Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Pro Concept XXL

   As I've mentioned before, I have a rich, boring history racing BMX. The last bike I raced was a Pro Concept XXL. When I raced this bike, it was cutting edge - 1 1/8" headset, threaded BB, long, stiff steel frame. Now all this stuff is standard, but 10 years ago, the bike was pretty neat.

Circa 2006

   I've looked for more information on Pro Concept, but the company went under shortly after I got mine, back in '06 the internet wasn't what it is today, so there wasn't a lot of documentation on this bike. Turns out my bike was the last of the dyeing (dieing? diiing?) breed. Up until then, Pro Concept focused on aluminum frames and were just starting to make steel frames. And then they made no frames.
   I found some info on a forum post from 2009 indicating the company only made a handful of the steel bikes - in mini and xxl - and sold them all on eBay. This tallies with my story as it was one of my first eBay purchases.
   While searching for info on my bike, I came across an interesting bike on BMXmuseum. BMX bikes with gears aren't unheard of, but definitely rare.

Pro Concept XXL - Overkill

   This bike is a love letter to everything we thought was cutting edge in the early 2000's. Shimano DX pedals, big 'ol machined chainwheel, long seatpost. 

Supercross Strongarm "bent" cranks

   It's hard to tell, but it looks like it is set up as a 3 speed. That makes sense, as you only have need for a small range of gears. Also note the disc brake AND brake booster for V brakes that aren't there.

Shimano Saint rear derailleur

   The triple clamp forks must have been stiffer than a double shot of Wild Turkey. These Bomber (and the Hanebrink counterpart) are top tier, adding unnecessary rigidity to an already short and stiff fork. Add it all up and you've got a bike that is pretty much my wet dream in 1998. 

Parting shot

Full build kit:
RACE FACE downhill chainring
SHIMANO DX race pedals
KORE front sealed hub
KORE 3 speed rear disc brake sealed hub
PEREGRINE forklifter handlebar
MAGURA MTS hydraulic disc brake caliper/lever setup
8" rear disc brake rotor
SHIMANO SAINT downhill derailleur
UNI SEAT w/ carbon post
TOKEN lock-on grips w/ ODI bar ends
PRO CONCEPT lhs chain tug

Friday, May 27, 2016

Friday WTF: Why Rim Wear is Important

   Rims can be used to the point of failure, lucky for this guy it happened during a tire change and not while moving:

   Learn more about rim wear here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cool Cargo Bike of the Week

  In the not too distant future, I'm going to be back on the cargo bike twice a week taking one of the kids to summer camp!

Hold on to your butts

I'm super excited, and celebrating by posting this really neat concept cargo bike. This is built as an urban cargo bike, something less cumbersome than a normal cargo bike, but still very versatile.

Neles Cargo Bike

   I came across this sweet piece of machinery on the Woman on a Wheel Blog, which I recommend you check out. This is a cargo bike by industrial design student Nele Dittmar, and unlike a lot of concept bikes, this one is not digital. It has two 20" wheels, and a fairly compact cargo area. This keeps the size down and the rear end short.

In action

   The most interesting and innovative part is the steering connection - not done by a piece of linkage like a Bullitt, but with a chain connection:

Chain driven steering

   What is neat about this is that it maintains the steering rake. What is confusing about this is how do you keep the chain tight? It is a half-link chain, so it has more adjustment than a standard chain. I still wonder how to keep it nice and tight for good steering without any sloppiness.
   Other details scream elegance, like the braze connection, leather details and tiny pieces of hardware. This is as much art as it is function. I think I need a cold shower.

Rear wheel details

   Speak German? Read more about the bike here.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Opencycle Up

   Since I started working on this post, I have been seeing ads for this bike popping up around, which is encouraging! Or creepy if you don't know how targeted advertising works. Capitalizing on the hot new gravel bike trend, the Opencycle Up super flexible road frame to fit all your adventure bike crazy needs.
   The first time I saw something like this was on r/bicycles. This is a 27.5" mountain bike set up with drop bars. When you stick on 2" tires, you have an outer diameter of about 700c.


   The issue with the above bike is that the geometry is mountain geometry with road parts, resulting in less than ideal handling. Opencycle built a bike with proper road geometry. The frame clearance allows you to run a 27.5" wheel with up to a 2.1" tire, or a 700c wheel with up to a 40c tire. 
   The Up, for Unbeaten Path, is an adventure bike, built as a quiver killer that can handle road, gravel and single track. The perfect bike for a Grinduro? You bet. 

The Opencycle Up

   What is the advantage of this? Versatility! The rims and frame allow for almost any tire selection. Thinner slicks for road riding all the way to 2" knobbies for an adventure, you're covered. They also allowed for more crank clearance by dropping the driveside chainstay:

Look at all that clearance. 

   The idea is not entirely unique - Cannondale sells the Slate, another adventure bike built around 27.5" wheels and with a locking short travel Lefty.


   The Opencycle Up. Not to be confused with up.opencycle, a windows server service. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday WTF: Train Jumping

   Nice shot modern...

   And vintage...

   Just a reminder that bikes have always been this awesome. 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

First CU Short Track of 2016

   Last night was the first CU short track race at Valmont, and it was a great one! The weather cooperated, there was a great turnout, and it was a fun course. Being the first race of the season, all classes were extra packed, with a strong showing by local juniors.

Starting line of the C's

   I raced B's and it was a full house with 26 finishers. It was an unconventional course as it was very short laps and we didn't cross onto the North side of the park at all. Lap times were about 2 1/2 minutes, and we completed 14 laps! We ended up racing for 34 minutes for some reason, but that was fins as I was feeling strong at the end of the race and eager to keep going.

Course map

   I ended up with a 5th, and am very happy with it. The race started fast, and there was a lot of shuffling around in the early laps. It was unusual for me to make late passes, but I caught a couple guys and it felt great to be the one doing the passing. 


   Bill and Aaron were in the A's with some stiff competition. Three guys went out early and stayed in front the whole race. The rest of the pack somewhat stayed together until the end when a couple crashes and some late efforts broke things apart.

Aaron at the start

Bill leading up a hill in the Glades

   Overall it was a great race, I can't wait for next week!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Has Science Gone Too Far?

   There is no shortage of people willing to do weird things with bikes, especially if they have a use in mind. The guys over at Rungu bikes have been solving problems with stability and traction in a pretty interesting way: The trike:


   The Rungu Kilimanjaro is the kind of bike that, when you first look at it, makes your brain go:

   Trike bicycles have been around forever, the most common with two wheels in the back. They are simple and effecient, if a little unsteady.

Standard trike

   With both wheels in the front, you get a little better handling, at the cost of increased complexity in the front end. The steering is handled with two headsets, and a piece of linkage than connects independent parts of handlebars:

Rungu steering

   The design reminds me of the CanAm Spyder. The front wheels steer together, so it's a pretty stable set up. In fact, the biggest advantage of this set up is stability at low speeds.

Can Am
   Like all good bike designs, this one also comes in a fat tire version, The Juggernaut:

Triple fat tire trike

   The stable platform makes it perfect for cruising around in the sand, in this case towing a surf board. Since balance isn't a big deal, you can just truck through the soft stuff.

   At 50+ pounds, it's certainly not light, but the claim is that is can not be stopped. At around $2,600, it's more reasonably priced than I expected. There is a good write up on the capabilities on GearJunkie if you're looking for more info on this monstrosity. In the mean time, look at this pic of a double Lefty that was on a Rungu forum:

This guy...

   had me scratching my head for a long time. Turns out it's a joke and he just has a wheel and Lefty leaned up against his bike to make people like me furious. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Giant Kid Carrier

   Spotted this cool mod on a recent trip to CA. This appears to be a Giant product, but I couldn't find much information about it other than some random pages. You can make any bike into a short Xtracycle for less than $50. 

Giant bicycle kid carrier

   It connects like a regular rack, but is well reinforced. There are also a set of BMX looking pegs for the passenger to keep their feet on. This is a really cool way to carry the kid without investing in a true long cycle ($$$). 

Foot rests

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Cool, Cheap Bike Rack

   The bicycling sub provides again. This fellow has a really interesting way of storing 3 bikes in a stacked fashion:

Wall rack

   Reminds me of this folding hanger thing for shirts:

As Seen On TV!

   As pointed out in the comments on the post, this system meets several needs: Cheap, easy, safe for the bikes. I have seen lots of variations on this wall hanging bike:

Wall mounted rack

    This is a elegant solution, but I always was concerned it would pull the rack out of the wall and drop the bike. Plus, these are costly. I really like the idea of having them angled out so they stack easier. Like stadium seating for bikes!

Monday, May 9, 2016

The Grinduro

   As we learned in the post about Drawing with Strava, a portmanteau is a linguistic blend of two words. Taking full advantage of this language trend is a new cycling activity: The Grinduro™. This is a mix between a gravel grinder and an enduro, apparently. Complete with it's own website, the discipline is taking off!


   What, you ask is a Grinduro™? As the name suggests, the format follows an enduro style, with short timed segments interspersed with longer time capped segments.

Official Grinduro™Logo

   Looking at the pictures, you could easily mistake this for a Fondo, a more casual ride. A large group of riders taking off up a hill, mixed gender and age.


   But woo ho, dear reader, check out this action:

Single track on the drop bars

   The event outline I looked at looks like a lot of fun: One big, 60 mile loop with about 7,500 feet of climbing. The whole loop is not timed, but four segments throughout are. Each timed segment is about 5-10 minutes. I am not sure how timing actually works; through timing chips or what. Here's an example of how the course shakes out:

Timed areas                   Untimed areas 

   I think this sounds awesome, and if one came to Boulder, I'd definitely enter. You could ride as a group, hitting the timed sections hard and regroup for the untimed areas. As pointed out in this article, bike selection would be paramount! Sure, a hard tail mountain bike might be miserable for the untimed sections, but if the timed section is a rolling single track, you'll wish you were on a mountain bike.
   Grinduro™seems like a perfect way to spend a day - get some racing in, and a good long ride! 

Friday, May 6, 2016

Friday WtF: Vintage BMX Ads

   When BMX was really coming on the scene, there was no shortage of period accurate advertisements to get you excited about tight pants, short shorts and low cut tops... and all on guys. 

   "World class." My question is - is the rider just sending a huge drop onto the flat? RIP ankles.

Mongoose bikes

   "Victory is Sweet." As sweet as those golden locks?

Pro Am frames

   Making a Paul Simon reference to the alternative crowd seems like doomed campaign.

Vans shoes

   "Be hot like Mongoose dudes Travis Chipres, Eric Rupe and Sam Arellano." ... next week on Miami Vice. Also, so many pastel shirts.

Mongoose bikes

   Who thinks this is appealing to potential buyers?

Robinson bikes

   On the other hand, sell it with affordability: "The price tag says semi-econo, but the ride says luxury."


   What is it with BMX and jumping cars? Luckily these days ads just have talented guys throwing huge tricks:

Geoff Slattery of United

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Cannondale CERV

   When it comes to concept bikes, Cannondale is no stranger to new designs. Heck, even their production bikes are often a little weird looking.

Cannondale Slice RS

   They have plenty of strange looking concept bikes, like this TT bike with some kind of rollerblade front wheel.

Cannondale Pong

   I stumbled across this on Gizmag the other day, and it's cool for a couple reasons. But first, check the bike out:

Cannondale CERV

   This is the CERV, which stands for Continuously Ergonomic Race Vehicle. It debuted at Eurobike in 2012. This thing is supposed to adapt the seating position to the terrain. The bars slide up and down depending if you're climbing or descending. 

   What I really like was seeing this prototype:


   I love seeing things mid way through development like this. Considering how complicated the final design was, it's neat to see something that is pretty hacked together.

X-ray shot

   Sadly, I could't find any shots of the bike in use, which makes me thing the above final version may only exist digitally, bummer.