Fly6 Camera and LED Light

Fly6 Camera and LED Light  - New Gadget and Safety Tool

I just came across the newly available Fly6 taillight and HD Camera combination product.  The idea of building such a device is really great!  Why – well, because it will provide cyclist the world over with a very good safety device.  Here is a view of the product from Fly6.com

camera Fly6 Camera and LED Light  Excellent Lights and Recording Gadget

This video from the company itself is a great description of the idea that drove the product:  all in all, drivers are often careless and do not really pay enough attention to the dynamics of the road.  Why do I know this?  Because of my personal experience.  I have been involved in accident where the other party was a truck driver who hit me as I was going along a main street in the city and he was stopped at a street corner waiting to turn onto the main street.  After he hit me the guy swore he never saw me (on a bright sunny day i.e. in full daylight) — I guess he did not BUT THE MAIN REASON was that he was not paying any attention….but just decided to turn onto the main street and I happened to be there…Too bad for me right…?  Well with this new gadget many such situations will be well documented and will drive awareness and attention across all of us…

The other interesting aspect of this gadget was the STRONG interest in it – its creation was funded on Kickstarter in only a couple of months.  This diagram is sourced from Kickstarter.com and shows results from user surveys:

 Fly6 Camera and LED Light

In summary, I really like the idea behind this product.  Will look into getting one – and will post here my experiences soon enough…

 

Rational Mountain Bike Cost

So here we go – the next installment of some thoughts around what makes a ‘rational’ mountain bike price.  I put the statement rational in quotes in an attempt early on to highlight the fact that, in my opinion, there is very little that is rational about this topic.  The reality is that the companies that build mountain bikes do that for their customer base – i.e. if you do not like the price and features on a given bike, guess what others (large majority) do!

So with that in mind, the best thing you can do is decide for yourself what are the conditions that you will be experiencing and how will you be using the mountain bike you desire to purchase.  Based on that you could develop a general guideline for the amount of money you need to allocate for your purchase.  Here are some general rule of thumb considerations – based on riding you expect to do:

  • Light use hardtail bike (i.e. no rear suspension): approximately $500
  • Track and cross country hardtail (not racing): sub-$1000
  • Race capable hardtail (for amateurs): $1100-$1900
  • Hardtail with specialized components: above $2000
  • Add rear suspension to the categories above — add on the average $500-$700 on top of the prices listed above in the corresponding categories

Then you can start adding big $$$ for special frame – e.g. carbon frame for mountain bike can cost you.  Case in point the Pivot Phoenix DH Carbon – shown below – is a carbon based frame bike which with its bells and whistles still weighs only 31lbs (per pivotcycles.com)

large Foto Jens Staudt Pivot Phoenix Carbon 6500 Rational Mountain Bike Cost

Then you can also get a special set of brake pads for your disc brakes – yes, most durable and worth getting mountain bikes these days already come with at least mechanical if not fluid operated disc brakes.  Tribull from Taiwan has developed Shimano compatible brake pads with integrated heat sink – quite a setup to see… Here is a snap from their web site:

DDE 37 20130312154026 750  Rational Mountain Bike Cost  
And next to it is the compatible Shimano product – you can purchase from Amazon.com or just head to your pro-bike shop if you do not want to tinker;

At any rate, these types of options can significantly increase the price of your bike but they also come with significant benefits – lower weight and more maneuverable bike, better brakes, and so the list goes…

Like I said in my previous posting – even at $3000 a bike can be a good investment towards your health – just think – you will ride it for at least 5 years, therefore if you ride each Saturday and Sunday – that will amount to about 100 days per year — hence about 500 days — or as I said in an earlier article — that amounts to about $6 per day – almost as pricey as your cup of fancy latte….in your local coffee shop!

Mountain Bike Cost – What is Rational

Mountain bikes have been growing in wheel size — for example, 29-inch wheels came into broad use very quickly – and in cost.  It is increasingly common to see $2000-plus price tag on a large portion of most manufacturers’ portfolio.  The reality is that in most cases the price tag has very little to do with your enjoyment on the trail.   The $1200 bike at full retail is probably the top of the sub-prosumer bikes.  You can get the “last year” bike model for that price as the top of the line pro-summer bikes are about $1700 and often discounted to $1200 during a model year change.

At the same time, those pro-summer bikes will provide you with a lot of useful exercise, keep you in good form and all this for about $4-$6 per ride if you use the bike each weekend throughout the year.   So not a bad return on your investment…

I will elaborate on this tomorrow…after my Labor Day ride…

 

Interesting rear mounted bike rack

On my current trip via Europe to Asia I came across an interesting bike rack — Thule EuroWay G2 921 Bike Carrier

Check it out (from the Thule web site):

  • New improved, detachable bike arms for convenient mounting of bikes.
  • Folds flat easily for simple storage and fits in most trunks.
  • Smart foot pedal tilt for easy trunk access even with bikes mounted.
  • Adjustable one hand coupling with low closing force for easy mounting of carrier.
  • Pump buckles with long wheel straps for easy fastening of wheels.
  • Carrier lockable on tow bar and all bike positions lockable to carrier (locks included).

Link to a good video on it:

 

Trek X-Caliber – Continuing the Review

I am getting closer to the 2-month mark of owning and using my new 29-er mountain bike – a 2014 Trek X-Caliber from the Gary Fisher Collection.  As I ride the bike – which I have been doing every Saturday and Sunday for the last 4-weeks or so, I learned to appreciate the design advantages this particular bike model offers.  

First, the G2 Geometry frame – which features a custom offset fork coupled with frame geometry which allows for much more nimble bike.  When I first started riding the bike I did notice that it felt much faster than my previous bike which was also a 29er….now I understand why that feeling – it is coming from the X-Caliber frame and offset fork – which make the bike a "race" category bike.  Very nice.  The G2 geometry gives the bike a lght feel – overall it made the X-Calber feel a whole lot more responsive on the trails.  In addition, the X-Caliber uses Trek's Gold-Aluminum material for the frame – which is providing for lighter weight while not compromising on a very strong frame overall.   

My new bike Trek july2014 3 e1407208801169 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review    My new bike Trek wheel 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review The Bontrager Mustang rims and Bontrager tires provide for very fast rides; 

The bike's fork is RockShox Reba RL with air shocks and very useful remote lockout.  The remote lockout makes it easy to turn on and off the shock and maximize on peddling efficiency when you hit the paved roads.

 MyTrekX CaliberBrakesShock 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review The bike uses hydraulic disk brakes which offer the strongest and shortest stoppiing distance – of course if you are not used to them – do make sure you pull on the brake levers gradually or else you WILL fly over the handlebars!!!

The X-Caliber uses a 3×10 drivetrain – 10-speed casette and a 3-ring crankset – thus offering a very wide range of gears 

MyTrek XCaliber SRAM 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review    MyTrek X CaliberGears 150x150 Trek X Caliber   Continuing the Review 

Overall the bike is great for usage on the road, on a cross-country trail, on a single track….feels like everywhere…!

Beginners’ Guide – Adjustments for a Mountain Bike

Almost couple of years ago I published several postings in a series about a beginners guide to mountain bikes.  The reality is that mountain biking is relatively popular but information on how to get going with a good fit for your bike is really scarce.  I aggregated a bunch of pointers on how to start with mountain biking — here is a list of the articles:

Now I need to highlight to you a couple of additional points:

  1. adjustmets to your fork and air shock
  2. adjustments for your seat and stem to prevent back and shoulder pain

So let's start with the air shock on your bike.  You need to check it approximately every 2 weeks.  Why?  Because in your riding – if you do so at least each weekend, you will continuously lose some air from the shock.  With that in mind. you need to check the air pressure and maintain it with the air shock pump on a regular basis.  My bike - Trek X-Caliber G2 29er with RockShox Reba Air shock fork – I will need to maintain around 130psi; For that I have two options on a pump – here are they are:

     I picked up the Fox one, why?  It was available…Simple as that; 

The second item – as listed above in the list of adjustments needed – was the stem on the bike.  The original stem for my Trek X-Caliber 29er was  

TrekXCaliberStem 2314090 Beginners Guide   Adjustments for a Mountain Bike  Bontrager Race Lite, 31.8mm, 7 degree;  a good quality stem – but I needed to replace it with one that brought the handlebars higher and therefore to a more comfortable posture for me.  I exchanged the stem in the bike shop where they installed a Salsa stem which was but about an inch shorter and brought the whole experience to a better result.

 

 

Trek X-Caliber – 30-day Review

Well folks, earlier in July (right after the 4th) I came across a great deal on a Trek X-Caliber mountain / cross-country bike.  As I mentioned in an earlier article – when I test rode the bike, I was not looking yet for a new bike, but when I saw the price tag (US$1100) of this model – yes, it is the 2014 model and not the 2015 one — but, hey, who really pays attention to that wink smile Trek X Caliber   30 day Review I decided to jump.

In other words – my Specialized Rockhopper Comp SL 29er was traded in for the shiny new Trek X-Caliber 29er hardtail bike.  

My new bike Trek july2014 2 e1407208594614 300x225 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review  My new bike Trek july2014 3 e1407208801169 300x225 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review 

My new bike Trek wheel 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Bontrager 29-inch wheels; My new bike Trek comp 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Avid Elixir 1 hydraulic disc brakes

My new bike Trek remote shocklock 150x150 Trek X Caliber   30 day Review Remote shocklock mechanism 

Overall this bike appears to offer a lot of value.  I like the light and aggressive G2 Geometry frame — per Trek it provides for great maneuverability even at low speeds and is to be very agile.  Well… I agree.  The bike appears much faste than my previous Specialized bike.

The remote shock lockout mechanism combined with the actual RockShox REBA fork – which has a very good 100mm travel offers very good efficiency of pedaling.  You could be on a rough surface – then you hit the smooth patch – click the remote lockout and you immediately increase your pedalling strength….

The 10-gear cassette combined with the 3-ring crank-set provide for good pedaling efficiency as well good selection of speeds and strain on you – the rider.

Overall, this bike also offers a very light assembly – I must stress – my experience from the first 4-5 rides on both road and cross-country trails, has been nothing by excellent.  

I will continue to report on the bike over the next few weeks.

Views from Bulgaria

Views from Bulgaria – you can leverage biking as a way to get closer to the natural beauty of the country

Visiting Bulgaria in the summer can provide you with some great, picturesque views of the country and its natural beauty.  In my previous blog post I listed yet another location where you can experience some good mountain / XC / single track biking.  

Now I wanted to just post some pictures and let you think about the location and if you so desire ask questions via the blog – as to which areas you may consider for nature tourism (and may be a few hours of peddling each day – along country roads or in the fields along dirt roads surrounded by wild flowers and the occasional storks and/or farm animals….

So here we go with the photos:

P1120006 300x128 Views from Bulgaria P1120018 300x165 Views from Bulgaria P1100878 300x225 Views from Bulgaria P1110489 300x144 Views from Bulgaria ViewFrom Buzludzha july2014 300x97 Views from Bulgaria Views from Bulgaria – as seen from Buzludzha peak in Central Balkan mountain

 

Biking in Bulgaria – part 1 – Central Balkan Region

Over the previous 2 years I added summary write ups on biking trails and pleasant areas to bike in several corners of Bulgaria.  Today, having just returned from yet another trip to Bulgaria (and a brief London visit), it is time to add more to the list of potential areas for biking in this country.

As stated, previously I provided write ups and photos on:

This time around I want to add commentary and photos on a few more locations, starting with the area known as the Valley of the Thracian Kings (around Kazanlak), high up in the Central Balkan mountains between the peaks where Shipka and Buzludzha are — then in a follow up installment I will cover areas in North-east Bulgaria around Kavarna, Balchik and the Zlatni Piasaci (Golden Sands) resort.

So about the area around small towns (more like villages) outside of Kazanlak there are plenty of dirt roads for you to explore between Kran, Enina, Shipka — you can see on this map:

And these photos:

DescriptionValleyofThracianKings 300x199 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region    MountainBikeroad nearShipkaBG 300x199 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region  BikingDirtRoadOutsideKran 1 300x225 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region   

And next a few photos from the road from Shipka to Buzludha (a near by peak of the Balkan mountain range) — the road itself is not heavily traveled and allows for a good bike ride of about 6-8km and if you continue back down to the valley you will come out on the main road that links Shipka, Kran and Kazanlak.

P1110734 300x146 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region P1110736 300x191 Biking in Bulgaria   part 1   Central Balkan Region

If you get a chance you should definitely consider biking in this region.  Then of course sample some of the great food and see the historic Thracian Tombs.

Bike saddles and airplane seats

Who said bike saddles are not important – turns out they could become even more so to a larger population – namely all air travelers.

turns out Airbus is toying with the idea of bike style posture and seats for plane configurations….

 

original Bike saddles and airplane seats

US20140159444A1 20140612 D00002 Bike saddles and airplane seats As you can tell from the other photos from the patent application filed by Airbus, the future of economy seat is even more aggressive than what we have today.  Yep – only one way to generate profits in the airline business I guess – offset high fuel costs with even more passengers per flight.  

For all of you who are bike enthusiasts – you know how comfortable a bile style saddle could be on a 2+ and above ride….NOT AT ALL!  So then you need to think what would a flight like this feel like – I can give you a hint – VERY UNPLEASANT!