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The SpeedX Unicorn is a rare beast, a crowdfunded bike with integrated computer and power meter as standard

30 Jan 2017
Verdict:

Its makers claim it’s world's first smart road bike with integrated watt counting

Unlike traditional brands that come to market with an initial offering of different models, startup SpeedX has instead sought to crowd fund each of its bikes through Kickstarter.

With two bikes already successfully funded and produced, the SpeedX Unicorn, a carbon fibre, disc brake equipped road bike with integrated computer and power meter as standard, represents the brand's latest project.

Initially launched on Kickstarter this January, SpeedX’s success with bringing previous projects to market and an unusually slick promotional video helped the firm reach its funding target of $50,000 in a little over an hour.

Since then the design has garnered attention at the huge Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, helping persuade a total of over 250 backers to pledge enough money to secure one of the bikes, which are due to ship worldwide in April.

Like the brand’s first road bike, the aero profiled Leopard, the Unicorn comes with an integrated stem mounted computer.

However with the latest model featuring a crank based power meter the Unicorn will allow users to rely on wattage as their key metric, without the need to shell out for additional equipment. 

Sitting behind the drive side crank arm, Speed X's power meter has a 400 hour lifespan and charges via a Mac style magnetic lead.

Sitting forward of the stem, the brand claim its SpeedForce computer is the first to feature an Android operating system.

Its sizable 2.2” thickened glass touch screen displays a range of metrics and can also be activated via a wireless remote switch that’s locatable anywhere on the handlebars.

Clicking on and off of the bike for data management and charging, supposed batterylife is in excess of 20 hours.

Not all of the brand's efforts have gone into developing the electronics though. The bike also features a unique seat tube cluster with the seat tube itself passing clean between the stays. 

SpeedX call this ‘Vibration Control System’ or VCS. Reminiscent of Trek’s Domane bikes, the seat tube is tethered by a thin carbon spar which connects it to the toptube.

Towards the bottom bracket a cutaway section and corresponding insert further increase the frame’s ability to flex vertically, the result being that it’s able to provide a claimed 15mm of vibration absorbing movement.

Weighing in at 870 grams, SpeedX provides a lifetime guarantee on the frame.

Available with either Shimano Ultegra Di2 disc, or SRAM eTap Hydro and the option to upgrade to Zipp 303 Firecrest carbon clinchers, pricing starts at $2,999 for early supporters, which exchange rate fluctuations notwithstanding, seems good value.

However it still represents a lot of money for a bike that as of yet few people have actually ridden. We’ve had a pre-production model in the Cyclist office and will hopefully get a ride on the SpeedX Unicorn once the consumer units are released.

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