CYCLING IS A GADGET-HEAVY endeavor, what with the lights and the GPS tracker and the computer telling you how far and how fast you’ve gone. Keeping track of it all, and ensuring it has the juice to keep going, can be a real hassle.
Volata takes care of that by building the gadgetry into the bike, along with a battery and generator. The commute-ready ride, designed in Italy and built in California, features a carbon fiber fork, hydraulic disc brakes, and Shimano Alfine Di2 electronic shifting. A carbon drive belt spares your pants from inevitable grease stains.
This thing is packed with clever touches. The LEDs are built into the fork and the top tube, and the bike features a 96 decibel (aka really freaking loud) horn and a 2.4-inch touchscreen mounted to the handlebar stem. A 10,000 mAh battery stashed in the handlebars provides the juice, and a frictionless dynamo front hub lets you roll your way to a charged battery.
That integrated screen works with iOS and Android to display turn-by-turn directions, message notifications and incoming calls, and weather forecasts. It also serves as a music controller and a trip visualizer, providing details on your maximum and average speed, or the time and distance of your trip. A joystick lets you browse through the display menu, which doesn’t sound like something you’d want to do while riding.
Sleep mode maximizes battery life, and an anti-theft mode deters miscreants. Vibration sensors know when someone lifts the bike or moves it, triggering the horn, flashing the lights, and pinging your phone to let you know someone is trying to make off with your ride. An embedded GPS chip works anywhere in the world, letting you track the bike with your phone.
The Volata goes for $3,499. If you’re loaded and looking for a bike, you can configure and reserve one for $299. Don’t worry. It’s fully refundable if you decide to change your mind.