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.

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New Product Lines coming from Specialized?

It is important to remember that “intellectual property” includes more than just utility and design patents. A healthy IP portfolio will include patents but will also include consideration for your brand – specifically, trademarks. The most (in)famous player in the cycling industry regarding trademarks is probably Specialized. The Cafe Roubaix-Specialized incident has been widely covered.

Regardless of community perception, Specialized has an organized trademark strategy that many other businesses can learn from. Further, because US trademark filings are public, we can learn some about Specialized’s strategy/future products.

Specialized has recently filed the following trademark applications:

LIFT– for Bicycle frames; Bicycles – filed: March 16, 2015

RUZE – for Bicycle frames; Bicycles – filed: March 13, 2015

HELLGA – for Bicycle frames; Bicycles – filed: December 16, 2014

RYHME – for Bicycle frames; Bicycles – filed: November 20, 2014

Neither searching Specialized.com nor the internet turn up any Specialized bikes featuring any of those names. The closest I found was speculation that HELLGA was to be a women specific fat bike.

These applications use similar descriptions of the goods that the trademarks are used on to those registered trademarks of CARVE, CRUX, CAMBER, and VENGE. If Specialized stays true to their previous filings, it looks like we could see new LIFT, RUZE, HELLGA, and RYHME bikes form Specialized.

Note – these are all word marks meaning that there are no fun pictures associated with these yet. Only text. From a trademark perspective, that means that these marks can be used in any style, font, color, etc.

Less Conspicuous Electric-Assist Bicycle from Faraday Bicycles

In view of recent news reports of inspections for mechanical doping, we look at a beautifully designed electric-assist bike from Faraday Bicycles.

Faraday Bicycles

Source: FaradayBikes.com

The Faraday Porteur was reportedly designed with help from Rock Lobster Cycles. And, as any good startup or kickstarter should, Faraday got their IP in order. On February 24, 2015, US 8,960,702 issued, and on April 2, 2013, US 8,408,349 issued to Faraday.

Faraday FIGs 2 and 3

FIGS. 2 and 3 of the ‘349 Patent, above, show that the electronics housing 50 is disposed between the upper top tube 40 and the lower top tube 38 and rearward of the seat tube 16.

Faraday FIG 4

FIG. 4 of the ‘349 Patent shows batteries 42 and 44 extending into the upper top tube 40 and the lower top tube 38, respectively, from the electronics housing 50.

Farady FIG 9

FIG. 9 of the ‘702 Patent shows an another design in which a battery management electronics unit 266 is disposed in the seat tube 244 and the battery pack 254 is disposed in the down tube 242.

Not sure that this bike will be winning any races, but it looks like a great option for getting around town.

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