The Modal Bicycle Concept Explained


by Mark V on May 29, 2007 at 10:34 PM

The concept of the modal travel bike is to have a bike that is thoughtfully designed and equipped so that it could be run as a regular road bike or quickly converted into a single-speed road bike with minimal fuss and fit into an airline-friendly case for travel.

The S&S couplings allow the frame to separate into 2 pieces and fit into the travel case. The case just skims in under the airline surcharge. Once you put the frame in the case, you choose the “mode” of the bike and throw in the associated “modal” components.

The regular road mode would be ideal for cycling vacations when the itinerary is centered on cycling. Gonna ride the road to the sun in Hawaii? You’re gonna want all the gears.

But if you are going on a business trip to NYC or Berlin, you just want a bike that is quick and simple to build and pack. You might not have time to even leave city limits, assuming you knew where the best cycling route (which you probably don’t). Then you bring the bike in single-speed mode, and enjoy a quick break from tedious activites or enjoy freedom in new surroundings.

The core of the Modal Travel Bike is a frame with S&S couplings that is somewhat sporty in design. The modes are determined by which “modal” parts are added (chainrings, rear wheel, handlebar/lever, and chain). Packing the bike requires the same amount of disassembly as switching the modal parts, so you could use the bike as your everyday road bike while switching the bike to single-speed is the same operation as packing it: you are just tossing in a different set of parts for when you build the bike at you destination.

On the Bike Hugger Modal™ bike, I’m spec’ing vertical dropouts with a chain-tensioner for single-speed use, though my own bike by sycip has track dropouts that have a derailleur hanger. My dropouts make wheel changes awkward. However, my bike is not only fixed-gear compatible but also fully track legal if you removed the brakes. Byron will never run fixed, so I chose vertical dropouts for his bike. If we chose to develop this modal bike further, we will have to decide what type of dropout to use on a production basis.

I will be using a steel fork with lowrider mounts in place of the original carbon fork so that i can run front panniers and tour Japan. Thus, the fork is also a modal component.

My own bike has 4 handlebar sets:

  • drop bar with sti for road race/touring
  • drop bar with standard levers for fixed gear riding
  • drop bar clean for mass-start track riding
  • [aero and base bar for time trials (road fixed) or pursuits (track)](http://

2 hollowtech cranks (use same BB)

  • triple crank for touring
  • road crank for road racing with double rings or for track/fixed with single ring

2 rear wheels:

  • hugi 240 cassette hub for road race/touring
  • phil wood 130mm spaced track hub

2 forks:

  • carbon look fork
  • custom steel sycip for with lowrider mounts (chris king headsets make fork changes a clean operation since the bearings don’t fall out when you take the fork off)

2 sets of derailleurs:

  • Dura Ace double derailleurs for racing
  • Tiagra triple derailleurs for touring

2 chains

  • wipperman 10speed chain with masterlink
  • wipperman Weisstern track chain with masterlink

With the use of Ritchey Cable Splitters and multiple front brakes, I don’t need to tune derailleurs or replace cables when I convert the bike from one mode to another. It takes me a maximum of 30-40 minutes to convert the bike from one mode to another or to pack the bike. As a fixed gear, I have regularly packed the bike in 25 minutes and assembled it in 15 minutes. Granted, I’m a bicycle mechanic, but a halfway competent person should take no more than twice as long to do the same.

If it takes so little time to assemble the bike fully geared, why would one want to take it as a single-speed/fixed? Because the single-speed parts are stronger and less vulnerable to damage in transit. You never need to worry about something going wrong with a single-speed when you only have one afternoon to ride in some out there location. It’s easier to pack since there are less components to carefully arrange in the travel case, and the bike is quicker to assemble. A single-speed is just less to worry about, and having a bike on a trip should relieve stress rather than add to it.

I’ve got my bike so thought out that I only need 5 tools (single-use, not multi-tools) to assemble the bike in any configuration.

What would really make my modal concept perfect would be a true 144mm bcd track crank made to fit an external bearing bb like the shimano’s hollowtech. As it stands, I cannot use real track rings because dura ace crank is 130mm bcd.

Hello, sram corporation? wanna sell me one of those truvativ “omnium” track cranks? I’ll be your best friend! I need a 165mm crank, thank you very much.

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Team Bike Hugger at Mt. Hood


by Jason Swihart on May 29, 2007 at 2:30 PM

The Mt. Hood Cycling Classic 2007 starts tomorrow and Team Bike Hugger is already there getting ready, previewing the course, and strategizing. Follow their progress on our team blog, check the photos on Flickr, cheer them on, and wish them luck.

Bike Hugger Photostream

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7 Days Till Tokyo


by Mark V on May 28, 2007 at 11:08 PM

So I’ve just got one week left to get everything together for my big trip to Japan. My travel bike is fully decked out for touring now….except for the gearing.


Jeremy Sycip came through with the new fork with lowrider mounts, as well as powdercoating the Tubus Duo rack and the fork to match the frame. Touring wasn’t on my mind when I designed this bike. The bike is basically a track bike with 130mm rear spacing and a derailleur hanger to make it a road race bike. The fork allows me to load up the front with panniers since the rear drop outs don’t have eyelets.

I have to say that I like the weight distribution with the bags on the front rather than the rear like my Davidson road bike. Part of it has to be the lower center of gravity for the front racks.

As pictured, the bike has Ortlieb Sport-packer Classic panniers on the fork mount, an Ortlieb Ultimate 5 handlebar bag and an Ortlieb Bike Box 3 on the custom Davidson titanium seat post rack. I don’t think Bill is eager to make more of these racks, but it works awesome.

I rode the bike on Bainbridge Island as a shake-down run, and I don’t think that the compact double crank with a 12-27 cassette is going to be low enough. Much as I hate triples, I’ll be re-kitting the bike with Tiagra triple cranks and derailleurs hooked to the current right DA sti and Suntour downtube shifter.


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Love the Hugga


by Byron on May 28, 2007 at 7:47 AM

This came in from our contact form

Yesterday I met some wonderful individuals who really made my day. I was out for a bike ride with my girlfriend and I ended up popping a tire at the north end of Mercer Island. I was about to call my husband to pick me up when members of the Bike Hugger team kindly stopped and helped me out. Not only did they patch and pump my tire for me, they took the time to teach me how to do it in case it happens again in the future. It was so nice of them to stop their ride to help me out! THANK YOU!

It was our pleasure.

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BlackBottoms Argento shorts


by Byron on May 27, 2007 at 6:34 PM

W606_1.jpg Pam recently tested the BlackBottoms Argento shorts. The Argento is a women-specific short with a reflective panel for maximum visibility. Pam wore the Argentos during her commute and thought the reflective design is a great concept, especially when working late and leaving after the sun has gone down.

She thought the 4-way stretch-pad was comfortable and the short-cut leg fit her thighs just right.

Her only criticism was the material used for the shorts. For lack of better words, it was slick and plasticky. I noticed the blend BlackBottoms sent us (86% nylon/14%s pandex) is different than the blend they’re selling now (79% nylon 21%spandex) and that may account for the shininess.

If you’re riding at night, on dim-lit streets, the Argentos are a good choice.

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Bike Hugger Shirts back in stock


by Byron on May 27, 2007 at 7:49 AM

While the socks and jerseys are being made, we’ve got another order of shirts in and are well stocked. The Amazon inventory will update in a few days and they’re shipping now directly from us via PayPal.

Team Bike Hugger has got the shirts as well and selling them at races and their get togethers to raise money. Their next race is Mt Hood. Check the shirt action shot in this post.

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Bike Hugger Travel Bike


by Byron on May 26, 2007 at 7:36 AM

As per usual somebody’s nose was out of joint about the boy that had the bicycle off the London bridge road always riding up and down in front of her window. (James Joyce, Ulysess, Nausicaa, 16925)

Later this Fall, we’ll build up Bettie 2.0 and looking forward to it. This summer, in time for more travel, Mark V, Bill Davidson and bicycle experts at Elliott Bay Bicycles are working with us on the Bike Hugger Modal™, a travel bike.

Mark has traveled extensively on an S&S frame and is about to embark on a tour of Japan with one sweet set up. Bill has been building bikes for like a hundred years and I gave them some creative direction, the parameters I had in mind, and they’re going to design and build it.

Credit goes to Mark for conceptualizing a bike that’s at home in the city and out in the country on farm roads. The Modal is being built out a titanium with S&S couplings and the ability to quickly switch between gears and a single speed. More details, photos, videos, and of course travel to follow.

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Greg Lemond: How ya like me now!


by Byron on May 25, 2007 at 8:23 AM

I imagine Lemond is somewhere saying, “how ya like me now!” Portrayed as the bitter old champion, not given his due props, and the dude has been out saying all along that there were two speeds in the peloton: that he lost and left because he couldn’t keep up with the dopers. And this week, Zabel, Bolts admit doping. Today, Riis is expected to admit it – Musueew busted, who else? Don’t forget Lance’s contemporaries as well.


All this reminds me of the el dope penis graffiti you can catch a glimpse of during the mountain Stages of the Tour on OLN.

The sport is farcical now and it seems that bitter old man Lemond was right. He should be saying how ya like me now!


Tour winner Riis admits to doping

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Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous


by Mark V on May 24, 2007 at 8:04 PM

So late the other day a celebrity entertainer walked into my shop and bought a bicycle.

He was very subdued and polite, knew what he wanted, and was neither ostentatious nor stingy with his money. He simply wanted an inexpensive bike to use a few days while in town. I would hazard to guess that it was easier to buy a cheap bike and perhaps donate it rather than travel from city to city with his own equipment.

I knew who he was from the moment he walked in the door, though I kept it low key rather than announce to everyone his presence. I greeted him politely, and because I was already engaged with another customer I brought up someone else to attend to him. The other person did make a big deal of it, but that could hardly be controlled by me.

I helped him choose the appropriate tools to be self-sufficient in case of a flat, since he would need a 15mm wrench to remove the rear wheel of the single-speed bicycle. His humorous comment on the oddly named tool was the only time he let loose with his public persona. After that, I asked him politely if I could have a photo with him, and he obliged. Then he went off to a waiting, chauffered SUV.

So that is my celebrity story, provided as requested by others. I have little interest in providing names, and the fact that this man is a cycling enthusiast is already well documented elsewhere. The man was utterly polite and courteous, if he wanted to make a big commotion he would have. So I think I’ll keep it low key.

At times in the past I worked as a personal travel assistant to an entertainer. I have done several world tours, stood as extra security in dozens of autograph sessions, dealt with overly enthusiastic fans/stalkers. I’ve met prima donnas who need to always be at the center of attention, but I think most œcelebrities just want to do their thing. To be sure, most celebrities are not above using their position to get a little more customer service, but they probably aren’t looking to start a new fan club franchise every time they buy a cup of coffee.

So if you take anything from this, know that the rich and famous also enjoy cycling! Rejoice that the good life doesn’t have to be all Cristal and Louis Vuitton. The guy was a gentleman and a cycling enthusiast, and I hope he enjoyed Seattle’s brief sunshine.

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