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Bontrager WaveCel Helmets

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 20:06

Today Trek introduced  Bontrager WaveCel Helmets with a safety technology similar to Koroyd and what Smith launched 5 years ago.

WaveCel, Koroyd, and MIPS deploy retention systems inside a helmet that prevent it from sliding around or popping off your head on impact. Kali Protective has a similar, but lesser known technology called Composite Fusion.

The reason Trek hyped WaveCel as the most innovative product they’ve developed in the past 30 years is they’re marketing it with science, studies, statistics, a university, a white paper, and this statement

We are cycling enthusiasts on a mission to help more people enjoy the benefits of biking and to do that with the most advanced protection possible.

Safety First, is a First

Of course, bringing more safety products to market is good for cycling. And,  Trek seems to be the only bike company with a safety culture that started with daytime running lights. Perhaps that’s why WaveCel is so important to them and was teased for the past two weeks.

Because the road market is down without anything new since aero and motors, the media and cyclists alike were expecting something quite different.

If your current helmet doesn’t include a system to keep it on your head in a crash like any of the 4 I’ve talked about in the post, it’s a good time to replace it. The study cited by Trek, indicates all the systems work significantly better than helmets without a retention system.

Find one that’s comfortable and fits your head. Pay attention to how well the helmet moves air. The first iteration of Smith’s helmet negated the Venturi effect and was too steamy for me. Later, Smith reduced the amount of Koroyd in the helmets. MIPS can fatigue your scalp during a ride because there are padding and straps touching your head. The MIPS inside a Lazer helmet, for example, I just can’t wear. The POC won’t even go on my head.

Any of those may fit you perfectly. I haven’t worn a WaveCel, but of the other three styles, Kali is the most comfortable.

How WaveCel Works

WaveCel absorbs energy on impact. The layers of the gel-like material move independently and flex until the cell walls crumple and then glide, actively absorbing direct and rotational energy and redirecting it away from your head.

This three-step change in material structure—flex, crumple, glide—is remarkably effective at dispersing the energy from an impact. Nearly 99 times out of 100, WaveCel can help prevent concussions from common cycling accidents, according to Trek.

Bontrager WaveCel Helmet Pricing

Bontrager WaveCel helmets are initially being offered in four models:

  • XXX WaveCel Road Helmet ($299.99)
  • Blaze WaveCel MTB Helmet ($299.99)
  • Specter WaveCel Road Helmet ($149.99)
  • Charge WaveCel Commuter Helmet ($149.99)

Find them online and at your local Trek store.

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ALLITE Concept Bike

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 10:56

Magnesium alloys, like Super Magnesium have been around for a long time. This ALLIT concept bike features “Super Magnesium” by its US manufacturer ALLITE.

Elemental magnesium is a very low density metal. Therefore, when alloyed with other elements the resulting metal tubes have really impressive physical characteristics.

However, alloys with great strength traits that are formed into tubes suitable are notoriously difficult to weld. For instance, that’s why you see magnesium alloys cast or machined into components.

The ALLITE concept bike at NAHBS is really about marketing the material to framebuilders.

Above all, success for ALLITE in the bike industry, requires convincing framebuilders that their “Super Magnesium” material has been tweaked to overcome weldability issues.

In addition, there will need to be a source of fittings. Those include

  • Dropouts
  • Bottom bracket shells
  • Integrated headtubes

The fittings must be in the same alloy. In other words, the current vendors who cater to framebuilders don’t have those items in magnesium. Ultimately, this is important in the age of thru-axle dropouts with flatmount disc calipers.

In a flat market, it’s great to see innovators. Especially, with a challenging material like magnesium. I won’t be at NABHS this year.

It starts this weekend in Sacramento. Magnesium as a frame material is a post Cold War affect. It came from demilitarized Russian sources. I saw a frame or two come through the shop back then. The material is lighter and stronger than aluminum and cheaper than carbon. ALLITE launched last year at Interbike.

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BUILT Presented by PEARL iZUMi

Wed, 03/13/2019 - 08:53

BUILT by PEARL iZUMi is a series of videos created to celebrate handmade bicycles. They partnered with Shimano and visual documentarian Justin Balog, to feature Breadwinner, Horse Cycles, and Sklar.

Three of the four-part video series is out and shared with us. I’ve embedded Sklar here. Watch the episodes about Breadwinner and Horse on our YouTube channel. The photos are on Google.

And, it’s great to see niche builders get the attention they deserve. We’ve been posting handmade (or handbuilt) bikes since we started this blog. Those include my bikes and Mark V’s collection.

Horse Cycles

The latest of those, the Modal, is a rolling test jig and is now configured as a 650b rando style bike. I carry my cameras in the front boxy bag.

View this post on Instagram

This bike is a workhorse to say the least. It’s been and done so many things. Inside that boxy bag is a camera.

A post shared by Byron (@bikehugger) on Mar 3, 2019 at 2:02pm PST

Speaking of handbuilt bikes, NAHBS starts this weekend in Sacramento where builders like the three mentioned in this post show off their wares.

NAHBS Poster Pearl is Back

Next to a worn out pair of Time shoes in my garage, I’m sure are Pearl shorts. It’s great to see them back in the business and from what I hear, they’re giving Assos and Castelli a run for their money. They now offer the best value in gear. Ultimately, PI Dry is like Castelli’s Nano, but more durable. It’s the fabric they use for tights.

Peal’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. Same for your budget.

Pear’s gear covers more bases than anyone else. They have five different fits, so no matter how fat or thin you are, they have stuff that will fit you. No one can touch their $100 bibs. I expect the new $250 bib will rival Assos that costs $200 more.

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TIME Launches New Shoes, First Since 2013

Thu, 03/07/2019 - 17:16

Since the beginning, TIME’s longstanding mission has been to offer products that combine comfort and performance for the modern cyclist. Finally, After a 6 year absence from the market TIME launches new shoes.

Their long-awaited OSMOS line is back.

I’m sure I have a pair of original TIMEs in a box somewhere and put many miles on them.

The new high-end shoe range, was researched and designed in their Italian development center. The TIME OSMOS 15, 12 and 10 combined with their pedals provides a combination of comfort, support, and stiffness for maximum pedaling efficiency.


Price Range

TIME’s new shoes range in price from $250 to $400. In the past 6 years, they’ve been doing their homework on comfort. After all, gone are the days of a shoe hurting your foot if it does, find another pair.

  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Polyamide + 20% carbon fibers
  • Inner sole: Sensor 2 Mono-material
  • Lacing: 1 boa IP1
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Weight: 480 g (size 42)
  •  Indicative price: $250.
  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Carbon composite +
  • Insert Inner sole: Sensor 2 Mono-material
  • Lacing: 1 boa IP1 & 1 Velcro.
  • Colors: Red-White, Black-White
  • Weight: 500 g (size 42).
  • Indicative price: $325.
  • Materials: Microfibers, PU film & Textile
  • Outsole: Full Carbon
    Inner Sole: Sensor 2 + Bi-material
  • Lacing: 2 boa IP1.
  • Colors: White, Black
  • Weight: 480 g (size 42).
  • Indicative price: $400.

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Take a Detour

Mon, 03/04/2019 - 10:59

The aim of the project was to send a bicycle-based artist to ride the Japanese Odyssey and produce work based on their experience that encourages us to take a detour. That artist, James Robertson, has now published his series of medium format photographs with words and they are lovely.

So is the Art of Bicycle Travel. It reminds of the early days here at Bike Hugger. And, impeccably timed, I’ve been shooting with medium format cameras in the nooks and crannies of Seattle. Mark V toured Japan too and don’t miss Cycle Around Japan from NHK.

The Japanese Odyssey is an unsupported bicycle journey across Japan, through 12 checkpoints. It allows riders to choose their own path, deep into dense forests, hidden country roads, and through neon cities. As an endurance cycling event with no winner, exploration is the emphasis and riders have just 10 days to complete the 2,600km route.

James’ travel log reports each day and his observations like

On a bicycle, you see everything.

The film camera requires a slower, more formal approach. this in turn gets me off the bike and really forces me to decide what images to make.

James and I have so much in common…I’ve written the same about film. Here’s his bike, a Ritchey Outback equipped with Apidura and he’s wearing 7Mesh kit.

I strongly believe you should get out on your own adventures and with gear being so good these days, there’s nothing stopping you. Just the motivation to put in that many miles.

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Selle Royal Supports Cyclists

Tue, 02/26/2019 - 21:15

For our European readers, Selle Royal’s latest project ‘Support Cyclists On The Road’ offers free maintenance checks and cups of coffee to cyclists in ten cities across Europe.

Likewise, I hope they bring the project here.

Setting off this Friday (March 1st) from the Selle Royal base in Pozzoleone, the Van will make stopes in Padua, Milan, Innsbruck, Munich, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Düsseldorf, Turin and Mantova.

At each location, a dedicated team will set up the Selle Royal van along various cycling hotspots. In addition, the team will invite cyclists to stop for a free bike check and an authentic Italian Bristot coffee while they wait; the ideal solution to those who don’t have time for – or sometimes overlook – the basics of bike maintenance.

Selle Royal is very proud of the new project and excited to what crowds the yellow Van attracts. Selle Royal’s philosophy believes in community and their extensive range of saddles are derived from decades of research and development in the industry. Commenting on the project, Lara Cunico, Marketing Manager at Selle Royal, said

This year, to further improve riding experiences, we have the chance to offer cyclists something more than just our comfort – we are meeting them on the road to offer our expertise, useful bike tips and a little refreshment. We will bring some fun and entertainment, and look forward to an exchange of experiences with the communities; a great way to encourage and promote a sustainable cycling lifestyle!

Hello Selle! The road market here in the states could use the support too.

Support Dates and Cities

Padua, Italy
1-2 March 2019 – Piazza Portello

Milan, Italy
7 March 2019 – Upcycle Bike Cafè, via Ampère (pm)
8-9 March 2019 – Largo la Foppa

Innsbruck, Austria
12-13 March 2019 – Marktplatz

Berlin, Germany
15-16 March 2019 – Wingwheels, Kastanienallee
27-28 April 2019 – VELOBerlin, Tempelhof Airport

Rotterdam, The Netherlands
18 March 2019 – Eendrachtsplein

Amsterdam, The Netherlands
20-21 March 2019 – Wibautstraat

Düsseldorf, Germany
23-24 March 2019 – Cyclingworld, Hansaallee

Munich, Germany
27 March 2019 – Wiener Platz
28 March 2019 – Geschwister-Scholl-Platz

Turin, Italy
30-31 March 2019 – Corso Castelfidardo

Mantova, Italy
17-19 May 2019 – Bam, Lungolago Gonzaga

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How to Purchase a Sony a9 for $1000

Wed, 02/20/2019 - 11:03

I just bought the Sony flagship a9 for the price of their entry-level a6400 The Trade Up/Trade-In event is that good. You just can’t beat purchasing a Sony a9 for $1000. How it works is Sony is offering a $500 instant rebate on the a9 plus an additional $500 with a trade. So that’s $1000 off.

Trade In and Up

Then a retailer like Glazers or Kenmore Camera in the Seattle area deducts the value of your trade from the purchase. B&H is offering the trade up online. You ship them your cameras for evaluation and they make an offer. The event ends on March 30th.

Grand Targhee 18 taken with the a9.

I traded in two DSLRS I had plus their lenses and the price was about $3000. Of course, your trade ins will vary. I added the battery grip, which also has a $50 rebate, and a spare battery.

My total purchase was $4929 and the value of the rebates plus trade was $3975. Sales tax is a whopping 10% in Seattle, so your total could be even lower.

Sony’s most expensive camera has the biggest rebate, of course. If you’re interested in the high-rez a7r III or basic model a7 III those are part of the Trade Up/Trade-In event too listed below.

Instant Rebate and Trade-in Bonus Instant Rebates on Sony FE Lenses

Of these lenses, I’d suggest the 24-70mm. That’s shown in the photo above from Paris and a good all arounder.

Instant Rebates on Sony APS-C E-Mount Lenses

The 24mm for $100 off is my choice here. Use it for street shooting with a camera like the a6400.

Firmware Update

If you’ve been thinking of upgrade to a Sony mirrorless camera, now is the best time. The a9 was on sale during the holidays last year for $1000 off, but not with the trade-in value.

The best part is next month when the a9 firmware is released, I’ll have almost an entirely new camera. I tried the a9 firmware in San Diego when it was announced. It delivers enhanced autofocus performance and new functionality for the a9; including real-time subject tracking.

Of all the Sony cameras available, the a9 fits my shooting style the best; especially, when I’m taking photos while riding my bike. As I’ve shared, it puts me in the moment with no blackout, 24pfs, and real-time tracking. The camera calculates the focus, locking onto a subject, and the photographer can freely compose. The importance of this technological jump is the focus sticks on the person or subject you initiated, no matter how erratically they move, like in a sprint.

Just think about that for wedding, engagement, event, family, moments photography. My friends at DPR published this video demonstrating how well Sony’s tech works.

And, I got a camera with it for $1K. I call that a bargain.

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Tern GSD at The Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:31

This weekend you can demo the Tern GSD at the Seattle Bike Show. A couple of weekends ago, I used it to get around Seattle documenting the viaduct and tunnel project.

It was my mobile studio and I took photos while riding it like this one

Battery Street Tunnel, taken while riding the Tern GSD.

and this one.

Apparently there were souvenirs?!

In case you missed it, Seattle’s Waterfront hasn’t changed this much since the Gold Rush. The elevated highway that runs along it has been replaced by a tunnel and is being torn down. The Viaduct Series I’m working on is capturing this historical event. I couldn’t have got the shots I did without the GSD.

That’s because Joe Towner from Pacific Northwest Medium format and I zoomed ahead of the Cascade ride and also maneuvered around the 10s of thousands of people saying goodbye to the viaduct and hello to the tunnel.

Joe was on the Specialized Turbo, another bike that serves its purpose. I was like the gear barge and he was the scout ship. As with any metro area, there’s no parking and it’s gridlocked.

With the GSD, I got shit done, literally.

The Tern GSD in the new SR 99 tunnel just before the Cascade ride. We rode through first to get ahead of the crowd and then took their photos. You can demo the GSD this weekend in Seattle and read the story on our blog.

Hundreds of Pounds Carried

At this start of this time-lapse from the Cascade ride, you can see me and Joe. The GSD carried a hundred pounds of gear plus me, from West Seattle to downtown, and back.

The best part is I barely put a dent in the battery life. You can demo a GSD and consider what you’ll get done with it too.

The Seattle Bike and Outdoor Show is at the CenturyLink Field Event Center and runs from both Saturday and Sunday from 9 to 5. They’ll have a test track. I can’t promise there’s camera gear for you to carry, but you’ll get the idea of how capable Tern’s cargo bike is.



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The Most Snow Seattle Has Seen in the Past 75 years

Tue, 02/12/2019 - 17:01

Occasionally, I’ll dabble in drone photography. When the situation calls for it, like the most snow Seattle has seen in the past 75 years. This is the approximate view from above Schmitz Park looking out at Alki Point. In the distance, Bainbridge Island and beyond that the Olympic Mountains.

Cyclists are like the postal service, they’ll ride in anything and I’m sure they were out. As I was writing this post, I saw a flash of green and yup, a bike went sliding by. To get down the hill, he hobby horsed it. That’s when you’ve got booth feet off the pedals and sliding on the ground. I don’t know how the rest of his ride turned out, but our hill he cleared.

Snow Day 5, this guy goes down the hill.

Good for him. I’m gonna wait another day. 3 more inches of snowfall is expected and we’re ready for it. Regarding the cold, read this from Issue 30 of our magazine

Indoctrination into serious road riding and racing happens by degrees, much like peeling layers from an onion. But there comes a point when cycling ceases to be an expression of the best of times. We experience the same transition in romantic relationships. At first, we date. Our most hallowed hours of the weekend are saved for the object of our affection, but soon, we can’t get enough of our heart’s desire and we begin to spend as much time as possible with them. For romantic partners, that means trips to the grocery store together and cleaning house. For cyclists, it means riding in the cold.

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MacBook Air a Laptop for Cyclists

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 08:31

My latest for Digital Photo Pro is about the MacBook Air a laptop for cyclists. And, how photographers are able to carry more power and capacity with far less weight than ever before.

Traveling Light With Mirrorless Cameras

As I shared, “Last fall and over the winter, I flew to Paris, Austin, Maui, and back to Seattle. I carried the a9, a set of Sigma lenses, the new MacBook Air and a rugged SSD. That setup worked marvelously well. I packed the gear in a Mission Workshop bag, like the Integer.”

Mini SSD

I reviewed the Integer for our magazine last year. If you’re into compartments like I am (v. a rucksack), it’s a great bag(the Vandal is on Amazon for $325).

No Compromise Compact

Traveling light used to involve compromises but not anymore. The latest MacBook Air and a camera like the a9 or even the just launched a6400 means you’ve got more than enough of everything (from the camera and computer) to get the shoot done. And, especially when you rely on a service like iCloud to offload space-hogging documents. My travel kit with the MacBook Air is

That’s about $6K, plus or minus a hundred dollars for your choice of bag. The grand total is a couple grand less if you bought the a7 III or an older model mirrorless camera of your choice, like one of the new Panasonics, Canons, or Nikons. And, I recommend you do.

Paris 18

At 2.75 pounds and 0.61 inches thin, the MacBook Air is certainly lighter than what I used to carry with me. What you need to know is the retina screen and powerful dual cores go to work, but the fast SSD is what makes it so capable. Even for short videos, like the kind I publish.

Read the rest of the story on Digital Photo Pro where I discuss the performance, keyboard, and sound. That was what surprised me the most about the MacBook Air, the sound from the speakers filled a room and I don’t carry a Bluetooth speaker with me any longer.

Carrying less weight is what I’m always trying to do.




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Seattle Snow 2019

Sun, 02/10/2019 - 09:02

Seattle Snow 2019 was epic in Seattleites reactions to it mostly. If you wondering, the reason Seattleites are such pussies about the snow is a big chunk of the populous just moved here AND it’s a wet, icy snow on coastal, steep roads. Also this one time, WSDOT decided to not salt the roads. That was a bad idea that people are still getting over.

Shelves are cleared out, the organic section of course.

Once it actually happened, everyone relaxed, and we got out in it, of course.

6 inches of snow accumulated where we live. Double and triple the snow fell north and south.

Of course we rode in it.

F Yeah Snow Day

The National Weather Service is predicting two more storms: this afternoon and tomorrow. Today, we’re stocking up on supplies and going for a ride again.

Winter Storm Watch has been issued for western Washington. There will be TWO systems that impact the area. The 1st system arrives Sunday afternoon-night with light accumulations. The 2nd system pushes through Monday-Tuesday.

We got the gear and the bikes…but nothing is good on black ice. Biking in the snow is like any other snowsport. Your fun is entirely dependent on the conditions. It can be crusty and perfect or greasy and frustrating. You should totally try it.

The other thing, it’s not that cold in the Pacific Northwest, but it’s a wet cold. A deep in your bones cold. When I get out, it’s with embrocation and pocket warmers in the gloves and boots.

The best winter-riding tip I can give you, is keep your hands and feet warm. Your bike will work fine.

When I was still racing, I wrote editorial for Issue 30 of our magazine

To be sure, cycling in the cold, if done well, is a submission. It is a submission to the temperature, to the wind, to all the crueler elements. It is a submission to the larger demands of the season, an admission that we cannot hope to be at peak form year-round. Even so, it does take a force of will to leave home when temps reach freezing. A frozen water bottle is only cool as part of a story told months later. The humility required to keep the heart rate in check requires banishing the ego for months at a time.

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Seattle is Somewhat Snowy and Mostly Cold

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 18:45

It was the first snow of the year in Seattle, so I sent the drone up for a look around. Most of it was blown away by high winds yesterday, but it’s still cold. Seattle is Seattle somewhat snowy and mostly cold.

I’ll ride in most any condition, but not black ice. That didn’t stop other cyclists, 55 were counted on the Spokane Street Bridge.

Cyclists are like the postal service, in any weather. 50 of them cross the Spokane Street bridge yesterday, on the coldest day of the year.

— byron@bikehugger (@bikehugger) February 5, 2019

It’s not that cold, but it’s a wet cold…deep in your bones cold. If I was in Park City, or any other dry climate, I’d ride a fat bike for sure.

And, good luck to those that did venture out. Keep the rubber side up.

The thing about modern cycling is it’s a 4 season sport now. The gear, bikes, and all are so good….there’s little to keep you from riding, except the black ice. Much has improved since I wrote about the snow for Wired. That includes access with destination grooming trails for cyclists, like the Methow Valley.

A couple of seasons ago, I wrote this

Fat tires open up new possibilities and in the years since the niche first emerged from Alaska, the product has only gotten better. Manufacturers have pretty much decided on a width (4.8″ wide), lightened up the bikes, and tightened the geo so they ride less like monster trucks, and instead like a regular old mountain bike with moto tires.

Fatbiking in the snow is like any other snowsport. Your fun is entirely dependent on the conditions. It can be crusty and perfect or greasy and frustrating. You should totally try it.

On the dirt.

This nice man here, David Atcheson, maintains the trails for Methow Fat Bike and works at the shop with Treks.

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Overlooked No More: Major Taylor

Mon, 02/04/2019 - 11:17

Overlooked No More: Major Taylor is a vignette from The Times about a World Champion bicyclist who didn’t receive a proper obituary when he died. Randal C. Archibold is the sports editor of The Times and wrote it.

The Black Cyclone was a squat strapping man with huge thighs. Prejudice undermined his fame. I’ve written about Major Taylor a few times and in context to the great work being done to get youth into cycling.

Last year, Major Taylor was featured in a Hennesy marketing campaign about a legendary Madison race.

Life is too short for a man to hold bitterness in his heart.

His self-published 1928 autobiography, The Fastest Bicycle Rider in the World: The Story’s Indomitable Courage and Success Against Great Odds shares how he overcame.

His perseverance matched the athletic achievements including, one mentioned by the paper in 1897.

A Legacy Kept Alive

The French celebrated his dominant form. A 1988 Biography, Major Taylor: The Extraordinary Career of a Champion Bicycle Racer expresses his confident identity. Another published in 2008, Major: A Black Athlete, a White Era, and the Fight to Be the World’s Fastest Human Being covers his later life of bad investments and a broken marriage.

After all, the public’s fading interest in cycling as the automobile became more popular contributed to his decline. His dedication to never racing on Sunday was the inspiration for this blues song. The nickname “Major” came from the outfits he wore outside a bike shop.

The most important aspects of his legacy is his daughter. She was determined to keep the Major Taylor story alive. As a result, a group of former racers had him reburied in proper grave. And, there’s a memorial outside the Worcester Public Library.

The plaque reads

A credit to his race who always gave out his best.

The Times did a good thing here writing an overdue obit for an athlete that inspires today. Overlooked reveals the stories of remarkable people like Major Taylor.

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