Dear God, what is that thing?
by Frank Steele on Jan 22, 2007 at 2:19 PM
treehugger | HyperBike: Hype or Hope?
Here at the Hugger, we love all kinds of bikes, and all kinds of riders: Low riders, tourists, commuters, racers, messengers. Even folks on trikes and those crazy MTV bikes from the ’80s where the rear wheel could pivot (what were those called?).
So it’s hard to harsh on somebody with something a little different. But the HyperBike reminds me of Mark Twain’s description of golf: It’s a good walk spoiled. Theoretically, it’s an attempt to take concepts from racing wheelchairs and upsize them to create a new kind of human-powered vehicle, one that uses hand as well as foot propulsion.
The HyperBike’s inventor has a working prototype and is looking for investors, so perhaps that excuses some of his more dubious marketing. He throws around 50 mph as an achievable speed, and says his bike will be better able to mix with car and truck traffic because its speed is closer to theirs. Unfortunately, in the demo video, we never see one exceed rest-home speeds. And each time the prototype approaches 5 mph, the outrigger wheel out front heads for the clouds until the rider (walker? prisoner?) slows back down. Maybe the production model will have wheelie bars…
Also posted to Gizmodo, where many of the readers point out problems with the design: absurdly high aerodynamic drag (compared to recumbents or uprights) and a size that requires secure parking – you can’t just lean it against the wall of an apartment or office.
The inventor is interviewed in today’s Hamptons Online. Maybe there’s more here than meets the eye, but I’m dubious.
Pretty custom rain bike
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 20, 2007 at 10:58 PM
I’ve already stated my preference for disc brake rain bikes. My Trek Portland is perfect for my needs of a training bike and longer-distance commuter. When I’m old and paid off college (and college for my kid(s)) I’ll probably be riding a custom steel bike. There’s nothing more comfortable for the money. A local guy — Brian Marcroft has gotten into building custom rain bikes and his efforts seem pretty solid. If you have the means and are in the market send him a note and support a local framebuilder.
Art at a glance Olympic Sculpture Park
by Byron on Jan 20, 2007 at 9:05 AM
SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park opens this weekend and it’s located on one of my favorite rides: Alki to Alaskan Way to Myrtle Edward’s, up to Magnolia, and back.
With the opening, Seattle commuters and cyclists have art a glance on their next ride.
Grey skies, Space Needle, freight trains, traffic, and a sculpture park – all seen during our ride to check out the Olympic Sculpture Park. More photos in the Photostream.
How we doin’?
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 19, 2007 at 4:23 PM
I barely got in 30 minutes on the trainer last night after nearly being derailed from my challenge to ride every day (damn dinner parties). How is the rest of the crew doing out there?
Photo of the day
by Frank Steele on Jan 19, 2007 at 1:42 PM
untitled, by ~Raymond.
The inexpensive center of the cycling universe
by Byron on Jan 18, 2007 at 8:02 AM
With a few Bike Hugger friends in Taiwan for business, I found Shut up and Drink the Kool-Aid’s post about the factory that manufactures Masi particularly interesting.
Last year, at Interbike I met the owner of a Taiwan-based company that makes the majority of bottle cages and the one that makes millions of kickstands and also saw lots of bikes that look like each other. Ironically, much like the automotive industry (is that new car pictured a Lexus, Chrysler or Mercedes?), design homogenization is bound to occur as an industry consolidates.
While low prices means more access to mass markets and sales (that’s Walmarts standard PR pitch), it also means less diversity and I also think that bodes well for the boutique, independent manufacturers that build unique bikes rather than spec a generic carbon frame. I’ll never forget when a former Raleigh employee told me that the box and packaging they ship a bike in costs more than the frame.
When we built up Bettie, we chose a well spec’d and built Surly frame and choice of components. I race on a Trek that’s made in USA and assembled with parts from Taiwan. I also train and tour on a handbuilt Davidson welded right here in Seattle.
I’m benefiting from a local independent builder, a USA manufacturer, and a combination of both. So the question today is, what’s better for the industry, an inexpensive we’ll spec’d frame or a unique handbuilt frame? Or is all well?
Cyclists Attacked in Portland
by Byron on Jan 18, 2007 at 7:56 AM
A reader altered us to the attack on cyclists and Bike Portland has posted about it. “Two cyclists said they were attacked by three teenagers near a north Portland bus stop on Wednesday.
Princeton Tec Dual 3W LED Review
by andrew_f_martin on Jan 17, 2007 at 4:55 PM
I posted earlier about how I love my new 3 Watt LED light. I do - I still love it, but Princeton Tec has sent me their soon to be released DOUBLE 3 Watt LED offering. 2 HAS to be better than 1 right?
The first thing you notice upon opening up the packaging (which is impressive in its own right) is that you get a TON OF STUFF! I don’t even know what to do with all the velcro, mounts, and cables they put in there. What if I go to Europe and need to charge my light: not a problem as they include the prong adapter!
When I first played with the light, it seems pretty bombproof. I guess you’d expect that from a company whose roots lie in creating SCUBA and mountaineering gear. While charging the battery, I got to work on mounting the headlight. The bar mount was simple - no issues there, but I wanted to use it as a helmet mount.
Despite all the attachment options they gave me I ended up going with zip-ties. I couldn’t get the velco to hold it tight/steady. The second thing I noticed was that the thing is up there. It’s such a svelte little light body, but the mount puts it a good 2 inches above the helmet like the webcam in that new Apple commercial (.mov link). It’s not heavy, but noticeable, so if I’m creating a mount I’d want it as close to the helmet as possible.
While I’m at it - another “nice to have”: when I have the light on my head and the battery in my rear pocket there’s nothing to keep the power cable in place - so maybe a little alligator clip on the cable or something to keep it on my collar?
Moving along to actually using the thing, well that was great. It puts out a good deal more light
than my existing 3 Watt LED. Not
overpowering light like the HIDs that can blind passers-by, but plenty to light a dimly-lit route. It offers a couple lesser settings that I used around dusk to make sure I was still seen, but I found them to be not enough when it got dark. That’s not an issue really as I was able to run it at full beam all the way home (~ an hour) and barely touched the battery. I left it on in my garage for hours after getting home and it was still going strong. I imagine their 6 hour claim on high is probably accurate. The strobe setting is a little weird because it wasn’t just a flash, but rather does a long followed by three short. I like using a strobe for getting seen in traffic, but this frequency pattern started to mess with my head. Also - when it comes to shifting light levels I have to find the button on my head with winter gloves on. An in-line button (maybe attached to my alligator clip?) would make that a ton easier.
The power on the high setting was noticeably brighter than my Light and Motion Vega
Of course it completely dwarfed the little Topeak Whitelite that I’ve used countless times to stumble home.
The last thing I noticed this morning: When I’m not in traffic, I like to use the iPod (a whole other debate goes here). The EMF generated by the light totally messed with the signal and made the volume cut out and spike. It didn’t however seem to have any effect my Heart Rate Monitor, probably because the cable was far enough away.
* Plenty of light (brighter on high than my 3W LED)
* Battery life is awesome
* Bombproof construction
* More accessories included than I’ll ever use
* Solid bar mount
* Helmet mount
* Blinking light sequence made me dizzy
* Button location when used as a helmet mount
* EMF Interferes with iPod
Overall - I think the Princeton Tec light system is great. I even took a quick detour on the ride home to go out and do some night-time cyclocross riding in the woods, it did just the trick. It works well for my commute and baring a couple minor points of improvement it’s just what I need.
Animal Encounters of the Bicycle Kind
by Byron on Jan 17, 2007 at 7:51 AM
Reading about chasing an owl on Bike Seattle, I remembered the animal encounters I’ve had on my bike
- Rode through the middle of a cow carcass during the Tour of Willamette
- Watched a crow fly through legendary mechanic Eamon Stanley’s rear wheel during our legendary ride to Snoqualmie Pass
- Avoided the squirrel that jumped up onto a fender, off a shoulder, and the back of my fellow riders
- Stopped to inspect a road kill badger (very cautiously cause badgers are mean)
- Seen enough dead possums to conclude they are the stupidest animal
- Rode over a seagull on Alki, felt really bad for about 32 seconds, until realizing there’s no shortage of seagulls (I also never liked that Jonathon Livingston Seagull novella)
- Slowed way down and rode really cautiously past a small moose during our tour of South East Alaska (a small moose means a big moose is nearby)
When I lived in the Tri-Cities and rode with the Chinook Cycling Club, there were three evil dogs that would actually wait for us. One of them near Finley WA, we could see hiding behind trees, clocking us patiently, and then would jump out barking, clawing, and snapping – that turned into a dog sprint like that scene in American Flyer. The second dangerous dog was on the road to Paterson WA. That bad boy you wouldn’t even see or hear until he was right up on you snapping at your heels. I learned to save enough on that ride to be ready when Mr. Vicious came out to play.
The most dangerous dog lived at the top of a climb on Clodfelter Road (from the Horse Heaven Hills course of old). Cresting the top of a leg-blowing climb, with your buddies trying to drop you, doesn’t leave much room for a dog sprint. That dog caught a few of us, was rewarded with a face full of water bottle spray, and I believe is responsible for a few nasty wrecks coming down the hill.
What animal encounters have you had on bike?
Best Bike Ever (we hope)
by Byron on Jan 17, 2007 at 7:38 AM
Win the best custom bike ever ever at the Handmade Bicycle Show being staged in San Jose, USA, in March. Nine legendary bike builders are collaborating on the one-of-kind bike and raffling it off. Given that’s 9 builders instead of one, I have to wonder if it’ll turn into a Monster Garage like mistake or work of combined genius?
My all-time fav custom bike is a Davidson. What’s yours?
Thanks to BikeBiz for the story.
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