phases. Maybe you should try to round up a few that are actually purchasable and do a post about those?

            • Tomcat May 21, 2013 at 8:23 pm - 

              Thanks for this discussionabout both the Helios handlebar and the recoiling mudguard (when I firat saw the mudguard, I had the same reaction mentioned above — it looks mounted much too far away from the rear wheel to really catch any flying mud!) I too wondered why the Plume video doesn’t show any bikes riding in the rain 🙁
              James — add my vote for Andy’s suggestion that you do a blog post of successful Kickstarter bike projects — specifically, ones that became purchasable products. For you to write a roundup like this would be a real service to us, your readers, who don’t know what past bike-related Kickstarter projects truly succeeded, beyond simply raising money.

  4. James Thomas May 22, 2013 at 8:29 am -  Reply

    Andy and Tomcat, You guys are right… the failure rate for Kickstarter projects, even for successfully funded ones, is very high. I agree that a look at bike products that have actually been successful after Kickstarter campaigns would be an interesting post topic. Someone (probably Andy) brought that up in the past, but I just haven’t found the time to do the research and put it together (along with many other post ideas I have that would take more than an hour to research and write). I will try to dig into that soon though. Thanks for the suggestion.

    • MZUNGU June 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm -  Reply

      Moss, I agree… the Musguard is definitely a smarter design all around. Cheaper to make(no molding,), fit on every bike(not 27.2 only), and will definitely catch more spill than the Plume.

  5. Logan F. Davidson June 9, 2013 at 5:14 am -  Reply

    Seems a bit pointless worrying about keeping your butt dry – and given the height above the wheel, that is debateable – when the front wheel is spraying water towards your crotch anyway! A small nylon trouser or full suit (like those fold-up ponchos) kept in a pouch under the seat or locked to the handlebars would be virtually as cheap and more useful. You could walk after parking the bike and still stay dry!

  6. Tony June 17, 2013 at 6:34 am -  Reply

    Awesome looking handle bars… like the white pearl look.

  7. Ryan July 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm -  Reply

    Very interesting use of Bluetooth 4.0 Low-energy. It’s always interesting seeing what people are coming up to control with Bluetooth and their phones.

    It looks like they met their funding goal. Let’s see if they can pull it off.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Bicycle Design Merchandise=