Posts written by Paul Tolme

Volata Urban_mediumres

Volata Cycles is an innovative new brand based in San Francisco and Milan that is using digital technology to create next-generation bicycles that improve safety, decrease maintenance and smarten your ride–all wrapped up in a stylish Italian design. “When you buy a car you don’t need to acquire lights as an accessory, or an iPad as a dashboard. As cars have evolved, also bikes need to evolve,” says Marco Salvioli, co-founder and CEO of Volata.

This evolution includes a 2.4-inch app-based computer integrated into the handlebar. Riders can access apps for weather, directions and heart rate, receive smartphone notifications, and more. One feature we like is the integrated 96 decibel horn, which allows you to honk back at bad drivers. The Volata also inclues a GPS-based anti-theft system with a motion detector that informs the owner if someone tries to steal the bike. It has front and rear lights, and a hub dynamo that charges a battery to keep everything powered up.

Volata Side Moon Grey_mediumres

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Volata Handle Bars Speed_mediumres

Salvioli is an automotive engineer who came up with the concept for Volata in 2014 while developing smart IoT platforms for automobiles at the University of California-Berkeley. He partnered with Mattia De Santis, a bicycle designer in Milan who is Volata’s chief technical officer. Volatas are assembled in California, where the company’s marketing and operations are based. Design and R&D is done in Milan.

Unlike some handlebar-mounted smartphone applications, the Volata’s computer is controlled by a thumb joystick that ensures riders keep their hands safely on the bars. It also features a Gates Carbon Drive belt system connected to an Alfine Di2 electronic shifting rear hub for low-maintenance durability. The price is $3,499. Volata is now taking $299 online deposits with the balance due upon delivery in July 2017. “Volata merges all the heritage and creativity of Italian design with the innovative spirit of Silicon Valley,” the company says in its press materials. Check out these features in the slick video below.

Volata comes in four sizes, two colors and three saddle options. The company plans to introduce more accessories including racks, frame bags, fenders and more. Customers will be able to book a test ride during events the company will host, and at showrooms Volata aims to open in late 2017. Honk if you like it. volatacycles.com

Volata Golden Gate_mediumres

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Pedego Latch

 

With a motto of, “Hello, Fun,” Pedego is an American electric bike brand that has rocketed to success with a simple strategy: create affordable eBikes for older customers who want to pedal for fun and fitness. “Our biggest market is Baby Boomers and retirees, people who haven’t been on a bike in years but who want to ride and feel like a kid again,” says Paul Auclair, the brand’s product manager. Pedego has launched a new folding eBike called the Latch. “Customers were asking us for a folding bike that they could travel with, and that fits on their RV or boat or yacht.” The bike is named for the latch in the middle of the frame that opens and closes the frame. “It’s an eBike that just happens to fold. We used the Gates drive and Nexus hub to keep it simple and clean and easy for our customers.”

Pedego Latch-foldedThe Latch has been well received by customers. “Every shipment we get in sells out immediately,” Auclair says of the Latch. “It’s a low step-over bike so it is easy to get on and off.” He says Pedego plans to launch several more models with Gates Carbon Drive.

Longtime friends Don DiConstanzo and Terry Sherry (CEO and COO, respectively), founded Pedego in 2009 in Southern California. They have since expanded to more than 65 branded Pedego stores across North America, with dealers in Italy, England, New Zealand and Australia. Watch the video below for more info on the Latch, and say hello to fun. www.pedegoelectricbikes.com

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Lios-royal marines

The UK’s Royal Marines are trained for rapid deployment. Rapid certainly describes these three guys and their Lios Nano carbon folding bikes. Corporal Richard Ebbage, Major Ryan Kestle and Corporal Aled Jones have teamed up with Lios, whose founder is himself a former Royal Marine who started a bike company after being blown up in combat in Afghanistan. The three members of the Lios racing team recently competed in the London Nocturne folding bike race criterium that whips through the streets of London. Jones took first place out of 40 competitors with a hard surge at the finish. Watch the inspiring video below to learn the triumphant story of Lios founder Steve McCulley, get an up-close look at the Gates belt driven Nanos, and see the exciting race action–including a crash in the final sprint.

 

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Lawyers-lawyer

How many lawyers does it take to fix a flat tire? We don’t know. There will be no lawyer jokes in this post. But we do know that there are no attorneys among the founders of Lawyer’s Bike, an Italian brand whose name is meant to evoke a mood of elegance, distinction and professionalism.

“Our customers are young and wealthy professionals who want to stand out from the crowd,” says Riccardo Pozzoli, one of three young men in their mid-20s who formed Lawyer’s in 2015. Pozzoli studies history at Milan University and works for an interior design studio. Andrea Calastri is a former bike racer. Federico Cazzaniga is a geologist, photographer and computer enthusiast. All three are passionate urban bicyclists.

Lawyers-MILAN0_Moon Silver

Lawyers-Verona_Midnight Blue1

Lawyer’s is located in and inspired by the design and furniture district of Brianza, near Milan in northwestern Italy. Their aesthetic is “clean, simple and elegant design combined with innovative materials,” Pozzoli says. Components include Brooks leather saddles, Cerchi Ghisallo wooden rims, beech wood bars and Gates drives. The aluminum frames are welded by Vetta, a legendary third-generation frame maker. Painting is done by Verniciatura Emmeci, which also works for well-known Italian brands including Bianchi, Pinarello and Colnago.

Lawyer’s offers two models and a bike configurator that allows customers to tailor their style. The Milano is sporty and modern, with matte frames and carbon forks. “It is designed to be rigid and reactive,” Pozzoli says. The Verona is classic, with glossy finishes and the option of beech wood rims and bars. A third model, Portofino, also with Gates Carbon Drive, is coming soon. Lawyer’s will offer the Portofino in a men’s or women’s version, with SRAM two-speed Automatix shifting. Perfect for riding to work, or the law office. lawyersbike.com

Lawyers-VERONA_Rock Grey-bars

Lawyers-MILANO_Stealth Black

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sdw dew pond-crop

South Downs Way is a historic 100-mile bridle path and recreation trail in southeastern England. Riding the way in one day is a rite of passage for many British bicyclists. For Steven Olsen, it turned into a quest to build the ultimate low-maintenance mountain bikes. First he created the Lamb, a stainless steel singlespeed with Gates Carbon Drive that features distinctive double down-tubes, pictured below in blue. Now his brand, Olsen Belt Drive Bicycles, is launching two new models created to handle year-round riding in mud, rain and what he calls “Great British Weather.”

Olsen stainless on the road

His new models, this time featuring carbon frames and Pinion gearboxes–are called the Ram and the Swan (all his bikes are named for pubs along the South Downs Way). “I commute thirty-plus miles per day off-road, so the design had to be an all-terrain bicycle for riding in Great British weather and mucky trail conditions year-round.” The Ram uses 27.5-plus size tires for extra traction and comfort; the Swan is a 29er. Both feature elevated stays. “This design allows me to sling the Pinion under the chassis and also tension the belt,” says Olsen. “I can alter the bottom bracket drop to accommodate different ‘swing plate’ designs, so the geometry can be fine-tuned to the rider.”

Olsen-elevated chainstayOlsen muddy drive

Note the beefy stays and stout, reinforced dropouts on the Ram, pictured above. Olsen added a 30.9 mm seat tube for dropper posts, and the bikes can be run with a 120mm or rigid fork. The prototypes of both bikes are now in testing, and the final production versions will have internal cable routing. Below is the Swan. Olsen will speak and present the bikes at a Bicycle Film Festival exposition on July 20 at the ONCA gallery in Brighton. “I want these bikes to be as versatile as possible. Everything from muddy forest trails to adventure bikepacking.” With a few Great British pub stops along the way. olsenbicycles.com

olsen swan

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