Maurice Tierney

Maurice Tierney

Title

Jack of all trades, master of none. Chief cook and bottle washer. Small Cheese.

Yeah, but what do you ACTUALLY do around here?

Kissing hands and shaking babies. Keeping it real is a full time job.

What do you think about when you're riding your bike?

Why does that tree stump look like a wild boar waiting to eat me?

How would you rate your coffee consumption on a scale of 8-10?

Morning only.

Complete this sentence: "My other bike is …"

pinball machine.

What are you eating, drinking, reading, or fearing these days?

Mission burritos, Jeffersons Bourbon

Elvis or the Beatles?

The Beatles

Say something profound and meaningful in exactly seven words…

If you don't run you rust, man.

I like your answers. How can I get in touch with you?

Email me

Review: Yuba elMundo long-tail e-bike

By Maurice Tierney

The Yuba elMundo is a utilitarian wonderbike, bringing heavy hauling capability at a fair price. We tested Yuba’s Mundo in Issue #7 and found it to be one of the strongest long-tail cargo bike options out there, with its well-buttressed steel frame. (Read that review here) It also boasted huge payload capacity and affordability. In this review we’ll cover Version 4 and its improvements over Version 3, including its electric-ready capability.

Having always been an enthusiastic mountain biker, it was easy for me to scoff at the idea of a motor on my bicycle, but things change quickly when you decide to be a card- and-cargo-carrying Utility Cyclist. A motorized cargo machine has many advantages. I can bust a move quickly into the flow of traffic, even with a heavy load on board. Riding at the same speed as traffic is a heck of a lot safer than being a slow-moving vehicle in a fast-moving world. Plus I can pick up my significant other after work and give her a luxurious ride to our evening’s activities without breaking a sweat. These are just a few of my favorite things…

I have been doing half my riding on this bike since last fall. I can leave the home/office on the elMundo and go wherever I want, as far as I want, and never have to worry about where I am going, or who or what I might pick up along the way. Magazines, lumber, stereo equipment, other bicycles, spare clothing, party supplies, groceries. These are some of the things you can find in my saddlebags at any given moment.

There are numerous improvements in the Yuba Mundo (with and without motor) for Version 4. For starters, Yuba took 8lbs. off the bike. This is significant for the non-electric Mundo, which now weighs 48lbs. The elMundo weighs 61lbs. with motor and battery. Mine is closer to 90 with all the accoutrements I have to bring along. With its huge class-leading 440lb. (plus rider) cargo capacity, the weight of the bike itself is of little consequence. As for sizing, both Mundos fit riders from 5” to 6’ 5”.

Other improvements from Version 3 include a SRAM X3/X5 drivetrain, double-wall rims, and Freedom tires. The quill stem is also gone in favor of a threadless headset set-up. It’s less adjustable yet more modern. The rear wheel now features a 14mm solid axle riding on cartridge bearings for strength and low maintenance. And of course, V.4 is electric-ready, as the place for the battery has been designed into the frame.

The component choices are definitely on the budget side to keep the non-electric Mundo under $1,200. The SRAM 21-speed drivetrain is solid and should remain functional for many years (except for the crank and chainrings, which are not serviceable since they are riveted together). The rear wheel has 48 spokes for strength under abusive conditions, while the front wheel sports a hearty 36. The handlebar, stem, seat, and post are all fairly average and functional. The Mundo ships with Promax V-brakes, while the elMundo adds a generic disc brake for the rear.

I did upgrade the saddle to a Brooks and the brakes to Avid mechanical discs, front and rear, mostly because I plan to keep this bike around a while, and also because I wanted the superior power of the Avids for the steep hills in my ‘hood. A taller stem was also in order; as well as bigger, fatter, burlier tires—Panaracer Uff Da 2.3’s provided curb-slamming capability.

You really need to try an e-bike to see what it’s like. The motor is not burn-rubber, pop-a-wheelie strong, but it opens up with authority. This came in handy the most when get- ting started with a load, getting into traffic and such, but believe me, there is still plenty of pedaling to do if you want to stretch battery life. I tried to make the battery last as long as possible, with most charges lasting well over 20 miles. But I’d venture you’d get a good bit less if you didn’t pedal at all (depending on load and terrain, of course). Cost to recharge is estimated at 3-5 cents per charge, and the battery is good for 500 full cycles. Replacement batteries sell for $690.

The front-drive electric system is by eZee. My bike has a 400-watt brushless motor with a 10ah battery. The motor is activated by a twist of the motorcycle-style throttle, and is independent of pedaling. As mandated bylaw, the motor cuts out above 20mph. I have yet to run out of power climbing some of the steepest hills in the San Francisco area.

Yes, I did have to pedal. I’m still a rider, just trying to get my load around town in the most efficient, car-free way possible. Charging is advertised at six hours; I found it best to charge every night before bedtime, to always be prepared. (Note that current elMundos are shipping with a new 500-watt motor, for more juice!)

One thing that all Yuba’s come with is fenders, and that is a good thing. They are decent, quiet, adjustable plastic fenders that will fit different-size tires if you like. A bell is also standard, as it should be. And as of today, the (I consider essential) center kick- stand and Deflopilator front wheel parking stabilizer are now standard.

Additional accessories on my test machine included two of the Go-Getter waterproof bags for easy grocery hauling ($129/ea), as well as three items for my passenger: a Soft Spot seat cushion ($30), Hold On handlebars ($60), and Running Boards ($60). Parents of small urchins will need a Peanut Shell child seat accessory ($169) or two. And I also en- joyed the benefit of the Bread Basket front rack ($129). It mounts to the frame rather than the front wheel, keeping steering easy and giving me one more place to put stuff.

While perhaps smirked at by many a cycling enthusiast, electric bikes are coming of age as we speak. More people on more bikes means more people making a smaller footprint on the ever-stretching earth. This bike’s combo of huge cargo capacity, effective motor, and reasonable price made a big impression on me. The Yuba elMundo is a game-changer for this cyclist. I’ll be riding this one for a long while.


Join us at the Seattle Bike Expo this weekend

We’re packing up the van and heading to Seattle this weekend for the largest consumer bike expo in the USA. Once again held at the deluxe, two-story Smtih Cove Cruise Terminal overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, we’ll be joining more than 200 other exhibitors of bikes, gear, travel, services, and more.

If you’re into mountain bikes, be sure to check out the Dirt Zone, a collection of exhibitors serving the fat-tire side of cycling, and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance and Sweetlines will be hosting skills clinics in the Stunt Area.  

You’ll get a chance to meet Olympic silver medalist Jennie Reed, six-time world champion as well as Paralympic gold and silver Olympic medalist Megan Fisher, professional trials and mountain bike rider Ryan Leech (above), and dominant gravity mountain biker Jill Kintner.

The Classic Lightweight Bike Show has a "drillim" theme this year, where collectors have revived the 1970s practice of drilling out parts to save weight and add some bling. As always, all classic lightweight bikes are welcome in theshow, and the more the merrier. You will see British, Italian, French, American, Belgian, Japanese and other countries’ bikes represented, in one of the most dazzling shows of fancy bikes anywhere. Also welcome are "Keepers of the Flame" – modern custom lugged steel bikes equipped with classic style components. If you think your bike belongs in this show, bring it on down.

Finally, be sure to swing by the Cascade Bicycle Club booth to enter the drawing for some great prizes. 

See you there!


Revisiting our time spent with Alex Moulton

Editor’s note: After the unfortunate passing of cycling innovator Dr. Alex Moulton earlier this week, we wanted to share the story of our 2010 visit with Moulton in England. It is reproduced here.

By Maurice Tierney.

While the previously reported Brooks and Pashley factory tours were amazing, the highlight of the whole journey was a hour spent with a 90 year old man by the name of Alex Moulton. I really had no idea what I was getting into as we approached his modest home in Bradford-on-Avon.

What the? Is going on here? Who the heck is Alex Moulton? Turns out Mister Alex Moulton’s great grandfather, Stephen Moulton, brought Goodyear’s vulcanizing process to England back in 1840 or so. Alex himself was also a rubber pioneer, developing the hydrolastic* suspension that, along with the smaller wheel size, allowed the original Mini Cooper to be so mini. We got a look at one such Mini at the Moulton Museum residing on the estate.

In the late 50’s, Alex turned his attention to the bicycle and pioneered a design that would become quite the rage in the early 60’s. And remain relevant 50 years later. Small wheels had not been considered seriously against the then-standard double-diamond “Safety” bicycle, but Moulton was eager to challenge the staus quo after observing the benefits of smaller wheels in automotive use.

Thinking that the lower inertia of small wheels made for faster acceleration and an easier-to-mount frame design. And while Moulton’s were not designed as folding bikes, they were easy to disassemble for travel. And if that is not enough, Moultons were fully suspended for a comfy ride. How about that for ahead of your time?

Moulton showed his bike to Raleigh in hopes of licencing the design them to manufacture. But Raleigh was not interested. So Moulton set up his own factory and went ahead anyway. The Moulton bike took off in the early 60’s; their bicycle factory became the second largest in England behind Raleigh (Who I’m told was making like 7,000 bikes per day). Moulton sold 200,000 bikes before Raleigh knocked off the idea and took over the market with their RSW series. Moulton wound up selling out to Raleigh in 1967, just in time for the Raleigh Chopper to steal the limelight and rush the market.

That’s the ancient history. Much more has happened through the 70’s and 80’s, yet today the Moulton factory still sits in a former stable on the same property where it all began. Let’s take a look.

Inside the blue door on the right, the Moulton team is hard at work making bikes.

By hand.


And barely have time to stop for a photo.

With these kind of results. This New Series model is made of stainless steel, and is worth near $15,725 American. It’s called a Space Frame and there’s a whole bunch of little tubes that come together to form one. It’s no wonder they are expensive.

But Moulton, being connected with Pashley, has some more affordable offerings being made in the Pashley factory in Stratford-Upon-Avon, ranging from $1,900-$3,600.

But Alex Moulton awaits. We have been granted a one-hour audience with the man. He is 90 after all so we understand. We are led into his great room and gather around a rather large dining table to talk. Whereupon Mister Moulton share some of his exploits. The cat listens in.

Alex shared his thoughts on his first and only mountain bike ride, which left him wondering why anyone would do such a thing as ride down a mountain. Perhaps if he had bigger wheels the experience might have been better? Alex talked about how he didn’t like the crossbar on the conventional bikes of the day. He liked recumbents but found them unstable. Small wheels were the answer. We also heard about the numerous records that have been broken riding Moulton bicycles over the years. And looked through his biography, full of pictures and drawings of his designs.

I myself was in a bit of awe at this guy nearly twice my age. Pretty cool. He’s done so much.

Got to ride some bikes as well, around the test track on the property, a good time to blow off a little steam after so much travelling. And think. About all the people that have influence the bicycle through history. On and on…


Join us at the San Franciso Bike Expo this weekend

 

By Maurice Tierney. Photos by Maurice from 2011. 

There’s something for everyone at the SF Bike Expo this weekend, November 10 and 11. If you are in the Bay Area and reading this, you need to be there.

Aside from the Dirt Rag and Bicycle Times Magazine booths, where glorious free stuff will be handed out to every new and renewing subscriber, there’s something for everyone. The diversity of cycling culture is what it’s all about.

 

New this year is the Ballwhackers Ball Bicycle Polo tournament, of which Bicycle Times is a sponsor. If you’ve never played polo by bike it is easy to get into and a lot of fun. 

 

For the dirt jumping crowd there’s AT’s Showdown, where you’ll be impressed by the derring-do of world class air-getters stunting for big prize money, or jumping yourself in the new amateur competion. 

 

What else? Ya gotta wear clothes, the Pedal Savvy fashion show will help you with that. 

 

And the Uproar Fixed Gear comp should be interesting. 

Custom frame builders, The Kids Zone, lowriders, scraper bikes. It is all good! Don’t know what a scraper bike is? Get over here! A flea market swap will serve you buying and selling needs as well.

See you there!


First look at new bikes, gear from Salsa, All-City, and more

By Maurice Tierney,

Maurice here. I just attended Saddledrive, a dealer and press event hosted by Quality Bicycle Products at its Ogden, Utah, distribution center. Many QBP brands were represented here: Salsa, Surly, All-City, and Civia to name a few. Let’s see what I found…

Wait a sec, this is a bicycle magazine, not “Rat Rod Action”. Sorry.

Civia showed of its line of Twin City bikes, which according to General Manager Burton Avery, are designed for a “New Wave” of neighborhood cycling being enjoyed by “The Creative Class”. Nice poppy colors are the order of the day, with step-through and step-over models ranging from a $545 coaster brake machine to a $995 seven-speed internally-geared model with racks and fenders already in place. There’s also a derailleur-equipped 8-speed model and a five-speed internal in between. They look great!

Another QBP brand, All-City, is growing up. Yours truly had kind of stigmatized them as a fixie brand, but those fixie-kids are moving on into a huge whole world of cycling. Hence bikes like the Macho Man, a geared bike based on the popular singlespeed Nature Boy. The Macho Man rocks the same tight cyclocross race geometry while adding gears. All-City is setting themselves apart from the rest with using their own custom, size-specific butted tubing as well as custom-designed dropouts. Performance, quick handling, and attention to details are the real deal. $1,595 complete.

All-City also showed the Space Horse, its light touring-rough and all-purpose road bike. With new All-City lugs and semi-horizontal dropouts with hard stops (kind of like lawyer tabs but better), the Space Horse is good for 38mm tires with fenders, 42’s without. Rack and fender mounts, internal top tube cable routing? All present. All–City also uses a special coating inside the tubes, negating the need for Frame Saver. $1,450 complete. We have a Spacehorse in the house for a long-term review, so keep an eye out in the magazine. 

I also got to check out the Salsa Vaya travel/touring bike, now available with S&S couplers. The big deal on this one the stainless steel frame, which while tricky to manufacture, provides a finish that can be polished up like new anytime it gets scratched and won’t rust. Salsa’s own “Alternator” dropouts provide single speed capability, chainstay-length adjustment, and easy packability. Rack mounts and clearance for 40mm tires without fenders round out the package. I am told the Vaya is the first production stainless steel bike on the market.

I also got to meet some cool people. Take Anna Schwinn here, she’s an engineer for the Foundry brand. She designed these cool Whiskey carbon, disk-ready, thru-axle road forks we wrote about earlier.

Lazer showed off some tweedy-looking helmets.

And I ran into our friends from Freeze-Thaw out in State College, feel the love.

To finish things off I got to ride on Circulus! But that’s another story…


Whisky unveils new thru-axle, disc-brake road and cyclocross forks

   

By Maurice Tierney,

Whisky Parts Co. just unveiled the first carbon fiber, disc-brake, thru-axle road and cyclocross forks here at the Saddledrive dealer event in Ogden, Utah.

Road? Cross? Thru-axle? Why yes, it is a stellar idea. Whisky’s mantra is is to make tough and durable parts, and these parts express that emotion rather well.

Being a small brand, it’s easy for Whisky to bring new ideas to the market quickly.

Thru-axles provide consistent, solid attachment of wheels to bicycles, they are a boon for safety, speed, and ride responsiveness. Cross bikes are going to disc brakes, it only makes sense to take it to the thru-axle level for consistent race wheel changes too.

The three forks use a mini Maxle, for standard 100mm road spacing. All steerers are tapered. The cross version has mondo tire clearance, and thee road versions are available in both 43mm and 49mm offsets. They weight in at  430 grams without the axle, which 70 grams or so compared to standard QR’s. 

We’re told the road fork will clear a 700x35c tire, and the ‘cross fork even managed to swallow a 29×2.0!


Yuba launches new cargo cruiser with a great party

By Maurice Tierney

Yuba unveiled its new Boda Boda last Wednesday at its shop in Sausalito, and I had to be there for free beer and some good company. As you may have already heard here, the Boda Boda is Yuba’s new short/long bike (Mid-tail anyone?).

While I myself have been rocking the Yuba Mundo longbike to its full 450lb, capacity (look for our full review in issue #19) I think they are going to sell a lot of Boda Bodas because they are a bit more convenient, weighing only 35 lbs, and are short enough to fit into smaller places a bit easier. I am gonna say it offers 85 percent of the functionality in a smaller, lighter, less expensive package.

Unlike The one-size-fits-most Mundo, the BB comes in two sizes, a medium, step-through frame to fit riders 5’0″ to 5’7″ and a large, non-step-through for riders 5’7″ to 6’2″

The name Boda Boda comes from Africa, where bikes with back seats have been used as taxis for some time. As you can see, the Boda Boda is perfect for picking up a passenger, while still enjoying a beer. Capacity is 220lbs. plus driver.

 

Boda Bodas are compatable with all the same accessories as the Mundo, including the Breadbasket front rack and the kid seat.

Congratulations to Lindsay A. She came the closest to guessing what the Boda Boda Cargo Cruiser would be like, and has won herself a new bike! Here is her drawing…

So let the fun begin. Yours truly pedaled the pedal-powered music system…

So Paul could get his Fossil Fool Rap on for our entertainment. Beer courtesy of Lagunitas, A Little Sumpin to be enjoyed.

While the man behind the curtain, Ben Sarrazin, mastered the ceremonies.

Families had family fun, looks like the Boda Boda can still carry a load of love.…

Music was played…

And heck, what good party would not be complete without some pallet burning and fire jumping?

Good times were had, for sure. I really like what the Yuba peeps are up to in Sausalito.


In for test: Yuba E-Mundo electric assist

By Maurice Tierney

The folks at Yuba are now on version four of their Mundo longbike. V3 was reviewed in Bicycle Times #7 and the new version features some improvements while still retailing for a mere $1,099. A working class price for a working bike, yessir.

We’ve got the electric version of the Mundo in for test currently. It retails for $2,597. An electric bike? Whodathunk? Having always been an “enthusiast”, “mountain biker” and then later in life a “cyclist” I was skeptical. Would I lose my “Purity” as a cyclist? Let’s see…

Epiphanies:

That I could bust a move quickly into the flow of traffic even with nearly 500 pounds of mass on board. As any dedicated cyclist will tell you, riding at the same speed as traffic is a hell of a lot safer than being a slow moving vehicle in a fast moving world.

That I can get somewhere in a hurry if need be, at a speed of up to 22mph. This makes it generally easier to choose the bike when in a time crunch.

That I could pick up my “Significant Other” after work and give her a luxurious ride to our evenings activities without breaking a sweat. The Mundo does fit riders from 5” to 6’ 5”.

I could be an aggressive, enthusiastic mountain biker or (Heaven Forbid) road racer and not worry about having the energy to ride for utility on “Rest days”.

Interesting. As we have reported in the past, the Yuba Mundo offers one of the most solid long/cargo bike options out there with its well-buttressed Hi-tensile steel frame, high payload capacity, and affordability.

Standard features include a Sram 3×7 (21 speed) drivetrain, stout 48 spoke double-wall-rimmed wheels, a rear disk brake, and fenders. Accessories on my test machine include the Go Getter waterproof bag for easy grocery hauling, as well as a Soft Spot seat cushion, Hold On handlebars, and Running Boards for my passenger. Must-have is the beefy center stand that makes parking a breeze.

The electric system is by eZee. It’s 400 watt brushless motor will take you 12-20 miles with its 10 ah battery. I have yet to run out of power climbing some of the steepest hills in the San Francisco area. Yes, I did have to pedal. I ain’t no poser, I’m a rider, just trying to get my load around town in the most efficient, car-free way possible. The Yuba Mundo does the trick.

Keep reading

To see our full review, check out Bicycle Times issue #15, which goes on sale January 31.
 

 

 

 


Review: Breezer Uptown Infinity

By Maurice Tierney

Bicycle Times is an “enthusiast” publication, but part of our mission is to bring bikes to the general public, people who just want to get from point A to point B with as little fuss as possible, saving gas and living a sustainable, healthy life.

So maybe a bike should be like a toaster. With a toaster, you push down the lever and it cooks. With the Breezer Uptown Infinity, you push the pedals and it goes, and that’s about a simple as a ride can be.

The NuVinci continuously variable planetary (CVP) transmission is the starting point. Upon first grab of the handlebar-mounted twist-shifter, you notice the lack of confusing clicks. Simply twist toward you for higher gearing and twist away from you for lower.

The illustrative terrain graphic built into the shifter tells you where you are in the gear range—the “hill” gets steeper as the gearing gets lower. Everything about this bike makes it ultra-easy to live with. The chain is completely enclosed, keeping the lube on the chain and dirt off your clothing. And every toaster bike should have front and rear lighting, don’t you think? The Uptown has you covered with a Shimano power-generating front dynamo hub and very bright Busch & Muller lights front and rear. You’ll never have to think about getting caught in the dark when you leave the house. You’ll be getting your green on by not shopping at the battery store, either.

Nor will you have to think about the weather, with full fenders covering the wheels to keep you dry. Other daily needs are taken care of as well, with a springloaded rack to accept the panniers of your choice, strong brakes, and ergonomic handlebar and grips. The wheels are burly 26-inchers for strength and the tires are 1.5”-wide WTB Freedoms that’ll give you freedom to hit a pothole with minimal repercussion. The seatpost is of the shock-absorbing variety.

For icing on the toast we have a built in ring lock that prevents the back wheel from rolling when engaged. It won’t stop someone from carrying your bike away, but it is a nice deterrent and good to have so that you, again, have less to think about. The kickstand and bell are included as well—two more must-have items!

The Experience

While the Uptown can also be had in the conventional “Boys” frame design, I opted for the “Girls” or step-through frame because sometimes I wear a skirt and other times I am just too lazy to lift my leg—more of what makes this the easiest-ever bike to ride. The saddle is wide and cushy (probably not good for extended touring or long distances), the grips are comfy, and the position is upright and comfortable.

Every time I pedal off, I cannot help but feel a sense of joy at the ease of riding and especially shifting the NuVinci hub. The lack of clicking, grinding or other sound is just great. Best of all, you can shift either while moving or while stopped at a traffic light, thus further reducing your brainwork.

With the Uptown it was always a pleasure not having to think about all the stuff that makes riding a bike difficult. No more money to be spent on accessories, no more time spent installing them. and no more packing up before heading out for rides. The Uptown infinity is a no-brainer for riding around town. But I did test the limits. For starters, there are limits to the rigidity of a single-tube, step-through design, and I tested these with some “aggressive” riding when throwing the Uptown hard into turns resulted in more frame wiggle than desired. My bad for choosing the step-through frame, which without the usual top tube, is missing some of the structural rigidity of a diamond frame.

I pushed the limits of the NuVinci hub as well. While all internally geared hubs have less efficiency than a traditional chain drive system (which is nearly 99% efficient), I did feel a very pronounced loss of energy when climbing hills in the lowest gear, especially with two panniers’ worth of groceries. NuVinci will tell you that this loss is made up for by the fact that the continuously engaged transmission is never in-between gears. But my ultimate realization is that this bike is really less suited for aggressive, enthusiast-style riding and a lot more relevant to making it easier for people to get on bikes, which it does so well.

Here’s to the day when bikes are as simple as toasters. Nice job, Breezer.

Tester stats

  • Age: 53
  • Height: 6’ 4”
  • Weight: 230lbs.
  • Inseam: 34”

Bike stats

  • Country of Origin: Taiwan
  • Price: $1,269
  • Weight: 36lbs.
  • Sizes Available: Standard: 17.5”, 19.5”, 21.5”, 23.5”; Low-Step: 15” 17”, 19”, 21” (Tested)
  • Online: www.breezerbikes.com

 


Felt shows of new “lifestyle” bikes

By Maurice Tierney

Felt Bicycles showed off their full line of bikes in Irvine, California, last week. Felt offers a huge variety of bikes here in the U.S. and even more in Europe. Road, cross, time trial, mountain, utility, urban, Felt has it all. Funny that the bikes that always catch this scribe’s eye are the “Tank” bikes. These are generally beach cruisers with giant top tubes that look like the pseudo “Gas Tanks” you used to see on newspaper-style bikes of old. But modern hydroforming techniques allow them to get the swoopy lines into a modern lightweight (relatively) aluminum alloy cruiser. Many of the designs are super-custom and with Felt-specific parts like their own 26×3” tires (on some models), Felt’s cruisers stand out. Ever see a New Belgium Brewery cruiser? That’s what I’m talking about.

Star of this presentation was the Carroll Shelby model. Featuring the same Wimbledon White and Guardsman Blue as the original 1965 Shelby GT500:

It’s got the proper logoage and Shelby signature too. It can be yours for $999.

But that’s a current model. Also on hand was a bare frame for the new 2012 style tank, as shown here by Felts marketing Ms. Eva:

Cool Huh? Now let’s get practical. Felt’s has some nice looking offerings in the utility/commuter game. The Verza City line comes in price points from $599 to $1,149 depending on spec, Verza City bikes balance the comfort of a comfort bike with the agility and efficiency of a road bike. Here’s the Verza City 2 with its aluminum frame, disk brakes, and 24-speed drivetrain. Fender and rack included for $749:

And while the Verza line is designed to be speedy and agile, the Café Line represents a more laid-back attitude. The head and seat angles are more laid back for more comfortable, easygoing handling, and so are the prices, at $499 to $649. Take your pick from 7, 3, 8 or 24 gears, in order of price. Here’s the Café 24, including shiny shiny fenders, nice!

 

I got to look at bikes; you get to look at pictures. Felt has a fixie for you if that’s how you wanna roll. Top ‘o the Felt fixie line is the Footprint. Sure wish I had a photo of that one, it’s a $1,599 carbon fiber fixed gear. Given Felt’s experience at the track, this could be good. But I am guessing the Brougham might be more your speed, it runs $549 and can also be had with a Sturmey archer 3-speed fixed hub for $699. Swell.

 

And last but not least I gotta show you the single-speed cross bike (Or maybe just Eva’s 2002 in the background, I am envious!). Here it is, the $1,299 Breed from Felt. Enjoy!

 

See more

Check out Felt’s 2012 mountain bike lineup over at our sister mag, Dirt Rag.

 

 


What the heck is a Toaster Bike?

By Maurice Tierney

Our mission as we have chosen to accept it is to get more people on bikes. Make it easy as pie to bring the bike into your everyday life. Wait, who said pie was easy? I mean the crust alone can be considered an art form. We need it to be easier than that. Like ahhh, mmm, hmmmm…. Toast! Easy as making toast. Yea, that’s the ticket! With toast you drop in the bread, push down the lever and you’re good to go. All you need to do is decide which direction to head. Butter? Marmalade? Why can’t bikes be that easy?

In my review in Bicycle Times #12, I call the Breezer Uptown Infinity a “Toaster Bike”. I say this because it is designed to make it as easy as possible to ride your bike for everyday purposes. Step onto bike, push pedal down and go! All you have to decide is where the bike will take you. The possibilities are endless!

Lights, fenders, a chain cover, rack, bell. Solid wheels, a comfy position, and of course the infinitly variable NuVinci transmission all together make the Breezer a Breeze!

What else do you need? The conversation could be endless as well, and I’d like to see it happen here on this web site after you read the review in the print magazine.

For example, I myself have been enjoying the benefits of an easy-to-ride infrastructure outside the door of our new west coast office where these photos were taken, Emeryville, across the bay from San Francisco, California.

Fairly flat, bike Lanes, bicycle paths, bikes on busses, it is all-good. But let’s discuss. I know there’s a need for infrastructure to fill in the gaps, how do we get there?
 

 


Review: Dahon IOS P8

By Maurice Tierney

The Dahon IOS P8 might be considered the Cadillac of folding bikes with its 24” wheels. Folding almost as small as Dahon’s 20”-wheeled counterparts, the IOS has nearly everything one might ask for in a bike, plus the benefits of the fold.

I spent weeks riding the IOS all around the East Bay and San Francisco area, and not once did I long to be riding my regular bike. The big wheels roll nicely and don’t fall into potholes, the handling is normal, and I’ve even added a rack and panniers for load carrying.

A key reason I was so interested in trying a folder was the Bay Area’s public transportation system, BART, which does not allow bikes on board during certain hours, except folders. The IOS folds up in a few seconds as I transfer from street level to escalator to train platform. (Mind the gap.) Once on board, I don’t feel like quite the second-class citizen I would if I were pushing a full-sized bike, as they do tend to get in the way, especially during rush hour.

More like a full-sized bike than the usual folder, yes. But compared to my usual 700c/29er, it’s like riding a skateboard. Negotiating through tight spots, pedestrians and the like is easy and fun. Folded or not, it’s compact, easy to handle, and quick to accelerate. At 28lbs., the IOS is the heaviest of our three test bikes. It’s also quite a bit larger than the Brompton when folded. If I were carrying this bike to my desk each day, I might be inclined to go for a smaller, lighter option. The IOS is plenty small for me, and drops nicely into the trunk of the Toyota Camry, away from prying eyes. Note here that the pedals fold as well, although I switched them out for some spiky platform pedals because the folding pedals’ rubber surface was a little slippery for me.

The IOS comes in one size to fit most everyone. That means a pretty small cockpit for my 6’4” frame, but that’s OK because I am left nicely upright and able to enjoy my surroundings, rather than being all bent over in the usual aggressive riding position. The seatpost is mighty long, enough to accommodate riders from 5’2” to 6’4”, and the Andros stem has a quick-release mechanism that allows the handlebars to rotate from straight up to low and forward. I ran the stem up high and the seat as well, and found myself highly comfortable and upright, able to take in the sights around me.

The bike I rode was the IOS P8 retailing for $900. The “8” indicates a SRAM GripShift 8-speed external drivetrain. By the time you read this, the P8 may not be available. A P7 ($1,100) is available with a 7-speed internal hub for low-maintenance people. If you really want to get all Cadillac with your bad self, the IOS XL is available for $1,600, which includes a dynamo hub-powered, cell phone-charging light system, fenders, internal gearing and disc brakes, too! And it’s black. The new black.

On the accessory front, I’ve been able to try a few of Dahon’s extensive selection of useful things. The ArcLite rear rack allowed me to use my panniers. The Tour Bag with its removable shoulder strap mounted onto the head tube for smaller, man-purse-style travel. The PostPump, a full size pump, resides inside the seatpost for flat repair. Lights and fenders are available as well. A kickstand is standard equipment, a nice touch for a sweet ride.

Read more about folding bikes in our introduction.


SF Bike Expo 2010

SF Bike Expo The San Francisco Bike Expo is a consumer bike show with fun, cool events, and bicycle companies in attendance. Bicyle Times will have a booth, so be sure to stop by and say hello. Keep reading to get a better idea of what to expect:

 

 

 

 

Don’t you know?
It’s the place to go
Where a bike show will explode
Near the San Francisco Bay if I may be so bold
Called the SF Bike Expo
In November it’s summer
It will not be a bummer
It takes place on the 6th
And will be really sick!
(That’s HELLA sick, in Bay-speak)
Cyclists of all styles
Will come for a while
Check out the fashion show
Or the cross race to go
Ride in off the street
It cannot be beat
All the bike peeps will come
You’ll surely have fun!
There will be stunting as well
And lowriders from hell
Advocacy too
How about you?
A palace of Cow
Becomes a palace of wow!
(What’s a Cow Palace anyway?)
The Bicycle Times booth
Will feed your sweet tooth
It’s not just a swap
You might blow your top
Try to remain calm At sfbikeexpo.com

 


Tour of England part three: Moulton

While the previously reported Brooks and Pashley factory tours were amazing, the highlight of the whole journey was a hour spent with a 90 year old man by the name of Alex Moulton. I really had no idea what I was getting into as we approached his modest home in Bradford-on-Avon.

What the? Is going on here? Who the heck is Alex Moulton? Turns out Mister Alex Moulton’s great grandfather, Stephen Moulton, brought Goodyear’s vulcanizing process to England back in 1840 or so. Alex himself was also a rubber pioneer, developing the hydrolastic* suspension that, along with the smaller wheel size, allowed the original Mini Cooper to be so mini. We got a look at one such Mini at the Moulton Museum residing on the estate.

In the late 50’s, Alex turned his attention to the bicycle and pioneered a design that would become quite the rage in the early 60’s. And remain relevant 50 years later. Small wheels had not been considered seriously against the then-standard double-diamond “Safety” bicycle, but Moulton was eager to challenge the staus quo after observing the benefits of smaller wheels in automotive use.  Thinking that the lower inertia of small wheels made for faster acceleration and an easier-to-mount frame design. And while Moulton’s were not designed as folding bikes, they were easy to disassemble for travel. And if that is not enough, Moultons were fully suspended for a comfy ride. How about that for ahead of your time?

Moulton showed his bike to Raleigh in hopes of licencing the design them to manufacture. But Raleigh was not interested. So Moulton set up his own factory and went ahead anyway. The Moulton bike took off in the early 60’s; their bicycle factory became the second largest in England behind Raleigh (Who I’m told was making like 7000 bikes per day). Moulton sold 200,000 bikes before Raleigh knocked off the idea and took over the market with their RSW series. Moulton wound up selling out to Raleigh in 1967, just in time for the Raleigh Chopper to steal the limelight and rush the market.

That’s the ancient history. Much more has happened through the 70’s and 80’s, yet today the Moulton factory still sits in a former stable on the same property where it all began. Let’s take a look.

Inside the blue door on the right, the Moulton team is hard at work making bikes.

By hand.


And barely have time to stop for a photo.

With these kind of results. This New Series model is made of stainless steel, and is worth near $15,725 American. It’s called a Space Frame and there’s a whole bunch of little tubes that come together to form one. It’s no wonder they are expensive.

But Moulton, being connected with Pashley, has some more affordable offerings being made in the Pashley factory in Stratford-Upon-Avon, ranging from $19-3600.

But Alex Moulton awaits. We have been granted a one-hour audience with the man. He is 90 after all so we understand. We are led into his great room and gather around a rather large dining table to talk. Whereupon Mister Moulton share some of his exploits. The cat listens in.

Alex shared his thoughts on his first and only mountain bike ride, which left him wondering why anyone would do such a thing as ride down a mountain. Perhaps if he had bigger wheels the experience might have been better? Alex talked about how he didn’t like the crossbar on the conventional bikes of the day. He liked recumbents but found them unstable. Small wheels were the answer. We also heard about the numerous records that have been broken riding Moulton bicycles over the years. And looked through his biography, full of pictures and drawings of his designs.

I myself was in a bit of awe at this guy nearly twice my age. Pretty cool. He’s done so much.

Got to ride some bikes as well, around the test track on the property, a good time to blow off a little steam after so much travelling. And think. About all the people that have influence the bicycle through history. On and on…

* (From Wikipedia) The system replaces the separate springs and dampers of a conventional suspension system with integrated, space efficient, fluid filled, displacer units, which are interconnected between the front and rear wheels on each side of the vehicle. Each displacer unit contains a rubber spring, and damping is achieved by the displaced fluid passing through rubber valves. The displaced fluid passes to the displacer of the paired wheel, thus providing a dynamic interaction between front and rear wheels. When a front wheel encounters a bump fluid is transferred to the corresponding rear displacer then lowers the rear wheel, hence lifting the rear, minimising pitch associated with the bump. Naturally the reverse occurs when it is a rear wheel that encounters a bump. This effect is particularly good on small cars as small wheelbase vehicles are more affected by pitching than long wheelbase vehicles.


Stuff I like: Ergon Grips

Sometimes you just wanna tell people about something good without getting into a full review-test-deadline-drama scenario. I have been running Ergons GP1 grips on one of my mountain bikes, on a bike here and there, but I have not gone to the trouble of putting them on all my bikes for whatever reason. But when I reunited with my Karate Monkey after leaving it in the East Bay area, it had some new Ergons on it. I was immediately pleased and thankful for this. Not only do my hands feel comfy upon first grasp, but they feel great all day.

These Ergon GX1 Leichtbau grips are designed for XC racing. They are some of the lightest grips Ergon has to offer, as well as having a more compact body, a smaller wing, and a narrower diameter. I like ’em cuz my hands are prone to numbness and/or pain when riding long distances.


Tour of England part two: Pashley Cycles

After my tour of the Brooks saddle factory I was fortunate enough to get tours of two more factories in England. Pashley and Moulton are two of the three places in England where bicycles are actually made, the other being Brompton. Through my connections at Brooks, I was guided on to Pashley and Moulton the following day (Sorry Brompton). Let’s check out Pashley…

Pashley’s have been made in Britain since 1926 under the moniker ” Manufacturers of every type of bicycle” so there’s lots of history, including high-volume contracts with the Royal Mail and other large companies to provide cargo and other business-capable bikes. With only 1% of the bikes sold in England being made in England, ya just have to respect and honor what’s going on here. About 8000 bikes per year come out of here, with 150 models to choose from. Here’s a mail bike, I need one of these…

Raw materials in one end, bikes out the other. One such material is these brass brazing rods.

Here’s another ingredient, lugs!

The lugs and tubes are tacked together with rivets, held in a frame jig, and then the brass is melted into the joints to bond the tubes together…

Once the frame is assembled it is put into high heat…

And then aligned to perfection…

Then bead-blasted for cleanliness…

And then powder coated. Note that these fenders are sourced locally as is every component that can be is…

Here are some powdered frames…

The assembly department…

And a completed bike, almost ready to go!

Pashley has been doing well in recent times, as ardent cyclists are much more interested in beautiful, classically styled machines like these. And with the movement toward sustainable, locally produced products that support a local economy on the rise, Pashley is one company that gets it. Materials, parts and components produced in England are sought out first. If that is not possible they look to Europe, and then to English companies producing overseas, (Sturmey Archer hubs, for example). By the way, it’s not all about the cargo bikes above. The Guv’nor below was spotted on the Brooks picnic ride, and features brass plated lugs, a Sachs Duomatic rear hub and Speed Drive front chain wheel for four-speed action! And it is a true beauty as well…

Well folks, that’s all I got for now. Next stop, Moulton.


World Tour Report: Seattle Bicycle Show

Spinning in Seattle: I Could Live Here

We launched Bicycle Times a year ago at the Seattle Bicycle Show, amid some really crappy Seattle weather. Standing on a wet floor in a leaky circus tent somewhere in Magnuson Park, we greeted the hordes of dedicated cyclists pouring in with fresh copies of our very first issue. Eyeing the preponderance of yellow-jacket-wearing, pannier-hauling, mirror-sporting cyclists, we new we were in the right place to reach the legions of real-world bike life. And everyone else was there too!

That was then, this is now.

This year we’re in a seemingly-new cruise terminal on Pier 91. There’s carpet on the floor, luxurious lighting, and a fantastic view of the Olympic range right outside the large windows. Things are smooth, as Robert and the Two Fish family have driven the booth up from SFO, I’ve flown in after the Bike Summit in DC, and we’ve just ridden our bikes from the hotel, over a giant hill with a mondo view of the Seattle skyline and 14,411 foot Mount Rainier. Life is good.

But let’s get to work. We’re here to promote our magazines. Let’s grab a stack and shove them into people’s faces. Make sure they have seen them and have had a chance to like them (or not). “Dirt or off dirt?” That is the question as we offer each attendee their choice of Bicycle Times or Dirt Rag. We’re happy to meet all kinds of cyclists. Some have known Dirt Rag for years and others are just getting their indoctrination papers for the first time. It’s all good.

And when we lure them into the booth for the subscription offer, it gets better. We’ve got Melissa Bearns from Klean Kanteen in our corner today, and she’s brought along the spinny-wheel.

Melissa is a pro. A sales pro. She walks into the booth, says hi, grabs a stack of magazines, and she’s off to the races, hawking “Subscribe and spin! Yea, come on in!” Spin the wheel and you could win one of these fine prizes from Klean Kanteen, Dirt Rag, or Bicycle Times!


Anyway, we converted nearly fifty regular people into enlightened ones (subscribers) in those two days, and got to look around the show a bit as well.

Got to meet up with Erik “Sure King” Zo, a man with a brain bursting at the seams with bike knowledge.


Always a pleasure. Zo was part of the classic lightweight bike display at the Seattle show, a huge collection of old bikes, and featuring a bunch of Jack Taylors, and a visit from Ken Taylor, a man with a few more years of bike knowledge. Man I need to find some photos of this shit. All I got was this head tube from a 1939 Caminargent…


Then there’s the  World Champion Artistic Cyclists from Germany! Corrina Hein, Stefan Musu and Lukas Matla were another amazing attraction. Awe-inspiring! There are some videos here… http://kunstrad.fernradweh.de/media/videos/ And I took a few stills myself…


All told, 9300 visitors came to this show. In this new venue things are only going to get better. We’ll be back!


A Day at the Bike Summit

Lobbying at all, especially at the highest level of American government, is not something I ever thought I’d be involved in. But after 20 years in the bike “business” (and I use that term loosely) it becomes clear that there’s more to it than just slaving away and hoping you make a profit.

Advocacy.

The daily news can really piss one off can’t it? You feel pretty helpless sometimes when things are going to hell. The past eight years have been especially frustrating for this commentator.

Fortunately, bicycles offer solutions to many of the world’s problems, and that’s why I find myself standing tall walking the halls of congress to push bicycle-related legislation.

It’s all centered on the “Ask”, where you ask your legislator to promote a specific agenda. Like the Complete Streets agenda, whereby pedestrians and cyclists transportation needs must be considered in the construction and repair of roads.

Or Safe Routes to Schools, a sure cure for child obesity. Plus Mom can keep the suv in the garage.

Or CLEAN-TEA. In a nut, the transportation budget. We’d like to see more than one or two percent spent on infrastructure that’s really green. Bicycle green.

So here’s how it goes. What we do is hike around to the different senatorial and congressional office buildings circling Capitol Hill, in hopes of gaining face time with anyone representing our individual districts or senate seats. Our Pennsylvania delegation is 20 strong for the senatorial meetings, but at the district meetings, it’s just me and the local cycling advocacy group, Bike Pittsburgh.

pitt teamScott Bricker, Eric “Erok” Boerer, Jessie Buckner and yours truly attended some Western Pennsylvania district meetings as a gang of four. Unlike the senate meetings, you really have to have it together as sometimes it’s just you and a 20-something staffer with little or no interest in your agenda.

Yes, these meetings are rarely with the actual congressperson or senator. Their staffer’s job is to listen to what you ask for, nod their head, and agree to take your message to the representative. Much of the time these peeps are just talking heads that could care less about bikes, but at least it’s encouraging to have them listen to us.

But our meeting with the staffer at Kathy Dahlkemper’s office was another story. Phil English was given the boot last November and we could not be happier that he’s been replaced by a Democratic woman. But get this, the dude we’re talking to is a rabid mountain biker, and we get to spend like 20 minutes just talking about bikes! Needless to say we felt our voice was really being heard in this office.

And thus ends a great day on Capitol Hill.


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