A new effort from the Palo Alto, Calif., design consultancy Ideo and Santa Cruz, Calif., bike builder Rock Lobster Custom Cycles may have pushed the industry a step closer to achieving the goal. The team created a bike for the Oregon Manifest 2011 Constructor's Design Challenge, a bike building competition pitting three teams of designers and handcrafted bike builders. Their goal: create the best utility bike for urban living.
Anyone who rides a bike would agree that flat or low-pressure tires are a drag. But why fiddle with a pump when the tire can inflate itself?
San Francisco-based startup PumpTire has invented just such a self-inflating tire. Aimed at urban cyclists, the tire includes a built-in pumping mechanism that uses the spinning motion of the wheel to gather air and the weight of the bike to push the air into the inner tube.
"Some people do not inflate their tires often enough, which can lead to accidents or flats," said Benjamin Krempel, founder of PumpTire. "With PumpTire automatically inflating your tire, you are increasing the safety and performance of your bike whenever you ride."
Krempel and team have patented their technology and are raising money on Kickstarter in hopes of commercializing two types of tires, the City Cruiser and City Pro (one's for the casual rider, the other for the urban commuter). The tires use a technology called a peristaltic pump. Krempel's inspiration came from his experience in the medical-devices industry; the pumps are used in medical applications such as IV fluid drips and heart-lung machines, he said. … Read more
If your kids think traditional bicycles are boring, why not have them ride this "Tron"-inspired training bike instead?
Designed by Ryan Callahan, an industrial designer from the Town/Lifestyle group at Trek Bicycle, this pedal-less scooter could have kids speeding around the Game Grid while learning the basics of cycling.
Callahan presented his idea at TrekWorld 2012 last week. Do note, however, that this is only a prototype and further changes (perhaps the ability for the scooter to be generated from a baton) are expected. There's no release date for the final product yet.
Here's another look at the concept art: … Read more
OkMap is a free geographical software package that can create, edit, and manage digital maps, import data from GPS devices, scanners, and other sources, plot your position in real time, and extract statistics.
With its detailed toolbar and feature-packed menu bar, OkMap's interface bears a strong resemblance to digital imaging and word processing tools, but with a specific geographical focus. The program opened with an optional tool tip that we could click through for a general view of the program's capabilities. An online-hosted, PDF-based Help file does an excellent job of explaining this versatile application's many features … Read more
MILWAUKEE--Even Harley-Davidson has its secrets. Inside the recesses of the company's archives and housed near the Harley-Davidson Museum complex here, a sort of motorcycle "X-Files" hides away. The collection includes a varied array of strange and iconic items connected to both the company and overall biker culture.
Some of those odd items have been assembled into Collection X, an exhibit on display through August 22. During a recent trip to both the Powertrain Operations factory and the Harley-Davidson Museum, CNET got to spy on Collection X, which offers insights into extreme machines that scored incredible achievements and bizarre creations forged out of a love for motorcycles.
Displays include the 1985 FXRP "Transamazon" motorcycle that Charles Peet raced 9,000 miles in 26 days across the width of South America, and the 1970 Land Speed Streamliner that Cal Rayborn piloted to the then land-speed record of more than 265 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. … Read more
MENOMONEE FALLS, Wisc.--To Harley-Davidson riders, the Powertrain Operations facility here just north of Milwaukee is hallowed ground. It's where the hearts of their favorite bikes start beating.
Engines for most of the Harley-Davidson line come alive here before they head to bike assembly plants in Pennsylvania and Missouri. To help promote Harley-Davidson's emerging Dark Custom line, CNET was invited to stroll through the plant as part of its Steel Toe Tour this past weekend to see how the company's V-Twin engines come together.
Harley-Davidson began offering the Powertrain Operations tour in 2010, escorting a small number of motorcycle lovers through the factory floor to see the various stages of V-Twin engine construction. The tour builds chronologically from the construction, refinement, and inspection of engine components, including cam heads and pistons, to the fly wheel assemblies and overall engine build. About 100 employees work in two shifts at Powertrain Operations alongside Swedish-made industrial robots that perform assembly and inspection. … Read more
Powering uphill on your bicycle often comes down to mind over matter. What if, in addition to controlling your protesting thigh muscles, your mind was master of your bike's gear shifter?
That idea is being made flesh in the form of a high-performance concept bicycle that sports a thought-controlled interface.
Electrodes in the rider's helmet pick up neuro-electrical activity. Signals from the helmet are transmitted to an electronic gear shifter mounted under the seat. With training, a person can learn to shift up or shift down simply by thinking it.
Gives "Look Ma, no hands!" new meaning.… Read more
MILWAUKEE--There's no better time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum here than the July 4th weekend. The often brutal Great Lakes weather smiles on you with blue skies reflecting on the nearby riverfront. The huge Summerfest music festival roars not too far away. And the rebellious, proud image of America's oldest active motorcycle manufacturer fits the patriotic mood.
But museums generally look back at history, the minds behind Harley-Davidson looked to use the 3-year-old attraction to promote the company's push to modernize its image.
Built on waterfront property that was once a Morton Salt factory, the $70 million-plus complex documents the engineering history of Harley-Davidson and the development of the uniquely American motorcycle culture that developed throughout the 20th century. Founded in 1903, Harley-Davidson was the only surviving American motorcycle company until a British firm begin making a small number of Indian motorcycles in the U.S. around 2006. … Read more
Brammo will offer its electric motorcycles with a six-speed transmission beginning in 2012, the company announced today.
The bikes will be unveiled this Friday in Las Vegas shortly before competing in the MiniMotoSX race.
Motorcycle manufacturer Brammo could make a big impact on the motorcycle world with this change.
While electric motorcycles have been around for some time, and even had their own race on the Isle of Man in June 2009, up until now they've mainly been seen as bikes for early adopters interested in green tech, or those who might otherwise consider a moped.
Electric motorcycles are relatively quiet, have a limited range, and arguably offer limited speed and performance when compared to comparable racing bikes with internal combustion engines. They're also fighting an image problem in a market famous for exuding a longstanding sexy, powerful, and adventurous appeal.
"Electric motorcycle design has always been a bit of a balancing act in direct drive systems where great acceleration performance comes at the expense of low top-end speed," Brian Wismann, director of product development at Brammo, said in a statement.… Read more
One of the annoying things about getting older--and yes, there are more than a few--is how frequently you discover that what you were taught either is now outdated or simply flat wrong. But don't get too down about it. Scientists only now are realizing that they've misunderstood the physics of what keeps bicycles upright.
For as long as anyone can remember, the science behind why a bike remains stable once it reaches a certain speed had to do with wheel rotation and the stability generated by so-called gyroscopic effects. Also, there was the proper distance between the steering … Read more