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Tag Archive: Interbike

Book Review: Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History

Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History fills in the gaps on how the awesomeness that is the bicycle came to be.

Up-front confession: this book was not featured (so far as we know) at Interbike!

However, it DOES chronicle pretty much all the innovations throughout bicycling history, so rest assured that the predecessors to many of the “new” things there are mentioned in it!

Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History is by Tony Hadland and Hans-Erhard Lessing, and in the authors’ words seeks to fill the neglected gap addressing the technical aspects of the history of the bicycle. It starts out with… well, actually it starts out with ice skating and wheelbarrows… but it quickly moves on to velocipedes and draisines, the predecessors of the bicycle.

Another confession: I haven’t read the whole thing. I did read all the bits about velocipedes and high-wheel bikes and wire wheels and the development of the safety bicycle (aka a bike having 2 wheels of the same size), but after that concluded that this wasn’t really meant to be read straight through – and yeah, it took me a bit longer to figure that out than it might take most people, but what can I say… I’m a bit of a bike nerd!

 

Apparently we should call these draisines!

So after some deliberation, I’d consider this more of a reference book: the next time you wonder, “when WAS the first bamboo frame made?” rest assured that this is the place you can find that answer! (page 178: 1890’s, patented in 1896. Calfee wasn’t exactly the first!).

The first 5 chapters of the book detail the history up to the invention of the diamond-frame steel bicycle. After that point, it diverges into chapters on different aspects of bikes, such as transmission, braking, and lighting. It also – at the end – includes specific sections on “racing” bicycles and mountain bikes, folding bikes, and military bikes (an interesting chapter!).

Overall this is a very informative book, and I say kudos should go to the authors for assembling all of the information in a scholarly fashion, complete with TONS of references at the back (if anyone out there needs to write a term paper on anything about bicycles, this should be your starting point!).

My one minor (major?) complaint about it is that it reminds me of several of my history classes in high school. How so? No, not because I fell asleep… I like history, and this book is written pretty well, so I didn’t do that during either high school or while reading this! It’s because in high school I had several years of history classes where we spent a ton of time on something early in the semester… and then gradually less and less time per topic, until by the end we rushed through the 1960’s on in only a couple weeks (I don’t think I had a history class that ever made it to the decade we were in!). Bicycle Design reminds me of this: it spends a lot of time on early development, but we get to the end and there are a scant 10 pages on mountain bikes. Two paragraphs on disc brakes. Two pages on suspension. Etc. etc. Yes, these are relatively recent in the scheme of things – but they’re BIG things right now, they involve some pretty neat increases in bicycle capabilities, and they deserve to be included… not lumped together in a hash that includes everything from the 1970’s til now in a handful of paragraphs.

Gripes regarding recent history aside, this is something every serious bicyclist should at least flip through sooner or later. I highly doubt many people (apart from the authors) have a good grip on all of the developments mentioned in its pages, so you’re guaranteed to learn something (and probably something interesting!). At $20-something on Amazon (for a nice hardcover), it’s definitely worth picking up for the coffee table, or for the bike-themed coffee shop, or for the bike shop, or for a stocking stuffer, if Santa’s real nice and someone you know has a stocking that can accommodate a 564-page volume.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

 

Interbike 2013: New Motiv Shadow E-Bike

Remember those Motiv e-bike spy photos we showed you a couple weeks ago? Well, we got to try the new Motiv Shadow out in person at the e-bike paddock just outside the Mandalay Bay Convention Center.

Motiv’s goal is to produce a pedal-assist e-bike that is a bit more stylish than other offerings, and we think they’ve succeeded — the Shadow takes many of its styling cues from the hot urban cycling market, including deep V wheels and color-matched decals, cable casings and other accessories.

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The Shadow will be available with the choice of three battery types: 36V, 36V Long Range, or a tire-smoking 48V. Those batteries are coupled to a rear hub 500 watt geared brushless motor. The bike was a blast around the paddock area!

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Motiv also had a dashing hot-pink e-cruiser for testing:
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Stay tuned for an upcoming detailed review of the Shadow; RL took delivery of a tester the other day and is enjoying zipping around the streets of SoCal as we speak!


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

Interbike 2013: Straight from the oddball files…

Interbike is always full of creativity, technological wonder, and a good bit of wackiness. This next product falls squarely into the latter camp. Meet the Spruzza:

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Spruzza (meaning “spray” or “mist” in Italian, depending who you ask) is basically a stem-mounted squirt gun that’s pointed at the rider. In theory, periodically spritzing yourself with this device helps keep you cooler on hot rides. Who doesn’t like the sound of staying cool on a sweltering day?

Got to hand it to the Spruzza folks — yes, this thing is nuts…but it is a creative solution nonetheless, and that is often how real advances occur in the cycling world. Another thumbs-up to their “guerrilla marketing” strategy; as Interbike show space is tremendously expensive, the Spruzza marketer just brought a big display box with him and buttonhooked people in the aisles for demonstrations. No floor space or expensive booth trappings required!

The Spruzza appears to come in enough colors to match almost any bike, and it only weighs about 200g. As ridiculous as many of you (and we) think this device may be, credit must go to Spruzza for making it about as stylish as possible…carbon-look plastics and colorful inserts:

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What do you think? Is this the next “killer component” that the cycling world has been waiting for?


Interbike 2013 Coverage Proudly Sponsored by Black Tiger Jerky
Black Tiger Jerky

Interbike 2013: To Vegas in one week!

The crew here at Bikecommuters.com is gearing up for our annual trip to North America’s largest bicycle tradeshow, Interbike! We’re planning on bringing you a ton of coverage from the show floor and beyond.

We’ve got a couple of things we’re on the lookout for…some emerging technologies and overall trends in bike commuting circles. But, as always, we’d like to ask YOU what you want to see: Have you heard of anything that you would like to learn more about? Particular vendors or brands you want to see? Please let us know in the comments below — your feedback helps us focus our efforts, and without that feedback, the show floor at Mandelay Bay can be pretty daunting, even for seasoned attendees.

We hope to hear from you. Rest assured, we’ll sniff out the cool, the groundbreaking, and the unabashedly weird while we’re in Las Vegas!

Interbike 2012: Simcoe and Bobbin

Simcoe and Bobbin had city style bikes on display at the show. Very elegant and equipped with lugged head tube and crowned forks.
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Though the head tube lugs were nice, I was hoping it would be all through out the frame.
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Simple, yet beautiful.
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A nice added touch to the fender.
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IGH, rear rack, wicker basket…beautiful.
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Roller brakes.
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…look! It’s a Brooks!
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Call me a girl or whatever, but I DIG…DIG…DIG step-thru frames. Ugh don’t even ask me how I feel about Mixte frames because I’ll go on and on about how much I love them.
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Who would have thought that brown would be so pretty.
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Again, a Brooks!
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Review: Planet Bike’s 25g CO2 refill twinpack

Mark from Planet Bike sent me some of their new 25g CO2 cartridge refills a couple weeks ago to try out. PB introduced the 25g cartridges at Interbike last year, and they were so popular that the company started selling twinpacks of them.

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Bike tires are getting bigger so our C02 inflation cartridges are rising to the challenge. Planet Bike’s new 25 gram threaded CO2 cartridge is the right tool for the job when it comes to 29ers and cross tires. It packs enough punch for two large volume tires. You can’t prevent the untimely flat, so you might as well be prepared to fix it fast. We offer the 25g CO2 in a single pack (with insulator sleeve) and in our new 2-pack!

• Our CO2 cartridges work in Planet Bike inflators as well as our competitors’ inflators
• Our CO2 cartridges are tested to the highest standards for durability, safety and reliability. They contain pure CO2 with no oils or contaminants
• 100% recyclable steel cartridges
• 25g CO2 Cartridge, quantity 2

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As PB states, these cartridges are suited for higher-volume tires…something I’m sure many of us commuters can appreciate. Here’s a comparison shot of the 25g cartridge next to a standard 16g unthreaded one (in the middle) and a “Copperhead” unthreaded 12g cartridge at the bottom. The 12g is currently my favored size because it fits completely inside my inflator, and because I can buy a 12-pack of them for about the cost of 2 16g ones (the 12g carts are sold for use in BB pistols). When you’re faced with filling a big tire like a cushy 38C touring tire, a DH monster or a fat ‘cross tire, 12g carts just aren’t going to do the trick.

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The inflator I use is a Genuine Innovations “Second Wind IH”…no longer available, but able to swallow threaded or unthreaded cartridges and also serving as a low-volume hand pump to get things started. I tested the PB 25g carts on my wife’s Electra shod with voluminous Schwalbe “Fat Frank” tires:

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Starting from a dead-flat tire, the Planet Bike 25g cart worked like a charm! I even had to stop to correct an escaping tube, bleeding off some pressure from the valve stem and reattaching my CO2 inflator “mid stream”. The 25g cartridge had plenty of oomph left to finish the job even after my screwup.

Before:
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After (the photo’s a bit deceptive, but the tube is at full riding pressure):
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So there you have it…need to fill a high-volume tire on the go? You could carry a handful of smaller cartridges or just one of these mini-SCUBA tanks from Planet Bike and be on your way in no time!

One word of caution, though: these cartridges get FROSTY in a hurry. Wear a glove or keep a spare piece of innertube in your saddlebag to cover the steel cartridge, or it will freeze to your bare hand.

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Looks like PB has another winner on their hands! A twinpack retails for about $21, so they’re not cheap, but they are competitively priced with other cartridges on the market. And remember, you only need one to get the job done.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

R.I.P Harry Montague

I saw on the Google Alert’s bicycling roundup that bicycle inventor Harry Montague passed away. That name may sound familiar to some of you, as we introduced the full-size folding Montague “Boston” bike on our trip to Interbike in 2009.

In the early 1980s, he turned his eye to bicycles. By adding hinges and hand-adjustable levers, he could fold a full-size mountain bike into the trunk of a car. Folded down, its dimensions were 36 inches wide, 30 inches tall and 12 inches deep. It weighed less than 30 pounds.

The traditional bicycle “has a perfect design that has been around since the turn of the century, but it’s too big for an urban setting,” Mr. Montague told The Washington Post in 1988. “My idea was to make a high-performance bicycle that can fit in a closet.”

Read the full obituary by visiting the Washington Post.

A Look Back at 2010

Well, whaddya know…only three weeks late with this one. What can we say — we’ve had a lot of stuff to report on!

2010 was a good year for the staff here at Bikecommuters.com. We got to test a lot of great products, we were able to attend a number of wonderful events and we met a few new faces in the bike-commuting community. Let’s take a look back at some of the highlights, shall we?

We got to test a pair of e-bikes in 2010, namely the OHM Cycles Urban XU700 and the Urbana Current. As the e-assist market and its attendant technologies mature, we’re going to see a lot more of these kinds of bikes in the commuting realm. A lot of folks are up in the air about bikes that offer electric assistance, but regardless of how you feel about them, they’re getting folks out of cars and onto two wheels, and these bikes are here to stay.

RL got his hands on the Soma Double Cross DC frameset to test…and it’s fair to say that he LOVES this frame. The frameset won one of our coveted Editor’s Choice awards at Interbike 2010. RL has ridden this bike in every conceivable condition, and it asks for more abuse. Good stuff!

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Speaking of Interbike 2010, that was my first trip to the big bike throwdown held in the Nevada desert. “Overwhelming” is the word I’d use if I had only one word to describe the experience. In addition to going to Interbike, I experienced a couple of personal “firsts” with the trip: first visit to the West Coast, first time seeing (and touching) the Pacific Ocean, and the first time I got to meet RL and Moe in person. Yep, you heard that right — while we’ve talked on the phone and emailed each other many times a day, I had never actually met them face-to-face. Needless to say, it was ten times better than I even hoped! We had a blast together and I look forward to traveling with them (and the great staff at our sister site Mtnbikeriders.com — Art, Khoa, Priscilla, Joe and all the others) again in the future.

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In our recurring commuter profiles, we got to meet Evan, Miriam (Miriam’s going to do some guest articles for us…stay tuned for the hilarity!), Peter, Hilary, Gene, Andrea, and John. Nice to see more women in the mix — you’re woefully underrepresented on too many bike blogs — and happy to learn more tips and tricks from all of our profilees. Thanks again, everyone, for submitting yourselves to the harsh light of Internet celebrity.

We dropped our old Facebook page and started a new “fan page” in 2010…and the thing grew like gangbusters! There’s some exclusive content over there, some interesting discussions and the occasional contest. If you are an FB user and haven’t done so, swing on over to our page and say howdy.

We printed up a run of t-shirts…our first tentative steps towards our goal as a bike-apparel juggernaut…and shirts are still available to order. You too could look like this:

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On a final, personal note, I was chosen as one of Ergon USA’s 2011 Ergon Commuter Team — one of 12 North American riders selected out of an applicant pool in the thousands. Thanks Ergon! I’ll be testing and reviewing a number of their commute-friendly products right here and also on our Facebook page.

Thanks for sharing 2010 with us, and we look forward to meeting more of you in 2011 and having some interesting conversations here. As gas prices keep rising, there are going to be a lot more folks ditching their cars and hopping on bicycles, and we should all welcome them with open arms!