Posts in the category Hacks

Cyclocross Worlds Tech Finds: Prototypes and Pro Tips, Part 1

CX-Worlds_Womens-World-Champion_Pauline-Ferrand-Prevot_Liv-Giant_muddy_cyclocross_race_bike

Women’s World Champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot’s muddy 140mm Freeza disc and Di2-equipped Liv-Giant Brava Advanced Pro

We spent last weekend standing out in the cold and snow flurries of Tábor, an hour south of Prague, screaming at cross racers riding around in circles. In between bourbon, beers, and cow bell ringing, we also sought out anything interesting from a tech perspective that we could pass on to you. There were several prototypes from tires to frames, that we’ll offer our guess as to whether they’ll make it to market.

We met with several professional mechanics and the odd directeur sportif to see what kind of special prep they were doing for bikes for a world championship. Some had worked dozens of worlds and had the wisdom to show for it, while a few were there for the first time and just happy to soak in the atmosphere. We also had a chance to get out on the course for a bit with some of the pros pre-riding the course to test out a couple of the bikes we have on test and to help some friends figure out which tires to ride for the changing frozen and muddy track.

So click on through for our first part, and we’ll try to give you a little behind the scenes insight into a bunch of things stood out for us…

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Reader’s Rides: Joshua’s Orbea Alma with Di2 Hack and Hand Made Carbon Bar/Stem plus Saddle

Joshua orbea di2 hack hand made carbon  (2)

Before long we’ll be seeing a lot more mountain bikes with buttons where the shifters used to be, but it’s taken awhile to catch up to the road bikes. The wait hasn’t stopped everyone though. Instead of patiently waiting for electronic mountain bike drivetrains, a number of riders have used the K-Edge Conversion kit.  Then there are those like Joshua who have taken the Di2 hack to another level. Custom carbon pieces, wire routing, reprogrammed functionality – all in a days work for this custom Orbea Alma.

The hacks don’t end with the drivetrain either as Joshua is running a hand made carbon bar/stem combo and his own seat. Details next…

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Reader’s Rides: The XTR Di2 Hacks Have Begun With Julian Da Silva’s Jamis

Readers-Ride-1

XTR Di2 is just starting to hit shops, and with it, we have the beginning of riders modifying their rides for internal electronic capability. Julian Da Silva from Alex Bicycles in Coral Springs, FL took to putting a few holes in his Jamis Dakota D29 Team.

Julian told us “I wanted to show you guys one of my recent builds since you guys like to see them. This is a 2015 Jamis Dakota D29 Team but modified the frame for internal routing of the Shimano XTR M9050 Di2 system. As usual I try to keep everything clean and hidden, it was challenge with the rear chain stay routing the cable thru it, but managed to succeed. Possibly one of my favorite bikes I’ve built, fast, fun and quite comfortable.”

Check out the before and after pics after the jump…

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First Impressions: Absolute Black 28-to-40 tooth cassette cluster adapter

AbsoluteBlack 28-40 tooth cassette adapter cluster first impressions and actual weights

If you’re looking to put together an expanded range 1×10 system from your current setup, this provides a good alternative to single cog adapters that make a big jump at the top of the cassette. This one provides a smoother transition onto the larger cogs and a more subtle change between the top four cogs, too.

And, it’s a fairly reasonably priced way to do it. The SRAM 1050 cassette retails for $85 and the AbsoluteBlack adapter for $122, putting you all in at $207. Your alternatives for bumping up to a 40T or 42T cassette are either Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1/X01/X1. With Shimano, the cassette is about $300, and it’s 11-speed only, which requires new chain and chainrings, too. SRAM’s is also 11-speed only and requires a new freehub body, chain and chainrings. Either way, it’s going to cost you a lot more.

As for the range only being 40T and not 42T, you could just opt for a slightly smaller single chainring to compensate, which makes even more sense if you’re dropping the 11T cog off the bottom of the cassette as I did. I found the new range to be very good for our local trails, keeping me mostly in the middle of the cassette.

Another benefit? It can add up to a lighter system than the stock cassette…

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Found: DIY Cycle Chaser Projector Casts Your Images On The Road

Make-a-Cycle-Chaser

Ingenuity has been making the commute safer for cyclists. Ideas like the Blaze Laserlight put images on the ground that are more visible to drivers.

The Cycle Chaser is a ‘weekend project’ that can take bike light design from Raspberry Pi and improve on it. By adding a battery powered projector, it can put images on the ground that can be programmed by the user.

Raspberry Pi is an online resource to make your own projects, and every person does their own soldering, wiring and assembly. Needless to say, this is not for the simple beginner, as you will need to understand the basics of programming, be able to read technical schematics, and trouble shoot the thing once you have it all together. See how it works after the jump…

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Speed, Cadence, Distance and Power Measurement For $60? Two Students Made It Happen To A Mongoose

Student-Power-Meter

As  a class project, two students decided to build a bike computer that could measure distance, speed, cadence and power output. With a bunch of normal off the shelf sensors, an LCD screen, and the knowledge of how it all works, they assembled a device that can do all that for $60. But before you run off to Radio Shack, know that it may not have the same simple user interface as your Garmin, and has a bit of a DIY appearance.

Why did they do it? Simply to show it could be done for a whole lot less than commercially available products as a class project.

Click past the jump to see Mark and Brian explain their device, and hit 500+ watts on a rusty chain…

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Broken Garmin tabs preventing a secure mount? Dog Ears has your fix!

Dog Ears GPS plate fixes broken Garmin cycling computer tabs

Perhaps you’ve been a little too aggressive twisting your Garmin onto the myriad machined alloy mounts available or it’s just been on and off so much that the little plastic tabs that secure it inside it’s home have worn to nubs.

Dog Ears has the fix, making it quick, cheap and easy to get your Garmin securely back in action. Called simply the “Plate”, the machined alloy piece wraps over the round part on the bottom of the cycling computer and provides new wings to slot into the mount.

Twist on in for install notes and detail shots…

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Gevenalle adds GX drop-bar shifters for Shimano 10-speed MTB derailleurs – First look & actual weights!

Gevenalle GX drop bar shifter levers for Shimano mountain bike rear derailleurs

Ever dreamt of putting a mountain bike drivetrain on your drop bar bike. You know, to create the ultimate adventure bike with wide range gearing and a fast front end?

Gevenalle has expanded their line of index-or-friction shifter equipped brake lever with the new GX model, which pulls just the right amount of cable to keep an XT rear derailleur in line with your MTB cassette. It’s compatible with Shimano’s modern clutch-equipped DynaSys and Shadow Plus 10-speed rear derailleurs with a cassette capability up to 36T. That’s a big jump from the 28T max of their BURD rear derailleur, putting you in the gearing range of the CX1 group.

Like the CX shifters, which work with Gevenalle’s own rear derailleur and other 10-speed road derailleurs, the GX gets a modified Microshift lever set attached to a Tektro lever bodies…but even those have been heavily customized and improved…

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Can Pedal-Powered Farming Reduce Costs & Help The Farmer? The Culticycle Might Do It

Culticycle

The Culticycle is a novel idea over at Farm Hack, a website dedicated to the small entrepreneurs looking at innovation in farming. While just a proof of concept in these pictures and videos, the idea is a pedal powered tractor that can do what many small tractors do well, but without consuming fuel. It can do most low-horsepower tasks such as cultivating, spraying, seeding, or moving small bits of gear around.

This prototype was built from a variety of parts, that consist of:

  • The front ends of 2 bikes welded together at 42” on center;
  • A lawn tractor differential mounted in a unistrut rectangle for a rear end , with 3/4″ round axles and 20” ATV tires;
  • A bike frame welded above the rear end with motorcycle sprocket and chain driving the differential (a spring-loaded idler tensions the chain);
  • A belly mount lift to hold cultivators, seeders, etc.;
  • A bike handlebar, separate from the bike frame and joined to the front end, steering the front wheels.

It is actually pretty cool to watch the video and see the solutions to common cycling problems (chain tension), and the ways they came up with to solve them, without knowing about the traditional bicycle methods.

The prototypes are built from rebar, unistrut, landscape rake tines, and parts from bikes, an ATV, and a lawn tractor. They wanted to show that human pedal power can do some jobs of small tractors. It would take more time and physical effort, but be less costly, better on the environment, and better on the health of the farmer. They say this one was built for testing, and they are working on bringing an affordable product to market. Click past the jump to see the video explanation of the machine, and a few shots of it at work…

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