Stand up and be proud, Singapore. A locally developed product is taking the cycling world by storm!
Remember that one scene in Transformers when John Turturro explained that most of modern day technology was actually reversed engineered by studying Megatron? While science fiction geeks, including yours truly, wish that such a thing may be true, the fact is today some consumer electronics credit their origins from a less insidious source – the military. Surprised? The internet, microwave ovens, GPS technology are just some examples of trickle-down military tech that have made their way to the masses.
UCLEAR’s HBC 130 helmet communicator is also such a product. Developed by local enterprise BITwave with the help of Kenji Lim of Motoworld, the product has already made its rounds in bicycle shows in the States and has received a lot of buzz for the way it revolutionises how cyclists communicate on the move.
Unlike conventional wireless communicators, the HBC 130 boasts a boomless microphone and patented beam forming technology that isolates background noise, resulting in clear, audible calls. Using their years of experience of working with the military, BITwave embarked on a project that took them nearly two years to complete. With the rider’s safety in mind, Mr Hui Siew Kok, President and CEO of BITwave explained, “We decided to put our technology into a consumer product so that users can benefit from it.”
The main control unit is fixed on the left side of the helmet with the help of the helmet strap or mounting bracket provided. The stereo headset pieces go on the underside of the helmet and additional Velcro bits are provided to help tidy up the rest of the wires. The additional mounting bracket allows cyclists to fix the unit onto any bicycle helmet, even dirt lids.
Synching the control unit to your Bluetooth-enabled smartphone thankfully is a painless process. We were able to synch one of our staff’s iPhones to the unit in less than a minute and gave it a test run. As was highlighted during the launch, the HBC 130 allows cyclists to answer calls via voice detection. This is where the beauty of the technology behind the unit comes into play.
The two headset pieces also act as receivers that are able to detect the origin of a person’s voice and isolate it from the background noise, allowing calls to be answered with a simple ‘hello’. Call clarity on the receiving end was clear and the in-ear pieces had just the right amount of noise cancellation to allow you to enjoy your music and listen to calls while still being aware of your surroundings, something that road cyclists will definitely appreciate. Voice dialling is also enabled, depending on the capabilities of your mobile phone.
What’s most impressive, and the key feature of the HBC 130 is its ability to isolate the wind noise that plagues conventional boom-microphone units. Even when cycling head-on with the wind in our faces, our testers on the other end of the line were surprised at the clarity of the call. We even tested the unit next to a stereo on blast and even then only the voice of the wearer could be heard. The simple design of the unit and its three large buttons allowed us to make volume adjustments and answer calls easily, even with gloved hands.
Keep the music playing
The HBC 130’s battery life is impressive. The rechargeable lithium-ion polymer battery has a standby time of up to two weeks and a talk time life of up to 10 hours, which is more than enough for an entire weekend of cycling. The unit comes with AC and USB charger, so cyclists who cycle to work can choose to charge their units via their laptops. An extension cord is also provided should you choose to keep the unit in your bag or pocket. In our tests we were able to play music continuously during one of our Sunday rides. If you fancy, the unit also pairs up with Bluetooth-enabled GPS units, so any directional notifications will be sent straight to your headphones even when you are plugged in to your music.
Extend your reach
Cyclists can also choose to pair two units for two-way communications via intercom. For those who are looking to connect more than two units, say in the case of touring, UCLEAR also has a Bluetooth-adaptor for walkie-talkies to extend the range and number of units that are able to link up with one another.
Belt Driven Beauties
Elegant, clean and minimalist: look smart and grease-free in the urban playground with Schindelhauer Bikes.
After checking out the classily done promo video, we knew we just had to check out these beautiful urban bikes when we heard they were now available on these shores. Schindelhauer Bikes are designed with a simple purist motto in mind: “Pure Pleasure Riding a Bicycle”.
With each bike built from the ground up by hand in Germany, do not be fooled by its delicate clean lines: these chic riders are especially resilient; perfect as an urban commuter and its tough everyday use.
The high quality 6061 aluminium bikes feature a graceful minimalist concept running throughout, presenting the clean graceful lines of its frame in its entirety. From its internal cable routing concealing everything, to the integrated stem-handlebar of the Viktor, along with the smooth welding and finely polished tubes of the Siegfried, riding in the city has never looked so darn stylish. It’s no wonder that the two single-speed/fixed gear offerings won the REDDOT Design Award in 2010.
The clean theme is not limited to its frame design as well: you will not find an inkling of grease on a Schindelhauer. The most unique feature in this bike is its distinctive carbon drive belt system. Where conventional chain systems would require frequent attention and often involve being a messy affair, the Gates Carbon Drive™, made by the same guys who did the belts for Harley Davidson, is nearly maintenance-free and makes bicycling almost utterly quiet. The seamless look extends to even its belt tensioning-system, where its specially designed Crocodile belt tensioning system makes tensioning the carbon drive belt easy to handle, and pretty to look at.
A breath of fresh air in the usual offering in the market today, the Schindelhauer is providing an alternative to the traditional road and mountain bikes to grace our streets. And as more of these urban commuters are introduced to local riders, it’s a good sign of encouraging people to pick up this healthy and environment-friendly lifestyle of using an emission-free, traffic-evading and cost-effective mode of transport.
For more info on Schindelhauer Bikes, check out The Urban Bike at www.theurbanbike.com
Rediscovering The Joy of Cycling
A bike stroll down memory lane, Tokyobike takes you back to the joy of exploring your neighbourhood on two wheels.
It all started with a look. Owner Jolyn Chua chanced upon Tokyobike in the pages of a magazine and she instantly fell in love with the look of the bike. And as the forces that be would have it, the cogs of fate were set into motion, and she soon nabbed the official distributorship for Tokyobike in Singapore.
With the bike boutique barely two months old, having its official opening earlier this month, it was truly about rediscovering how cycling came about. The sheer joy of exploring your favourite city and the nooks of the less beaten path; that’s what Jolyn and the rest of her motley crew wishes to bring to cyclists from all around with their light and comfortable rides.
This was the ethos in which the Japanese bike brand was built around, and it is this free-spirited philosophy that the sleek vintage bikes embody that hip and progressive younths gravitate towards. Without much surprise, Tokyobike garnered its own cult following in a short span of time, with its bikes spotted in cities all around the world as far as Sydney, London and Berlin.
Singapore was no exception in being drawn towards the simplistic beauty of these smart-looking city bikes. Located in the heart of Haji Lane, the chic whitewash shop shares a busy alley with independent boutiques and specialty shops, a natural magnet to youths all over the city, as well as a healthy dose of adventurous tourists and curious expats.
Together with the relatively car-free lane making it suitable for test rides, it was a perfect habitat for Tokyobike.
Keeping customising options to a minimum, the idea is to keep things simple on these bikes. Their online shop will be up and running by the time you’re reading this, so be sure to check out the wide palette of colours available for the 8-speed or single-speed/fixed-gear Classic model, the top-of-the-line Sports model and the laidback cruiser Bisous model.
For more info on Tokyobike, check them out at www.tokyobike.sg or be a fan at facebook.com/tokyobikesg
Providing a fresh perspective on one of the oldest sports in the world, the affable crew over at Elite Custom shares its American expertise on the importance of a perfect fitting bike to our Singaporean riders.
Elite Bicycles, a Philadelphia-based bike company, has always prioritised the importance of a bicycle that fits its rider perfectly to enhance performance. A key ingredient to achieving this, which is often overlooked by other bike companies that mainly offer mass-manufactured and off-the-peg bikes, is taking the time to understand how every individual body works. A lot of bike fitters approach bike customising by only fitting them to the closest customizable option; this often fails to address the different body specificities of each and every rider.
Bringing over his own experiences as a professional triathlete, Director of Elite Bicycles David Greenfield felt that not only top-level cyclists but casual riders and cycling enthusiasts alike here in Singapore should be granted the chance to experience the comfort, pleasure and performance of riding a bike that fits their body perfectly and uniquely. That’s part of the reason why he decided to personally come down to our tropical metropolis to set up his latest branch.
After David left the world of professional racing to pursue what he felt was a void in the bicycle industry, he went on to learn more about sports physiotherapy and biomechanics, and eventually developed his own technique of understanding how a cyclist’s body works, namely Bike Fit Acupressure. By using this technique, he and his highly trained crew apply the unique measurements and dynamics of a rider to building a fully customised or, more appropriately, a fully ‘personalized’ bike.
“What Elite Bicycles offer to our riders is a bike that can match their own distinctive riding style while offering the space to adjust between levels of how aggressive you’d like to ride. We accomplish this by teaching you, the rider, how your own body works and the natural way it moves, and building the bike proportionally to your needs to maximise performance as well as comfort.”
The magic happens in a modest but cosy shop in Balestier. “We chose this area because it’s a great neighbourhood, and with the dedicated sports mall Novena Velocity just around the corner, it’s a good place to position ourselves in this area where sports enthusiasts and serious athletes would often frequent,” says Max Hamalainen, Fit Specialist of Elite Bicycles.
Placed across the walls is a sparkling display of the well-crafted Elite bike frames, as well as a collection of equipment from brands that are chosen only because they believe in their quality; many of which are seen on these shores for the first time. They also carry Cycle Soles technology in their shop, providing fully customisable footbeds for better contact of your feet’s engagement points. As a matter of fact, they’ve even tried using this technology to create a customised saddle before!
Equipped with a therapy bed, a fitting bike and a fully mirrored wall for customers to get a better view when David coaches them on their own biomechanics, there is always an amiable and laidback ambience in the air. “The key is not to let anybody who steps into this shop feel intimidated or belittled. We will treat anyone who walk through those doors with respect, and will try our best to answer any and every question they may have about cycling. We’d even entertain guests if they simply just want to drop by to hang out!” Greenfield quips.
The main difference with Elite Custom is that the man behind the bikes himself is behind the shop as well. This offers a more direct interaction, and helps to foster a stronger relationship between the brand, the team and the customers. But of all the other countries in the region; some with a larger cycling population, why Singapore specifically?
“The other reason why we chose Singapore to set up a branch of Elite Custom is of course that I just simply love it here. Other than the climate, the order of things in this city is a comforting element to me; I like playing by the rules. What’s wrong with playing by the rules?” Nothing at all. Especially when David as well as the rest in Elite Bicycles has boldly stepped forward to establish a brand new set of them in the world of bike fit.
Find Elite Custom here.
Dress it up in blue neon lights and the Pacific iF Mode folding bike will be all your sci-fi fantasies manifested.
The futuristic-looking folding bicycle is the brainchild of Pacific Cycles, renowned for their innovations in folding bikes for the past 28 years. The Taiwan-based bike company have been churning out high-quality foldies for a wide range of purposes and riding styles: hybrid lovers would appreciate the full-suspension offering of the Birdy series, while casual commuters would take a fancy to the casual feel of the 8”-wheeled CarryMe.
One particular bike that stood out is the iF Mode. From its sci-fi-inspired stylistic flair to its 20” wheels, this lightweight aluminium folding bike is definitely one to turn heads on the streets. And it’s not all just style with no substance; the clean-cut urban commuter that’s got the 2008 Eurobike Award, iF Product Design 2009 Gold Award, and Taiwan Excellence Silver Award under its belt has got some interesting tricks up its folds.
3-Second Folding Mechanism
A unique and shockingly simple folding mechanism allows riders to fold this full-sized bike into a neat and compact form in as little as 3 seconds. Using an assortment of articulate foldable points and magnets that the iF Mode is equipped with throughout its entire body, folding a bike is now an easy, convenient and speedy task to accomplish.
Portability and Storage
In space-scarce Singapore, the issue of fitting a bike into the nooks and crannies of our houses and offices is a real concern that riders would be concerned with. Equipped with a prominent hand hold at its stem, the iF Mode can be rolled into a HDB lift in its folded state. Storage is also a simple solution as the bike can be put away at a narrow space in your storeroom or beside your office desk with the inclusion of an integrated bike stand that can be folded out when you’re done riding.
Showroom Aesthetics with Commuter Geometry
The iF Mode does away with the problem of oily chains, hidden dirt traps and the clutter of traditional bicycle features as everything is concealed in this clean asymmetrical frame design. Completing this look are alloy spider plate rims to give it that distinctive ultramodern look. Regardless of your colour choice of Cream White, Dual Tone of pearl white and grey or Matte Black, riders would be cruising down the city in style. At the same time, the bike is graced with a well-balanced commuter geometry that is surprisingly comfortable to ride and ergonomic to wield.
Street-ready Performance and Components
Despite its unconventional looks, the iF Mode performs on the street just as well as any other lightweight full-sized bike. Its unique 2-speed heel-operated gear shifter located at the BB axle makes sure that your hands stay on the bars for full control as much as possible. The bike features Tektro Mechanical Disc Brakes, a Velo saddle, Kenda Kwick Roller tyres.
For more info on the Pacific iF Mode, contact E-Walker at or visit their website at www.ewalker.com.sg
Who Says You Can’t Have Fun Flat-footed?
Groundforce 2011 Heightens BMX Flatland Culture on Homegrounds
Images by Anton Tang & Kris Gironella
Over the weekend of 6 and 7 August, *SCAPE Warehouse became home to the choral gasps of awe, the heavy beats of progressive trance and the slow buzzing of BMX hubs from the carefully calculated flatland tricks as the Groundforce 2011 International BMX Flatland Competition hits Singapore for the first time. It was the culmination of months of hard work by organizers Calvin Tan and Ming’s Enterprise (Aresbykes Singapore) in bringing the exciting world of professional BMX trickery into our urban jungle and they pulled it off like a perfectly-executed tailwhip.
Competitors far and wide packed up their bikes and their bag of two-wheeled tricks and flew in all the way from Japan, Malaysia and even the Czech Republic to vie for a title shot at the third leg of BMX Flatland World Circuit 2011. And after 2 days of intense flatland action and mind-bending bike choreographies eerily in sync to the killer soundtrack, BMX Flatland extraordinaires, Moto Sasaki (Japan) from the Professional category and Hafiz Abd Wahab (Malaysia) from the Expert category emerged as champions.
In the Professional category, following closely behind Sasaki was Matthias Dandois (France) and claiming third place was Yohei Uchino (Japan). In the Expert category, Kenji Fukumori (Japan) took second place followed by Carlos Espinosa (Chile).
Altogether, there were 54 international and local participants who competed in two categories - Expert and Professional. The highly recognized judges were York Uno (Japan), Michael Steingraeber (Germany) and Hiroshi Uehara (Japan). DJs Case Woo, Shawnn Lai, Norman C and Simon Kemp revved up the atmosphere with unique beats and sounds.
For the first time ever, Singapore is proud to host professional world-class BMX athletes from around the world to be part of the World Circuit. Groundforce 2011 aims to promote the sport of BMX Flatland by showcasing internationally renowned BMX athletes, progressing and motivating the scene and promoting the culture to the youth and interested individuals.
For the full results of the competition, check out http://groundforce2011.com/2011/08/09/complete-results/