twentynine inches • one gear • zero travel

Patent Find: US 20140110208

If you want to know where bicycle development is heading, forget bike magazines and blogs that churn out industry-submitted press releases. Instead, become a patent observer and know about stuff months and years before things are being photographed at press camps. Use Google Patent Search and Google Alerts to follow the manufacturers you want to keep an eye on or to follow any invention relating to a particular area of interest. It’s as simple as that.

One such patent, which popped up in my Feedly stream today is SRAM's patent application US 20140110208 for a new freewheel hub design. We all used to ride bikes with quick-release axles until thru-axles grew axle diameters. In front 15mm has become the de facto standard with 20 and 24mm for gravity oriented usage. In the back, things have not been able to grow as much. Thru-axle rear hubs have been limited by design to 12mm. The limiting factor being the cassette, which needs to house a set of bearings on the inside and a tall set of splines on the outside.

In looking over SRAM’s patent, they managed to use a beefy axle by getting rid of the freewheel body altogether. The cassette sits directly on top of the axle thanks to two ball bearings and a nifty freewheel arrangement sandwiched between cassette and hub body. The freewheel mechanism is based on two flat coupling rings with a tooth systems facing one another to transmit torque from cassette to hub body. Advantages: room for big axles and larger diameter bearings, overall reduced weight and increased stiffness. Downside: cassette equipped with two bearings might get costlier than they already are.

Sneak Peek: Replay Prime X
Back in 2011 I bought a Replay XD1080 and loved the mounting versatility. What the camera had trouble with was the shaking and bouncing of a rigid singlespeed. So, early this year I replaced it with a GoPro. I just got a sneak peek of the new Replay Prime X. Features, battery life, lens, size and WiFi connectivity make this one very tempting again. Zoom

Sneak Peek: Replay Prime X

Back in 2011 I bought a Replay XD1080 and loved the mounting versatility. What the camera had trouble with was the shaking and bouncing of a rigid singlespeed. So, early this year I replaced it with a GoPro. I just got a sneak peek of the new Replay Prime X. Features, battery life, lens, size and WiFi connectivity make this one very tempting again.

A Day Watching Out For Slugs
After a week of rain, today finally was a day without. The air remained damp, the roads were often wet, sometimes more, sometimes less. What every single mile of road had in common though, were slugs who had invaded the pavement by the thousands. Where no cars had gone through, those dark-brown molluscs were happily crisscrossing the roads, on roads where motor vehicles had passed, many of them had been reduced to a flat blob of yellow. Initially, I planned to ride a 50km loop but seeing that the cloudy sky wasn’t going to drop more rain, I didn’t take my turnoff and instead extended the ride to 800 meters short of 100km. Gotta say I love these cooler days without sun. The motor just runs so much smoother and does so fuel-efficiently on a single water bottle. I for one, don’t mind it staying like that.
Distance:99.2 km (61.7 miles)Elevation:2’340 m (7’676 feet)Time:04:07:05Speed (avg/max):24.1/15.0 kph (71.6/44.5 mph) Zoom

A Day Watching Out For Slugs

After a week of rain, today finally was a day without. The air remained damp, the roads were often wet, sometimes more, sometimes less. What every single mile of road had in common though, were slugs who had invaded the pavement by the thousands. Where no cars had gone through, those dark-brown molluscs were happily crisscrossing the roads, on roads where motor vehicles had passed, many of them had been reduced to a flat blob of yellow. Initially, I planned to ride a 50km loop but seeing that the cloudy sky wasn’t going to drop more rain, I didn’t take my turnoff and instead extended the ride to 800 meters short of 100km. Gotta say I love these cooler days without sun. The motor just runs so much smoother and does so fuel-efficiently on a single water bottle. I for one, don’t mind it staying like that.

Distance:99.2 km (61.7 miles)
Elevation:2’340 m (7’676 feet)
Time:04:07:05
Speed (avg/max):24.1/15.0 kph (71.6/44.5 mph)

I Bought A Pair Of Glasses

Okay, back to present. I recently lost my good old - uhh well no, rather bad pair of Specialized Arcterra biking glasses. Somehow I kept using the big S glasses for years even though they’d fog up like mad. They’d fog up in the Sahara at 0% humidity, that’s how badly they used to blur one’s vision. Mind you, I didn’t lose them on purpose even though they spent more time stuck in the vents of my helmet than on my bloody nose. For the past couple of rides, I’ve been sporting a pair of Uvex Sportstyle 109 Vario cycling glasses and so far, they’ve remained 100% of the ride shielding my eyes from all the bugs buzzing though the summer heat.

I Bought A Pair Of Glasses

Wait, I just posted in the wrong century!

Heatstroke Avoidance Day

Yep, we fell straight into those days, the days one should look for another hobby than cycling or roll out at the crack of dawn to be back back before the air starts boiling. Today, I sorta got a late start. Rather than pushing a hard singlespeed gear, I opted for more speed and smaller gears taking my Viaje out on a loop. I did most of the climbing in the shade along northern slopes and by the time I jumped out of the tree line a slight breeze helped along the last few uphill slopes. I bombed down the southern side of the Chasseral. First a car was nice enough to let me pass, then at the next sharp turn I caught up with another. This one must have fearfully kept his eyes on the road without ever blinking at the rear view mirror. Instead of attempting a dangerous high-speed pass, I let myself fall back to keep a safe distance. Drivers sometimes do the most unpredictable things on these narrow mountain roads, especially when faced with uphill traffic. In Lamboing I stopped at a water fountain to get a couple of big gulps of cold Jura water. At home my bronchial tubes were unpleasantly irritated. Impossible to take a deep breath without coughing. Just another sign of a hot summer day - exercise-induced asthma - been having that ever since I started cycling. It’ll be gone by September.

Distance:64.0 km (39.8 miles)
Elevation:1’646 m (5’400 feet)
Time:02:44:03
Speed (avg/max):23.4/83.5 kph (14.5/51.9 mph)
Alize’s Happy 5’000
Back in May of 2011 I bought a Neilpryde Alize frameset and three years later I’m reminded how great a road bike this is, each time I hop on it for a loop across mountain roads. Today, the bike has done 5000 kilometers of the finest Jura pavement. That’s not a huge mileage for a three year old bike, but remember, it’s basically being ridden spring through fall and competing for rides with a 29er and a cross bike. I actually like it that way and wouldn’t want it any other. I couldn’t imagine only having a mountain bike or spending 100% of my riding time with 23C tires on pavement. Both would be utterly boring in the long run. I need variety and love to be able to pick one of four bikes when I’m itching to go outside for a loop on two wheels. Heck, a fifth might be joining the stable to add the currently missing cyclocross element back to the fleet.
Besides adding variety, owning a bunch of bikes has a couple more advantages. For one, they don’t age as quickly. I tend to keep bikes many more years than if I were to ride just one or two. Next, I find it a lot easier as far as maintenance. Funny, more bikes don’t equate to more upkeep. It’s rather less, in fact. Seasonal bikes like my fat-bike or my 29er can be ridden the whole season with very little maintenance other than cleaning. Then when their season ends, I have plenty of time to pull them apart completely, check everything, clean everything and lube anything that needs a fresh application of grease. In the days when I only had two bikes, it would happen that I missed a ride because a bike needed work. That’s a thing of the past with a bunch of rigs.
A bunch of bikes also make the rider unclassifiable. I’m neither cross-country rider, nor roadie and certainly not Enduro (you know those full boingers in bright blue 3/4 shorts and bright green three-letter helmet). Speaking of full-boing, that’s one thing all of my bikes have in common. They have no boing whatsoever. See, boing adds a level of complexity and maintenance-heaviness that I don’t want anywhere near my bikes. Hence a fleet of all rigid bikes. Reaching my mid-forties, I wonder if the day will come where I change my mind in that regards because an aging body might start asking for a little bit of squish. I’ve had some great riding companions who are way into their sixties and still hammer the trails hard on rigids, and to this date my body seems to be undergoing a sort of “Benjamin Button” development. I feel younger than ever maybe thanks to rocking rigid forks. Anyhow, until anything drastically changes that’s how I’ll keep rolling.
Distance:59.1 km (36.7 miles)Elevation:1’758 m (5’768 feet)Time:02:17:30Speed (avg/max):25.8/91.8 kph (16.0/57.0 mph) Zoom

Alize’s Happy 5’000

Back in May of 2011 I bought a Neilpryde Alize frameset and three years later I’m reminded how great a road bike this is, each time I hop on it for a loop across mountain roads. Today, the bike has done 5000 kilometers of the finest Jura pavement. That’s not a huge mileage for a three year old bike, but remember, it’s basically being ridden spring through fall and competing for rides with a 29er and a cross bike. I actually like it that way and wouldn’t want it any other. I couldn’t imagine only having a mountain bike or spending 100% of my riding time with 23C tires on pavement. Both would be utterly boring in the long run. I need variety and love to be able to pick one of four bikes when I’m itching to go outside for a loop on two wheels. Heck, a fifth might be joining the stable to add the currently missing cyclocross element back to the fleet.

Besides adding variety, owning a bunch of bikes has a couple more advantages. For one, they don’t age as quickly. I tend to keep bikes many more years than if I were to ride just one or two. Next, I find it a lot easier as far as maintenance. Funny, more bikes don’t equate to more upkeep. It’s rather less, in fact. Seasonal bikes like my fat-bike or my 29er can be ridden the whole season with very little maintenance other than cleaning. Then when their season ends, I have plenty of time to pull them apart completely, check everything, clean everything and lube anything that needs a fresh application of grease. In the days when I only had two bikes, it would happen that I missed a ride because a bike needed work. That’s a thing of the past with a bunch of rigs.

A bunch of bikes also make the rider unclassifiable. I’m neither cross-country rider, nor roadie and certainly not Enduro (you know those full boingers in bright blue 3/4 shorts and bright green three-letter helmet). Speaking of full-boing, that’s one thing all of my bikes have in common. They have no boing whatsoever. See, boing adds a level of complexity and maintenance-heaviness that I don’t want anywhere near my bikes. Hence a fleet of all rigid bikes. Reaching my mid-forties, I wonder if the day will come where I change my mind in that regards because an aging body might start asking for a little bit of squish. I’ve had some great riding companions who are way into their sixties and still hammer the trails hard on rigids, and to this date my body seems to be undergoing a sort of “Benjamin Button” development. I feel younger than ever maybe thanks to rocking rigid forks. Anyhow, until anything drastically changes that’s how I’ll keep rolling.

Distance:59.1 km (36.7 miles)
Elevation:1’758 m (5’768 feet)
Time:02:17:30
Speed (avg/max):25.8/91.8 kph (16.0/57.0 mph)
Biaufond And Some Minor Hills
I’ll keep today’s blog post short. After a week off the bike, my legs were itching to push the pedals. I figured it’d be a splendid day to head out to Biaufond and toss in a few minor hills to earn the Strava climbing challenge badge with just one ride. It was a fantastic day to be out. Rode a bunch of familiar roads and a bunch of new ones.
Distance:147.5 km (91.7 miles)Elevation:3’701 m (12’142 feet)Time:06:27:26Speed (avg/max):22.8/81.4 kph (14.2/50.6 mph)Challenges: Zoom

Biaufond And Some Minor Hills

I’ll keep today’s blog post short. After a week off the bike, my legs were itching to push the pedals. I figured it’d be a splendid day to head out to Biaufond and toss in a few minor hills to earn the Strava climbing challenge badge with just one ride. It was a fantastic day to be out. Rode a bunch of familiar roads and a bunch of new ones.

Distance:147.5 km (91.7 miles)
Elevation:3’701 m (12’142 feet)
Time:06:27:26
Speed (avg/max):22.8/81.4 kph (14.2/50.6 mph)
Challenges: