If you were to ask me what the perfect life would look like, I could probably tell you in broad strokes. Really broad strokes. I don’t think I’d be able to tell you what any of the details would look like, but clearly, my day-to-day frustration with the world around me is the result of factors in my life not matching what my larger desires are. My most basic frustration comes from experiences being less satisfying than possible.
Put another way, I’m a fussy dude and one that is frequently dissatisfied. And that is in itself a dissatisfaction. I’d love to be easier going, but honestly, if I were that guy, I’d be a terrible product reviewer.
Being here at Press Camp is a chance to see the latest ideas that bright people got other bright people to say, “OMG, dude. You’re so right. That’s absolutely what we should do for next year.” It’s within that promise that I find the possibility of the perfected life.
Take the Cannondale Carryon pump. This is a floor pump for which the base and the handle fold flat to make it easy to pack. While I’ve been grateful that I can fit the Lezyne travel pump in an S&S travel case, its short barrel and equally short hose have been a challenge. A full-length barrel and a hose long enough that you don’t have to worry about where the valve stem is positioned makes for much friendlier inflation.
Cannondale has taken a big swing at their parts and accessories. Their new shock pump features a small switch that allows the user to switch between the low volume appropriate to shock tuning to much higher volume so that you can practically use it for changing a flat should you find yourself with a flat. And honestly, if you run out of CO2, do you really want to have to carry two pumps with you?
Cannondale’s parent company, Cycling Sports Group, has partnered with a new venture from Scott Tedrow, the brains behind Team Sho-Air and seemingly most of the sponsorship in domestic mountain biking. The startup is called the Ride Biker Alliance and is a kind of one-stop shopping for clubs. It gives them access to clothing, bikes and accessories at pricing based on club size, not the actual size of the order. This could be a great boon to clubs everywhere; RKP will do a post on this in the future.
Besv is a Taiwanese manufacturer of Ebikes and new to the U.S. market. They are held by a much larger holding company that has extensive experience in consumer electronics. They are very well known for making keyboards; there’s a good chance that whatever keyboard you’re using was made by them. They produce keyboards for Apple, Lenovo, Belkin and a great many others.
What Besv lacks in decades of bike experience they make up for with amazing industrial design and a fresh take on how electronics can function and be packaged. The people at the Oregon Manifest are going to lose their minds when they check these out.
Besv integrated the computer into the same unit as the headlight.
The light/computer is a really attractive piece of industrial design, well in keeping the design of the bikes.
They also showed a more commuter-y looking step through design. The battery is integrated into the down tube. My one concern about their line of bikes is that they offer each model in but one size and with the way the light/computer fits over the stem, other sizes of stem don’t appear to be possible.
Speaking of great industrial design, I met with Knog as well. We were mere minutes into our conversation when they showed me how they’d revised the design of all their lights to allow for a replaceable band, fixing the one, but ever-present, criticism of their lights. They also include multiple sizes to better accommodate different sizes of bars. The Blinder Road, above is a 400 lumens light with two different lenses for broad coverage and a strong beam.
The R70 features three half-watt LEDs and one one-watt LED that blink in a few different opposing modes. The back of the R70 and other tail lights have been re-sculpted with more of a V-shape to accommodate aero seat posts; a longer band to get around the seatpost is included as well.
The Pop series of lights are a new low-cost series of lights that run on AA batteries and hit below $25.
I spent some time in the afternoon riding Ebikes for a couple of reasons. First, I think they are really terrific and look forward to picking one up for around-town commuting, but also because, frankly, my calf isn’t quite healed up enough to allow me to do real riding.
Raleigh’s Misceo IE uses the Shimano STePs system, which is a three-mode assist (you can turn it off), paired with an electronically shifted 8-speed Shimano Alfine internal hub. From what I’ve seen, this is one of the most foolproof bikes out there, and at $3200, is arguably one of the best performers in this price range.
With hydraulic disc brakes and stout tires, all this bike lacks for commuter use is some fenders and a rack.
O confess that this IZIP E3 Dash uses the Currie system, which I really liked because of its smooth power transfer. I’ve tried a few that can be really torque-y at low cadences (which can make for a surprising turn of events, ahem), but the Currie alleviated that. And with fenders, a rack and a kickstand, the E3 Dash was kitted out ready for daily use.
I’ve been thinking that a natural, if not the perfect, application for electric-assist units is in cargo bikes. This Yuba Mundo is $3499 and gives you the opportunity to carry a kid and groceries. Pretty sweet. The handling was calm, but not school-bus-like. It uses the BionX system, which is, I’m told, a pretty easy retrofit.
The Spicy Curry may look a little odd at first with the 26-inch wheel in front and the 20-inch wheel in rear, but once you really look at the bike’s design it makes a lot of sense. The smaller rear wheel means the rear end of the bike is much lower, so the kids ride lower and that lower center of gravity will make the bike easier to handle. In looking the bike over I don’t think I’ve ever seen a rig with more braze-ons for modular living. There are braze-ons for a porteur rack, others for the seat and running boards, mounts to add a second child seat and more. The name, Spicy Curry, owes something to the use of the Currie system that lends the helping hand.
With the exception of the E3 Dash, all the bikes I rode were Class 1, limited to an assist of up to 20 mph. The Dash is a Class 3 “speed” bike which will help you get to 28 mph.