What will the bicycles of the future look like?

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Bicycle design has changed very little in the last one hundred years.  The materials used to make the bikes are different, with carbon fibre and aluminium frames eventually replacing cast irons and wood, but the basic shape and feel of the bike is essentially as it was at the start of the 20th century.

But, thanks to a change in regulations at the UCI, cycling’s world governing body, we may be on the verge of a new era in bike design.

According to Cycling Weekly, the UCI is set to scrap the 3:1 rule, which says that the ratio between the length and the width of bike tubes and other components cannot exceed 3:1. In short, the rule severely restricts what you can do with a bike and limits the extreme aerodynamic shapes you might expect to have taken over the sport in the modern era.

One company desperate to see a relaxation of the regulations is Cervélo, a Canadian bike manufacturer. As well as the 3:1 rule, there are hopes that the 6.8kg weight limit will also be ditched, allowing designers to shave more weight off the bike in the hunt for increased speed.

Last month, Cervélo unveiled their radical P5X bike for triathletes – where the 3:1 rule is not in place – calling it the “most technologically advanced triathlon bike ever made”. The bike will be on display at this weekend’s Rouleur Classic exhibition in London.

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With a striking frame design, high-tech disc brakes and an integrated front end, the P5X certainly looks the part.

Covering Sia whilst on your bicycle

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Put away your guitars. We should all be playing the bike.

Singer-songwriter Kina Grannis joined YouTuber Kurt Hugo Schneider for a skillful cover of Sia’s “Cheap Thrills” played exclusively using Grannis’ voice and a single standard bicycle.

Why not hook up your single-speed to some amps and give it a whirl yourself?

Denise Mueller sets women’s bicycle speed world record at 147mph

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Denise Mueller set the women’s bicycle world speed record by riding 147mph while drafting a modified Land Rover. The bike was a completely custom creation by KHS and DaVinci Bikes, outfitted with a dual crown suspension fork and cirrus Body Float suspension seatpost. The latter two, along with the overall design of the bike, were to reduce vibrations and subtle bumps from creating instability, which would be disastrous at those speeds. Check out the bike and more details, below…

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Other custom touches include double-reduction gearing, massive 60 tooth chainrings, custom built 17-inch dragster wheels with shaved tires, an elongated frame, and steering stabilizers.

Mueller is an accomplished bicycle and motosports racer, the current National Criterium Champion, and a 15-time National Champion, as well as a mother of three. Her coach, John Howard, set the men’s speed record 30 years ago by riding 152.2mph. It was beaten in 1995 by Fred Rompleberg of the Netherlands with a top speed of 167mph. The team said she’d like to top that number, but their current track isn’t long enough. Regardless, she’s not just the new women’s record holder, she’s apparently the only woman to ever seriously attempt the land speed record for bicycles.

Follow future progress and get more info and history at TheProjectSpeed.com.

Designer turns bike parts into new Type-Cycle 3D font

Computer graphics and motion designer Marcel Piekarski has created this bicycle themed 3D font, complete with animations for some letters. Check out his personal site for more, including a full alphabet photo:

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Check out the full gallery with closeups on his Bechance page.

Bike thief reveals tricks of the trade

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Stolen Ride recently interviewed a reformed bike thief about his old trade in Cycling Weekly. It makes for some scary but not unprecedented reading:

Did you target specific types of bicycles and locations in London? What was the thought process?

High-value bikes were the main targets like Carrera racers, no-logo fixie bikes, Boardman racers and Ridgeback bikes. These were the popular quick sale bikes that were called golds (because of the payback to time value of them).

At first it was a hit and miss game. Grab the bike and go kind of thing, but as time moved on and we worked out there was money to be made, we stepped up our approach. For example, if it wouldn’t sell for more than £200, it wouldn’t be taken.

How did you steal the bikes? What tools and techniques did you use? 
At first it was with basic wire cutters and the average bolt cutters you could buy in somewhere like Homebase. As time went on the tools upgraded to a pair of bolt cutters a friend bought in America for us on his holidays. These were 42-inch high toughened, foldable bolt cutters, which would fit into a rucksack and would cut through any D-bar, or any chain.

Don’t be fooled by Kryptonite locks, they’re not as tough as made out to be. Also D-bars with tubular locks, never use them, they’re the most easy to pick with a little tool. It’s small and discreet, no noise and it looks like you are just unlocking your bike. With the bolt cutters we would go out on high performance motorbikes, two men on a bike.

The pillion would carry the cutters. When we found a bike the pillion would jump off, snip the chain in seconds. ‘Boltys’ back in the bag, the driver would take the bag and drive off whilst the pillion, who is now on the push bike, would cycle off. We would do this up to five times a night, every weekend.

How quickly could you sell a bike on and how much would you get on average for each bike?
A bike could be sold in a matter of minutes at the peak of it, to one of many known regular contacts. Longest was around a day. Bikes were never kept at home, they were always locked back up on the street. Somewhere, even outside police stations locked up. If the police ever raided your house then no goods would ever be found.

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Foldable bolt cutters used to slice through locks.  Shown next to domestic vacuum cleaner for scale. 

Was stealing and selling bikes full-time for you? How many bikes would you steal each month?

No, I worked as a full time forklift driver, but the money was barely enough to pay bills and rent. You can’t live on today’s minimum wage.

The prices work out at half the retail value of the bike in the shop. So a £1000 bike would be sold for £500, to a person on Gumtree, or if it was to a regular link then £400. We would work Thursday, Friday and Saturdays as soon as it was dark. Police are extra busy dealing with drunks at these times. We would get on average 10 bikes a weekend.

Did you ever steal to a specific request or demand? Did you watch certain cyclists and bikes for a period before the theft?

No, that makes it long; we would literally go out on the motorbike into central and just pick bikes up anywhere. Front of tube stations, bike racks, metal fences, underground car parks, bike parks, etc.

From the moment you pull up, to the moment the bike is cut and bolt cutters are back on the motorbike would be 10 seconds at the most, so no one really knew what was going on, almost I imagine like you have to question yourself like, did I really just see that?

No one ever confronted us or said – what are you doing?

Were you ever put off stealing certain bikes? Was it due to location or security measures?
CCTV was not a put off. We had helmets on so we couldn’t be identified (well, we thought so at least). Location didn’t matter, we were young and reckless, and we didn’t care about security or people. If it went wrong, just get back on bike and go.

How would you prevent your own bike becoming stolen? What are your top tips?
Never use a chain, they’re too easy to snip. Use a small D-lock on front and back wheels. If your lock can be moved about that means the thief’s bolt cutters can get around them, at the right angle they won’t. Stiff D-locks are hard to snip because you need the right angle on the cutters to get the force to close them.

Tour de Brompton: Inside their new factory

Brompton recently completed their move to a brand-new 86,000 sq foot factory in Greenford, London, doubling their previous manufacturing space. Bloomberg visited the new factory and took photos. Hover over images or click through for captions.