BIKE IP at INTERBIKE!

Busy end of the summer, not so much blog posting, but still busy! And, I am happy to announce that Bike IP will be attending Interbike in Las Vegas on September 16-18.

Oh, and did somebody say #crossiscoming? Looking forward to CrossVegas! UCI CX World Cup #1!

image: facebook.com/crossvegas

Interbike and CrossVegas? What more could the industry ask for?

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Trek Patents IsoSpeed Tech

As I was riding my rigid ss 29er on some of my favorite trails this past weekend, I was reminded of the value of suspension for increased traction and decreased fatigue.  Trek’s IsoSpeed Technology has been slowly, and expectedly, working its way from their Domane endurance road line, through their Boone cyclocross line, and finally to their hardtail mountain line. In April, Velonews spotted IsoSpeed Tech on Trek hardtails at USA Cycling US Cup races (available here: USA Cycling), and BikeRumor reports spy shots of Trek’s new rides from the Nové Město World Cup races (full races: womenmen) last weekend.

On October 14, 2014, the USPTO issued US 8,857,841 to Trek for their passive seat tube pivot joint, which is marketed as IsoSpeed Technology.

[T]he non-bonded rigid yet pivotable connection of seat tube 22 with upper frame member 100 allows deflection of seat tube 22 in a vertical plane and in a direction along the longitudinal length of the seat tube 22 so as to allow the frame assembly 12 to provide a limited degree of suspension performance or vertical compliance without altering the orientation of the connection points of any of the frame members relative to one another

Trek FIG. 6

The pivotable connection between the seat tube 22 and the upper frame member 100 (i.e., top tube) is shown in an exploded view in FIG. 5:

Trek FIG. 5

Trek states that the deflection should be nearly unperceivable during most riding conditions, but even absorption of small bumps by the frame in a mostly unnoticeable manner can greatly improve fatigue resistance and comfort when you’re spending hours in the saddle.

SRAM’s Single Chainring

The trend in mountain and cyclocross is to drop your extra chainrings and your front derailleur to run a 1x system. The hope is that removing the front derailleur will increase reliability and decrease weight. And, frankly, it looks pretty sharp.

1x drivetrains used to require a chain guide to keep the chain on the chainring. Clutched rear derailleurs, like Shimano’s Shadow Plus and SRAM’s Type 2, keep tension on the chain to decrease chain dropping.

But, the narrow wide chainring is the final piece of the puzzle to reliably keeping the chain on without requiring a chain guide. Narrow wide is pretty descriptive – teeth of the chainring alternate between having a narrow width and a wide width. The wide teeth grip the links of the chain to hold the chain on the chainring.

After SRAM’s introduction of the XX1 mtb drivetrain, several manufacturers introduced their own narrow wides – for example, RaceFace and Wolf Tooth.

On October 21 and October 28, 2014, SRAM was awarded US design patents D715,699 and D716,191, respectively. Both design patents are drawn to narrow wide chainrings.

From D715,699:

619-2

619 4

619 5 and 6

From D716,191:

191 1

191 2

191 3 and 4

It is important to remember that it is the solid lines in the figures that define the covered, patented subject matter.

Application: 29/471, 384
Application Status: Patented – D715,699, Issued October 21, 2014
Assignee: SRAM, LLC
Related Applications: Continuation of US 13/311,735 (under final rejection)

Application: 29/473, 643
Application Status: Patented – D716,191, Issued October 28, 2014
Assignee: SRAM, LLC
Related Applications: Continuation of US 13/787,276 (under non-final rejection), which is a continuation-in-part of US 13/311,735 (under final rejection)

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.

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.00.22 PM

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.

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.10.31 PM

Screen shot 2015-02-17 at 5.10.58 PM

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

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

Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 1.13.53 PM

2:10

Screen shot 2015-02-03 at 1.53.29 PM

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
A
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.

Screen shot 2015-02-04 at 10.14.29 AM

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