For roof rack users that park in a garage, it’s their worst nightmare. You finish a great ride, you put your bike on the roof, and drive home – only to drive your precious ride into your garage ceiling potentially destroying your bike, your rack, and damaging your car. However, thanks to an entertaining Kickstarter out of Flagstaff, AZ there is a solution to your exercise induced inattentiveness called RoofBrain. The premise is fairly simple, design a device that communicates with an app on your phone that alerts you when your bike is in danger of a low overhang. Maybe it sounds like something you would never do, but ask around and you may be surprised to hear how many bikes have met their fate on top of a car…

See how RoofBrain could save your bike after the break.

Roofbrain 1

Working off of GPS satellites, RoofBrain is a root top device that communicates with your Apple or Android smart phone through an included app. The app lets you tag known locations for roof top clearance issues, and since it operates off GPS a strong cell signal is not needed for it to work. After loading your bike onto the car, simply press the button on the RoofBrain and the system is armed. Why not just use the app? RoofBrain actually tested that option, and without the RoofBrain device, users forgot to arm the system almost 75% of the time! However, when putting the bike on the roof, the visual stimulus of actually seeing the button resulted in much better results.

The RoofBrain app allows tags to be made public or private. Private tags are used for things like your own garage since you don’t want people knowing your address, while public tags are useful for drive throughs, parking garages, or anywhere bike clearance is a problem. Obviously, the more people who use RoofBrain, the more public tags, the less chance of you destroying your bike.

Prototypes 1 2 3

prototype 4

The RoofBrain team is through the prototyping phase with a pebble shaped final casing. The device will use Bluetooth LE to talk to your phone, which thanks to the low power draw allows the device to operate on a coin cell battery. The Brain case will attach to your vehicle either with a powerful magnet, or a rubberized strap that also includes a magnet. Thanks to a password protected software lock, RoofBrain hopes to discourage theft since you will not be able to use a Brain unit without the password.

RoofBrains will be sold through the Kickstarter for $75 which includes access to the app, with an estimated delivery of May 2014.


  1. If you’re going to forget a bike on your roof as you roll into your garage, what are the chances you’re going to remember to arm the system every time you put your bike on the roof? And if you get used to the alert, what will happen if you forget to set it and drive up to a low-overhang situation?

  2. I like the idea, but I know I would forget to turn the app on, forget to tag potential hazards, etc… too complex with too much room for error.

    An X-box kinect type sensor that would clip to my roof rack and just send an alarm to my phone whenever I approached a potential hazard would be better – IMHO.

  3. That video was annoying and whatever they are selling I am not buying because of it. Why not just put your garage opener in your trunk so you have to get out and get it. Or put a piece of tape on you visor garage opener button.

  4. Maybe I don’t fully understand what the thing on the roof is for… why not just have it be an app that alerts you when you’re near whatever place you’ve tagged?

  5. This reminds me of Noah’s Arcade commercials. “It definitely does suck!” I recommend take the critical comments here to heart. Make a more failsafe system and hire a decent marketing group.

  6. Yup done that. Know many others who have. Long day on the bike and road just want to get home. An electronic gadget is not necessary. Back when I used a roof rack I would put a cardboard box right inside the garage on the ground that I would see when coming home. Whats that cardboard box for? Oh duh. My bike is on the roof. Problem solved.

  7. @ Brian: best solution I’ve heard so far. The other is putting the trash bin just inside the door that way no one moves it when others come home (family).

  8. I can’t believe I watched that stupid video and it didn’t even show how the product is supposed to work!

    Now that I see how the product works, I agree with brian and FLookalike that there are ample, free, tech-less solutions to this problem.

  9. This is the perfect example of how not to make a product video. You don’t have to do a step by step of how it works. Instead sum up why someone should buy it. It takes one or two sentences like “Your bike won’t get f-d up!”. Commercial done.

  10. You mark locations, and the warning is about being at that location, has NOTHING to do with a garage or height.

    Example: go to a basement parking garage you haven’t tagged, and you’ve wrecked your bikes.

    Just tells you you’ve reached your destination, only if you tagged it. So when she went to her pal’s house, he may not even have a garage (or how many time do you pull into someone else’s garage?

    If hockey puck is on car, sans bikes, it does the same thing, so roof rack protection is a red herring.

    I have nothing against new products, but this one makes little sense to me.

  11. This is ridiculous. If cars can drive by themselves, as others have mentioned, surely there is a way to detect low clearance obstacles without having to tag a bunch of locations programmed in. You might as well save yourself some cash and just set a location based iOS reminder for yourself.

  12. Sold many a bike from this scenario. Solved the problem with simple bike shop problem solving skills.

    Attach string to bike when on the roof rack. Put string in door or sunroof. Boom.

    Or just, uh, use your brain and remember your bike is up there.

  13. Another option if you already own a roof rack is to just put your clicker in the trunk. Of course this requires you remembering to put the clicker in the trunk when you’re loading your bike, but so far its worked for me.

    Another option with iOS7 is you tell siri to remind you your bike is on the roof when you get home. The downside is the iPhone reminder alarm isn’t very loud, but it tends to activate for me when I’m approximately pulling into my driveway.

  14. lol I love that rap. I don’t use a car rack, but that is the best product video I have seen in ages. When I used to work in marketing in the 90s there were some older management who did a rap, it would bring you to tears. White adult rap ftw!

  15. I applaud this groups entrepreneurial spirit and I wish them luck with their campaign. I, however, have developed a fool proof plan.

    I put my garage opener in the trunk when a bike goes on the roof.

  16. so if i give them 2 grand on kickstarter i get to go “train” with tri-atheletes…… thanks. This product is a good idea but that’s all it will be unfortunately.

  17. Sorry, I couldn’t figure out what EXACTLY the product is, but with a quick search, found this $1.99 app that came out almost TWO YEARS AGO.

    I couldn’t find an example of it, but I remember a magnetic sign that would attach to the hood of your car and was spring loaded. When you slow down, the sign would flip up and give you a warning. I thought it was a cool idea, especially since it didn’t require you to rely on an app.

  18. +1 for brians comment.

    I won’t call it dumb, but where i hang the bike in the garage, i have a trash can there, and can’t get my bike down without moving it…so i move the can to the garage door entrance (inside garage, to prevent animals or wind from moving it) and no worries ever.

    There are just too many human variables that would prevent this app from working.

  19. I keep the key to my roof rack under my garage remote, thus forcing myself to take off the remote to be able to mount the bike.

    Remote goes in the glovebox until I get home. Problem solved.

  20. Wonder if my race dots could nickel plate my brain to remember that my bike is on the roof, you know, with rare earth magnets and all….

  21. This problem is more common than most cyclists think.

    Putting your garage remote in your glove box or putting a trash can in front of your garage isn’t going to prevent you smashing your bike into the ATM or the parking garage at work. And I wouldn’t trust a $3000 bike to a post-it note.

    I’ve created an app called Roof Rack Ranger that has the following features:
    –Very easy to setup (and inexpensive)
    –You never have to remember to turn it on (it knows when you have gone cycling)
    –With an in-app purchase, it can warn you about the ATM, parking garages, etc…
    –Rock-solid reliability (tested for over a year with many happy users all over the world)

    Please give it a try and let me know what you think: Thanks!

  22. Or better yet, running our bikes or gear into our garages is JUST ONE hazard…atm’s, Java huts, decorative bed and breakfast patio lights, low hanging branches, other low hazards are just aching to smash your expensive bike, damage your car, and ruin your day. That’s why you need a Look Up Dummy constant visual window cling reminder.

What do you think?