Stationary bikes are a great way to stay in shape, but they can be a bit stiff. Hong Kong’s Snailcle aims to liven things up with a feature-packed – and adorable – smart bike with auto-height adjustment, terrain-mimicking resistance and app-based virtual routes.
Getting on a real bike and cycling outdoors can not only give you the workout you need on flats, climbs and turns, but it can also be a feast for the senses.
However, such activities are often time-dependent, meaning that some dedicated road racers also have a stationary exercise bike in the spare room at home. They can certainly help you get fit, but they can also be somewhat boring unless you’ve invested in something like Peloton or another smart cycling platform that includes streaming spin classes or virtual routes.
The Snailcle smart bike – which has been in development since May 2021 and is currently raising funds to produce Kickstarter – falls into the latter camp and is designed to make exercising at home fun and engaging.
This model will need to be plugged into a wall outlet for the on-board systems and EMS resilience to work. The resistance level can be manually adjusted over 36 levels using a traditional dial (which includes an LED status light), but the snail-shaped bike is also reported to offer “realistic terrain effects” aimed at replicating the feel for uphill and downhill sprints automatically changes pedaling resistance according to routes selected via iOS/Android mobile app.
The startup works with Unity to provide weekly updates to the cycling route to keep things fresh, and riders can watch rolling scenes on screen via a smartphone attached to a mid-handlebar mount to help them get in the zone (although users can choose to stream the visuals to a large screen TV). It doesn’t have the cornering propensity you get with some settings, though.
The development team has come up with another method of adjusting drag – on-board sensors can detect the rider’s position, so leaning back will ease the drag, while taking a forward position with elbows close to the handlebars or resting on the handlebars will let the system know that you think seriously and the resistance increases accordingly.
If a household has more than one stationary bike user, individual profiles and ride histories can be stored in the companion app, meaning riders can pick up where they left off without much hassle. And the Snailcle also features motorized seat and handlebar height adjustment, which can be controlled manually using buttons on the handlebar side arms without needing to get off the bike, or can be applied from saved settings in those stored profiles .
The Snailcle team reached out to Kickstarter for the production fundraiser, where pledges currently start at HKD 3,915 (about US$500). If all goes according to plan, shipping is expected to begin in November. There’s more in the video below.