Friday, June 23, 2023

Friday News And Views

Guitar Ted Gets Interviewed:

When I was down in Emporia earlier this month I got invited to be on the "Gravel Family Podcast" by Jason Strobehn. He along with co-host  Sofia Gibson, are really getting a lot of great folks on their show and I was honored to have been asked on.

This podcast is a good one from the perspective of history. If you've ever wondered how I got the moniker "Guitar Ted", how Trans Iowa got started, or where I came into reviewing stuff for cycling, this show has all of that plus more packed into less than an hour. 

So, check it out if you have time. The Spotify link is here.  

Thanks to Jason, Sofia, and Lauf Cycles for sponsoring this episode. Thanks to Merchant Cycles in Emporia, KS for the space in front of their shop. Thanks to the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame for the invitation to visit Emporia again. 

Pinion marries a gearbox with a motor

E-Bike Innovations Trend More Toward Motorcycles:

I've said for years that modern motors in modern bicycles would end up losing the pedals at some point and follow the same progression that happened in the early 20th Century with bicycles and motor mixing. Parts would necessarily have to be beefed up, motors would become integrated parts of the frame design, and power would increase to the point that pedaling would be like T-Rex trying to use his forearms. Yeah....pretty much useless. 

 I know bike nerd types will raise heck with those thoughts, but as I review the news and look around me, the evidence of this evolution is undeniable. Take for instance two bits I saw in the news this past week.

One is Pinion's development of a gearbox/motor unit that shifts via electronics and probably will have an automatic version when it comes to market. The rider will simply have to pedal a bit and everything else will run on its own. 

The second bit I saw was from Quiet Cat, a HPC/electrified bike company catering more to the outdoors-man. Their newest bike will have Variable Power Output onboard which will allow the user to run the bike as a Class 1, Class 2, Class 3, or at the maximum output of 1000 watts, by throttle. The rider can use an electronic panel to choose power output level as long as they are stopped.

How is that not a motorcycle? This and a gearbox/motor combo? How far are we away from motorcycles that happen to have pedals? Not very far, I'd say. 

The Bookman "Volume" light. (Image courtesy of Bookman Visibility)

Bookman Volume Light:

This is a bicycle light from Bookman, who I've featured here before. Their product line was mostly about "being seen" lights, not the practical "see-by" lights I need in the darker times of the year. That said, Bookman does combine a nice sense of design and fashion with usability and function. 

Now at Eurobike Bookman has been awarded an Innovation in Design award for their new "Volume" light. An 850 Lumen or 1500 Lumen light that has the potential to be a great light for adventure, long rides, and commuting. 

Not only that, but Bookman have achieved an "out of the box" thinking on design which, to me, is very sensible. For instance, instead of a push button for selecting a light level you may desire, which typically requires a scrolling through all the other modes to get where you want to be, Bookman have utilized a rotary switch. A simple twist of a knob and you get there, where you want the light level to be, more quickly. Bookman claims the idea came from the volume knob on a stereo receiver, thus the product's name. 

Not only that, but they utilize an easily obtainable cylindrical lithium ion rechargeable battery allowing the user of the Volume to swap out batteries during a ride to extend ride times indefinitely. This is much like the old Lezyne Super Drive light which had a similar design. Basically, hearkening back to the old D cell battery flashlight theme from days of yore. 

Then Bookman addressed one of the more maddening idiosyncrasies regarding lights and accessories for bicycles - mounts. They did not invent yet another proprietary mount for this light. Instead, they went with a ubiquitous mount in the cycling world, the Garmin mount. Brilliant! (Sorry, no pun intended!) They even offer a Garmin mount with a GoPro attachment. Now that's using your noggin! I like this light just based upon its design alone. 

Is it any good? How much will it cost? When can anyone get one? I only have one vague answer and that for the last question - Fall 2023. Stay tuned.....

That's all for this week! have a great weekend and get out and ride!


Phillip Cowan said...

I think your analysis of E-bike evolution is spot on. I don't see a lot of pedaling going on out there.

Guitar Ted said...

@Phillip Cowan - I am seeing evidence for my take all the time. Just yesterday a story broke about the rise in teen use of throttle controlled electric "bicycles" and how the kids using them are being dangerous. I saw a man with an electric motor conversion on a tricycle (!!) going approximately 30mph, (we were traveling at about 40mph when we passed him), on a bike path (!!!) and watched as he blasted across a controlled intersection without even a concern for looking or slowing down. (!!!!)

And that was just yesterday.