Chris King’s Headset

Chris King, for years, has been synonymous with quality. Since 1976, Chris King has been making sealed bearing headsets. After such a long and successful period in the industry, Chris King is still innovating.

On March 4, 2014, US Patent 8,662,517 issued and is drawn to a headset that decouples the forces therein to preserve the structural integrity of carbon steerer tubes.

At completion of installation, an axial force transmission path 20 is connected through the stacked components: 4, 5, 22, 23, 10, 9, and 12. Compression ring 24 and resilient element 25 are intentionally excluded from axial force transmission path 20. Therefore, forces 31 and 32 and the resulting gripping of compression ring 24 to steerer tube 11 are unaffected by changes in axial forces along axial force transmission path 20. Any added axial forces due to riding do not increase radial force 32. The magnitude of radial force 32 is dictated by the choice of resilient element 25 and geometry of compression ring 24. By design, radial force 32 is decoupled from the influence of added axial forces after installation is complete.

See FIG. 5:

king '517

There, the axial force transmission path 20 transfers force between the stem 4 and the fork (not shown in FIG. 5) via the head tube 12. However, the radial force 32, or compression on the steerer tube, is separate from the axial forces of path 20.

Application: US 13/191,191
Application Status: Issued on March 4, 2014, as US 8,662,517
Assignee: King Cycle Group, Inc.
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:

Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 7.15.08 PMScreen shot 2015-02-10 at 7.15.25 PM

And, Specialized is pursuing patent protection for those pockets.

Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 7.15.46 PM

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.

Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 7.34.43 PM

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.

Screen shot 2015-02-10 at 7.16.02 PM

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

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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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
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