Vodafone — yes, the British telecommunications giant — has announced a new rear bike light. The new Curve bike light and GPS tracker is aimed at everyday riders and is said to help cyclists stay safer on the road by “combining leading industrial design with global connectivity.”
As you’d expect, the Curve features an “ultra-bright LED” with three light modes and automatically brightens when the rider brakes, to aid with visibility. The light portion of the Curve is also easily removable for charging and storage, while the GPS functionality is built into the base, which is attached to round seatposts with theft-resistant hardware.
Vodafone hasn’t provided any specific run times, but does say the Curve has a “long-lasting battery.”
But seeing as how this is Vodafone we’re talking about, it’s the connectivity functions of the Curve that are most interesting.
Built-in impact detection can send help alerts to selected contacts in the event of a fall, much like other lights and GPS head units currently do. The light will also protect your bike while not riding, thanks to the built-in GPS tracker and a security mode function. When activated, the security mode sounds an alarm and pushes an alert directly to your mobile phone if the light senses movement. While other lights do provide a notification if your bike senses motion, the Curve’s onboard SIM card means it also has the ability to send its location to its owner even when it isn’t connected to your phone.
Of course, as you might expect, such a tracking feature comes at a cost. The light itself costs £79 (approximately US$110 / €92 / AU$144), and the SIM card requires an additional £3/month subscription fee.
A growing market
Vodafone says the Curve light was designed in response to the growth in cyclist numbers since the start of the pandemic. While any cyclist can use the light, Vodafone says it has specifically targeted the Curve as a tool to help commuters feel safer on the road and provide some security when they’re at work.
This makes sense as some of the features are already covered by the many GPS head units available today. There is also the weight, which at 156 g is on the heavier side for bike lights, although the vast majority of commuters aren’t likely to care.
The Curve isn’t the first connected accessory to come from Vodafone — there’s also a GPS tracker (minus the light) and a smartwatch for kids — but this expansion into the mainstream cycling market by such a large, multinational corporation speaks volumes about the current boom in cycling and must be seen as a good thing.