Cyclists: Imagine that you could buy a speaker that combined the Bluetooth-connected, rubbery boxiness of JawBone’s JamBox speaker with the stretchy go-anywhere strap-and hook of Knog’s bike lights and cyclocomputers. Well, imagine no more, for a mere $70 will get you a SleekSpeak, a handlebar-mounted bike speaker over on Kickstarter.
The SleekSpeak is dead simple, as it should be for safe in-bike entertainment. The silicone strap wraps around pretty much any tube on your bike, and the speaker connects via Bluetooth to your iPhone or other device. The only controls are volume and power, and the rubber skin will shrug of showers, if not full-on downpours. Output is 80dB (for comparison, the JamBox pumps out 85dB, but is twice the size).
The projected battery life is 12 hours, and the SleekSpeak comes in various combinations of colored body and trim to match even the ugliest “fixie” paint job.
I love this. I have been badgering the JamBox people for (literally) years to make a bike mount for their little speaker, and I’m even in the process of designing my own (I’ll write a how-to if it works out). And even if you don’t want to blast your music as you ride, there are other reasons to have a speaker on your bike.
Long, lonely commutes or boring roadie training rides can be spiced up with podcasts or audio books, and turn-by-turn GPS can make itself heard over city traffic (towns are usually the only places a cycle tourist will need GPS instead of a paper map). Even people using a training/GPS tracking app on their iPhone can benefit from hearing the distance and time updates read to them by some apps.
Oh, and it’s a lot safer than using headphones. If you want one, you know the Kickstarter drill by now. Pitch $79 towards the $75,000 goal and you’ll get one of the first batch. If you wait, the speakers will retail for $100, still a decent price.