Little component, big benefit: what can the RX Chip do?
15.04.2023 | Innovation
Riese & Müller fits an unobtrusive but very powerful component into its E-Bikes: the RX Chip. A diverse group of people from different departments is behind the success of the technology and its associated services. We’re talking to two of them today, asking the question: what makes the RX Chip so special?
Wanda, William, there are people who just want to ride their bike and tend to be less interested in apps or digital gadgets. So why do you think you definitely need to configure a new bike with an RX Chip?
Wanda: In my opinion, the key benefit of the RX Chip is its anti-theft alarm and locator function. I believe that this concerns everyone. If you’ve booked an RX Service, your bike can be located on a map in the app and locked with a digital lock. Fantastic anti-theft protection.
How does it work?
William: The motion sensor in the RX Chip records any vibration on the bike and sends an alarm message to the owner’s smartphone if it is moved. Our Urban Line bikes also feature an integrated siren that emits a 90-decibel sound and flashing headlights. That often discourages thieves straight away. Location detection operates using GPS: the bike is located via satellite and its position is displayed on the app. That way you know precisely where your bike is.
Let’s assume the worst case: your bike has disappeared. What then?
Wanda: You don’t have to worry about a thing if your bike is actually stolen and you have booked an RX Service with recovery service – ConnectCare. You just need to report the theft in your customer account. We or our service provider then immediately sets off in search of the bike and, if necessary, involves the police. Once we have located the bike, we take care of getting it back, carry out any necessary repairs, and then transport it back to the customer. In most cases, the customer will be back mobile again very quickly – and of course really happy to get their bike back.
How often has a stolen bike been found in this way?
Wanda: We have been able to recover over 100 bikes since we launched the RX Services. In Germany, the success rate is over 70%. That’s a really good recovery rate, especially when you compare it to the usual recovery rate of stolen bikes, which is roughly around 10%.
“Feeling comfortable parking high-quality E-Bikes outside.”
And what happens if the bike cannot be found?
Wanda: Then the customer will receive a new, identically configured bike from Riese & Müller. We prioritise it in our production and then get it out to the customer as quickly as we can. In my opinion, that is also the key benefit over normal bike insurance: you get an identically configured bike much faster – and so get back on the road again much more quickly. After all, nowadays, E-Bikes have replaced many people’s cars or are their main mode of transport.
William: Personally, I think it’s important that you feel comfortable parking high-quality E-Bikes outside with the RX Chip. It’s one less thing to worry about and lets you sleep better, because you know that your bike is really well protected.
Does GPS location detection and recovery also work outside of Germany?
Wanda: Yes. We have recently significantly expanded its coverage. You can now use RX Services in 30 European countries, six of which also offer the recovery service. To my knowledge, no other manufacturer has offered this yet.
What was the basic idea at the outset when you began developing the RX Services?
Wanda: At the time, we wondered: how can we offer people even more incentives to forego cars in their everyday lives? How can we make using our bikes even more efficient and convenient? And what do we need to give our customers a fundamental sense of security?
William: Another thought was to make the bikes “connected”. The app offers a route recognition feature and provides riders with all the relevant data about their E-Bike, including: how far have I ridden this month? How much CO2 have I saved? It might sound like a nice gimmick for some – but it could motivate some people to cycle more often. With our UBN bikes, the app can also display motor data via the speedometer function – through a real-time Bluetooth connection.
“All E-Bikes will be connected in the long term.”
You recently released an update to the RX Connect app. What are the key improvements?
William: The app has been given an updated design and we have added new features for our UBN bikes. However, an important innovation is also going on in the background: in future, we will be able to process our riders’ riding and user data in our own IT infrastructure. Anonymised, of course. This will give us exciting insights into bike mobility that we can use to develop new features for our customers or use as the basis for innovative transport systems.
What do you mean by that?
William: The data that we obtain anonymised from many networked bikes can also be used for urban development and transport planning. Waiting times, preferred riding routes or complicated intersections can be analysed really well through data analysis. Communication between vehicles is another aspect, which can be used, among other things, to optimise traffic flows. Buzz word: a “green wave” for bikes above a certain critical mass. This is referred to as V2X communication, i.e. between a “vehicle” and a point X.
Isn’t that still very much pie in the sky?
Wanda: We still need a few more years for the technical infrastructure and overall standards. But we are convinced that all E-Bikes will be connected in the long term. They will also generally communicate with other vehicles,as well as with traffic lights, measuring systems and so on, generating important data for the safety of all road users. But of course, connectivity will also contribute more and more to convenient and intuitive use of bikes – ensuring that you simply have more fun with your E-Bike.
But until we get there: what practical features could be offered in the foreseeable future?
William: Automated locking and unlocking features, accident detection, intelligent collision warning, digital rear-view mirrors or voice recognition. The calculation of future maintenance work, known as predictive maintenance, is not too far away: are the tires excessively worn? Do the brakes, lights or drive elements need to be replaced? This information will increase the service life of bikes in the long term and thus contribute to their sustainability. There will also be developments in terms of customisation: for instance, setting your own riding modes and general riding preferences. Smartphones and the RX Connect app will play a key role in many of the above features.
Thank you for talking to us, Wanda and William.