With a smartphone in almost every pocket and e-bicycles constantly getting better, it was only a matter of time when the two would start working together.
Visiobike, an e-bike project from Croatia is an electric bike that goes hand-in-hand with your smartphone. You can use the phone to unlock the bike, track your speed or even see what’s behind you using the built-in rear camera.
We had a chance to go hands-on with a late Visiobike prototype, and we were impressed with the amount of details and thought put into the project.
The smartphone (both Android and iPhone are supported) has a dedicated cradle on the bike’s handlebar, but it connects to the bike wirelessly, via Bluetooth. You can see a GPS map of your surroundings or statistics about your ride on the phone, with all your data being stored in the cloud.
Another important feature is automatic accident recording and emergency alert if Visiobike detects an impact. And on the security front, the Visiobike has GPS tracking and a motion sensor with SMS notification, so that you know what’s happening with your bike at all times.
We’ve seen e-bike-smartphone integration before — the Gi bike has done something similar, but with its folding design, it’s a very different bicycle.
The Visiobike doesn’t fold and has a much more sporty look: with a carbon fiber body, huge 180mm/160mm hydraulic disc brakes and a SR Suntour fork, it looks like a slightly bulkier mountain bike.
It weighs 46.3 pounds, which one of the project’s founders Marko Matenda calls the ideal weight. “It provides for a great motor and a hefty-enough battery, but it’s light enough that you can carry it up a flight of stairs,” he says.
For comparison, the aforementioned Gi bike weighs 37.4 pounds, while Rimac Automobili’s Greyp G 12 e-bike — also a Croatian project — weighs 108 pounds, but it makes up for the extra weight with a lot of power, top speed being 40 mph.
Visiobike is available with two different motors, one providing 250W and the other 500W of power, with top speed being either 15.5 mph or 31.1 mph. However, it’s not a bike that drives itself; instead, it’s a pedelec, meaning the motor merely assists you when you need power.
You simply hop on the bike and start pedaling as you would with a standard bike. Start climbing up a hill, and it will feel pretty much the same, as the bike’s motor supplies the extra power. We’ve tried the Visiobike with an automatic transmission, meaning you don’t have to worry about gears — you merely set how much help you want to get from the motor and start riding.
The lithium-ion, 14.5Ah battery lasts for around 62 miles, after which you’ll need to plug the bike into a regular outlet and recharge it for three hours.
With all these options and variants, saying how much the Visiobike costs is not that simple. The basic version with the weaker motor costs $5,318, while the best possible variant (automatic transmission and the rear camera included) will set you back $6,749.
Matenda tells us the company is looking into launching a variant with a cheaper, aluminum frame down the road. “We’ll try to bring the price down, but we’re starting with the premium model. We want the experience with the Visiobike to be amazing.”