In my experience, there’s generally two types of “smart” products on the market. Either a company that makes technology products decides to try their hand at making an Android-powered bicycle or a tablet-equipped fridge, or a company that already makes a thermostat or sells furniture decides to add some smart tech to their existing product lineup.
The Lyra from Mission Bicycle Company is decidedly in the second category. It’s less a “smart bike” than one of Mission Bicycle’s well-regarded urban bikes that just happens to have one or two extra smart features.
To make things clear right off the bat, like all of Mission Bicycle’s wares, the Lyra is still an entirely human-powered bike — there are no motors to help you get up that last hill or give you a speed boost. But it does have integrated lights built directly into the frame of the bike to offer what the company claims is “nearly 360-degrees” of visibility, and integrated GPS tracking that will allow you to monitor your bike’s location at any time from a connected smartphone app.
The Lyra also has a clever charging system, with the bike’s smart features powered by a removable battery that has a built-in Micro USB port, making it far easier to charge than some other smart bike systems we’ve seen. Additionally, the company claims that the battery lasts for about a month of active use before dying.
Given that Mission Bicycles custom builds each bike by hand (the frames are welded in Taiwan before getting shipped to San Fransisco for final assembly), the Kickstarter has two choices for backing: a $500 frame that backers can either continue to use toward a custom Mission build or simply add their own parts to, and prebuilt single- and eight-speed options. And like Mission’s other bikes, neither Lyra option is particularly cheap, with the single-speed model costing $999, while the eight-speed version will set you back $1,449 — and neither of those includes the GPS tracking, which the company notes is an additional optional upgrade for a yet unspecified cost. Both bikes are expected to ship in October later this year.
This is Mission’s third Kickstarter, following two previously successful ones that seem to have delivered on time, so backing the Lyra is probably a safer bet than some Kickstarters. That said, always use your best judgement when crowdfunding.
At the high price tag and relatively low feature set, the Lyra certainly isn’t a bike for everyone. But if you’re looking for a good commuter bike that has a few extra bells and whistles, and you don’t mind paying a premium for it, than it might be worth taking a look.