Bike mobile chargers aren’t exactly unique or special today. You can pretty much grab one on Amazon for a pretty penny without having to resort to buying weird or knockoff versions. Heck, you can even just strap a mobile power bank on your bike handles and you’re pretty much ready to go
So, is the NRG Power Stem even worth backing with as a Kickstarter project? Spoiler alert: actually yes. And it all has to do with its “base” design.
Integration at its
Finest Basic Optimum
So, we did say that it is easy to mount mobile devices and batteries on your bike. But let’s face it, you’re not going to do it efficiently or even elegantly without some factor that would make its installation (and eventual long-term use) cumbersome.
Let me enumerate the important points for better analysis:
- The very basic mobile-device mounts simply strap both your power bank and phone. This is simple, but it could eventually fall out of alignment when you’re already in the middle of your tripe, where presumably you would need the navigation capabilities of your phone the most.
- Second, even if you use those better-strapped corded ones, they don’t particularly provide sufficient weather-proofing. At least, not on the source of power itself (including its ports).
- Lastly, if you are looking for the dedicated hard-mount ones, be prepared to either adjust your hands awkwardly, steer a little bit off-center, or look to your mobile phone at a slightly slanted angle. So yeah, not exactly the 100% optimal navigational assistance you are looking for.
The most important selling factor of the NRG Power Stem is that it solves all of those problems, by integrating itself as a dedicated bicycle stem component. It’s both hard-mounted, with bolts on the steering handle, AND has a form factor and build made for weather-proofing, and long-term use. Since the phone unit itself is already built mostly for strong gusts of wind and moderate rains, this provides the simplest, yet most optimal package as a bike mobile charger. At the very least, compared to the typical ones.
So yeah, the idea on paper is very solid. In fact, just it being the stem component alone is enough for it to differentiate itself from all other cheaper competitors. That, and some other seemingly minor perks that make its use all the more efficient.
Weather-Proofing with an Aesthetic Edge
One of the most touted features of the NRG Power Stem is its outstanding weather-proofing quality. Well, this attribute is certainly observable from its basic design. The unobtrusive, discreet curves plus its tight-sealed design allow precipitation to flow through it without seeping through. You know, like any other ordinary bike stem.
The USB ports are safely hidden at the underside, with the same curves directing any collected water away from the main port to drip only through the wires. The only way that water would get in there, is if it deliberately splashed from directly below upwards. Even then, the culprit has to position the water source above the wheel, so it is still not going to be easy to damage the ports.
In fact, when it is not in use, you can simply cover it with its rubber plug, and so not even that unlikely malicious scenario would cause damage to the internal workings and battery pack of the NRG Power Stem. Extrapolate that to other weather scenarios like strong gusts of wind, dust storms, blizzards, or even rarer atmospheric phenomena such as ash rain from recent volcanic activity, and we have ourselves a true, completely weather-proof bike-mounted charger.
One-Full Sweep and Back (For More)
As for the battery itself, it is powered by a 3,500 maH Li-ion battery. This is somewhat near to the standard battery charge amount of most flagship phones today. So theoretically, a fully-charged NRG Power Stem could provide juice to your iPhone and bring it back to 90-ish percent even after completely draining empty.
If you need to know how much juice it has left, a light indicator is displayed up top. This is color-coded depending on the amount of charge, indicating either a green (full/almost full), yellow (mid-charged), or red (low) light.
Charging the NRG Power Stem is a bit of an odd chore. The company seems to expect that it should be charged directly to your garage, as shown by its promotional video. Heck, the package even includes an entire two-meter USB cable, which further supports this line of thought. Of course, the option to pull the component off and charge it indoors exists, but well…you won’t realistically be doing that on a daily basis.
All for its Navigational Purpose
The entire package of the NRG Power Stem just screams navigational optimization. It is, after all, the original vision of the designers of the product. They seem to have wanted an accessory to such a personal transportation medium that would enable efficient use of a phone for navigation without any sort of functional sacrifice.
The first thing that needs to be mentioned about this is the enter focus of the navigational medium: your phone. The user can both just press buttons freely without risking misalignment and navigate at its direct center, so direct visual navigation is never compromised. Of course, the positional convenience doesn’t just apply to phones. Just about any device that you can plug via USB and install on a bike mount would have this stupidly simple, yet very efficient mounting scheme.
For example, if you want to install a GoPro, just place it directly at the NRG Power Stem. That way, the perspective is never shifted, you don’t have to worry about the angle changing throughout the trip, and you don’t have to worry about installing additional GoPro units on your own body as spares.
To summarize, the NRG Power Stem indeed is a very compelling product for bikers. Revolutionary even, at least from an introductory standpoint. It serves its purpose directly, and with a simple, unobtrusive design, it integrates pretty much perfectly between your bike and your mobile device(s).
That being said But, the concept is not complete. It certainly could do with more improvements, as well as hardware flexibility. Instead of just focusing on two length versions, maybe do a bit more in the angle department, to accommodate even more bike configurations.
Supporting its Kickstarter campaign is an All or Nothing project at this point. However, if you do become interested in its potential features, you may support the developers with a minimum of 65 GBP (almost 90 USD) to get the unit itself and its base packages.