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
Steve McCulley served in the British military for 17 years and raced bikes for the Royal Navy and Royal Marines before sustaining career-ending injuries in Afghanistan . “That was when I decided to follow my passion,” he says. McCulley was inspired to create a super-light full-carbon folding bike after meeting the founder of UK folding bike brand Brompton. After much R&D, the Nano was born. With its carbon frame and carbon fork, wheels, handlebar, seatpost and saddle, plus its lightweight Gates Carbon Drive system, the Nano weighs about 8 kilograms (17 pounds).
McCulley named the company after his children, Lily and Oscar–appropriate for a man whose love of bikes originated with his father. “I built my first bike with my dad when I was eight years old and started racing bikes in Devon when I was thirteen. During my teenage years I repaired broken bikes and sold them for a profit.” The Nano may be tiny, but for one lifelong bicycling entrepreneur it is a Mega dream come true. liosfoldingbike.com
Earlier this summer, BMX Plus! magazine presented a top-secret bike to a handful of pro riders including Mark Estep, Stephen Smith, Asa Kortman and Keely Kortman (pictured above) at a Los Angeles BMX track. Editor Ben Crockett snapped these spy photos. The October 2015 issue of the magazine, now on newsstands, contains the full story of how the bike was created, as well as pro rider feedback. The upshot? The editors and riders loved the Gates Carbon Drive system and consider it a potential game-changer at the elite BMX racing level. They especially liked the instant engagement and strength of the Gates belt compared to chains, which stretch under the intense torque of BMX racing. This strength is critically important in the starting gate, below, where riders must hammer down on the pedals with all of their power to gain a fraction of a second lead on the competition.
The prototype bike made by Canadian BMX brand Yess has many unique features including a dial for tensioning the belt, as well as a split on the seat stay for opening the rear triangle to install or change the belt. The bike uses the new 108-tooth belt that Gates released last year.
BMX is a new frontier for Gates and an opportunity to expose a new cycling audience to the Carbon Drive technology. Could we see top riders racing on BMX bikes equipped with Gates Carbon Drive in World Cup or Olympic events in the future? Perhaps. Some elite national teams have contacted Gates to inquire about testing the system. For Gates, the positive feedback by elite athletes validates the durability and strength of the Carbon Drive system, which is already being used by singlespeed cyclocross and mountain bike racers. Pick up a copy of BMX Plus! to read the full five-page report.
Want to learn more about the Yess bike? The online site bmxnews.com published several informative stories including one about the history of belt drives in BMX, and the efforts of innovator Matt Raymer to advance the concept of belting BMX bikes.
Lynx Bicycles is a Polish brand that wants to elevate the status of bamboo bikes while helping to create jobs in Africa. Lynx sources its bamboo frames from Zambikes, a nonprofit that runs a bike building facility in Zambia. The handmade bamboo frames take up to a month to create. The goal is to use bikes as an economic development tool in rural Africa. “This was one of the most important factors when we chose Zambikes to source our frames,” say the founders of Lynx. Learn more about Lynx, which sells Gates Carbon Drive, at lynxbicycles.com and Zambikes at zambikeszambia.com
Gates is introducing a new series of high-mileage sprockets for expedition cyclists called CDX:EXP™ that offers extended range and durability in abrasive off-road conditions. CDX:EXP sprockets are for use with Rohloff geared hubs. Rohloff is a close partner of Gates, and its hubs combined with Gates belt drives are an increasingly popular application for trekking cyclists who seek a low-maintenance, strong and clean alternative to chains and derailleurs when riding way off the map.
The extra durability derives from the 25 percent increase in surface area compared to regular CDX™ sprockets. Despite their extra strength, the CDX:EXP sprockets weigh only a few grams more than current CDX sprockets due to a redesign of the sprocket interface. The CDX:EXP sprockets are currently available in three front sizes (pictured above) and four rear sizes for cyclists who want to upgrade their existing CDX drives. The 39-tooth front sprocket is also designed for use with Pinion gearboxes.
Gates will unveil CDX:EXP at the Eurobike trade show in late August. Europe is the global epicenter of bike trekking. “The CDX:EXP sprockets are an example of how we continue to expand the Carbon Drive product line to meet the needs of the widest range of bicyclists,” says Todd Sellden, global director of Gates Carbon Drive. Read the full Eurobike news release.
Other new products shown at Eurobike include the S300 silver crank arm for use with CDX five bolt sprockets, and the new XSE series rear sprockets for use with the CDN belt drive system.