Mad Fiber has been making waves in the wheel market of late. They showed up a the Amgen Tour of California to show off their new offering and a buzz has been following them ever since. I got a chance to spend the better part of an hour with Ric Hjertberg (the technologist) and Russ Riggins (the business guy) talking about what they have cooking in the vacated bakery space in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood.
At the center of this new product is a new approach. Traditionally, wheels have experienced a slow evolution as companies have targeted parts of the wheel to replace with better/faster/lighter materials. From Wood, to Steel, to Aluminum, to Carbon (and many others tucked in there), wheels have made incremental improvements as updates were made to the spoke, the rim, or the hub. Ric’s idea was that this piecemeal view is flawed. Instead he approached the wheel as an engineer and came up with: “What are loads and properties we are trying to solve for.” He and his team looked at the physics involved from point of view of an scientist and not a cyclist and arrived at the Mad Fiber wheel (the lead engineer is an aerospace guy - not a cycling guy). It’s not a carbon rim with carbon spokes and a carbon hub (which is already out there). Instead it’s a bonded, unified object that supports the tire, and from there distributes the load not just through traditional spokes, but across the wheel edge and the entire “system”. Of course they were constrained by some regulations specified by the UCI (e.g. 1cm spoke width max). What resulted was a complete wheel that is stronger than any other on the market against a static load, while weighing in at a hair over 1000g.
We’ve enjoyed the times we’ve ridden in London, hanging out with the LFGS crew. While there, we just found a pub to drink, eat, and play darts with AM – even saw a dude get a dart in the butt (it lodged in his chamois and he couldn’t shake it out), which was totally awesome.
Anyway, today, T Magazine reports on London’s Bike Cafes
Photo: Risa Sano
Despite the occasional suit-wearing office worker who wanders in for lunch, Look Mum No Hands functions as a kind of cyclists’ salon. Serious riders bring in expensive racing bikes for repairs; bike messengers sit in the attached courtyard fueling up with quinoa salads; and curious commuters lock up their bikes out front and come in to use the free Wi-Fi or study one of the giant cycling maps.
Certainly not a new idea, but servicing a growing demographic and a great location for Bike Snob to steal away and write another book. In our travels, we’ve visited One on One, Juan Pelota, and more. We’re back in London this Fall and we’ll check these new cafes.
What’s your local bike cafe or haunt?
As our readers know, we’ve got a wheel fetish and Ric Hjertberg in a lab coat with a set of prototypes gets our interest.
Full report is coming – Andrew got an hour with their team and returned in full-on engineering geek mode.