Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
Smart bikes are real, and more affordable than you might imagine.
SpeedX debuted the Leopard and Leopard Pro smart road bikes on Kickstarter earlier this year. Both bikes featured carbon fiber frames, built-in bike computers with integrated GPS and a price that seemed too good to be true.
The campaign would go on to become the most funded bike on Kickstarter. I was initially skeptical, but that changed once I got a chance to test ride the Leopard Pro. SpeedX is now back with its third and most affordable bike yet, the Leopard AL.
The Leopard AL is a midrange bike that is designed for the entry-level cyclist. It lacks the carbon fiber frame and high-end groupset from the Leopard and Leopard Pro, but it does have an aluminum frame and fork with full internal wiring, a first for an alloy bike. The components are middle of the pack -- a 10-speed Shimano Tiagra 4700 groupset -- but it does include hydraulic disc brakes, which the previous Leopard models didn't have.
But what makes the Leopard AL stand apart from brands like Trek, Cannondale and Giant is the built-in bike computer and internal sensors, which essentially replaces the need for a separate Garmin or Polar computer. The Leopard AL includes GPS, an altimeter and speed sensors all integrated into the frame.
These sensors are used to measure moving time, distance, speed, altitude, cadence, calorie burn and can provide navigation. There's also Bluetooth and ANT+ built-in for connecting a power meter or heart-rate sensor. All of this data can be viewed in real time on a 2.2-inch color screen, which can also display incoming calls and notifications when your smartphone is connected.
The Leopard AL is available now for $1,200, which is about $350 cheaper than the comparable Giant Defy Advanced 3, which lacks a bike computer like the Leopard AL packs. International pricing wasn't immediately available, but the US price converts to about £905 in the UK and AU$1,600 in Australia.
As I said when I wrote about the Leopard Pro, SpeedX is still a company we know very little about. This isn't like buying a bike from Trek, a company that has been around for over 40 years and has made a name for itself with reliable service and strong frames. While SpeedX does offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, but for a company with little history some might find that warranty hard to have faith in.