Android Auto/CarPlay equivalent for e-bikes?

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
Apologies if this topic has already been discussed here. I couldn't find a similar thread.

We're a blended family, LOL - I've had several Androids (currently a Pixel 5) and my partner loves her iPhones. We use Android Auto or CarPlay, depending on who is in the driver's seat. I'm wondering what the options are for e-bikes these days and what others here are doing. I expect that Google Maps would be the main app we'd want to use.

Obviously, it would require a solid mount. Any suggestions?

What about power (i.e. how to keep the phone on and charged during a long ride with nav)? The RadCity bikes I just ordered have a 48V, 14 Ah battery but, apparently, it has a 5V USB port. Maybe that's the way to do it?

The advantage over our cars is that each bike can be configured separately (one for Android, one for iPhone). His and hers... 😸
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
Does Apple support carplay on the phone alone?

Android certainly does, but not sure about IOS... You may be able to use SIRI, but in my own experience it doesn't do well in wind noise.

And yes you can power off the USB port on the display, but you might find it's a tad underpowered if your phone is a real battery hog. My older iphone 7 would only maintain a state of charge when using the screen on max brightness and gps, but wouldn't recharge very fast. The new iphone 12 pro max seems much more efficient and works great off the display.

Also consider a vibration dampened mount like the quadlock or similar if you plan to ride gravel or rougher roads/trails as the image-stabilized phone cameras can be damaged by persistent vibration.

 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
Does Apple support carplay on the phone alone?

Android certainly does, but not sure about IOS... You may be able to use SIRI, but in my own experience it doesn't do well in wind noise.

And yes you can power off the USB port on the display, but you might find it's a tad underpowered if your phone is a real battery hog. My older iphone 7 would only maintain a state of charge when using the screen on max brightness and gps, but wouldn't recharge very fast. The new iphone 12 pro max seems much more efficient and works great off the display.

Also consider a vibration dampened mount like the quadlock or similar if you plan to ride gravel or rougher roads/trails as the image-stabilized phone cameras can be damaged by persistent vibration.

Thanks so much for the comprehensive response!

Yes, AA will run on a phone but I'm not sure about CarPlay? Something to try!

I didn't mention phone calls, specifically because of wind noise. If a call is THAT important that they can't leave a message then we probably shouldn't be on the beach bike path...

You're right about the power drain, even when plugged in. I've had phones end up with less charge after a long drive, due to nav and the screen. It's not an issue in our cars, which I attribute to the HUs having their own large displays.

I'll look at the quadlock. Thanks again!
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
After some experimentation with the iPhone and some Googling, I think you're right, that CarPlay only works when connected to a car, unlike AA...
 

retiredNH

Active Member
Region
USA
CarPlay (and android auto) is mostly about connecting to the car screen, car audio and car controls. I don't believe many bikes come with a 11 inch screen?

Interestingly, Bosch has a product, the smartphone hub, that kinda acts like what you want, but only on Bosch powered bikes. And it's implementation is quirky, at best.

What is it that you want to do on your phone that you would do with carplay that you can't just do on your phone? You could run maps and music at the same time right now just by using a bike mount.
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
CarPlay (and android auto) is mostly about connecting to the car screen, car audio and car controls. I don't believe many bikes come with a 11 inch screen?

Interestingly, Bosch has a product, the smartphone hub, that kinda acts like what you want, but only on Bosch powered bikes. And it's implementation is quirky, at best.

What is it that you want to do on your phone that you would do with carplay that you can't just do on your phone? You could run maps and music at the same time right now just by using a bike mount.
I'm surprised that I'm the first to ask this question...

AA is also designed for use when a big, connected screen is not available. I'm surprised that Apple didn't think of that.

I'd like to be able to use nav and other features without having to "wake up" the phone whenever I want to look at it (i.e. while riding and using Google Maps).
 

theemartymac

Well-Known Member
Yes, and the multi-app integration is very useful in a hands-free situation like a bike as well. I ride a motorcycle, and have BT helmets. It's nice to be able to use one interface with voice prompts without having to handle the phone at all. SIRI kind of gets it done, but doesn't integrate the apps perfectly so it can sometimes try and open two different apps when you ask for music controls, etc. SIRI can also get confused when I'm also running my BT intercom to other riders and trying to manage local and group comms at once.
 

retiredNH

Active Member
Region
USA
I'm surprised that I'm the first to ask this question...

AA is also designed for use when a big, connected screen is not available. I'm surprised that Apple didn't think of that.
Yes, said this.
I'd like to be able to use nav and other features without having to "wake up" the phone whenever I want to look at it (i.e. while riding and using Google Maps).
You have an easy solution. Just set a long time for screen on time. You'll shorten battery life a lot, so you will probably need either a USB charging port on your bike or a separate power brick that runs your phone. Neither is tricky. For example, you could put a power brick in a handlebar bag with a cord long enough to get to the phone that's mounted on your bars.
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
Yes, said this.

You have an easy solution. Just set a long time for screen on time. You'll shorten battery life a lot, so you will probably need either a USB charging port on your bike or a separate power brick that runs your phone. Neither is tricky. For example, you could put a power brick in a handlebar bag with a cord long enough to get to the phone that's mounted on your bars.
What I would like is not to have to switch between different "modes" of use between vehicles. Not sure your suggestion helps...
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
You might look into an app called "ESB":

https://www.esb.bike/app/

There are versions for both iPhone & Android and it is compatible with many bike makers.
Like other nav apps, it is a power hog so a USB connection is important.
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
You might look into an app called "ESB":

https://www.esb.bike/app/

There are versions for both iPhone & Android and it is compatible with many bike makers.
Like other nav apps, it is a power hog so a USB connection is important.
Thanks - have you tried it? The website is a bit weird, probably auto-translated from Italian, and the app only has 23 reviews in the Google Play store with a 3.2* rating. It seems to want to connect to the bike and I'm not sure our RADCity bikes will do that. They're "out for delivery", yay! Still can't find any of the hitch-mount racks I like, though... 😿
 

6zfshdb

Well-Known Member
Yeah, the website is a bit flaky. I use the ESB app with my Pedego bikes and iPhone X. In my case, the app pairs with the battery, not the bike itself. Some of the functionality works but not all. I'm not sure if ESB will work with Rad or not.
 

SMeBikers

Member
Region
USA
City
Santa Monica
What I would like is not to have to switch between different "modes" of use between vehicles. Not sure your suggestion helps...
I just re-read this and apologize if it came across as flippant. Before I had a car with Android Auto I tried all kinds of mounts and power options and wasn't really happy with any solution. Our first car with Android Auto and CarPlay, and a large display, was a game-changer. It's so much easier to use the basic apps one might use while driving, such as nav, music and hands-free phone calls.

The other issue, for me, is that Pixels have the fingerprint sensor on the back, so it's inaccessible when in most phone mounts. That's a pain if the phone shuts off while driving. Google Maps will keep the phone on while actively navigating but other apps don't. Android Auto keeps the phone on whatever you're doing.

If I can find a decent mount that works with my Pixel (which is in a wallet-type leather case) and a way to power it from the bike, I'll be happy. Good point @theemartymac about the vibration - I wouldn't have thought of that.

Still not sure what will work with iPhones, though. I guess we'll find out when the bikes arrive and we can take them for a spin. The FedEx tracking says each package weighs 87lbs. Yikes!