Silverback Technologies, which has been making bicycles in Germany since 2004, has recently come out with a new line called “Starke” that offers something a bit out of the ordinary. Whereas we’re used to seeing bikes feature a dynamo on the front wheel that powers an anemic light bulb that’s supposed to illuminate the path in fron of you, Silverback employed the same dynamo technology to solve a modern need: charging our mobile devices via USB. Now obviously the Starke lineup of bikes isn’t going to take off in parts of the world where the automobile is the dominant form of transportation, like the United States, but many European countries have a citizenry that rely on bikes for pretty much damn near everything. One trip to either Amsterdam or Copenhagen is proof enough.
Nokia did something like this back in June 2010 when they unveiled the aptly called “Nokia Bicycle Charger Kit”. As the name implies, it’s a kit you attach to the bike you already have. The problem with Nokia’s solution is distribution. They made the bike charger for emergine economies, places like Africa, and skipped the Western world all together. Maybe Stephen Elop will be impressed with how many cyclists he sees in Helsinki during spring/summer 2012 that he’ll bark some orders to have the bike charger shipped to Europe, Asia, and Portland.
There’s no exact specs for the charger affixed to the Silverback bike, but assuming we as a species have already reached the pinnacle of dynamo design, we’ll just assume Nokia’s figures jive with what the German bike maker will be able to deliver:
“To begin charging, a cyclist needs to travel around six kilometers per hour (four miles per hour), and while charging times will vary depending on battery model, a 10-minute journey at 10 kilometers per hour (six miles per hour) produces around 28 minutes of talk time or 37 hours of standby time. The faster you ride, the more battery life you generate.”
Note: Nokia’s bike charger doesn’t do USB, instead it relies on the proprietary 2 mm charger Nokia’s been using since forever. Also, the bike featured in the video above is the Starke E that comes with an electrical motor. The other Starke models are the traditional pedal powered variants.