Emma Tucker at Dezeen writes about a new feature of the "Angel" electric bicycle by Noordung. The Angel is a high-end electric bike clearly meant to appeal to an exclusive market, at the exclusive price of €9,760 each.
One of the novel features of this bike is that it has a detachable battery pack. By itself, this feature is not unprecedented. However, the battery pack also doubles as a stereo speaker, which can be used by riders to play music controlled from a smart phone.
Such a combination can be a challenge to evaluate. On the one hand, a combination battery pack and speaker system seems to violate the principle that good designs are simple. Sure, an electric bike needs a battery to run and maybe a high-end bike should have stereo speakers. Many motorbikes do. But, why should those disparate functions be combined into one unit?
On the other hand, it seems natural that a battery pack would be combined with other bike features that require electricity. Since many cyclists listen to music as they ride, speakers might well be convenient. Of course, riders could just use earbuds with their phones. However, they may prefer ambient music. Also, speakers might better enable riders to hear the sounds of nearby traffic, keeping them safer.
So, is the battery pack-speaker combination a true innovation or a luxury gimmick?