Thursday, March 31, 2016

DIY Split Frame for Belt Drive

   Like a good bottle of wine, or easter candy you took out of your kid's basket, I've been saving this one for a special occasion. Natalie and I were at Cured getting coffee and I spotted this single speed CX commuter converted to belt drive:

Rally Team USA

   You may not know this, but the Raleigh Team USA was not originally set up as a single speed with a belt drive. Crazy, I know. In order to run a belt drive, you have to be able to thread the belt through the rear triangle. This means the frame has to have a break in it. 

Chain line

   Here are some examples of factory frame separations to allow for a belt drive:

On the seat stay

Near the top of the seat stay

On the dropout

   This person must really like this Raleigh, because they built a gap into the frame themselves. They cut the seat stay, and then stuck some kind of rod inside, and then bolted the whole thing back together:

Frame break

Frame Break diagram with bad cropping

They also have a funny home made (maybe?) chain tensioner for the belt:

Chain tensioner

   Would that change the spacing for the rear end? Probably! but the integrity of this bike has already been compromised, and it's steel! It can bend a lot better than carbon. One last parting shot.

   We hung around for a while hoping to talk to the owner, but no one showed up. Good for you, bike customizer! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Ventum One

   I don't often report on tri bikes since no one cares about them. This bike however is pretty cool and it's worth a look how tri bikes fit in the UCI rules. The Ventum One is a purpose built triathlon bike, with features you won't see on any other bike. The Ventum team is also sponsoring about 10 pro triathletes for the 2016 season.

Ventum One

   This frame looks pretty unconventional. A bike like this is only able to be used in triathlon events. In any other UCI regulated competition this style is illegal. The UCI has all sorts of rules regarding what you can ride, and one of them is that the frame must be built around a main triangle. 

Bicycle testing in action

   Since the Ventum One designed to be raced in triathlons, they can skirt a lot of the rules set out by the UCI. They can build a frame that has some (claimed) advantages over traditional designs. How does it stack up? Beats me, but here are some more pictures. 


Frameset (2)

   You can't argue that the bike looks fast, even without wheels. The site claims 24% less drag than the closest competing bicycle tested, the Cervelo P5. 24% is about 1/4 of 100, that has to be good.
   The noticeable feature of the Ventum is the integrated water bottle. It sits on the top tube and holds about a liter and a half of water. 

Ventum water storage

   The on-frame water storage reminds me of a Specialized Shiv, with the water above the bottom bracket, and a longer straw to drink through. I don't know if I'd want to be sucking water through 4' of hose when I'm trying to ride fast. 


   I would love to get two reps together and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of carrying your water higher or lower. Loser has to ride a recumbent home.
   Before you're hooked on the bike, sell your CX ride, get some sleeveless jerseys and start swimming, check out the price tag:
  • Frameset: $6,250
  • Full bike: $11,500 (Di2 Dura Ace, Zipp Firecrest 808 wheels)
   Holy hell that seems like a lot of money. The frame reminds me of the Lotus 110, a classic aero bike, one of which just sold for about $9k on eBay:

Lotus 110

   Maybe it isn't that overpriced after all.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Friday WTF: Jaguar... Stem?

   There have been a lot of ill fated attempts of car companies into cycling:




   ... and a couple good ones as well. But nothing says style and class like a Jaguar.... stem:


Unpolished shot

   This thing would give you an extra 50 watts and reduce drag by 300%, easily. Not to be confused with the Schwinn Jaguar, the pinnacle of cycling comfort:

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Fat Bike: Long Term Impression

   I've had more time to spend on the new Salsa Mukluk I got over the Christmas, and it's time for a second report. To recap, here's my first report.

Heil ranch overlook

   We had a couple snow storms in the last few months and a good chance to ride the fat bike around. My initial observations were:
  • Noisy over crunchy snow
  • Didn't float over crusty snow
  • Fun to take packed corners fast
  • Front tire tracks weird
   All of these are still true, but I'm getting better at riding the big tires. Leaning back, letting the front tire wander a bit and keeping a high cadence all help. At the suggestion of someone who has more experience than I do, I really lowered the tire pressure over the soft stuff. I noticed that I got a lot more traction, and a little more float. It is still a lot of work to keep the bike moving through the heavy stuff.

About 9" of wet snow

   One thing I noticed is that wider tires means you're pushing more snow out of the way. Following some other riders with 2" tires, I could see that they swerved a lot less than I did. I think the more narrow tire cuts down to the ground more easily and you aren't pushing 4" of snow with every tire revolution. This makes for some exhausting riding!

My tracks vs some narrow ones

   Where I have noticed the advantage is packed trails with snow on them. I had a chance to ride a couple days after a storm on Hall, and that was much different.

Loading up at Hall

   At hall, the snow had been walked and ridden on by other trail users, so it was different conditions. On a normal bike, I think this would have been miserable. The narrow tires would have cut through the crust and killed momentum. On the fat bike, with moderate tire pressure, I floated over the top pretty easily.
   I guess I haven't really had that "AH HA!" moment with the bike, though. I expected to make it a great commuter, making quick work of snowy trails. It handles them fine, but no better and certainly not faster than a cross bike. The wide tires provide a lot of traction, and that is a fun and new way to ride, and I think that is the highest value of the bike.
   Now, since we just got nearly a foot in Boulder, I think tomorrow, when the trails are packed and crusty and impassable on a 2" tire, I'll be found on Betasso, meeting proper expectations for this bike!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

AnywhereBerlin Fat Cargo Bikes

   The weather is getting nicer, and we are starting to add up summer miles on the cargo bike. But check out these guys - they don't let winter slow them down one bit!


   Dual 26" fat wheels! For comparison, most cargo bikes (like mine) are 26 in the rear and 20 in the front, with a tire capacity of about 2.25". This thing is a cargo bike monster truck!
   Constructed by a group called Anywhere Berlin, they promote several applications for their cargo bikes: Expedition, Delivery, Agricultural, Recreational, etc. What we are looking at here is called Forget Roads, and for good reason:


  This bike is sure build for work! Take a look at the frame and you can see how it's constructed to haul a large load:


   There were a lot of pictures on the Facebook page, and their site sheds some more info on the subject, as well as their mission statement:

"Cargobikes are very usefull bikes - we all know. Endless applications are covered: delivery, familiy, shoping, transportation and fun. We @AnywhereBerlin take cargobikes to the next level:
Imagine everything you can do with cargobikes, but truely offroad. 2x26" fat wheels / two motors / 60x80cm cargo area / min. 100kgs load ... #forgetRoads and #goAnywhere with our bikes. #extendedplay on every little path on earth." (sic)

    Two motors, and boasting a 200+ capacity, this bike may not be a farmer's market cruiser like the Bullitt, it sure seems to have a place in utility applications. And what a parting shot they provided us with:

Ride on!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Road 1x?

   Browsing the bicycling subreddit the other day, came across this neat looking bike

Specialized Allex Sprint

   Not only is it cool looking, it's a 1x road system. This guy is running a 50t up front and an 11/36t cassette in the back. This system really relies on a wide ratio mountain bike cassette. That range sounds pretty radical, but lets look at the numbers:

50/34 = ratio of 1.4
34/28 = ratio of 1.2

Does that make a big difference? Well if I were riding in my 34/24ish, it would be about the same ratio. So I tried that and it was a fair bit more work, especially if you're really grinding uphill. If you are a stronger rider than me, or you aren't terribly into hills, this seems like a great solution for simplicity.

   But what do the masses think? Let's go to the lengthy ass comment section...

Ruh roh

   There are a lot of differing opinions out there. I would encourage you to look out for these set-up's, but you might not be able to easily recognize them. Carbon road 1x and Cyclocross 1x are remarkably similar looking, and with the infiltration of the market by disc brakes, it's even harder.

   One last nice shot of SRAM's offering here...

Sram 1x road system

   Wait a minute - are there two quick links? Thanks to sharp eyed BikeRumor reader Christopher for noticing that one...

To master links?

   In the future I think we'll be running chains that are only quick links. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Draw With Strava

   Or 'Drawva'. Combining two words like that is called a portmanteau, a linguistic blend of two words. There. Never let anyone say my blog isn't educational.
   Anyway, Stephen Lund over at gpsdoodles has taken digital street art to a new level. I'll let some of his work speak for itself:

T-Rex: 23.3 Miles, 1 Hour And 43 Minutes

Another T-Rex: 24.5 Miles, 1 Hour And 43 Minutes

Darth Vader: 28.8 Miles, 2 Hours And 17 Minutes

   The excavator below, if you look closely, is actually upside down on the map:

Little Digger

A giraffe

   His original doodle was a Happy New Year back in 2015. After a lot of positive feedback, he started drawing with GPS more and more. Interested in more? Check out the TEDx Talk Stephen did on the subject. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Friday WTF: Stationary Bicycle... Clothes Washer?

   All cyclists deal with the repeated washing of gear. What if you could combine cycling and keeping your clothes clean? Take a look at the BWM: The bicycle washing machine!

Stationary, revolutionary!

   What, you couldn't get an actual model for this shot? 

Her hair looks like a creeps arm around her shoulders

... and of course someone has to get on board with a DIY version:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Wall Hanging Tools - Now With More Hanging

   Garage project time. I had built a wall mount for hanging yard tools and such a few months ago. It was working fine, but at full capacity:

Existing tools rack

   What I needed was longer boards! or fewer tools. Longer boards were easier, so we went with that. Last time I laid the tools out so each had a spot. This time I made a bunch of spots and figured the tools could go wherever makes sense. On to the drilling and cutting:

Aftermath, complete with image error

   I used a 2 1/8" hole saw to cut a ton of holes, then a circular saw to cut slots to each hole. The tools will stay in the slots nice and snug.

Slot shape

 Here is what one new mount (bottom) and one old mount (top) look like together. Lots more space. 

Comparing the old and new

   And fully stocked with tools. The old mount was 6" deep, and this one is 8" deep, allowing me to put more than one tool in each slot. What efficiency! 

All wrapped up. 

   Next I'd like to have some kind of buckets below for smaller things like gloves and weed whacker string. Otherwise, much better solution for tool storage!

Friday, March 4, 2016

Friday WTF: Fan Powered Bike

    Thank you Google reverse image search for helping me with some info on this one... The project is brainchild of MIT student Damon Vander Lind. Cool feature: When the 7' propeller reaches 300 rpm it activates LED lights in the prop that create a psychedelic fan of doom effect. 

Fly on, you crazy diamond

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Evelyn Stevens Destroys the Hour Record

   The hour record is one of the most grueling efforts in cycling. How far can you ride in an hour? On a track... alone. Well, if you're Evelyn Stevens that number is 47.980 KM (29.8 miles). But I'm getting ahead of myself.

   The first hour was set by Frank Dodds in 1876. He rode 26.508 km (16.471 mi) on a freaking penny-farthing. Since then there have been various rule changes and updates, and like all things cycling, people take it very seriously. Now people are riding it on carbon fiber rocket race sleds.

Stevens' Specialized Shiv

   The previous women's record for the hour of 46.882 km was recently broken by Evelyn Stevens just a few days ago. For those of you (like me) who don't know, Stevens is a US cyclist with a list of accomplishments as long as the hour race is long.

Stevens in Olympic jersey

   Stevens took to the track in Colorado Springs in her attempt to break the record. The place was packed with supporters eager to see her ride, and boy they weren't disappointed. She killed it, riding just over 29mph. For an hour. For her effort she was rewarded with a new world record for distance ridden in an hour:

Evelyn and her record setting bike

   Read more about her on her site, Great job Evelyn!