Dork factor or smart safety device? Like an automobile backup camera, the Owl 360 gives a small screen and a rear-facing lens to let a bike rider peek down and see an approaching car whizzing up from behind on a busy road. Announced at the Interbike trade show last fall, the Owl unit is just now coming to market at $199.
The company markets it as a replacement to a mirror setup or to the old-fashioned “craning your neck” technique to look back. It’s sold as “the first rear-view camera and screen that can be easily mounted to any bicycle.”
The camera system is “weather-resistant” and rugged enough for normal riding. (I.e., don’t plan on taking it for anything serious off-road.) Its battery is rechargeable and lasts for 10 hours of use.
In addition, there are flashing LEDs on the camera, making the unit do double duty for adding visibility as you ride and letting you see what’s coming up from behind.
What do you think? Is $200 worth the convenience of a digitized rear view? Or is the added cost and bulk of the Owl unit — not to mention a significant dork factor of a monitor screen on your handlebars! — make the product seem silly? If nothing, the Owl 360 is unique.