Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday WTF: Bike Periscope

   Kickstarter: solving problems in new and pointless ways. This product is a little mirror you put on your bike, so you can look down when riding and not hit stuff.

Is this you?

   Seems like you could, you know, just look where you are going. Here's a couple shots of the prototype:

The Pediscope

Mounted up

   I'm torn between the silliness of this, and the forward thinking. This product might not be perfect, but maybe it is a step on the way to something that is awesome, who knows. The kickstarter has ended, and while the founder raised $6k, he fell short of the $20k goal, so this will not go into production. 

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Full Suspension Throwback: Kestrel Rubicon

   I was over at The Pro's Closet a while back picking up some parts I got for a sweet deal, and saw this bike sitting in the front area. They have a great collection of bikes and this is a perfect example. It was even the subject of an in depth post of their own.

1999 Kestrel Rubicon

   Why read their post with their copywriter and professional photographer when you can read mine with speculative facts and camera phone pictures?
   This bike was designed with what was cutting edge when it was raced in the 90's. Here are some of the more noticeable features:

Monster Chainring
 One of the first things that stands out is the huge chainring. Downhill races back then usually ended with some kind of downhill sprint, and having a huge gear allowed racers to pedal at 40+ mph. It is a single ring in the front as there was no climbing needed. Clearance must have been a nightmare.

Chain wheeeeeeel

Rim Brakes
   This bad boy is also equipped with hydraulic rim brakes. These are still popular with trials riders for their superb power, but are inferior to disc brakes for modulation and heat dissipation. These things have power, but your rim would be white hot at the end of the race.

Magura rim brakes

Quick Release Axles
This bike has 9mm quick release skewers, state of the art at the time, but not nearly as strong or stiff as current thru axles. These allowed the wheels to come off easily, which may or may not be desirable on a downhill bike.

Two Shocks
Hard not to notice that the bike is sporting two shocks at opposite ends of a rocker arm. This is not factory, and is actually the brainchild of rider Kurt Stockton. He came up with the idea of replacing the link with another shock, increasing the travel from 4.5 to around 8". This did a lot to slacken up the handling and give more sag to the bike, something most bikes back then lacked.

Modified suspension set up

Original suspension set up

Custom Clutch Derailleur
   There is an arm hanging off the back of the bike with a spring connecting it to the derailleur. This is an early attempt at a chain tensioner. Modern derailleurs have increased spring tension in the guts, called a clutch that provides a stiff platform for shifting. This keeps the chain from slapping the chainstay like a wet fish. This mod tightens up the whole system, and keeps chain slap to a minimum at the expense of simplicity. 

Chain tensioner

   It is cool to see where technology has come in the last 15 years. Safe to say...

Here is a bunch more (professionally written) info on the bike:

Bike Radar review:

Blue Book page and value (not as much as you'd think):

MTBR Review:

Pink Bike

Monday, November 28, 2016

Belt Drive BMX

   Belt drive bikes are not exactly new to the scene, but still are an uncommon sight. Around here, we see a lot of Spot bikes fitted with belt drives, especially the Acme and the Ajax commuter bikes.
   While perusing the Yess BMX Facebook page, I found an interesting article on their belt drive BMX bike. The post was about Drew Motley winning the 2016 ABA BMX Cruiser title on a Gates Carbom Belt Drive bike.

Drew Motley

   Drew is the first person to win a title on a non-chain drive bike, which is pretty exciting. The Yess post did a great job of explaining the pros and cons of a belt drive, as well as including some cool pictures.

Freewheel and frame break

Chainring (Beltring?)

- Belt drives are less susceptible to mud and sand
- The belt-driven drivetrain weighs nearly half what a chain drive system weighs
- Silent running
- No stretch
- No need to lube or much maintenance of any kind

- The only solution for a broken belt is a new belt - no repairs
- Belts are easily damaged, you must handle with care
- Installation, tensioning and alignment are lengthy processes
- The big one: Frames must be built with a break to allow for the chain. Additionally, as the Yess post points out, you must have clearance on the drive side chainstay for the sprocket to pass. The system is wider than a chain drive and needs more space.

   The Yess site had listed that the belt runs great when packed with mud, which I don't think is much of an advantage. Being able to leave your bike dirty is't really an advantage. Here's a shot of another bike fitted with a disc brake, very cool.


   So are belt drives the new normal for BMX? Probably not. The advantages are something more attractive to your commuter looking for a clean, easy low maintenance bike than a racer who won't shy away from wrenching. It is still very cool to see new technology trickling into BMX! 

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Yakima Celebrates the National Parks Centennial

   Yakima is launching a new line called StreamLine that boasts aerodynamics, strength and versatility. The new system is launching in coincidence with the National Parks Service celebrating 100 years. To celebrate this, Yakima is also giving away a limited edition cargo box with National Park Service graphics:

The Box

   The artwork is pretty neat designes based on some of the best features of our National Parks. You can share a photo with #YakimaNPContest for a chance to win a limited edition Centennial ShowCase cargo box.

   The National Parks Service also celebrated by waiving entrance fees earlier this month. For a list of the free days for the year, check out their site.

Close up of the artwork

   So go check out your local National Parks. Here a shot of one of my favorites:

Independence Monument

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Cargo bike conversion?

   I love my cargo bike, as you probably realized from my many posts about it. So, when I say a conversion kit for a cargo bike, I was doubly interested!
   The guys over at LIFT have made a conversion kit that can take a normal bike and make it a cargo bike! "A BETTER CARGO BIKE" according to them. The kit works by accepting your fork like the Apollo Module accepting the LEM. Just throw your front wheel in the trash, because you have a cargo bike now!

LIFT in action

    Look at this happy family! This can be you!

Go family, go!

   The simple, rigged construction of this thing is confidence inspiring, and the larger front wheel will provide stability and good handling.

The Good!
- Cost: at $900, it is a cheap alternative to a $3k+ purpose built cargo bike
- Give life to that old hard tail!
- All the other benefits of a cargo bike

The Not so Good:
- It is hella long, due to the rake of the fork
- Rigidity is bound to be compromised as there are fastener connections rather than welds.

   Here's a handy graphic form the KickStarter page:

Helpful Graphic

   What if you want to full on cargo and pair this with an Xracycle? And have the longest bike on the block? Check this out (also mad PhotoShop skills):

The Future.

   Turning radius of the Exon Valdez. I won't be trading my Bullitt in any time soon, but it would sure be neat to see more cargo bike on the trails. Check out a more in depth review on BikeRumor here.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

What the Hell is Boost?

   You may have ben hearing of a new trend in mountain bike standards called 'Boost'. What is boost?


   Boost is a new standard of hub spacing. Time for a history lesson:


   Originally, Mountain bikes had 130mm rear hub spacing and a 9mm axle. This was for 7 speed set ups. Upsetting the norm (and a lot of cyclists), manufacturers started using 135mm hub spacing, still with a 9mm axle, which provided a wider and more stable platform for rear wheels. In 2011, we started seeing a new trend spread across the industry: 142mm. This was a 12mm thru axle that could be quickly removed for wheel changes. Different bike companies have different axles, but they all work pretty similar. These are the two common standards - there are a few others out there, but most bike manufacturers are sticking to these.

124mm x 12mm axle

   Boost is a hub standard that increases the spacing of not only the rear, but the front as well:
  • 142mm becomes 148mm (rear) on a 15mm axle
  • 100mm becomes 110mm (front) on a 12mm axle
   In the rear, Boost pushes the hub flanges 3mm outward on each side  to increase the angle your  spokes lean in and therefore increase wheel stiffness. A wider hub is a wider platform to support your rim.

Boost hub

   We have 29ers to thank for this new standard, for a couple reasons:
1. The larger the wheel, the less stiff it is, so large 29" wheels are less stable than a 27.5" or a 26". Boost 148mm is supposed to bring 142mm 27.5" stiffness to a 29" wheel.
2. Stuffing a 29" wheel on an XS frame has always presented a challenge, and wider chain and seat stays make things a bit easier (but you should really be on a 27.5"...).
All of this will add up to give you God-like handling abilities.

Boost on a Trek Remedy

   As pointed out on Art's Celery Blog, there is a fundamental difference between 135/142 and 148: The actual hub spacing of 142 was the same as 135. The extra mm's were frame thickness. This meant you can easily adapt wheels back and forth with a simple axle caps, like the many, many offered by Stan's. The new 148 requires you to take much more dramatic steps, as pointed out in this article about un-boosting your bike using interchangeable dropouts and witchcraft.

   Companies like ENVE are all about it, praising the stiffer, more efficient wheel they can sell you. Other manufacturers are not turning their backs on the current standard so quickly. If you're running 142mm you'll still be able to find wheels to fit your rig for at least as long as it lasts before you are forced to buy something new. Then, maybe Boost will be a good option.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Friday WTF: True Sandbagger

Thanks to Jamie who was riding the Mount Evans Hill Climb for spotting and photographing this one:

Origin of the meaning?