Posts written by Paul Tolme

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The X1 from Schiller Sports blurs the line between boats and bikes. The frame is made of rust-free anodized aluminum, with stainless steel components and inflatable pontoons. The propulsion system features a Gates Carbon Drive belt and sprockets because a chain would corrode. The X1 may be the most advanced water bike ever created, a vehicle that allows bicyclists to “experience the thrill and freedom of biking across a spectacular blue planet,” says company founder and CEO Judah Schiller.

Riders steer the X1 via two oscillating props connected to the handlebars. It weighs about 45 pounds, can be disassembled to fit into the trunk of a car or home closet and can hit speeds of 8 knots (10 miles per hour) depending on rider ability. Schiller worked with engineer Marcus Hays, founder of Gates belt drive eBike brand Pi Cycle, on the design. “If you can ride a bike, you can ride the Schiller X1 anywhere there’s water,” Schiller told USA Today in an article about the invention. “I had the X1 out at the beach locally, about a mile offshore, and ended up biking with dolphins.”

The X1 costs $6,495, with a special Founder’s Edition for $8,775. The company is based in the Bay Area and all X1s are manufactured in Northern California. Learn more at www.schillerbikes.com. Just watch out for sharks.

Schiller on water bike

Judah Schiller chilling on the X1 off the coast of Northern California, above, and pedaling near the Golden Gate Bridge.

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Considering a global bike tour? Well it’s time to hit the road, Jack. Austrian bicycle brand KTM has created the ultimate trekking and touring bike, made to handle the rigors of riding around the planet: the Life Lontano P1.18 Pinion. “This bike is for all those who want to discover the world,” the company says. The judges at Eurobike agreed, awarding the bike a prestigious design award in the category of Cross Bikes. The judges noted its comfort, stability, functionality and stylish design.

“The Life Lontano includes absolutely everything required for a major trip around the world by bike without losing itself in any superfluous gimmicks. Furthermore, the KTM is proof that design is possible even in highly function-driven travel bikes.”

The combination of Pinion gearbox and Gates Carbon Drive belt system is increasingly recognized as a low-maintenance pairing for touring cyclists who want to enjoy the ride without the daily work of maintaining a chain drive. The Life Lontano’s high-end steel frame also includes disc brakes, a Brooks saddle and space for three water bottle mounts. Visit a KTM dealer to order your Life Lontano P1.18 Pinion. Then hit the road, Jack. And don’t come back.

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KTM shows off its Eurobike design award.

ktm-life-lontano-p1.18-pinion-2015-on the grass

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Guapa Cycles is a new British brand that is combining natural materials to create elegant city bikes. Founded by brothers Tom and Harry Williams, the company’s first bike is the Urban One, which features a frame constructed of bamboo and flax fiber. The flax fiber adds strength and dampens vibrations, and Guapa says its bike frames are as strong as an equivalent steel or aluminum frame.

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Flax might sound like a curious choice, but this is not the flax seed you’d find in your breakfast granola. After being harvested in France, the fiber is woven into an incredibly tough fabric in Italy and then impregnated with a resin. “Flax has been chosen over the use of carbon or glass fibre due to its complimentary mechanical properties to wood,” the company says on its website. “This has enabled us to create a wooden bicycle that is lightweight and stiff yet with minimal vibration.” Learn more about the process and watch a video about flax fiber fabric here.

Guapa completes the Urban One with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system and a NuVinci N360 continuously variable planetary hub for clean, smooth and simple pedaling and shifting. Read the Bike Radar story about Guapa. This is bike innovation at its finest. Call it natural selection.

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Canyon COMMUTER 7.0 side view (grey)

The Commuter from German bike brand Canyon takes urban style and functionality to a new level. The bike’s front light is embedded in the cockpit and powered by dynamos in the dropouts. Cables are routed internally to preserve the Commuter’s smooth and clean aesthetic. Other fine touches include a Shimano Alfine internally geared hub paired with a Gates Carbon Drive belt system, hydraulic disc brakes and a rear fender with an integrated pannier carrier. The Commuter is European city bike design at its finest. The judges at Eurobike agree, awarding the Commuter one of just 10 gold medals in the Eurobike design competition last week. Here’s what they said:

“In terms of appearance we’ve rarely seen an urban bike that reinterprets this theme as radically as the Commuter from Canyon. The bike’s understated design is very elegant. There was virtually no other competition entry where we so quickly agreed that it deserved a design award.”

Canyon Commuter_urban ride shotCanyon COMMUTER 7.0 grey

Congratulations to Canyon and urban bike brand manager Sebastian Wegerle for winning this prestigious prize and for designing such an intelligent bike that so artfully blends form with function. Find out where to buy your Commuter at the Canyon website. Two more bikes featuring the Gates Carbon Drive system won Eurobike awards, and we will feature those bikes from KTM and Cannondale in an upcoming post.

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Gates_ NuVinci Harmony H-Sync belt cropped

The NuVinci Harmony H|Sync system from Fallbrook Technologies is an exciting new application for electric bikes because it provides continuous automatic shifting without the need for a shifter on the handlebars. Users simply program in their desired cadence and exertion level and pedal away, allowing the brains in the Harmony H|Sync to do the work of shifting. Gates has partnered with Fallbrook Technologies to integrate the Gates Carbon Drive belt system with Harmony H|Sync, which is initially being introduced in conjunction with the Bosch eBike drive. Gates displayed a new 2015 eBike from Stevens featuring this pairing of Gates, Bosch and NuVinci technologies at the Eurobike trade show, which concluded last Saturday. Several more brands will introduce eBikes with these three leading technologies for 2015.

“This combination of Harmony H|Sync plus the Gates belt drive provides bicycle brands and consumers with a clean, smooth and simple solution for high-performance shifting without chains or derailleurs,” says Frank Scurlock, global sales director for Gates Carbon Drive Systems.

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Pictured above, the NuVinci N360 hub mounted with Gates Carbon Drive rear sprocket and H|Sync shifter.

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