Tech of the Week: the chainless smart bike that can be folded under a table

Never again will you be left with oil on your fingers (and your business suit), trying to put the chain back on your bike. Here’s a chain-less, battery-powered bike that links with your phone and can be stored under your desk.

While many cycling enthusiasts will be familiar with electric bikes (and respond accordingly with horror or glee), the new JIVR bike is doing something very new: taking out the chain.

People told project founder Marcin Piatkowski that producing an internal mechanical “drivetrain” that was more efficient than a chain was practically impossible. Piatkowski set out to prove them wrong, and the finished product was the JIVR bike.

It’s currently on Kickstarter and is set for a September release. Looking for £70,000, Piatkowski has already made his original goal, with 10 days to go. However now he’s aiming for a £150,000 stretch goal for coloured versions of the bike.

The chainless electric bike can be folded and wheeled under your desk. It also connects to your phone with a dedicated mount on the handlebars, like pretty much everything else these days.

Distance travelled, calories burned, GPS navigation – it’s now standard with most smart bikes, but the interesting part about the JIVR’s connective abilities is the open-ended iBeacon technology powered by Kontakt.io that’s been included in the frame.

Two ‘hackathons’ will be run in London and San Francisco before the official shipping date arrives, so any developer that’s keen on developing for the bike will be able to produce something interesting. More importantly, all the stuff that’s developed will be available for free.

Like other electric bikes, the JIVR has three modes of transport: electric, manual, or assisted pedalling. Which means you can appear to be working your legs when you actually aren’t at all.

The bike weighs around 15kg, with a built-in lithium-ion battery that takes about 90 minutes to charge with a regular 120v plug. It offers a 30km range, and travels at around 25km/h to 32km/h.

Want one in New Zealand? Tough luck, the first couple (read: cheaper) tiers of the Kickstarter rewards are only available in San Francisco and the Greater London area. However, anyone with £849 (NZ$1675 and more for shipping) to spare can get their own JIVR bike.