Urban Velo

The Win Tunnel: To Beard or Not to Beard

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How aerodynamic is a beard? Specialized engineers use their wind tunnel to find the answer we’ve all been waiting for.

Hardbrakers – Live Fast Ride Faster

HARDBRAKERS – Live fast ride faster from Hardbrakers on Vimeo.

Nothing more than beautifully shot eye candy ride porn…and that’s ok with me. The dudes from Hardbrakers cruising around the streets of Hamburg.

9th Annual Seattle Bike-In Movies — August 16

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BikeIn_245_feature This Saturday on August 16th is the 9th Annual Seattle Bike-In at Cal Anderson Park on Capitol Hill, presented by the Northwest Film Forum and the Gigantic Bicycle Festival. Starting at 8pm take in eight bike-shorts and the feature length Premium Rush, free of charge.

2015 Bianchi Volpe Disc

2015 Bianchi Volpe Disc

Bianchi has updated their popular Volpe line of do-it-all cyclocross bikes with the 2015 Volpe Disc. The disc specific steel frame and fork has rack and fender mounts for versatility and ships with 35 mm tires, a 10-speed 50/34 double Tiagra drivetrain, and Hayes mechanical disc brakes. If disc brakes aren’t your thing the Volpe Classic has a triple drivetrain and cantilever brakes on a similar platform. See more of the 2015 sneak peak, including the new full carbon disc equipped Zolder cyclocross bike, from a Bianchi insider at www.stickboybike.com

YNOT Pan-Yay!


YNOT have been making solid bags for years now, and their new line is only an advancement on previous designs. They are launching the line on August 21st, through a Kickstarter campaign, and your pre-order contribution starts at $100 for Early Backers. As the video shows, the bags have a clever rack attachment system that is incredibly adjustable so that almost every style of rack is accommodated. They allow for easy attachment, removal and carrying, without needing to buy a brand specific rack system. Let’s hope the delivery on pre-orders is by the October 2014 date they have established.

If you’re in the Toronto area, they will be showcasing the line at a launch party on August 21st.

I Love Riding in the City – Rev. D. Ryan “Bubba” Sabine

revNAME: Rev. D. Ryan “Bubba” Sabine
LOCATION: Denton, TX
OCCUPATION: Rehab Therapy Tech

Where do you live and what’s it like riding in your city?
I live in Denton, TX, a smallish college town about 40 minutes north of Dallas. Denton is amazing to ride a bike in. There is a huge bike scene complete with social rides, booze n’ cruises, photovelos, and alley cat races. I lead a no-drop ride around town every Tuesday night that ends at our beautiful town square and I seriously owe so many of my good friends to riding bikes here. The amount of people who ride here is incredible and the motorists seem to give plenty of respect to us cyclists. All in all, Denton is small enough to ride everywhere with a big enough spirit to keep you plum silly with new events and friends to ride with.

What was your favorite city to ride in, and why?
I like taking the train to Dallas and chopping it up in the middle of Main St traffic. They aren’t quite as friendly to cyclists down there and I get a little giggle out of blowing past a bloated, big-haired Dallas socialite jabbering away on their cell phone while I sneak in front of him and just barely squeeze through the light and onward.

Why do you love riding in the city?
The flow of traffic, the burn in my legs, and the thrill of feeling like I’ve just gone a little too fast.

Or just say whatever you want about riding in the city… Poetry anyone?
la vida es mejor en bici

Surly Straggler Review

surly_straggler-1

Shortly after Surly introduced the Cross Check some fifteen years ago, someone chimed in that they wished for a disc brake option. After introducing a bunch of other bikes and “inventing” a category or two along the way, Surly took a sideways glance at their cyclocross bike and gave us the Straggler. It’s like the Cross Check with all of the same rack and fender braze-ons as the current generation, but different. Larger tire clearance, disc brake mounts and a new horizontal dropout design for either single speed or geared drivetrains. And it’s even heavier at 7 pounds for the frameset, give or take an ounce. This isn’t really a bike for someone counting the ounces of anything but their beverage of choice.

surly_straggler-5The Straggler excels at no single thing, but is capable of many. It’s a disc brake ‘cross bike erring towards adventure and utility rather than speed and lightweight. The Straggler has clearance for up to 44 mm wide tire with full fenders, and builds up with as standard components as you can get for a versatile bike that can evolve as your interests change. I decided on a mix of ‘cross and mountain components—a 46/36 crankset, 12-36 cassette, riser bars, top-mount shifters and hydraulic disc brakes—for an all day, all terrain city explorer capable of wherever an aimless ride may steer. It’s 26.5 lbs as pictured, but I didn’t put any thought into lightweight spec, and there are some easy places to trim.

Describing the ride isn’t full of superlatives—it’s well-worn cyclocross geometry tuned for larger tires, “monstercross” as some may have it. The chainstays remain short (430 mm on my 59 cm sample) even with the clearance for large tires, with the ride height kept in check by the 72 mm bottom bracket drop, yielding a very stable ride with smaller diameter road tires, and a bottom bracket height in the normal range with the largest tires that will fit. I’ve not had any issues with my wheel sliding forward in the dropouts even without using the included screw adjusters. It has never felt particularly fast, but it’s a stable ride—the Straggler goes where you point it and keeps at it. What it lacks in speed in makes up for in fun. Rip it through the woods today, bolt on racks and head out for a few day tour tomorrow, ride it to work again next week. About my only wish for the bike would be a third bottle mount under the downtube for when the going gets extra thirsty, and maybe a pump peg.

Over time I’m sure this build will change, and that’s part of the long term plan. Changing tires and dropping the derailleurs doesn’t take much time in the stand, and makes for an entirely different ride experience. There are a lot of parts combinations to build a super commuter or dirt road tourer or something in between on the Straggler platform. Just don’t mistake it for a cyclocross race bike or fast-guy road bike and you won’t be disappointed.

The Straggler frameset is available for $600 in a remarkable ten sizes, 42-64 cm, in either Glitter Dreams purple or Closet Black. Newly announced is the Straggler 650b, a similar flavor in the betweener wheel diameter in eight sizes including the smallest Surly yet, 38-58 cm.

image Second Opinions Count

Sarah Pearman rides her Surly Straggler for transportation, endurance road rides like the 375 mile Crush the Commonwealth, and occasionally on the local singletrack. She had some things to report.

Disc brakes on a road bike are a game changer, especially for me as a small-handed human who has had serious difficulties getting my past bikes to stop with road levers and cantilevers. Given the “standard” frame specs—English bottom bracket, 27.2 mm post, 135 mm rear spacing—I was able to build mine from parts I already had.

Most of my struggles with bikes are related to fit since I’m just barely tall enough to ride a 700c bike and hate toe overlap. The 46 cm Straggler manages not to have toe overlap up to a 32 mm slick tire, which is better than some tiny bikes, but anything larger and I find my frustration level rise.

That’s not to say it isn’t fun with big tires—I can fit skinny 29” mountain tires on it, but it’s even better now that I’ve realized I can fit my 650b mountain bike wheels. It fits a 2.1” up front without significant toe overlap, and 2.0” in the back, for serious monstercross activities. Surly read my mind and just announced the 650b Straggler, which seems like it might fit me even better out of the box.

Bicycle Part Thumb Piano


Hey, sometimes you can’t even GIVE away your old bicycle parts, so why not repurpose them into musical instruments? This dude will show you how.

FLUX by Torch Update


Disclosure: I pre-ordered one of these FLUX packs through their initial Kickstarter campaign and have been anticipating it’s release for almost 1 year and a half now. Torch recently let backers know that after the release of the T1 helmet, the FLUX pack is almost ready to follow, but first they are pushing forward with a stretch campaign to grow their line of products. The pack will still be available to initial backers first, but you can also get a first production release through helping fund this stretch campaign as well. I’m really looking forward to putting this bag through it’s paces and reporting back with a review.

Torch Fundable Campaign

Nutcase Unframed

Between their usual wide breadth of stock colors and now the latest limited edition Nutcase Unframed artist helmet designs there is no shortage of different styles to choose from. The first run of Nutcase Unframed edition helmets features art by Sandra Ramirez from Columbia, Ray Moore from Germany and Todd Standish from San Francisco. In addition to the helmets, art panels will be on display in the Nutcase booth at Eurobike and Interbike, and auctioned off to benefit World Bicycle Relief.

City Reports