Bikes today are a long cry, in terms of technology and performance from the ones I used as a kid, sixty years ago (my grandfather had a little bike workshop so you can imagine I had access to the latest …).
In the past twenty years the materials used have become quite sophisticated, lighter and more resistant making it possible to go on “impossible” trails.
Now electronics and “intelligence” step in. SRAM just announced a wireless electronic transmission (not exactly cheap at 2,000$). Interesting the variety of technologies used (watch the clip) including the ones to save power. Of course, the smartphone is part of the system, being used for its customisation and operation (through a dedicated app – did you ever imagine that you would have needed a phone to ride a bike?). Actually, the smartphone is the “brain” of the system. The various components are using the intelligence embedded in apps in the smartphone, surely way cheaper than embedding a computer in each sub-systems and having them coordinate with one another. Much better to design your cub-system (product) as an open part to fit into a broader ecosystem!
The increased performances of sensors and their decreasing price are transforming the bike into a cluster of systems talking one to the other. Multi-axes accelerators can dampen the suspensions within 3 milliseconds well before the rider feels the change in the terrain (and their price went down for a 100$ each to 40c$).
Biking on a road open to other vehicles may be dangerous, so why not install some radars to take care of signalling approaching cars? And once you are there, why not installing some nice 8K camera to pick up the ride landscape?
As your bike gets smarter don’t forget to get smarter yourself with the increasing number of body monitoring devices you can apply on your body!