SpeedX has been resurrected … sort of

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If you’re at all familiar with the defunct Chinese bike brand, SpeedX, then perhaps you’ve got questions about where they ended up.

All of those questions (and probably a few more, let’s be honest) were answered in a major investigative feature published in June 2019. And while the company remains every bit as dead in the water as it was then, there’s one recent development that SpeedX riders will welcome.

The company’s unique proposition was the integration of smart technology into its bikes, the much-maligned Leopard and the mythical Unicorn. That was an eye-catching selling point for the thousands of backers that pledged thousands of dollars for one of SpeedX’s crowdfunded bikes.

But when the company dramatically collapsed, leaving a trail of debts in its wake, SpeedX owners were left with integrated computers that fed into an app that couldn’t receive updates and, shortly after, didn’t exist at all any more. All that ride data – and even the ability to update the time – disappeared, leaving users with a bike filled with wiring and sensors that fed into a bricked computer built into the stem.

Montage of SpeedX Leopard promotional imagery

The dwindling – but dedicated – band of riders that have stayed loyal to SpeedX’s corrupted vision have for the last couple of years been sharing hacks for converting the cockpit to a simple ‘analogue’ equivalent, in the hopes of eking some life out of their Leopards. But in a Christmas miracle, one member of the SpeedX community has now come up with an app that resurrects the integrated SpeedForce computer.

Timothy Ace, a New York-based developer, this week released as a free download an Android app that restores some functionality to the computer, allowing users to export .FIT ride files for manual upload to Strava and similar platforms, as well as update basic functions (setting the clock, changing distance units, adjusting the integrated tail light, etc.)

Along with the appearance of never-before-seen Unicorn framesets on Alibaba early this year – which was a bit like catching a glimpse of a ghost – Ace’s hard work has breathed some life back into the memory of SpeedX.

The whole story of the brand may be a cautionary tale of epic proportions, but at least existing SpeedX riders get a happy ending this time.

However complicated my feelings might be about the bike and the company that built it, that’s something I’m very pleased about.

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