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.