Santiago, Chile, is one of South America’s most vibrant cities. Inhabitants enjoy food, arts, architecture and culture to rival the great urban centers of the world. Now this metropolis of more than five million people is undergoing a bicycling Renaissance. “Santiago is fairly flat and has a sunny climate that makes it perfect for urban cycling,” says Ricardo Salas, a founder of Brava Bikes. “Over the last decade there have been various public policies aimed at reducing traffic and improving the health of the population, which have resulted in an explosion in the use of bicycles in Chile. At this point we lead Latin America in daily bike use.”
Brava is a new bike brand based in Santiago that specs the Gates Carbon Drive system on all of its models. Pictured atop this post is the Láscar, a fixie with bullhorn bars. Below is the Cay singlespeed, followed by the Ralún eight-speed.
Brava’s founders decided to launch an urban bike brand after careers in architecture and design, and they spent two years designing the bikes and creating the brand identity. Details include leather grips and Brava-branded leather saddles. The aesthetic is both classic and modern. Below is the Macá singlespeed followed by the Lanín eight-speed.
The Tacora fixed gear:
Brava sells online and plans to open a brick and mortar shop soon. “Everyone at Brava loves classic bikes for their style, simplicity, and functionality. We think that the bike is a magnificent machine, and even a work of art,” says Salas, who commutes on a Cay.
One of his favorite rides is the trail up to San Cristobal Hill, a park overlooking the central city. “Another interesting urban route runs through Parque Forestal, which takes you almost the length of the city and passes through a sculpture garden and past the Contemporary and Fine Arts museums.” Another is Parque Bicentennario, located in the Vitacura area of Santiago. “This 30-hectare park is one of the city’s most important green areas. It is a popular place to spend time outdoors due to the trails and other activities,” Salas says.
Bravo, Santiago. bravabikes.com
For freeriders, there is nothing more stylish than a perfectly executed tail whip. French downhiller Benoit Coulanges of team ROC-VTT shows his whipping good style in this video shot near his home in Lyon. Benoit is an up-and-coming young rider who placed 15th at last year’s Fort William World Cup event. He rides a Nicolai Ion 20 Effigear with Gates Carbon Drive and an Effigear gearbox. Read more about his bike on Vital MTB. You may never do a tail whip, but imagine how well your Gates belt will perform on your city bike if it can survive Benoit’s abuse.
Leading folding bike brand Tern has launched its first model with Gates Carbon Drive, the Verge S8i. Tern calls it “the world’s most versatile ultra-low-maintenance folding bike…a practically silent super-commuter with no greasy parts or protruding derailleurs.”
New for 2016, the Verge S8i features a range of high-quality components: a Shimano Alfine eight-speed hub, Schwalbe Big Apple tires with puncture protection, a wide-beam Valo 2 headlight powered by a BioLogic electricity-generating hub, hydraulic disc brakes, fenders, a heavy duty cargo rack, and more.
Another cool feature is Tern’s patented Andros adjustable stem technology that allows users to adjust the handlebar height and riding position without tools–allowing multiple family members of different sizes to use the bike.
For rushed commuters, the Verge S8i folds in under 10 seconds and can be easily rolled onto subways and into buildings. Unfolded, it has a long wheel base for stability at speed. “It will get you there quickly, cleanly, and most importantly in style,” Tern says. We couldn’t agree more. ternbicycles.com
Montague is a Boston-area bike company launched in 1987 as a university project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of America’s most prestigious and brainy schools. Montague makes full-size folding bikes–no small wheels or downsized frames. The company’s motto is “real bikes that fold.” The frames are strong and rigid, Montague says, because the top tubes are not cut. Instead, the frames fold at the intersection of the top tubes and seat tube. The patented DirectConnect system automatically locks when unfolded. Another nice innovation is Montague’s RackStand, a rear luggage rack that doubles as a bike stand.
These features are included on Montague’s newest model, the Allston, which includes a Gates Carbon Drive belt, disc brakes, wide 38c tires and a Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub. “The Allston is great for ripping around Cambridge and Boston,” says Jonathan Vandenberg, Montague sales manager.
Montague has won multiple awards and honors over the years. In 1997, Montague received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to create a tactical mountain bike for the U.S. Marine Corps. The bike was called the Paratrooper, because soldiers could jump from planes with it strapped to their chest.
Today, Montague, which is based in the university hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working to get people out of cars and onto bikes. “The bike commuting scene is growing in Crambridge and Boston,” Vandenberg says. Montague has partnered with the state to create Park & Pedal, a network of free parking spaces that allow commuters to park their cars and ride the final miles to work, avoiding inner-city rush-hour traffic and congestion. It’s one more brainy idea that is advancing the bicycle revolution. montaguebikes.com
It’s no joke to say that the guys at Velopresso, makers of the pedal-powered coffee trike, are creating a lot of buzz. They won the Constructor’s Challenge at the Bespoked Handmade Bicycle Show in April. Their MK2 was recently featured on BBC TV, and it has received loads of media attention. Musician David Byrne of the Talking Heads hopped on during his Meltdown festival last summer in London. Former pro rider (and new coffee shop owner) Andy Schleck pedaled the Velopresso at an event in Luxembourg, and Velopresso appeared at the Tour de France for the second straight year when Dutch company Brandmeester’s served coffee at the “grand depart” stage on their MK2.
When the Belted Blog last checked in with Velopresso, founders Amos Field Reid and Lasse Oiva were just beginning production after several years of R&D and prototyping. Now, the UK company’s MK2 coffee trikes are rolling off the production line from their East London factory. Velopresso has sold trikes in Australia, Holland, Switzerland, the United States, Canada, Luxembourg, Spain, France, Puerto Rico and across the UK, including one on the Isle of Wight. Below is the trike sent to the Bean Peddler in Adelaide, Australia.
The Velopresso is so appealing because it combines the healthy and fun aspects of bicycling with our love of coffee. The MK2 allows mobile coffee shops to set up on any street corner, with a low carbon footprint. We like it because the MK2 uses two Gates Carbon Drive belts—one to propel the trike and another to power the grinder. You don’t want a dirty chain near your beans.
Here’s a look under the hood:
If you want to see how to make a cup of espresso on the MK2, check out the video on the Velopresso site. Time for a hot cuppa. velopresso.cc