Clement’s LAS Tread Design Patent

In January, the UCI announced that CrossVegas will be the first Cyclocross World Cup race for the 2015-2016 series.

With a fast, dry course, Clement’s LAS tire will be a likely choice for many riders. The LAS, named after the airport code for Las Vegas and in honor of CrossVegas, has a fast, file tread center and shoulder knobs reminiscent of Clement’s other offerings.

Clement describes the design of the LAS:

It’s unique nail-file tread is short and fine at the center of the tire and gets progressively taller and coarser as it approaches the shoulder knobs.

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Image Source: Clement

You can see the size of the file treads increases from the center to the shoulders.

US Design Patent D675,976 appears to be drawn to the tread pattern of the LAS.

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The increasing size of the file tread leading up to the shoulder knobs should provide solid and predictable traction for corners and off-camber sections.

Application: US 29/401,315
Application Status: Issued on February 12, 2013, as US D675,976
Assignee: Donnelly Sports, LLC
Related Patents/Applications: N/A


Patenting Pockets by Specialized

Storage. Water. Air. Tools. SWAT. Specialized’s SWAT technology is providing convenience, ease, and comfort to riders. Consider their Mountain Bib Liner with SWAT. For various reasons, many mountain bikers shy away from the Lycra – even pro XC racers like Marco Fontana  and Manuel Fumic. However, avoiding the Lycra also avoids the benefits of wearing a kit like a roadie – the pockets, which are most often found on the lower back of the classic cycling jersey.

More often in mountain biking that road, Camelbak Hydration Packs are used to carry tools, calories, and hydration.

Specialized proposes the Mountain Bib Liner with 5 SWAT Integrated Pockets as an alternative to riding with a backpack while providing the convenience similar to the conventional cycling kit but in the form of baggies. VitalMTB has a great review of Specialized’s SWAT apparel and produced the below film about its development:

Specialized’s Mountain Bib Liner with SWAT:

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And, Specialized is pursuing patent protection for those pockets.

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US Patent Application 13/802,245, filed March 13, 2013, is currently pending but has not yet been acted upon by the USPTO.

[T]he pocket 200 comprises a secured portion 205 and a hanging portion 210. … the secured portion 205 is located above the natural position for a waistband 310 of a pair of loose fitting shorts 300. … FIGS. 2A-2B illustrate a pair of loose fitting shorts 300 worn with the waistband 310 at a natural position on a user. The hanging portion 210 of the pocket 200 allows some of the pocket 200 to overhang the waistband 310 of the loose fitting shorts 300 since there is no connection between the hanging portion 210 of the pocket 200 and the athletic garment 100. As illustrated in FIGS. 2A-2B, the waist band 310 of the loose fitting shorts 300 at its natural location occupies the space between the athletic garment 100 and the hanging portion 210 of the pocket 200. The hanging portion 210 allows the loose fitting shorts 300 and the pocket 200 to occupy the same area near the user’s lower back, allowing the loose fitting shorts 300 to sit at their natural position and not be forced downwards by a loaded pocket 200 while the pocket 200 is located in an ideal location for the user to access the contents of the pocket 200.

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FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 5 (below) show the hanging portion 210 of the pocket 200 hanging over the waistband 310 of the loose fitting shorts 300. In other words, pockets on your lower back (like a traditional cycling jersey) that hang over the waistband of your baggies.

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Application: US 13/802,245
Application Status: Pending, No Action on the Merits, IDS filed on December 12, 2014
Assignee: Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
Related Patents/Applications: N/A

Trek’s Externally-Geared, Belt-Driven Mountain Bike

Conventional wisdom in the belt drive arena tells us that belt drive is only for single speed setups, and an internally geared hub or a gearbox is needed to change gear ratios.

Not so according to Trek. Trek is pursing a US patent application that shows a hardtail mountain bike with both belt drive and a rear derailleur. In March of 2012, Trek was issued a US design patent drawn to the chainring for this implementation.

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One or both of the crankset and wheel hub cogs can include more than one cog having different circumferential sizes so as to alter the mechanical advantage provided between the pedals and the driven hub. … It is envisioned that, when provided in a multiple geared format, bicycle 30 be equipped with a front and/or a rear derailleur assembly to facilitate the manual lateral manipulation of the flexible drive member 80 in effectuating shifting of the gearing arrangement of bicycle 30 such that flexible drive member 80 cooperate with one of cogs 120200, or 300 as desired.”

In other words, Trek envisions belt-driven bikes to have both front and rear derailleurs.

Here’s a portion of Trek’s belt drive cassette:

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In the cross-section of the cassette, you can see that the belt 80 is engaged in the largest cog and moveable to the right as indicated by arrow 434.

And, here’s a better look at the design of the cogs:

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Looks like belt drive may be finding more applications soon.

Application: US 12/985,166
Application Status: Final Rejection – Early Response Due February 12, 2015
Assignee: Trek Bicycle Corp. (original assignee)
Related Patents/Applications: D655,225 (issued March 6, 2012)

Shimano’s Di2 Synchro-Shift

As much as I love all bikes, I’m a mountain biker at heart. And, I’m excited to see Shimano’s Di2 coming to XTR. Synchro-Shift operates both the front and rear derailleurs in response to input from one shifter. Or, another way, the rider only says, “I need a higher/lower gear,” and Synchro-Shift says, “Okay. We’ll move the front and rear derailleurs like this for you.” It’s like having a 1x drivetrain but with a front derailleur that you don’t have to mess with.

Shimano provides the below video showing Synchro-Shift for 2×11 and 3×11 drivetrains.

Last November, Shimano received US 8,882,122 drawn to this technology. The illustrated example provided in the patent is only for a 3×10 drivetrain, but you can see the similarities. FIG. 4 of the patent compared to 2:10 of the video:

FIG. 4

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In the 3×11, at least in these examples, less time overall is spent in the smallest chainring – 3 gears when upshifting and 2 gears when downshifting vs. 5 gears up and 2 down for the 3×10.

Application: US 13/857,570
Application Status: Patented – US 8,882,122
ssignee: Shimano, Inc.
Related Patents/Applications: N/A

Specialized Patents the “Love Handle”

In honor of the Cyclocross World Championship (congrats to MvdP – great race!), here’s a patent that issued to Specialized in May 2014. The Specialized Crux is beautiful ride and demonstrates Specialized’s dedication to cyclocross.

Referred to as the “Love Handle,” Specialized provided a grip (“concave section”) on the bottom side of down tube of the Crux frame so that the down tube is easier to grab when shouldering the bike. The “Love Handle” has been well-received.

From the patent:

[T]he down tube 55 includes a concave section 80 that is disposed on an underside (i.e., facing generally downward toward the ground) of the down tube 55 to accommodate a hand of a bicycle rider. Alternatively, or in addition, the top tube 50 can include a concave section (not shown) that is similar to the concave section 80.

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Note that the disclosure provides for another grip on the top tube, although it’s not shown in the drawings.

And, we appreciate Specialized’s playfulness in marketing this feature as the “Love Handle” – it’s great to see a large company show some personality.

Application: US 13/242,619
Application Status: Patented – US 8,720,929
Assignee: Specialized Bicycle Components, Inc.
Related Patents/Applications: N/A