Not content with a successful Indiegogo campaign last Fall for a cycling computer/handlebar stem/headlight package they called SpeedForce, SpeedX is going for a full smart bicycle. The SpeedX Leopard bike is no simple ten-speed Schwinn. Smart devices built into the bike track performance and display on an integrated screen, all wrapped inside an aerodynamic aircraft-grade carbon fiber frame. And in just two days, the SpeedX Leopard has raised over 980% of its $50,000 funding goal—its campaign had hit $490,000 as of the writing of this article.
The SpeedX Leopard is a sleek-looking bike. Technically speaking, it’s an aero bike, specifically designed for maximum aerodynamics with a T1000 military-grade carbon fiber frame that weighs barely 2.65 pounds, about half the frame weight of a comparable aluminum bike. The Leopard is only the third bike to loop braking and technical wiring into the frame for even less drag, but the other two options out there cost significantly more than the Leopard’s $1,400 Kickstarter price tag: The TREK Madone 9.2 costs $6,000 and the Specialized Venge Pro ViAS costs $8,200. Under admittedly ideal conditions, an aero bike’s streamlined design gives it a slight speed boost, as Cycling Weekly found in an informal trial of aero vs. standard bikes.
The Leopard also has an integrated computer, which provides real-time analysis of riding data on a 2.4-inch screen mounted on the handlebars. SpeedX expects the computer battery to last 800 km/497 miles, or 40 hours, before needing a 30-minute recharge back to full power. Add in the Leopard’s integrated front and brake lighting and the true value of the Leopard is its full package: You might be able to build a bike that could outperform the Leopard or hook it up to sharper tech with better screens, but the Leopard packages everything into a tidy and affordable package that works out of the box.
Most of the severely discounted early bird specials have already been swooped up, but you can still pick up a SpeedX Leopard with a Kickstarter-special price tag. For the bike alone, that price is competitive, but it also includes the computer system for no extra charge, a system comparable to the Garmin Edge 1000 combined with a Strava Premium subscription, according to Cycling Weekly. It’s also got a lifetime frame warranty and a seven day "no questions asked"return policy, which is pretty cool for a Kickstarter deal. There’s also a more souped-up version, the SpeedX Leopard Pro, which swaps out the more basic Shimano 105 groupset for the Shimano Ultegra Di2, and swaps the standard handlebar and wheels for carbon fiber versions.
Buying such a personal and pricey item as a bike online can make folks nervous, especially since buying from a cycling shop includes a fitting session to load your bike setup with the right size parts. Naturally, SpeedX is getting around this with technology—namely, a fitting system that takes a photo of the customer and taking measurements to automatically select the most suitable model, frame, handlebars, and stem, according to the Kickstarter campaign.
SpeedX expects to start mass-producing Leopards in July 2016. If you want a sleek all-in-one bike that will track your performance and look good doing it, one of SpeedX’s Leopards is probably the way to go.