Chris King debuts XD-cassette compatible hubs and bodies

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by Mark V on Apr 07, 2014 at 6:28 PM

King ISO XD hub

Chris King has long been the most coveted ‘Merican hub builder, particularly for mountain bikes. Their RingDrive cassette body is fairly unique in design as well as being in no small small measure sonically irritating. Frankly, I hated King hubs on road bikes, where long coasting descents on King hubs are like being serenaded by squalling infant cyborgs genetically crossed with deep sea fishing reels. But on mtb, the RingDrive’s instant hook up is deeply satisfying while offroad riding’s rhythm is too busy to give the hubs a chance to be audibly annoying. Too bad King was slow to get on the band wagon for SRAM’s breakout 1x11 drivetrain. Their innovative 10-42T 11sp cassette requires a special, “XD” cassette body, and the RingDrive design apparently wasn’t easily adapted to XD configuration.

Well, King fixed that. Their popular “ISO” disc hubs will be available with the option of an XD-compatible RingDrive drive shell (ie cassette body). And if you’ve already invested in some premium King hubs, you’ll be extra excited to find out that King will be offering the XD drive shell as an aftermarket kit to retro fit your existing ISO rear hub. The kit includes all the necessary bearings to fit. It’s a little confusing, but make sure you order the full “conversion kit” if you are retrofitting, since apparently there are 2-3 different XD drive shell SKU’s that are available for servicing the hubs. You will need the King RingDrive tool to do the conversion, so probably count on having an experienced LBS do the work unless you already own the rather expensive King tool.

King XD RingDrive kit

If you’re used to the bike industry’s press releases, then you’d probably assume that any product availability date is going to be “soft”, but as the bike shop’s hard goods buyer for over ten years, I have faith in whatever date Chris King gives. So I was quite surprised that King said May 1 for availability. You can pre-order ISO XD hubs or XD RingDrive conversion kits right now through your local bike shop. In fact, I just ordered a conversion kit for my own hub. If you are buying a new hub, the XD-compatible hubs are available in all the ISO’s current axle options: 135-QR, 10x135 thru, 12x135 thru, 12x142 thru, 12x150 thru, 12x157 thru. A complete ISO XD rear hub (12x142 thru-axle) weighs 331gr, and hubs are offered in all nine anodized colours.

King XD RingDrive schematic

King hub service tool

You gotta give King credit for looking to give existing hub owners the option of upgrading their hubs. It’s indicative of their company philosophy in making hubs and headsets that represent an enduring investment in quality. On one hand, that approach does make King a bit slow to respond to industry trends, but you know when they do roll out new product that it will be great.

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Rode to the Glass Explorer Run

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by Byron on Apr 07, 2014 at 9:37 AM

Wearable on a Foldable

Wearable on a Foldable

Rode over to Greenlake and spent Saturday morning with Google Glass. Tried on new hardware from the Titanium Collection, chatted with Explorers who ran with Glass and Strava, and took some photos. Also visited their event in SoDo Park, where Glass was being demo’d.

Tonight there’s a Happy Hour and then later this week Developer Office Hours.

Explorers running with Strava Run

Explorers running with Strava Run

Follow Google Glass to learn if they’re coming to a city near you and see their early prototypes in this album from the event on G+. For my take on Google’s wearable, read the Wired feature I wrote last year.

Protos

Protos

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Iterating the Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll

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by Byron on Apr 05, 2014 at 8:48 AM

Sized just right

Sized just right

A tool roll doesn’t strap to your bike. It goes in your jersey pocket with you and carries just what you need. I’ve been riding with the shipping version of ours since the Fall. Three things drove the project: not being able to keep track of saddle bags across a small fleet of bikes, having to spill the contents of a saddle bag out onto the ground to get a co2/inflator out of it, and ruining shorts rubbing against large saddle bags. We iterated several versions for about 6 months. Before that we studied what was on the market, including the bags Thompson seatposts ship in; and rolls made for mechanics, motorcyclists, and cooks.

too thick

Opened and set on a saddle, the pockets were right, but this version was too thick

The first iteration was made from salvaged Filson’s duck cloth and had all the features, a retro feel, but was much too thick. Another iteration was made with Cordura and again too thick. A few had stylish rivets that pulled on the, just-right, thin - and-durable waxed canvas. After announcing the roll was ready to ship, Jeff Beltramini bought one and tweeted

and that sums it up well: stop ruining spendy bib shorts, rubbing against saddle bags.

The Waxed Canvas Hugga Toll Roll is available in limited quantities, as a one-time exclusive, and cost $40.00. They’re handmade in Seattle. We made them first for us and liked them so much, we made a few more for you.

Get them while you can and see more iterations on G+.

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Waxed Canvas Hugga Tool Roll

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by Byron on Apr 04, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Hugga Tool Roll

12” x 6” c ~ .05”

Our Waxed Canvas Hugga Tool Roll is available now in limited quantities. We had these made for ourselves and then decided to make a few more for you too, as a one-time exclusive. It took us months of prototyping, trial and error, until we liked this version the best.

They are designed and made in Seattle. The color is Reddish Orange like a Safety Cone and you can buy them now on Amazon for $40.00, while they last.

Tool Roll Compacto

Durable material and closure

The biggest selling point is the roll goes with you, not with the bike; a convenience for cyclists with multiple bikes. Also, large saddle bags rub our shorts the wrong way, leaving holes. While the compact bags are too tight to get out, what you need with removing it from the rails of your saddle.

Sized for the jersey pocket

Sized to fit in a jersey pocket

You may have seen us post the various prototypes last Summer, about 6 of them, and this is the version I’ve been riding with since the winter. Three things drove the project: not being able to keep track of saddle bags across a small fleet of bikes, having to spill the contents of a bag out on the ground to get a co2 out of it, and ruining shorts rubbing against saddle bags.

More photos are on G+.

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Amazballed in a Book!

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by Byron on Apr 04, 2014 at 11:57 AM

New book with me in it

On the shelf

A new book on the shelf at Hugga HQ is Transformations: Stories of Success from Authors, Innovators, and Small Businesses Thriving on Amazon and I’m in it! Best part about that is I didn’t have to write it, like the blogging one I did. It’s the Clip-n-Seal story summarized after several interviews with me and included with other business that have grown and succeeded with Fulfillment by Amazon. This past Holiday season, Amazon featured Clip-n-Seals on their homepage for about 5 weeks. That experience my friend Kevin Tamura called being Amazballed, like getting Fireballed by Gruber, or Slashdotted. The phenomena ebbs with this book and what’s important is if you’ve got a product, you can sell it too with FBA, like State Bicycles and other merchants.

amazballed inside

Inside the book

The parent company of Bike Hugger, Textura Design, designed Clip-n-Seals in Seattle and manufactures them in Yakima, Wa. Transformations: Stories of Success from Authors, Innovators, and Small Businesses Thriving on Amazon is a free download for Kindle. If you want to try what we think is the best sealing device ever made and a best seller, Clip-n-Seals ship with Prime from warehouses all over the US and Canada to you.

sealing up coffee on the road

Wanted to keep coffee and chips fresh

The idea for them started over a decade ago, when I wanted to keep my coffee fresh on road trips to bike races and tours. Never expected they’d end up in space or on the homepage of Amazon.

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Selle Anatomica: Saddles Made in the USA

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by Byron on Apr 03, 2014 at 11:56 AM


When Chunkyflyrite emailed, “saddles made in the USA.” I replied, “you’re a liar.” Then, what? And, “I had NO idea that ANY saddle was made in the States.” Well, Chunky is a good guy, not a liar, and yep Selle Anatomicas are made here in the States.

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Tour of Flanders: Iconic, A Monument

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by Byron on Apr 03, 2014 at 9:18 AM

Flanders collage

Devolder collage

As Patrick said to me…

The thing about Flanders is that it’s all about short steep hills, enough of them that one finally breaks you. We’ve all ridden up hills over and over. Flanders is hill repeats until you can’t do them any more and you break.

Stijl Devolder in the Belgian National Champ’s kit rolling to the finish alone in 08 is one of those gladiator moments during Flanders we’re watching for, over those bergs.

In Kent, just south of Seattle, is the Graveyard Berg, it’s like the bergs (hills) in Flanders; at least that’s what we think, when we race over it during lunch rides and the weekends.


The grainy video is from our archives and here’s a screen capture from a street view of the area. Make it to the St. Patrick Cemetery entrance with the group and you did good.

Berg from Google

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Windows 8.1 and Lumia Updates

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by Byron on Apr 02, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Rolling

Rolling the Strip with Terns and Nokias

Lots of tech news today from a new set top box from Amazon to Windows 8.1. We’ve been shooting mobile with Lumias since CES and during SXSW, like this view of the Strip, and Austin, and will update as soon as 8.1 drops.

In Austin

In Austin

New camera features includes easier access and a simplified interface to Nokia Camera. Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon owners will get access to Dolby Surround Sound capturing thanks to their innovative array of 4 onboard microphones. The Nokia Creative Studio and Nokia Storyteller has a new rev too.

See more Lumia photos in these galleries and we’ll have much more to upload, as we get back on the road at Sea Otter.

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UCI: Fatbikes in Winter Olympics, Banned from MTB Races

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by Mark V on Apr 01, 2014 at 1:07 AM

April Fool’s Fun from Bike Hugger

In a controversial move, the UCI Technical Committee in Switzerland has proposed to limit tyre widths within UCI-sanctioned mtb races to 3.0” or less. Though this effectively bans “fatbikes” (bikes/frames with tyres in the 3.8-5.0” range) from the premier World Cup mtb series as well as a host of smaller races both in N America and abroad, officials explained that this is a strategic move in a long haul push to bring cycling to the Winter Olympics. Andre Kowalski, vice head of UCI’s technical development, asserted that the surest way to bring cycling to the Winter Olympics was to bring a competition format that was clearly defined as a winter sport. “By defining fatbikes as ‘snow bikes’, the sport gains credibility in the Winter Olympics”. In other words, by banning fatbikes from mtb’s traditionally summer season of racing, fatbikes become a legitimate winter sport.

The sheer number of sporting disciplines incorporated into the current, bloated schedule of the Summer Games precludes the addition of any more cycling events. In fact, track racing events (velodrome) have been reduced several times over the past decade and a half in order to make room for mountainbike racing and then BMX. The IOC has made it clear that the overall number of cycling events in the Summer Games will not be increased in the foreseeable future; hence the UCI move to promoting cycling in the Winter Games. Though cyclocross is a traditionally fall/winter sport with a hundred years of history, it lacks the strong association with snow or ice, which is pretty much the only requirement for sports in the Winter Games. Fatbike racing, in a move that parallels snowboarding’s move from fringe sport to center stage, is poised to leap ahead.

Fatbikes, which have been around in some form or another since the late-1980s, have exploded upon the consumer market recently, with new fatbike-specific products dominating media coverage at all the tradeshows this year. At the Taipei Bike Show, many observers remarked that if it weren’t for products aimed at the emerging “road disc” segment, there would literally be nothing else to talk about besides carbon fibre fatbikes and fatbike products. Doug Lareaux, founder and principle designer with PhatPhiber, was overwhelmed by the attention garnered by carbon fibre fatbike rims. “The three weeks of product development were completely vindicated by the media interest. It’s almost like any rim that was wider than 80mm and vaguely round could sell.”

Not all fatbike proponents welcome the UCI stance, however. Earl Simmons, club president of the Twin Cities Fatties, lamented the focus on competition. Simmons feels that while the attention fatbikes would receive as an Olympic sport would go a long ways to bringing these machines to places previously not known as bicycle-centric cultures, promoting fatbikes through racing will only limit their real appeal. “Racing is all about high performance and competition, two things that have nothing to do with the true spirit of fatbikes.” Having fun while going slow shouldn’t be limited to the time of the year that skinny bikes can’t be ridden.

With the Sochi Olympics having just finished, there is not enough time before the next Winter Olympics in Pyeongchan (South Korea) to complete the approval process, but the 2022 Games are very much on the table. With fatbikes expected to continue exponential growth for the next eight years, the excitement should reach fever pitch right on time for some chilly racing.

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Cycle-Series Continua

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by Byron on Mar 31, 2014 at 8:38 AM


An art show wished I’d seen and missed here in Seattle. Heard about it too late, but it was Cycle-Series Continua

is a set of referential, reverential, and narrative sculptures, composed from bicycle parts and afflatus which echo ideas from a diverse selection of influences to express anguish, pay homage, focus (or diffuse) opinion, and to simply explore. Steve is a multidisciplinary engineer, designer, and builder with scores of interests, including enduring enthusiasm for bicycles.

Of those sculptures, the Aluminati interests me the most; especially from the visual arts

Aluminati began as an all-aluminum bike project and evolved into a conspiratorial 35mm film viewer for an old and perhaps arbitrary reel of “Ed Sullivan in Moscow”. A rare Peugeot Comete aluminum bicycle frame (sans decals) is fitted with a variety of bike parts per a primary quest for maximum aluminum, and a secondary quest for French parts (though parts from Japan, Italy, Spain are involved). Aluminum bike seats aren’t readily available, so the one here is OIXIO-hewn by axe/grinder/file from a sheet of 1/8” aluminum, and mounted on titanium rails. 24” aluminum 35mm-film reels (by General Devices & Eng. Co., Hollywood, California) are modified as quick-release bike wheels, the rear having a six-speed freewheel. Film threads through an OIXIO-hack-machined viewer head and over five film guides from front to rear wheels, and motion is powered via the Stronglite 93 cranks [Is that an inverted pentagram?]. A solar- recharged battery that is concealed by a reverent plate powers the viewer LED light.

Aluminati

Aluminati

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