GPS Tracking on new Wisper Sport?

Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
5,914
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66
Sevenoaks Kent
Hi all,

Whenever we launch a new product I ask you guys for advice. It's worked very well in the past and we have made many decisions based on the Pedelecs forum's input.

In the spring we will be launching the new Wisper Sport* model name still under discussion. 375 or 550Wh 36V utilising the latest (quite superb) hub motor from AKM, 27.5" wheels, 2.2" balloon tyres or off road tyres for those who want to get more adventurous. it weighs in at 17kg here is the pre production sample (there is a step through version as well), the final model will facilitate the wide alloy Wayfarer mudguards...

43532

So here is the question...

We are considering fitting all these models with a sophisticated tracking device based on a new Wisper App. It will do much of the same work as the Strava App giving and saving journey distances, average speeds climbs etc. It will also have impact recognition and will call a user specified emergency number in case of an accident triggering the device.

The main benefit will be if the bike is stolen, the user will be able to follow the bike on a Google Map within the App, the bike being "pinged" every 30 seconds. There will be a geofence capability, set by the user so if the bike is moved outside of a specified area the user will be alerted, we can turn off the bike if requested by the user.

The reason for installing the device into every bike is mainly about cost. It being far less expensive to fit to all bikes rather than retrofitting. There are other benefits too, if a dealer has a bike stolen before it's sold or a courier "loses" it we can turn on the tracker and find it, or... if a user does not take up the offer when the bike is purchased and then has the bike stolen, the user can request and give us permission to find the bike for them... for a fee!

The cost would be between £50 and £70 to make the tracker live then £5 to £7 per month to use the app.

Any advice from a user perspective would be gratefully received...

All the best, David
 

cyclebuddy

Esteemed Pedelecer
Nov 2, 2016
739
379
Beds & Norfolk
It's about time others also came up with this tracking idea given theft of all bikes (not just e-bikes) is prolific - in my area especially! Excellent! If I were still a regular commuter with possibly dodgy daytime lock-up/storage - like at a railway station or outside my place of work - I'd definitely be persuaded and subscribe. Balanced against the necessary cost of at least two decent Sold Secure locks, the cost pales into insignificance. Good looking e-bike too I'd certainly consider for that commuting purpose.

I'm guessing that the subscription costs can only come down over time as inter-web-stuff becomes de-rigour. Vote up from me!
 

StuartsProjects

Pedelecer
May 9, 2021
225
115
Where is the GPS tracker positioned, or is it policy not to reveal that ?

One of the issues with GPS trackers on non-electic bikes of course is that the batteries can go flat fairly quickly, but an eBike would not have this problem.
 

Nealh

Esteemed Pedelecer
Aug 7, 2014
14,241
5,517
58
West Sx RH
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slowcoach

Pedelecer
Dec 11, 2020
102
70
Sounds a good idea to me. You have obviously put a lot of thought into this. What happens if the tracker develops a problem, could it stop the bike working?
That is just a passing thought because no electronic system is infallible.
 
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GSV3MiaC

Pedelecer
Jun 6, 2020
185
119
But I assume it won't stop the bike if it loses satellite lock, or phone signal, else you can't cycle through a tunnel, or use your bike in the vaste areas of Scotland or Wales where even 3g mobile is fictional.
 
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Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
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But I assume it won't stop the bike if it loses satellite lock, or phone signal, else you can't cycle through a tunnel, or use your bike in the vaste areas of Scotland or Wales where even 3g mobile is fictional.
That’s correct. We need the bike to be connected to enable us to send a signal to turn it off.

All the best, David
 

vfr400

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 12, 2011
9,822
3,922
Basildon
I think it's a bad idea. Most people won't want or need it, so you're putting your product at a price disadvantage for the sake of a few customers. Many people don't like subscriptions. If somebody wanted it, there are plenty of after market choices.

The Van Moof has a similar system that anecdotally gives lots of problems. Did you try the tracking system? get a friend to hide a bike in a van and garage somewhere, then see if you can find it. You know what I'm going to bet on. I'll tell you what. Give me one of your bikes with the system fitted and a three hour start. If you can find the bike within 48 hrs, I'll pay you £100 and you know it's a good system. If you can't find it within the 48 hrs, I get to keep the bike and you'll save yourselves and your customers loads of cash. Deal or no deal?

I'm guessing that you get a kickback from the subscription service, which adds to your profits. Without figures, I can't comment on the overall economics/profitability of the scheme, but as a paying customer, I don't want you to make extra profits at my expence.

Every phone has GPS in it that works really well for cyclists. There's no need for any extra devices on a bicycle that add weight and complexity.

In summary, concentrate on making good value, reliable, durable and efficient electric bikes, not expensive ones full of unreliable gadgets and gizmos. KISS is always the best.
 

sjpt

Esteemed Pedelecer
Jun 8, 2018
2,672
2,098
I think it's a bad idea.
Absolutely. Much more likely to be a problem for the legit user than a hinderance to a thief.

Friends managed to lose the keys to their 'super secure' Ford (some time ago, they hadn't chosen it for the security). Because it was so secure Ford said only thing was to break in, tow to Ford dealers, £600 fix (+cost of tow and repair to break in damage).

Instead tried local locksmith. He was in the car (no breakage) and had it started in about 10 minutes, and within the hour he had them with three new keys and ready to go: £150. If he could do it so could most thieves; it wasn't in the least bit 'super secure'.
 
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Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
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Sevenoaks Kent
Both very interesting comments and the reason I asked the question.

yes we do get a £1 per month kick back on the monthly charge, but that’s not the reason we are thinking about it. We are asked for such a system every week several times a week. So have decided to think about giving it a go.

The Vanmoof system is simply an Apple device that works with find my phone on apple phones and only works when it is picked up by another Apple device, not very effect as you quite rightly say. A smart phone won’t work unless of course you hide it on the bike somewhere, and of course is expensive.

Regarding your offer, everyone is aware that if you put a tracker in a Faraday cage, say a shipping container, it’s not detectable. We expect that most thieves are opportunistic and won’t know that or put the bike into such an environment. However what I will do is sell you a bike at full price, put a geo fence around it and let you try and pinch it. If we can’t detect you moving the bike we will refund the value of the bike and you can keep it.

We’ve not made a decision yet. But so far have not heard an argument that’s good enough to make me feel it’s not a good idea.

All the best, David
 
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Cancunia

Pedelecer
Aug 6, 2021
50
8
I like the idea in principle, it looks similar to what's being used on the e-scooters that can be hired, but your costs seem a bit high. If you're building this into all of your bikes and charging for activation, the users of the system are subsidising the non users. M2M Sims seem quite cheap so I'm guessing that your monthly sub is paying for a service from a 3rd party.
Personally, I'd like to see a more open lightweight option that allows users to do their own tracking. Presumably the bundled system that includes Strava like features will have full data protection? I suggest that a base system is available at no extra cost, with the option of a monthly sub for a tiered service.
 

Tony1951

Pedelecer
Mar 27, 2016
193
91
70
Its a shame that the break down of law and order and the inability of our police to deter crime or even be interested in it unless it fits one or two categories, has led to David having to consider this for his city based customers. In the late 1960s, I had a BSA A10 motor bike and side car which was parked on a city street in Newcastle 24/7 and anyone could simply turn a switch, kick it over and ride it away. No one touched it.

Unless you report a very serious crime these days, when you phone the police to report a crime, they give you a crime number and offer to put you in touch with victim support. That's it. This has been common policy for twenty years. No wonder bike and motorcycle theft is rife. It is allowed, which simply means, no one will stop you doing it.
 

Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
5,914
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Sevenoaks Kent
I like the idea in principle, it looks similar to what's being used on the e-scooters that can be hired, but your costs seem a bit high. If you're building this into all of your bikes and charging for activation, the users of the system are subsidising the non users. M2M Sims seem quite cheap so I'm guessing that your monthly sub is paying for a service from a 3rd party.
Personally, I'd like to see a more open lightweight option that allows users to do their own tracking. Presumably the bundled system that includes Strava like features will have full data protection? I suggest that a base system is available at no extra cost, with the option of a monthly sub for a tiered service.
Hi Cancunia,

You are correct, we are partnering up with a very established firm who currently track fleet vans and cars. They are very well established and the system is proven. They also take care of all the privacy issues.

We are working on the pricing now and are involving an insurance company. They are so impressed with the system that they will give discounts on their eBike policies that will cover in the region of half, but maybe all the monthly fee, if insurance is taken with them at the time the system is activated. We are waiting to see their figures.

All the best, David
 

Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
5,914
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Sevenoaks Kent
I should also emphasise that our customers don’t have to pay to turn the device on to benefit. They can wait knowing that in the unfortunate case of having their bike stolen within the warranty period they can activate the device for the initial activation fee plus six months charges.
 

slowcoach

Pedelecer
Dec 11, 2020
102
70
As I said previously, this is a good idea, but does need a lot of thought, something that Wisper are clearly putting into it. My concern is the idea of being caught out, miles from anywhere with an electric bike that has suddenly become a very heavy push bike, because of a fault in a tracker. Perhaps some sort of back up to the tracker?
As we know from this forum, there seem to be an awful lot of things to go wrong with an ebike and for many of us who can only cycle with the benefit of motor assistance, any failure in the system is a disaster.
 

Wisper Bikes

Trade Member
Apr 11, 2007
5,914
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Sevenoaks Kent
Really good point. It’s the same tech as is used to disable stolen vans and cars so it should be good but I get your point. Let me give it some thought. Thanks!
 
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