To celebrate our 7th issue of Bike Hugger Magazine and it’s the time of year, we’re taking your contributions. Get them in quick because the deadline is December 6th at Midnight and this is one-time exclusive. If we pick your response, we’ll send you some sweet scwhag, including new gear we’re releasing in 2014.
Here’s the setup…
You’ve got Twitter IPO money, a billionaire’s war chest, and you can do whatever you want with it related to the bike. Like, construct a retractable roof over the I-90 floating bridge for when it rains all day in Seattle. Buy a rockstar bus and outfit it for Clydesdale master’s racing, or maybe develop an even more invisible helmet, or a better bolt-on electric wheel for fixies!
We’ll take a #bikewishlist tweet, G+ post with the hashtag, or Google Doc submission, but no hand-written notes please, cause there’s not enough time….
For your doc submission, send for 800 - 1,000 words and we’re editing the issue now.
Full speed ahead with Wired’s BMC custom Timemachine
This is a custom BMC Time Machine that Wired built up for the opening of their pop-up holiday retail store in NYC. After the pop up closes, Wired’s whip will get ridden around San Francisco at full speed with the Strava crew chasing. Then hung up on the wall with the other bikes they’ve built, like the ones I showed you with Glass in this video.
See more about BMC’s bikes from this Summer, when we visited their Test Center in Park City.
As I wrote in October, “4 years after lighting up the switches on all the design blogs, the Copenhagen Wheel is coming to market and another wheel that looks just like it called the FlyKly.” Today, Super Pedestrian, the company that licensed MIT’s tech to make the bolt-on motorized wheel released this video showing it in action. Where FlyKly got their money from the crowd, Super Pedestrian did from investors and both companies are rushing to market.
Still amazed that what I thought was an interesting student design project made it to market. Two versions of it! One is red and the other white.
So was that an Amazon informercial on 60 minutes for a fantasy product before cyber Monday or can we expect to get bike parts delivered to our door by drones? Check back in a few years and remember that Bezos exclusively sold Segways (code named Ginger) on Amazon. Bezos and Kamen predicted personal transporters would change how cities were designed and cyclists like us rolled their eyes. Since 03, bikes have had more of an impact on moving people around cities, and Segways are for tourists, and mall security. However, a drone used to rush results from the official’s tent to 40+ Masters racers, so they can see where they finished quicker, sure!
In a media deja vu, we’ve been here before with Bezos and maybe he’ll realize Amazon can get products to shopper’s doors with bikes like this fast cargo instead of drones.
If skeptics are wrong; well, then fly them bike parts and Clip-n-Seals around town Bezos!
An important update to those fans that thought, F you and the Fat Bike you rode for Wired is this bike, lovingly just posted by Guitar Ted. My belief that fat bikes needed to go faster freaked the fans out who mistakenly believe they’re supposed to go slow.
Don’t get me wrong; riding in the snow is a hoot, because, well, you’re riding in snow. But trudging along at less than 10 mph wears thin after 45 minutes. Snow biking feels like a sport that hasn’t figured out what it wants to do yet, much like mountain biking in the days when crazy Californians bombed down Mount Tam on bikes they’d built themselves.
I concluded the Wired article with this note
People made the same complaints about mountain biking back in the day, and look where the sport’s gone. The same thing could happen to snow biking as another generation of builders and tinkerers pushes this budding sport forward
and now that builders are figuring out what they want to do with these bikes, go ride one everywhere. We did, had fun, and will again, like we did this Summer on a Fatboy.
The Hutchinson Sectors are best described as like putting radial, all-season tires on your sports car that’ll last 80,000 miles and probably not flat. Ride these on gravel, poor roads, and appreciate the bounce in the sidewall. For a commute, or road miles, choose the Intensives instead because they won’t pogo you down the road. I’m running the reinforced Intensives with the Reynolds for the pavement and maintained gravel, not forest roads or primitive conditions. When I rode with Reba this summer in rocks and dirt, where gravel is used to patch the severely washboarded road, these are the tires I wanted because they are dependable and tubeless. If there was ever a niche of a niche for a bike product to succeed in, it’s adventure riding where you don’t want to stop repeatedly for pinch flats.
For the particulars, though these tires say “28” they measure 27mm on Easton’s’ 24-25mm rims. IE, on Shimano rims (20mm) they’d measure 25mm at most. The EA90XD rims (wider than their road tubeless) are pumping up the volume. The tires look huge on the Eastons and while we set these wheels up for off-road they are the 11-speed, disc road wheel cyclists have been expecting. It took 2 months for a demo pair to get to us because of demand and they compete with Hed’s new tubeless, disc wheel that we want to ride too.
As I said about the Reynolds with clinchers, we don’t race tubeless in the Pacific Northwest course conditions, but you certainly could and the EA90XDs are a race-ready wheelset. Easton is marketing them for Cross, but we’ll take the easy to work on, bombproof design, and $900.00 price point for our next off-road adventure.
They’ll work on your bike and sell you gear on sale today
Stop by your local bike shop for deals in store, like Elliott Bay Bicycles downtown and Cycle University in West Seattle. Online, check our recommendations from Amazon’s vast selection of cycling gear, including merino wool from Ibex, lights from Knog and our popular Purist bottles.
For the cyclist, this statement might not mean anything, but for cycling bloggers, this is very important. SLR cameras, the mainstay of photography since at least World War II, are about to vanish from the earth, replaced by something newer and (eventually) better.
Just as technologies like road disc brakes and ‘cross-specific groups herald big changes in the the way we connect with our sport, changes in gear have huge implications on how we cover things and how we present the cycling world.
A few products we’ve looked at recently show how very, very close we are to seeing a major shift in the gear we use to capture our sport, and how pros take pictures.
We’re not talking about the camera phone. We love the images that come from a smartphone, but we’re still way, way off from an era in which a phone can provide manual control over aperture and shutter speed and provide us with a variety of high-quality focal lengths to shoot from.
Instead there’s a big shift happening in the way a camera works, brought on by what’s called “mirrorless” cameras. Instead of using a mirror and an optical viewfinder (as do single lens reflex cameras) a mirrorless system uses just the LCD screen and/or an electronic viewfinder to compose an image and does away with the large mirror that’s in the heart of all SLR cameras.
The result is a camera that can be much smaller and much lighter. At first mirrorless cameras couldn’t come close to the image quality or performance of pro SLRs because systems like the popular Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds cameras are based around a much smaller sensor and the original cameras weren’t as powerful (from a processor standpoint) to be used in fast-paced situations.
For most of the entry-level cameras that’s still the case but we’ve recently been playing with a camera from Sony (and writing about another one from Canon) that are changing the playing field while we’re trying to stand on it.
One of my clients is Imaging-Resource.com, for whom I do camera reviews. I’m currently looking at the Sony a7r for them, a miraculous camera that packs a full frame 36 megapixel sensor into a body that’s small enough to fit into my jacket pocket.
The Sony proves that it’s possible to take all of the electronics of something like a Nikon D800 and put it in a body that’s a fraction of the size. It’s as if Sony just said “I dare you.”
To take advantage of the new full-frame Alpha bodies Sony have had to also release a new line of lenses to take advantage of the compact body without having to crop the image. Unlike many of the more traditional camera companies, Sony has nothing to lose by creating a new lens standard.
I’ve been testing the camera with a Carl Zeiss lens and the results are as good as anything that comes from my pro system. If I only shot weddings, I’d have just sold all my gear and switched over. The average wedding shooter has two bodies on them and a utility-belt of lenses. The weight savings for that type of shoot could be upwards of 20 pounds.
The a7r isn’t the best camera for sports, as I found when shooting the Supercross race in Stony Point, New York. Because it’s such a big sensor there’s a bit of a lag between images and the autofocus isn’t quite as successful at tracking an image. (The little-brother a7, which I’ll be reviewing shorty has about 10 million fewer pixels and is more “performance” oriented, and would likely make a better sports body. I’ll report on that after I’ve played with it.)
But the images are mind-blowing. At their full resolution they’re full of detail that’s just not possible from other mirroless cameras in the same form factor.
Here is the gallery of images from a part of that shoot. (I left in a good sampling of images where the focus is not quite right by way of example. If you’d like to see more of the Sony Alpha shots that show off what this camera can do with more still targets, check out this gallery.)
The other advance that’s poised to change photography is found in the Canon 70d, a body that uses a special autofocus technology that puts a powerful phase detection sensor at every chip. For non-gearheads that means that a mirrorless camera with Canon’s technology can perform as fast as an SLR without the need of a mirror and a separate autofoucs chip.
Right now Canon have only put it into an SLR body, but the next logical step is to move it into something that eliminates the mirror and cuts the size of the body in half.
For the Bike Hugger staff this is sort of technological jump is massive because the amount fun had on a bike ride is inversely proportional to the weight of camera gear transported by the rider.
We’ve often switched technologies in order to get more with less. Recently Byron agonized over camera gear purchases for an overseas trip because each ounce of camera gear meant a bit less bike or computer gear on the flight. The solution was to ditch the SLR on a particular trip and to shoot with the iPhone, but this new technological jump allows us to take the camera gear for the high-res artistic shot and still make our weight allowances.
I’m predicting that within the next two years either Nikon or Canon will have come to market with a pro-level mirrorless camera and a new modified lens system, and Sony will have released a few new bodies optimized for the top-end pros as well.
One thing that will be interesting to see is how the brinksmanship of a bike race’s photo pool shakes out during this transition. At most sporting event’s there’s a bit of “mine is bigger than yours” mentality when it comes to gear. Guys with an entry-level SLR aren’t taken as seriously by a lot of shooters because they don’t have the expensive, heavy gear.
In any case, photographic technology is changing and it’s going to bring a world of options to the lifestyle blogger and to the Bike Hugger staff.