Posts in the category Feature

Factory Tour: Seattle Based Hampsten Cycles Builds Steel, Ti, And Now Carbon

hampsten cycles fabrication shop

While Oregon seems to be mecca for custom frame building, there is no shortage of exemplary builders located throughout out the North West. For those in Seattle, one of the best options is Hampsten Cycles. Over the fifteen years they’ve been in business, their frame construction has been subcontracted out to various industry luminaries including Kent Eriksen, Parlee, and Moots, but they’ve recently brought everything under one roof.

Today, all Hampsten Cycle frames are built in house by Max Kullaway, who has welded thousands of frames for high profile builders including Merlin and Seven Cycles, and fabricates his own bikes under the name 333Fab

During a recent trip through the PNW, I stopped by their small workshop to get a closer look at some of the beautiful bikes Hamspten cycles produces from a two car garage in a quiet residential neighborhood in Northern Seattle.

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First Ride: LifeBEAM’s Helmet Mounted Optical Heart Rate Monitor – Weights, Tech Updates & More!

LifeBEAM Smart Bicycle Helmet with integrated optical heart rate monitor and ant+ bluetooth 4 wireless data transmission

Introduced last year as an IndieGoGo project, LifeBEAM’s helmet-integrated heart rate monitor has not only made it into production, it’s been improved to include dual transmission to work with more devices.

Built around an optical sensor also used in military, hospital and sports watch applications, heart rate is measured by bouncing light off the skin and measuring the reflectivity to determine raw heart rate. The built in processor at the back of the helmet converts that data into a cleaner HR signal, accounting for movement and other “noise”, then broadcasts it over both Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ simultaneously.

Compared to a chest strap, LifeBEAM’s optical solution works instantly and flawlessly…no need to keep a moist layer between a physical contact point and your skin like with traditional heart rate straps. It’s also far more convenient, particularly if you’re like me and only remember said strap once fully dressed and ready to roll.

Click through to see how it works, tech details and why it’s only getting better…

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New Multiplayer Online Cycling Game Zwift Revolutionizes Indoor Training

Zwift-Indoor-Online-Cycling-Game-1

Riding indoors sucks, but a new startup called Zwift is looking to change all that. The company has created a massive multiplayer online game which allows riders from around the world to meet and ride together in an immersive 3D world.

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Bike Check: Hector Picard of Don’t Stop Living

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Hector Picard is an athlete. He has participated in 4 Ironmans and is a competitive triathlete. He’s also a double amputee. Yet those physical limitations have never kept him from kicking ass and taking names.

A few months ago Hector came onto my radar when he filmed a YouTube video demonstrating how he changes tires with only his feet. He had to learn the technique so he could race, but was using it in this case so that he could pedal unsupported cross country to raise funds for a child whose parents couldn’t afford prosthetics.

I spotted him outside of the Mandalay Convention Hall as the Interbike tradeshow was closing for the evening and asked if I could snap a few pictures of his bike. Take a closer look at his custom setup after the break.

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Battle of the Enduro Bro Kit – Fanny Pack Shootout!

BikeRumor Enduro Fanny Pack Comparison

Fanny packs. If enduro wasn’t already the lamest marketing trend since 27.5″ wheels, the ass backwards 80′s fanny pack has suddenly reared its ugly head in some misguided sort of pseudo euro fashion statement. Damn it.

I absolutely adore my hydration pack in the way that one can only love an inanimate object they’ve carried for innumerable hours. That trusty bag has served as a makeshift pillow, hangover companion, beer tote, and trail buddy for years, yet now some reformed downhillers with moto envy have decided they’re uncool, so it’s suddenly time to trade that relationship in for a water bottle, some electrical tape, and a nylon murse.

Yet it’s our duty to report on the latest and greatest coming and goings of the industry, so since Tyler is a roadie, and Zach only rides fat bikes, I was somehow conned (I suspect alcohol may have been involved) into running an enduro bro fanny pack battle off. Yay me.

So, do you even enduro, bro?

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IB14: Breezer #2, We Interview Joe Breeze About the Second Mountain Bike Ever Built

Breezer #2  (1)

At Interbike this year, the unholy trinity of Charlie Kelly, Gary Fisher, and Joe Breeze gathered at the Breezer Booth to sign copies of Charlie’s upcoming book - The Fat Tire Flyer. The event brought a ton of fan fare and publicity for obvious reasons. So after the party had died down, I swung by to shoot some pictures of the vintage Breezer on display. While I was there, none other than Joe Breeze happened to walk over.

As we discussed topics ranging from helmets to klunking (Joe says the secret is to keep your feet on the pedals), I asked him to tell me something about these first Breezers that most people didn’t know. He thought about my question for a few seconds before pointing to the top tube.

On modern bikes, it’s common for the top tubes to slope downwards towards the seat for increased standover, but this early Breezer is the reverse. This was due to the limitations of the components from that era. At the time, there were few replacement parts available, so Joe made all of his headtubes the same size. That way if the custom Cook Brothers fork broke, it could still be replaced with the more easily sourced Ashtabula.

The other limitation was the length of the seatposts. The longest ones available at the time were only 180mm, so to get the appropriate saddle height for tall riders, the frames had to have long seat tubes and sloping down tubes.

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Just In: Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump Skips the Compressor for Tubeless Tires

Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor pump air compressor tubeless ready tire (3)

Even as bicycle tires trend towards tubeless for mountain, road, and now cyclocross, seating tires still remains a barrier to entry for some. Depending on the tubeless set up, getting the tires to seal up and seat on the rim can be a challenge without an air compressor at your disposal.

Enter the Bontrager TLR Flash Charger floor pump. Thanks to its built in high-volume air chamber, the pump is capable of seating tubeless tires without the need for a compressor or electricity. We just got our hands on the new pump and immediately started deflating and unseating tubeless tires around the office to test the pump’s capabilities.

How well does it work? Find out next…

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EB14: Argon 18 Unveils Nitrogen Aero Road, E118 Next Tri & Krypton XRoad – Plus Possible New Dura-Ace Di2? (UPDATED)

2015 Argon 18 Nitrogen aero road bike

Argon 18 has been rather busy, bringing about new bikes for all the hot pavement categories -adventure road, aero road and triathlon- and equipping them with some new components from TRP and, from the looks of it, Shimano.

The biggest news is the all-new Nitrogen aero road bike, which incorporates all-new TRP linear pull road brakes. The frame utilizes many of their existing technologies and designs, including their HDS (Horizontal Dual System), which slices an imaginary line from the top of the head tube back to the rear dropout. Everything below that line is stiff and oversized, above it things are thinner and more compliant. The idea, now common, is to enhance power transfer without sacrificing comfort.

It also uses their progressive sizing and integrated head tube spacers, albeit with an aero shape, to accommodate a wider variety of rider shapes and sizes. The bottom bracket gets a 75mm drop to put the rider’s center of gravity low and keeps the head tube height low for a stiffer front end and snappy handling. It’s all assembled with a 7003 HM nano-tech carbon, which brings the medium painted frame weight to just 960g. Hardware (+60g) and Di2 bits (+23g) add a little more. Fork weight is claimed at 366g when cut to fit a size medium frame.

To get aero, they used smart tube shapes, hidden brakes and custom seat tube…

UPDATED…with the real deal on that “new” Shimano Di2.

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IB14: 13 is the New 12, Phil Wood Shows off 1×13 Drivetrain

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How do you make a splash in a world gone mad with addition cogs on the cassette? Add more, of course. At least, that’s what Phil Wood has done with their radical 1×13 drivetrain on a 222mm spaced hub. Pushing the 1x concept to the next level, Phil’s system shows what could be possible and while it may just be a concept at this point, we may see kits for sale in the near future.

How do you make a 13 speed drivetrain work with current components? Click through for the details…  READ MORE ->