I've had something I've wanted to share with you for a long time. Something huge. Something revolutionary. Something that will change the planet forever.
You have no idea how hard it's been for me to keep this to myself. I've been about to burst, like a bottle of seltzer after a ride on the Paris-Roubaix course. Finally though, the embargo has been lifted, and I can now inform you that the new Segway is about to "drop:"
Big news tomorrow in the personal transportation world--- Segway is launching the Segway MiniPRO. Now that the new UL standards for PT's are set, all the hoverboards are off shelves and Segway is rebooting the market// bringing the miniPRO to Amazon for an exclusive 60-day window... I have some additional details RE the UL certification and the US Consumer Product Safety Commission letter saying 52 hoverboard fires in 24 states caused over $2 million in property damage between December and February...
Do you hear that? Hoverboards are ruining America! Explosions! Devastation! Massive property damage! It's why most urban downtowns currently look like this:
Yes, our crippling dependency on hoverboards is destroying our cities and our environment and robbing our children of their future. We really need to stop this "war on cars" and get these hoverboards off our streets once and for all. So thank goodness for Segway, who are saving us from the hoverboard menace with, well, a hoverboard:
It says pretty much everything you need to know about humanity that since the late 19th century we've had the perfect vehicle for traveling intermediate distances, yet here we are in 2016 still coming up with dumb-ass shit like this. Do we really need to earth-fuck the planet for more lithium and "super-tough, light metals used to build space shuttles and aircraft" so idiots can roll around like friggin' Rosie the Robot from the Jestons?
Ride a goddamn bike already and shut up.
Plus, as far as the NYPD is concerned, these are no more legitimate than hoverboards anyway:
The NYPD needs YOU to help report these battery-powered menaces to public safety:
Interestingly though I've never, ever seen a sign encouraging people to report reckless motorists. (And yes, I've tried it once, just for laughs. Unsurprisingly they treated me like I was reporting a UFO sighting.)
Meanwhile, speaking of humanity's relentless drive to overcomplicate everything, welcome to the age of the $499 wireless dropper seatpost:
If you're unfamiliar with the concept of the dropper post, it's not so named because you have to drop lots of money on them. Rather, it allows you to remotely raise and lower your saddle while riding. This is because off-road cycling isn't about meeting the challenges posed by the terrain, it's about pretending they're not there by using expensive and finicky technology:
The Vyron’s up and down function is as smooth as any dropper post I’ve used, even when the seat binder is tightened beyond spec. Some dropper posts bind completely with the seat binder clamp bolt tightened too tightly, and even bind a bit at very low bolt torques on the order of 4-5N-m. The Vyron post I’m riding would reduce this issue simply by virtue of its 31.6mm diameter. (Generally, the internals of any 31.6mm dropper post are the same as that of the same model in 30.9mm, but the outer sleeve of the 30.9mm post is 0.35mm thinner, which can flex enough to allow binding due to clamping, even when it is a non-issue with the 31.6mm model.)
Step 1: Identify one of the most boringly reliable and relatively inexpensive components on a bicycle (in this case the seatpost);
Step 2: Create an overcomplicated, expensive, unreliable version of same (in this case one that moves up and down with a remote control);
Step 3: Introduce an even more expensive one that is still less reliable than the original version, but more reliable than the one in Step 2;
Step 4: Profit!
Sadly, this particular seatpost is not perfect, because there's a "delay in activation" after you push the remote button:
The only issue I have with the seatpost is the delay in activation after pushing the remote button. To minimize the draw on the battery while opening and closing the oil valve that frees the seatpost to move and also locks in its height adjustment, Magura uses a very tiny piezoelectric motor. This allows the use of a small, lightweight battery while still offering over 40 hours of ride time between charges, but it comes at the cost of opening the valve more slowly.
Delay in activation? Piezoelectric motor??? Charging!?! This is a seatpost!!! It's frightening that we live in an age when seatpost activation delay is an actual problem that exists for people, and that smartphones are becoming a basis of comparison for bicycle components:
When there is a significant delay between clicking on a window or an icon on your smartphone or computer and having an application or file open, you might question whether you had actually clicked on it and might click a second time. Similarly, this slow-opening valve has me constantly wondering whether I actually clicked the remote button.
Yeesh. I worry about a lot of stuff. Kids, money, whether or not that mole's changing shape... You know what I don't worry about? Whether or not I actually clicked on the remote button for my seatpost. Know why? Because my seatpost doesn't have a remote button. In fact, none of my bikes have any buttons, because the entire reason I ride a bike is to leave the stressful world of button-pushing behind, if only for a couple hours. This fucking thing, on the other hand, has three goddamn buttons, and he doesn't know which ones he pushed sometimes, which is completely insane:
There are three buttons on the remote so that you can wirelessly control up to three Magura eLECT items, such as a fork, rear shock, and dropper post, with the same remote. You initially pair each button with each eLECT component by holding the button on the remote and the one on the component down for eight seconds. The buttons are tiny, and neither makes an audible click or lights up when you push one. With a glove on and the bike bouncing around, it can be hard to tell if I hit the right button, or any button at all. If a dropoff is coming up fast and the seatpost hasn’t dropped yet, I often find myself repeatedly pushing the button just to make sure I won’t go off the drop with my seat all of way up.
So when he does that does it go up and down and up and down and pummel him in the perineum like a jackhammer?
Meanwhile, I don't worry about going off the drop with my seat all the way up because I know it's all the way up, and I set it in that position knowing full well I might go off a drop from time to time. I know it's all the way up because my seat exists on the same plane at all times, which lends my rides and my existence a sort of welcome, comforting, and predicable simplicity that is all too absent in this life filled with vicissitudes. I may not know what tomorrow will bring, but I know my saddle is all the way up in the same way I know where my home is, or that there's always a bottle of hard liquor in the toilet tank. Indeed, in this sense my saddle is a safe haven, a sort of an island of stability upon which my scranus can find both purchase and solace.
But apparently this makes me some kind of retrogrouch or something, and now we're back to the goddamn phone again:
Think of a parallel with your phone. Don’t you feel good when you send an email with an iPhone and hear Apple’s signature whooshing sound that lets you know your message is winging its way to your intended recipient? If it made no sound and gave no other visible or vibratory cue that it had gone, you would wonder if it had done so.
I don't know, to me that's the sound of accidentally hitting "reply all" when calling someone on the distribution list a "douchebag."
But yes, this post does not communicate with the user, and that's a problem. Not an insurmountable one, but still a problem:
Magura did many things right with this post but missed on critical communication between the product and the user. Indeed, the product’s superior design in terms of ease of installation and smooth operation, even in cases of overtightening the seat binder, did engender an affinity in me for it so that I am willing to overlook the delay and the lack of feedback from the remote button. I would have been unlikely to tolerate those things in a dropper post that was also time-intensive to install or that tended to bind up after height adjustments.
Remember, we're still talking about a seatpost here.
I'd say it's foolish to look for fulfilling communication from a seatpost, but this review is written by someone who has an emotional connection with an Audi, so there you go:
Other riders using the Vyron have made comments to me to the effect that German engineering works great but lacks emotional connection to the user. But that’s not always the case with German products. For instance, when I lock my Audi, it beeps and flashes some exterior lights before it gently folds in the side mirrors and gradually dims and extinguishes the interior lights. I get instant feedback that I pushed the correct button, and I feel good when I see what it does in response. The car has many other ways of responding to my inputs that give me a warm feeling inside and allow me to forgive how much it costs to maintain it.
Thank you VeloNews. I now have an image of Lennard Zinn's Audi tucking him into the cockpit, the mirrors folding lovingly inward and smooth jazz playing on the sound system as he sits there sensually and rhythmically extending and contracting his Magura wireless Vyron dropper post.
Lastly, British retailer Halfords is betting big on the Olympics, which sounds like a really, really, really bad idea:
A string of further cycling victories, including Tour de France wins for Wiggins and Chris Froome, and the tour coming to the UK in 2014 maintained momentum. But sales suffered last summer as bad weather deterred casual cyclists from taking to the road or upgrading their kit and competition between retailers drove margins down.
Especially since the same paper reported this the day before:
Rio de Janeiro’s city government has cancelled its contract with the company constructing the Olympic velodrome about two months before the start of the Games in Brazil, after the firm filed for bankruptcy protection.
The city said the change would not impact the value or delivery of the project, which is set to be handed over to Olympic organisers in June.
Apparently the delay is because nobody knows how to lay Siberian wood:
In March, Olympic organisers said the delays had partly been due to logistical issues in laying the track, which is made of Siberian wood.
I dunno, if I was having trouble laying Siberian wood I'd call this guy:
And then I'd call this guy:
Between the two of them they'd have it figured out in no time.