An app controlled bicycle called Volata

Veerle Pieters
Aug 25, 2016 · 5 min read
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With the iPhone and apps being around for many years you would think that technology would trickle down to most other industries. When you examine the bicycle industry there aren’t any of the mainstream brands exploring that area of technology just yet. There are many exciting things that can be done and that’s where the Volata comes in.

Integration of technology

You could buy a case for phone and put that on your bike but that’s a bit bulky and not always very practical. I’m more for something smaller like what Volata is doing here. If you are anything like me you want to keep your bicycle slick. Here’s what Founder says on that topic.

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Integrated computer

Volata’s screen display is integrated into the CNC aluminium stem. Just like a Garmin or similar add-on computer it can track ride info such as , and . Wasn’t clear if it tracks too. Other inclusions are , , and display any incoming notifications from your phone. It’s all (thumb) controlled by a joystick sitting atop the righthand handlebar grip to allow input while keeping hands on the handlebar and eyes on the road.

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Automated GPS tracking

The Volata automatically identifies the beginning of a new ride and tracks it with its , so you can review it later on your smartphone. Wasn’t clear if you can upload to Strava directly if your ride is done. That same is also used by the that notifies you real-time of any suspicious activities, wherever you are. This way you always know where your bike is and it can show you if your bike is moving. A continuously monitors your bike for potential theft when you lock the bike and when there’s a theft attempt an alarm will activate and you will be notified immediately via your smartphone.

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Censored lights, horn and self-charging battery

The aforementioned features need juice to function so there’s a need for a battery. There’s a self-charging battery that automatically charges thanks to a front dynamo hub if you ride your bike often enough. When that’s not the case you can charge it via . Battery level is shown on the display. The old school bell is replaced by a horn that features a sound. The Volata has integrated dual front lights with modules that partially is oriented on the spokes to increase side visibility. The rear light is also designed into the frame and has a curved shape to increase side visibility.

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Volata is the first bike ever to come with the front lights built in to the carbon-fork blades.
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The rear light is designed to be a natural extension of the top tube.

Frame & drive train

The Volata has a 7005 aluminum frame that supposedly has the perfect balance between stiffness and comfort and the carbon fork is inspired by gravel bikes with clearance for tires up until and they claim its strength is enough to take you everywhere, no matter how rough the road is. Movement is done by a Gates Carbon Drive connected to a Shimano Alfine Di2 for low-maintenance durability.

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Thoughts

First thing that came to mind when I saw the beautiful integrated stem was; what about ? Geometry and riding position is a very important part when you want to ride a bike comfortably. At first sight it wasn’t clear but when I looked deeper they say there will be different versions of the stem available so you can adjust your riding position. Frame sizes come in S, M, L, XL and two colors, white and grey. Another thought was how much does it weigh? I was only able to find the weight for a , 10,6kg (23.37 lb).

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I’m all for clean aesthetics but a commuter bicycle without mudguards or storage sounds quite illogical. However it looks like they are designing a series of extensions that won’t compromise its looks. It’s marked as coming soon. They claim it’s ready for any type of road but that’s quite hard to judge if you haven’t ridden one. Seems like a beautiful fun bike but without actually riding it on the I wouldn’t buy it online. Love the idea and the looks of the Volata though, but there are many hurdles to overcome. Maintenance is another. Whatever you do, there will be some service needed as electronica isn’t flawless as we all know. The drive train parts can be serviced by a bike shop that understands Shimano.

So what about price? It’s not available yet but you can reserve one for $299 at www.volatacycles.com. That’s only the amount for a reservation though as you’ll need to pay $3200 upon delivery. Delivery is expected around . Price seems fair for that kind of technology and materials.

Veerle Pieters

Written by

Belgian graphic/web designer, author of Veerle’s blog and chief of the playground at Duoh! Loves soulful deep house music & riding her bicycle. Vive le vélo!

Veerle Pieters

Written by

Belgian graphic/web designer, author of Veerle’s blog and chief of the playground at Duoh! Loves soulful deep house music & riding her bicycle. Vive le vélo!

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