Urban Velo

The New Lakeshore Jacket from Upright Cyclist

Photo by Jeremy J MatthewsFrom Upright Cyclist:

This is our play on the perfect cotton jacket cut for the city. It’s the right weight for short commute hops on windy cold days. It’s built in a Cordura ™ Cotton shell by Artistic Milliners. It’s a super durable, but breathable textile with long lasting use in mind. It’s cut for the street, but functional on the bike. A little moto, a little workwear, it’s styled with a coaches collar, has doubled nylon ribbing on the side panels and shoulder for stretch over the drops. Retail is $249.

Watch for a review soon. In the meantime check out www.uprightcyclist.com

Photo by Jeremy J Matthews, jeremyjmatthews.virb.com

Seatylock Combined Bicycle Seat and Lock

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People are always trying to find ways to combine a bicycle lock into something else, whether it be hidden in the seatpost, incorporated into the frame, or in the case of the Seatylock, into the rails of the saddle. Using a quick release bracket compatible with most seatpost heads, the $85 Seatylock saddle easily clicks on the off the bike (going back to the same position when replaced) and hides a 3 ft articulated lock underneath. While it eliminated having to wear or carry your lock in a bag, it’s up for debate if the Seatylock is actually any less conspicuous on the bike than a more run of the mill lock bracket, though it does come with the added benefit of preventing saddle theft. The design is available in two different widths in a number of colors, though I can’t be the only one that would like to see an add-your-own saddle version, particular as people can be about their saddle choices. Pre-order yours at their Kickstarter

Upright Cyclist New 12.5 oz Riding Denim

Photo by Jeremy J MatthewsThe Upright Cyclist 12.5 oz Riding Denim pants are sewn in Los Angeles from American-made Cone denim. The cuffs have an internal reflective panel for visibility when rolled.

Available in 32, 33, 34 and 36 waist sizes, all come pre-hemmed in a standard 34” inseam length. Retail is $119. Check out www.uprightcyclist.com

Photo by Jeremy J Matthews, jeremyjmatthews.virb.com

PDW Lars Rover Into The Night

larsrover650-1 Portland Design Works has upped their lighting ante with the Lars Rover this year. We caught a glimpse at them at Interbike, featuring an aluminum body and two models of 650 or 450 Lumens. The Lars Rover 650 runs for a full two hours on high mode, with a 15 minute bail-out mode when the battery reaches the end of the charge. Turn it down the the 175 lumen low power mode and get over 7 hours of commuting, with a five hour charge time via a USB port. It has a smart switch, a low batter gauge and a competitive price at $110 for the Lars Rover 650 model and $85 for the Lars Rover 450. For a limited time the 650 models come with an overly nice custom can cooler with leather PDW patch that you won’t want to put down at a party.

Gallant Bicycles

Gallant Bicycles (who happen to be directly below the YNOT space) have launched this kickstarter to bring their advanced customization bike frames to market. Unique from most entry level customized bikes, Gallant is offering higher quality products and more options to customize at similar price points, instead of just letting the buyer choose color schemes and bar options. Gallant is looking to get initial backer rewards out by the beginning of 2015 or Spring at the latest, some of which can entail full builds.

45NRTH Fasterkatt Winter Shoe Updates

The cold weather riding season is coming on fast, and there is nothing like dedicated winter cycling shoes to stay comfortable when the temperature drops and the going gets wet. 45NRTH has come on strong with their shoes over the past couple of seasons, with a number of updates on the Fasterkatt for 2015 based on user input.

Dedicated shoes a bit rich for your blood? Check out some other options in the way-back machine to Urban Velo #10, Winter Footwear Solutions.

NiteRider Introduces The Sentinel

NiteRiderSentinalNiteRider is now offering a tail light with a virtual bike lane indicator.

The Sentinel 2 Watt Tail Light has a powerful 2 watt LED (30 lumens), 5 modes and is USB rechargeable.

We’re expecting to have one in for test soon, so stay tuned.

Check out www.niterider.com

Swobo Scofflaw

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The $1249 Swobo Scofflaw is meant to take you off the beaten path where some mustachioed man can question your presence. The Reynolds 531 steel frame features a tapered carbon fork, Avid BB7s disc brakes, sliding dropouts and fender mounts for the commute. Clearance for up to 42 mm tires lets you put some meaty treads on, and while the complete bike ships as a single speed it comes equipped with a cassette hub, narrow-wide chainring and derailleur hanger — ready for a 1x setup. This looks like a great bike to get lost on all day, or for a quick city lap with friends come nightfall. Great platform to ride as is, or build up and upgrade as you go. With full length housing mounts, it wouldn’t be that hard to have an alternate geared setup that only takes half an hour of wrenching to swap. Pre-order today for $50 and get one when they become available in January 2015.

Supergear Retrodirect Planetary Gear Crankset

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supergear_crank-2 Just when you thought you’ve seen it all someone puts a Supergear crankset by Ziegler-Lam Cycling on the table. At first glance it looks like any number of other small maker cranks from the ’90s mountain bike and CNC’d everthing boom, needless stress risers, chunky corners and all. Grab hold of the bottom bracket and spin it forward and it acts as per usual, pedal backwards and the rings continue rotating forwards at about half speed, doubling the number of available gears. Retrodirect systems pop up through bicycle history now and again, an old design from before effective derailleurs that allows two gears (one gear pedaling forward, a lower gear pedaling backwards). Tinkerers put together modern retrodirect bikes just to prove the concept, and it still works (1, 2). The Supergear is a three ring setup with a planetary gear system that achieves the same effect, and was marketed as the only crankset to integrate a retrodirect system. This is likely from the days of seven speed cassettes, building up as a 42 speed bicycle. Throw some 11 speed rings on there and make a 66 speed bicycle, pair it with an internally geared hub and really go nuts. Interesting, but no surprise that the design isn’t around today. If only I could go back in time and see people mountain biking with a Supergear in the wild, or find someone running one on their bike today. Someone out there has one of these and swears by it.

Motorcycles of Interbike (The E-Bikes Are Here)

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Bicycles equipped with motors have been a part of the landscape since shortly after bicycles themselves first appeared. It’s a natural leap for many that a bicycle, while fun and wonderful, would just be so much better if you didn’t have to pedal it uphill, or at all. Back in the 1890s we coined a term for overbuilt bicycles with motors — motorcycles. In the time since bicycles and motorcycles have gone in different directions based on the power disparity between the two, with bicycles gaining dedicated on-street lanes, off-street facilities, and rules and regulations that take into account the human powered scale of a bicycle as compared to the speed of mechanically powered vehicles.

Some would have you believe that human powered bicycles are going to be left behind by electric bikes. A significant amount of floor space is certainly devoted to e-bikes at the major bicycle tradeshows, even if the vibe surrounding them is more homeshow booth salesman as compared to the primarily enthusiast-driven bike industry. I’ve heard e-bikes heralded as the solution to the United States transportation problems, the way to get more people on bikes and out of cars, and the future of all things bicycle. Given the choice between seeing cars or e-bikes going past my front door I’ll choose two wheels over four every time, but let’s call a spade a spade and quit pretending that a bicycle with a motor is anything but a class of motorcycle.

Just as bicycles are primarily sold to the general public on weight, e-bikes are sold on power, pick-up and speed over distance they can go. Go into any shop and no matter what the official line is on things, people are picking up bikes to determine which is the lightest and the best choice. With e-bikes it seems to be a common theme that just after stating how it is really a bicycle at heart the pitch quickly gets into speed and power and how long you can ride without having to pedal. Current e-bikes look like an evolutionary link between bicycle and electric city scooter to me, much as early gas powered motorcycles appear to be bicycles with lawnmower engines bolted on. An 80 lb bicycle doesn’t sound like much fun to ride, and neither does a motorcycle with relatively flimsy bicycle components and tires. And from the looks of the above “bikes” that have a crankset as an afterthought or simply not at all, some manufacturer’s too see e-bikes as a stepping stone to fully electric, lightweight motorcycles.

Electric-assist bikes may be the way to get an aging population onto more human-scale vehicles and a way to facilitate moving cargo in urban areas with fewer cars, but I’m certainly not the only one who doesn’t want to see e-bikes in the bike lane or using dedicated off-street bike facilities. The speed disparity of an e-bike zooming silently uphill in the bike lane is simply unsafe to bicycle riders, and while most e-bikes don’t go significantly faster than a skilled and fit bicycle rider can achieve, there is a certain built-in safeguard of fitness and confidence before a bicycle rider can hit 30 mph that is not there when a motor is involved. Imagine novice riders upon e-bikes on sidewalks and rolling downtown redlights at speed and you can begin to see the user conflicts. And don’t even get me started on the craze for e-mountain bikes and the trail conflicts and public access issues that it will surely usher in the first time a politically connected equestrian notices a mountain bike with a motor passing them by.

Legislation needs to be drafted to draw the line between an electric-assist bicycle and a throttle twisting electric motorcycle before cycling access takes a step backwards. We’re on the precipice of big things in human powered transportation and no matter what role electric-assist bikes may play in the future, in my opinion it’s important to not allow electric motorcycles to jeopardize the political gains bicycles have made in the past decade.

Behold a selection of e-bikes below, some with throttles and some with electric assist speed/power regulators, some for the urban landscape and some for skirting dirt bike regulations. Have a different opinion on e-bikes? Leave it in the comments or submit a guest editorial to brad@urbanvelo.org.

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