Blackbrush Bike Air Tag Tracker REVIEW
BIKE THIEVES NO MORE?
Review by Alex Sardella
While many topics in the bike industry will endlessly be debated like clips vs flats, tech vs flow, carbon vs alloy, one thing everyone can agree on is bike thieves suck. Aside from injury, one of my biggest fears is having my bike stolen from off my tailgate while making a quick run into the local convenience store for a post-ride 6 pack. Wherever I go with my bike, I always have the constant thought that someone is just lurking with a cable cutter, ready to steal my wheels. Luckily, the guys over at Blackbrush Bike have created a slick idea that stores an Apple Air Tag in the headset, hidden away from a malicious bike thief.
There isn’t too much tech behind the Black Brush Bike cap. It’s incredibly simple and easy to install. There are three main ingredients within the Black Brush Bike cap: the top cap; the Air Tag holder, and a screw to secure it inside the headset. The Air Tag holster is the first part to add, then the screw, followed by the Air Tag, then finally the top cap pops into place on top to hold it all together. The Black Brush Bike cap retails for $18.99 and is now exclusively on Amazon. There is no Air Tag included, so that is a separate $30 purchase. Basically $50 tracking insurance for your bike which is a pretty good deal.
All the Tech is in the Apple Air Tag. For those unfamiliar, an Air Tag is a small tracking device used to find lost or stolen items. The Air Tag uses an encrypted Bluetooth signal to secretly bounce its location tracking service off nearby iPhones, to send its location to your phone via the Find My App – pretty high tech. It’s about the size of two to three quarters stacked together and weighs just 12 grams. The battery life will last about a year and is replaceable with a 3v battery – no charging required.
The overall design and functionality of the Blackbrush Bike cap is great. It’s simple and holds the Air Tag in place with some small plastic parts – nothing overthought or overdone. There really isn’t much to gripe about from a design or usage standpoint. The cap is a simple solution to a common problem we all face, bike theft. The whole Black Brush Bike cap is reliant on the technology in the Air Tag working.
I had never used an Air Tag previously, but like all Apple products, it’s easy to use and set up. All you have to do is remove the packaging from the Air Tag, pull off a sticker, and it will activate onto the phone closest to it. You use the Find My App on an iPhone to track the Air Tag’s whereabouts. If you are like me and have lost your phone a few times, you should be familiar with the Find My app and how it works.
The Air Tag is set up to your phone, so it tracks its usage and distance within your phone as a home base. If a bike thief gets a hold of your bike with the Blackbrush cap installed, the thief’s iPhone will receive a notification that an Air Tag is present after a certain number of minutes distant from your phone or ‘home base’. It’s generated as abnormal behavior to a new iPhone. This could definitely deter the thief from moving forward as they now know they are being tracked but obviously no guarantees here, and it may prompt them to go through the steps to locate and remove the device.
In my time using the Air Tag and sending it on little missions around a 100 mile radius with friends, I’ve noticed that the Air Tag will have trouble updating when on the move, so the high-speed car chase to retrieve your bike may not be the outcome. However, I do live in the mountains, so connectivity here could be a bit of an issue, seeing as the Air Tag relies on Bluetooth and nearby cell phone service. If you are living in a highly populated city you could have more luck seeing the location of the Air Tag being updated by the minute, thanks to the dense population of iPhone users. In theory the thief has to have an iPhone for the Air Tag to work best, especially if on the move. Once the Air Tag reaches a final destination, it can bounce its signal off surrounding iPhones a bit easier and relay its location to you more consistently. I think that is where the biggest benefit lies, seeing the destination of your bike and confronting the thief in a way they never thought was possible.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Black Brush Bike Air Tag Tracker is a well thought out product that fits seamlessly onto the top cap of your bike. Both the Cap and the Air Tag have worked as advertised but there are a few quirks and connectivity issues that I have experienced in my testing. There is a lot of technology to align in order to track your bike while on the move, but once in place, you should easily be able to track the location of your bike if it is stolen. For an all-in price of $50, there is really no argument on why you shouldn’t add this onto the (insert cost) of your bike as easy insurance from bike theft.