Sixty degrees? Cover your knees.Sure, it rhymes, but there’s a lot to that old saw. Knees are among the hardest working of cyclists’ joints- and the most often troubled. Being kind to your knees by keeping them warm and protected on chilly days pays off in reduced stiffness, soreness, and injury.But all of us have suffered from knee warmers that, to put it simply, suck. As simple as a pair of footless socks should be, there’s little as irritating as poorly-placed seams, bunchiness behind the knees, or bulky grippers that pull shorts down while rubbing uncomfortably on the saddle. All reasons why is why the Roubaix model from Italianate clothiers Capo are standouts.Pre-formed from several pieces of hollow-core Roubaix fabric into a knee-like bend, Capo have nailed the warmers’ fit. Despite the numerous seams, none cross the knee or make themselves known while pedaling. Sewn-in reflective tabs at the calf add a measure of security at dawn and dusk. Black, red, and white versions are available in two sizes (S/M and L/XL) and stitched together right here in the USA.Ultimately, it’s the extremely thin thigh gripper’s that make the Roubaixes work so well. With tacky silicone on both the inside and outside, they hold fast to both leg and shorts, remaining comfortable for several hours on road and off. No pulling, no bunching, and no unnecessary bulk. Until it’s time to pull them off, they’re easy to forget the Capos altogether.Given the overly simple construction, far-Eastern manufacture, and annoying slippage to which $30+ knee warmers are prone, the Capos easily justify the jump to $50. If they hold up even half as long as others we’ve tried, they’re well worth the asking price.marcwww.capocycling.com
With the image flying around the Internet of a possible prototype Shimano hydraulic brake system for road bikes, the timing on their patent filing couldn’t have been better for feeding the rumor mill.The photo above is just one of many included in a February 7th US Patent Application describing a “bicycle component control device (that) includes a bracket, a hydraulic brake unit and either a mechanical or electronic shifting unit.” The rest of the initial description reads:“The bracket has a gripping portion. The hydraulic brake unit is operatively mounted on the bracket and configured to operate a hydraulic brake device. The mechanical shifting unit or electric control unit is operatively mounted on the bracket and configured to control a bicycle device.”It’s worth mentioning that all major companies patent all sorts of things that never come to fruition, but what’s really interesting is this isn’t Shimano’s first hydraulic brake patent filing…Back in July 2007, Shimano filed a patent application for a “Multi Position Brake Lever System With a Converter That Converts aCable Actuator to a Hydraulic Actuator”, shown above. It’s described as “a hydraulic assembly for a hydraulic disc brake system that includes a housing defining a cylinder, a piston received in and moveable within the cylinder, a first lever operatively associated with one of the piston or the cylinder, and a second lever operatively associated with the other of the piston or the cylinder.”Here’s a view of the hose and cable entry/exits on the side of the converter. This application was published in January 2009 and would have preceded TRP’s Parabox and the others by a good bit.Shimano also filed a patent application in August 2009 for a “Hydraulic Brake Control Unit” that, to us, looks an awful lot like a TT brake lever. Here’s the internals:Sure beats the Magura RT6TT to the punch, no?And then there’s this hydraulic rim brake design patent filing for a “Hydraulic Connector Arrangement”. At first, I thought this was pre-STI based on the design of the brake lever and the hose exit port, but no: This was filed in December 2009 and published in June 2011! Could this mean a hydraulic rim brake is coming, too?BACK TO THE FUTUREAt the top of this post are the drawings for the Mechanical shifters with integrated hydraulic master cylinder. Above is presumably the Di2 version as the diagram essentially matches the layout and size of the small electronic shifting controls.One interesting bit to point out is the higher position of the brake lever pivot. On the standard (mechanical brake) STI levers, the brake lever’s pivot is about where the piston enters the hood. The lever feel could be quite different as a result, but with all the attention Shimano paid to the current 9000 group’s brakes, our bet is it’ll perform quite well.Where some of the older patents use pretty descriptive names, this one’s simply called “Bicycle Component Control Device”.How does this compare to SRAM’s upcoming hydraulic road brakes? Without that product being officially launched, no one has hard details, but images suggest some or all of the master cylinder may be placed inside the forward knob given it’s pronounced growth over its mechanical counterpart. If that’s the case, it’s likely because SRAM’s shifting mechanics are larger than Shimano’s, which might have forced the design. Or, they could have been avoiding conflict with Shimano, who’s patent describes the master cylinder as “located rearward of the pivot axis of the operating member.” While SRAM announced their hydro units first, Shimano’s patent is a divisional application of an original patent filing from 2011 that may have spelled out some iteration of this prior to SRAM’s designs.Subtle but important details that we look hope to confirmed in the real world soon!JUST FOR FUNShimano Di2 powered dropper post anyone? Thanks to one of our readers (What up, Varaxis!), we got these images of another of Shimano’s patent applications: The “Motorized Bicycle Seatpost Assembly.”The diagrams show the computer control unit under the saddle (26) and the battery inside the top of the post (68) driving a motor attached to a screw-type set of gears to raise or lower the seat via a switch on the handlebars. This one was filed in August 2009!
Only days after Bonnie Grice — longtime host of “The Eclectic Cafe” on 88.3 WPPB FM, Southampton’s National Public Radio station — announced her departure, a new morning host has been hired.Gianna Volpe, a freelance photojournalist who also hosts a popular local podcast and radio show, The Gianna Volpe Report on WRIV in Riverhead, will be starting this week.It was a shock to many who have followed Grice for the past two decades when the morning radio personality, who also hosted “Media Mavens” and “The Song is You” announced on March 12 that she was moving onward. Grice has been producing and acting in plays through her Boots on the Ground theater company — “The Miracle Worker” and “The Red Badge of Courage” — along with a Victorian Christmas caroling venture, and says more 19th-Century based productions are in the works.“I’m looking forward to many more adventures,” Grice told the Independent. “My life is up in the air and not on the air, for now. As Ma says in ‘Red Badge,’ ‘You’ve got to move forward Henry. Move forward.’”Volpe, who was hired on Saturday, March 16, was excited by the news and the new prospect. “It could not have happened at a more perfect time,” said the North Fork resident. “It’s kind of a dream come true for me. I’m particularly excited about starting a few interview series and continuing the ‘Media Mavens,’” she said.Volpe will be bringing her vinyl collection to the studio and looks forward to “the beginning of an exciting era I can only hope will make Bonnie Grice proud.” She offered her thanks to Dr. Wally Smith for the opportunity, “as I am unbelievably grateful for a chance to make excellent radio.” Share