Apparently, we're not the only ones having this problem, as this edition of Crowdfunding Combat features two ideas for a smarter bike lock. The approaches are similar, but you can let us know which you think is best by voting in the poll at the bottom of the post. BitLock
Instead of carrying around a key you can lose, BitLock allows you to unlock your bike with something most of us have on our person all of the time: our smartphone. All you have to do is install the BitLock app on your phone and you're set.
You don't even need to take your phone out of your pocket to operate BitLock. The device uses Bluetooth to sense your proximity to the bike and unlocks when you're within three feet of range. Once inside this proximity, just press the lock/unlock button on the BitLock and you're off. In addition, you can lock and unlock your bike with the BitLock app when further away.
But what if your phone runs out of battery? It happens to everyone. You forget to plug in before bed and halfway through the workday you realize you only have a 3% battery life. Fortunately you won't be stuck with a locked bike, even if your phone is completely drained. BitLock can be opened by a 16 digit binary code that you can write down and keep in your wallet. Not the best-case scenario for a high tech bike lock, but it's better than being stuck with no bike at all.
Along with keeping your bike secure, BitLock allows others access to your bike--with your permission, of course--through groups. As explained on the BitLock Kickstarter page, all you have to do is "create a new permission group and add people and bikes to the group." From there you can set at which times throughout the day the bike is available, and where the bike has to be returned to.
Obviously, you should only share your bike with people you trust, but, we imagine the BitLock group feature could be used effectively to setup a local bike share program between friends.
BitLock's internal battery is said to last up to 5 years, meaning you don't have to worry about recharging it. When the time comes to replace the battery, your BitLock app will send you a reminder.
There's no need to worry about inclement weather with Bitlock either. The weather sealed electronics keep the lock working in all different climates, hot, cold, wet and dry.
Currently BitLock is compatible with both Android and iOS platforms. For a complete list of compatible devices, check out the BitLock Kickstarter page.
As of the time of this post, Bitlock has had over $87,000 pledged of the project's $120,000 goal with 15 days to go.
Those behind Lock8 must have never heard of BitLock when they crafted their slogan, "the World's First Smart Bike Lock." As it turns out, Lock8 shares many features with its Kickstarter competitor, BitLock.
Both bike locks use either an Android or iOS app to lock and unlock the bike, with proximity being the first option and an action within the app as a backup. Neither lock needs to be charged either. As mentioned above, BitLock has an internal battery that they claim will last 5 years, while Lock8 uses induction to charge the lock while you ride.
But where BitLock's locking system is made up of a cut resistant steel U-lock, Lock8 employs a cable. While a cable might seem easier to cut than the U lock, sensors inside of the cable will set off the alarm and send the owner a notification if the device is tampered with.
The biggest difference between the Lock8 and BitLock is that Lock8 attaches to your bike, providing the location of your bike through GPS. All of this will cost you a price though, about $2 a month.
While a cost of $2 a month may seem a bit annoying, you can easily make up for the cost by renting out your bike through the Lock8 app. "Clicking the 'offer' button allows you to rent out your bike to verified Lock8 app users or Facebook friends," explains Lock8 on their Kickstarter page. "Earn money with your bike."
At the time of this post, after only one day of funding, Lock8 has raised over £11,000 of its £50,000 goal with 34 more days to go.
The Lock8 has an early bird price of £69, which, at approximately $112 USD, is right around the $99 price of the early bird BitLock price. The locks are normally priced at £89 (approx. $145) and $149, respectively.
With the prices and feature of both devices so similar, the question is, which smart bike lock is smartest? We'll leave that up to you. Vote on your favorite below!
Ed. Crowdfunding Combat is a recurring series on the TRANSLOGIC blog that profiles two active campaigns on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and asks readers to vote on the idea they like best. The TRANSLOGIC blog staff does not endorse or contribute to the campaigns featured within the Crowdfunding Combat posts. Reader votes will have no direct bearing on the outcome of the featured campaigns.