The Consumer Electronics Show, held annually in Las Vegas, is a bit like the Eurobike for, you guessed it, consumer electronics.
It's mostly dominated by concept cars, computers, phones, gadgets and, this year, a robot that will fetch you a fresh roll of toilet paper
when you find yourself in a sticky situation in the bathroom. In 2020, like most years, mountain bikes didn't really feature much in the show, but there are some interesting developments to look at that could make their way into our world one day.
Here are three trends we spotted that may become commonplace on the trails in future.
Smart glasses are nothing new, the hype of Google Glass petered out nearly a decade ago with most of us never even having seen a pair, but the technology seems to be resurfacing in the world of cycling. Garmin's Varia Vision and Solos Smart Glasses were both released in recent years but strictly they are more of a mini-TV that mounts on the arm of your sunglasses than a true HUD-style pair of smart glasses. The only true pair that we know of are the Everysight Raptors that contain a separate computer and show you ride data, navigation and can even be used to take photos, play music or read your emails.
At the CES this year, both Cosmo Connected and Bosch came to the show with their own smart glasses models. The Cosmo glasses can show data such as speed, distance traveled, and even navigational turn by turn directions. They also have a collision detection sensor that will warn you about vehicles that are close by and, presumably, trees.
Bosch's 'Light Drive' has already been teased in 2019, but finally broke cover at the CES show. It seems a bit more basic than Cosmo Connected's model and only offers navigation, speed and power info, however, it can be used on any pair of glasses, including those that are used to correct vision. They will be available in 2021.
All of this begs the question, why do we need smart glasses? Well, it's mainly a convenience thing. There's nothing you get here that you can't also get on a bike computer or a phone but it does mean you don't have to look down at your stem every time you want some information. It also means that there isn't a valuable, vulnerable bit of kit on your bars that could get damaged in a crash... It's now on your face and you'll probably have bigger things to worry about if you crash onto that.
Suunto specialize in sports watches and used CES to release their first-ever smartwatch that is aimed at fitness enthusiasts. It uses Google's Wear OS to offer Google Pay, Google Assistant and Google Fit, which should mean it provides a fairly typical smartwatch experience. However, to set it apart from the competition it also has a built-in GPS, storage for up to 8gb of maps and Movecounts heat maps, which will show you trails that are popular with other Suunto users in the same area, making it easier to explore and discover new trails. The watch is out now and costs $479. Garmin also offer a smartwatch that might appeal to cyclists in the Venu, check that out as well if smartwatches are something you want to add to your riding kit.
Anti Theft Products
Nothing sucks more than bike theft so there were some interesting preventative solutions being displayed at CES this year.
Bosch make the list for a second time with their Kiox onboard computer. This is mainly to provide riders with ride data as a normal bike computer would but it comes with a nifty additional feature. When the Kiox is removed, the bike's motor is automatically deactivated and cannot be switched on until the computer is re-attached. Of course, as you can pedal ebikes, this isn't going to stop anyone taking your bike if they really want, but it may act as a slight deterrent - after all, 20+kg bikes are hardly nippy out of the starting blocks if they want to make a quick getaway.
Secondly, we've spotted the Benjilock. This is a standard looking U-Lock except it doesn't use a key or a combination lock but a biometric one The lock can store up to 10 fingerprints and will only open if one of them is placed on the scanner. Of course, this won't stop someone with an angle grinder, but at least you can pretend you can use the force in front of all your friends while they faff around with keys. The lock will cost $69 or $79 depending on which size you go for.
Bonus: eBike Jet Skis
$6,000–$8,000. No comment necessary.