Soma Lauterwasser

Soma Lauterwasser

Soma just keeps cranking out interesting handlebars. Last month it was the 3-Speed II Moustache, and now we have the lovely Lauterwasser. From Soma:

It is with great pleasure we are releasing an updated version of the racing bars that Olympic cyclist and cycling engineer Jack Lauterwasser hand-made in the 1930’s. We received a few requests a couple of years ago to reproduce this bar design. We learned the originals were much sought after by collectors. With its unusual design, we knew right away if we wanted to do this right, we would need to find one of the original bars. So we plunked down a few hundred bucks to some stranger on the internet and soon it arrived (complete with an antique bike attached no less….seller would not sell the bar separately).

We tried to keep the design fairly close to the original with modern touches to make the bar more practical. Grip OD was changed to 22.2 to fit MTB grips and the drops were lengthened to accommadate levers. The stem clamp was widened to 25.4mm (Sorry 26.0mm fans – get a shim). There were suggestions to make it narrow like a modern drop bar, but that altered the look too much.

Width is 48cm (same as our sample). Drop is 90mm. This is the first bar we are producing in both aluminum and steel. Steel version will take bar end shifters and is a little stiffer of course.

How do they ride? Well this no upright townie bar. If you compare it to a Nitto Moustache bar, it has more drop, a more forward position, and narrower. It is very comfortable to get out of the seat and mash on the pedals with this bar. Definitely more comfortable than a full-on drop bar. You can also move your hands forward to get into a more aero position when desired. We recommend a short stem to preserve the original look, but do what you want. Handling is very stable on bikes with hybrid/CX geometry.

It’s really nice to have so many interesting and unusual handlebar options. Kudos to Soma.

Soma

Common Bicycle Brake Types

[The following is a brief look at common bicycle brake types. It is not intended to be a comprehensive overview of every brake type currently manufactured. —ed.]

Dual-Pivot Caliper Brake

Dual-pivot Side-pull Caliper Brake
Most road bikes today are spec’d with dual-pivot side-pull caliper brakes. They’re simple and easy to adjust with high mechanical advantage. There are some exceptions, but most dual-pivot calipers provide only minimal tire clearance, which generally makes them less than ideal for utility bikes.

Pros
Powerful
Easy to adjust

Cons
Limited clearance
Ineffective on out-of-true wheels
Limited effectiveness in wet conditions
Rim is used as braking surface

Cantilever Brake

Center-pull Cantilever Brake
Center-pull cantilevers are the classic touring and mountain bike brake. They’ve been mostly replaced by linear-pull brakes on touring bikes and disc brakes on mountain bikes. They can be a little fussy to set-up and maintain, but they provide excellent clearance, power, and feel. Center-pull cantilevers are my favorite rim brakes for utility bikes.

Pros
Powerful
Generous clearance
Good looking (IMO)

Cons
Difficult to adjust
Limited effectiveness in wet conditions
Rim is used as braking surface
Can’t be used on bikes with suspension

Linear-pull Brake

Linear-pull Brake (aka “V-Brake”)
Linear-pull brakes are the modern incarnation of the cantilever. They’re easier to set-up and maintain than traditional center-pull cantilevers while providing similar performance. Unlike center-pull cantis, linear-pulls can be used on bikes with suspension. Linear-pulls have become nearly ubiquitous, almost completely usurping other versions of the cantilever. Because of their unusually high mechanical advantage, linear-pulls require the use of long-pull levers.

Pros
Powerful
Generous clearance
Easy to adjust

Cons
Require the use of long-pull levers
Limited effectiveness in wet conditions
Rim is used as braking surface

Disc Brake

Disc Brake
Disc brakes have increased in popularity along with the mountain bike and they’re becoming more common on utility bikes. They’re powerful brakes that offer good all-weather performance. Mechanical (aka cable-actuated) disc brakes are easy to adjust and maintain. Hydraulic discs are exceptionally responsive and powerful, but they can be tricky to set-up and difficult to repair. Disc brakes require special wheels and frame mounts.

Pros
Powerful
Easy to adjust (mechanical style)
Weather-resistant
Rim is not used as braking surface

Cons
Some mechanical discs require the use of long-pull levers
Hydraulic discs can be difficult to set-up and maintain
Require dished front wheel
Require heavier front wheel build and more robust fork
Can interfere with rack and fender mounts

Drum Brake

Drum/Roller Brake
Drum brakes are internal brakes contained within a hub. Drum brakes are essentially weather-proof, but because of limitations inherent in their design, most provide only mediocre braking performance. Like disc brakes, they eliminate the issue of rim wear associated with rim brake designs. “Roller Brakes” are proprietary, removable drum brakes manufactured by Shimano.

Pros
Weather-proof
Low-maintenance
Brake pads have longer life than rim brake pads
Rim is not used as braking surface

Cons
Lackluster performance
Heavy
Difficult to work on if maintenance is required
Not compatible with quick release axles (rear)

Streetfilms: Pittsburgh Walk & Bike

Pittsburgh Walk & Bike from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

Another fine film from Clarence Eckerson, Jr. and Streetfilms.

Streetfilms

Wealthy Hit-and-Run Driver Gets Light Sentence

Summit News

Martin Erzinger, the hit-and-run driver who made the national news when prosecutors failed to file felony charges against him because of his job as a hedge-fund manager, was recently sentenced to 45 days of community service.

Back in November, Colorado Fifth Judicial District Attorney Mark Hurlbert told the Summit Daily News, “Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into (the decision). When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay.”

You have to wonder what the outcome of this case would have been if the victim had been in an automobile instead of on a bicycle, and if the defendant had been a low wage earner instead of a wealthy investment banker.

ABC News – Denver
Summit Daily News
More @ Summit Daily News

Gallery: Richard’s Brompton

Brompton
Brompton
Zoom

[Richard sent us these photos of his Brompton for the Gallery. —ed.]

I had a problem I wanted a bike for my trips to Baghdad – I only ever spend 3 weeks here at a time every 6-8 weeks and I was sick of having to drive a HUGE 5.7l truck the 6km into and away form work every night.

They sell bikes on this base but they are cheap $180 stomp and you break a crank type of bikes. So to bring one out – that would be a pain and where could I keep it when I go home or other places. The solution a new Brompton and a flight-case for it. As I only ever have hand luggage the size is no issue – I am probably still travelling lighter than the average Joe.

Lovely to cycle in the morning – even when it is hot the ride is great – takes about 11min no slower than the old car took but much more liberating.

Now its winter but no great shakes about 7C in the morning and up to 18C in the day ….. Lakes here are full of Cormorants, ducks, pied kingfishers, egrets, the odd grey heron and the very large Carp they feed on.

Not the worst commute I have had to do.

—Richard Crawford

Transit Benefit Extended

At the Train Station
At the Train Station – Multi-Modal Commuting

The law that brought the monthly transit payroll dedcution in line with the pre-existing $230 parking deduction has been extended another year. This is great news for multi-modal bike commuters and all commuters who ride transit. Now we need to work on getting the transit benefit permanently set at $230 to match the already permanent $230 parking benefit. Doing so is only fair and would put transit riders on an even footing with motorists.

More in the Washington Post

Proper Frame Fit

Proper Frame Fit

Proper frame fit, as summed up on the side of a bike box. In this case, the picture may not actually be worth 1,000 words. If you’d like to look into it a little further, read on:


 
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