Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday WTF: Cargo... Scooter?

   With our recent purchase of a cargo bike, I have been on the lookout for other neat cargo bike related news. Enter Nimble Scooters. These guys build a scooter with a similar style as a cargo bicycle.

Cargo bike

Cargo scooter

   Their model is for people looking to carry groceries and small items on your scooter. They suggest you can take the scooter where you can't take a bike, like the grocery store. Both a cargo bike and a regular bicycle with bags are heavy and awkward. The Nimble Scooter is lighter and more manageable than a cargo bike and available at a lower cost.
   Take it to the job site:

"Build for industry."

   I see two problems with this thing, 1. The long and low build will drag on the smallest of bumps, 2. the cargo bike is hard to ride, a scooter seems like it would be twitchy and unstable. Still, I'd really like to ride one of these!

"Want to crash our way to yoga?"

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

RockShox RS-1 Follow Up

   I recently posted on the freshly released RockShox RS-1 inverted fork. This is a cool looking fork that boasts a lot of neat technology. Now that more information is coming out, we can see what the fork will do, cost, and weigh. It comes in a couple color options, I personally think the Diffusion Black is really sharp looking.

Black    Diffusion Black

   The quick and dirty:
  • Cross country focus
  • 29er wheel size only
  • Full carbon upper and lowers
  • 80mm, 100mm, and 120mm travel options
  • 1 1/8" to 1 1/2" tapered steer tube
  • 3.7 pounds
  • Retail $1865.00
   Some of the interesting technology:

Inverted design - One main draw with this design is that the seals are under the oil. This way the seals are always lubricated, resulting in greater small bump sensitivity.

New hub - They are calling a torque tube, which is an outer hub structure to stiffen the fork. The internal tube unites the fork legs creating a solid piece between the legs. This is great if it does what RockShox says it does, but kind of a bummer that it's proprietary.

'Maxle' hub and axle combo

Torque tube

Carbon upper and lower - Both the larger top tubes and the smaller lower tubes are carbon. This is to achieve greater stiffness without needing a double crown steerer.

Swappable guts - You can change the airshaft in this fork and change the travel form 80mm to 100mm to 120mm. The innards are the same as other RockShox models, although flipped to fit the new fork orientation. 

Some competitive comparisons:

Cannondale Lefty XLR Carbon: 100mm, $1400.00, 2.9 lb
Fox CTD: 100mm $850.00, 3.43 lb
Manitou Tower Pro: 80mm, $550.00, 3.74 lb
RockShox SID XX Solo Air: 100mm, $890.00, 3.7 lb
DT-Swiss XMM: 100mm, $1300.00, 3.3 lb

   In my observation, it looks like this fork is on the high end on price and weight. The performance will have to be what sets it apart until weight and cost can be trimmed. As a few forums have pointed out, this first iteration will probably result in some trickle down technology to more entry level forks. 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Depricated Shifting System Spotlight: Shimano Airlines

   Ready for a throwback? I'd never even heard of this technology, but apparently it made a brief appearance in the 2000: Shimano Pneumatic shifting. I'll give you a moment to let that sink in.

   Ready to go on? Ok.

A thrill indeed!

   Here is what the whole set up looks like:

Shimano Airline System

   Of course, normal cable shifting systems are run with, you know, cables. There are a few out there that stray from cables - the Shimano DI2 Electronic and even some hydraulic systems. Pneumatic shifting is a whole other thing.

   They were mainly used for downhill, as they weren't real light. The system included a remote air canister, usually held where the water bottle would be.

   The compressed air worked in leu of cables. The specially designed derailleur would shift based on the air pressure. While the system was a commercial failure, it was a good exercise for Shimano to see what was possible and what wasn't. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday WTF: Bicycle "Advancement"

   Who keeps developing these things? Here's a roundup of some unnecessary "advancement" in bicycles.
   First off, you may remember the Treadbike, this is a treadmill that you can drive around:

Tread Bike

   This is the Rowbike, a row machine you can also drive around. 


   The people over at Sculltrek weren't satisfied with the RowBike. You have to see this thing in action to really get what's going on.


... in action!

   Don't like the treadmill? How about an eliptical with wheels? 

   How about a stair climber?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

RockShox inverted Fork

   On the RockShox Facebook page they have been teasing at a new inverted fork, the RS-1:

The inverted RS-1 (get it?!)

   They are coming out with a new fork design that is going to be inverted, so the telescoping leg is on the bottom. They also put up this complete image:

Complete image

   Some of the older readers may remember the RS-1, it was their first suspension fork back in 1989, complete with 1989 slogan:

Original RS-1 advert

   There's a teaser video on YouTube that shows some guys riding on the fork, and you can make out an inverted fork.

Video screen grab


   The inverted for is nothing new, a lot of bikes have them, the Maverick was a popular fork for both their frames and the Klein version. The Cannondale Lefty is also an inverted design:

      Lefty                              Maverick 

   Exciting things from RockShox, it will be even better when some third party reviews come out, so stay tuned!

UPDATE: There is a full article on the fork on Bikerumor and a video interview with a product manager here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Brand Spotlight: Ritte Bicycles

   There's something about a well crafted bicycle. Smooth lines, clean welds, and choice components can make or break a bike. Venice based Ritte cycles has done a great job of building some very good looking bikes. Try not to drool on your keyboard:

   Aluminum disc equipped cyclocross bike, with BB30, Chris King headset and aggressive steering angle, perfect for tight corners and fast courses:

   The road frame boasts a steel frame to absorb the bumps and a combination of carbon parts to lighten things up. Plus a seat mast, which will unfortunately not be on the production bike.

   Completing the trifecta of material, the Vlaanderen is a carbon race frame constructed from hi modulus Japanese carbon. This is a longer frame that still claims to handle well due to the stiff construction.

   The company has a pretty story cool as well. Taking their namesake from cyclist Henri "Ritte" Van Lerberghe, they focus on high quality, well designed bikes. This guy raced back when men were men, and women were men, and children were men.

The man, the legend (1919)

   No mention of price on their site, and you know what they say

Friday, April 4, 2014

Friday WTF: "Bicycles cause more pollution than cars."

   This is a bit of old news, but still deserves a look. Early in 2012, Washington state Rep. Ed Orcutt emailed a bike shop owner defending a $25 bike tax on many new bicycles. He wrote:

"If I am not mistaken, a cyclists (sic) has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride.”

Rep Orcutt

   This idea is based on a book called How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, by Chris Goodall. This claim is false. There is a lot of science that shows bikes have a lower carbon footprint than cars.  

Bad science?

   Orcutt later admitted that he was incorrect