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Tech round-up: Flying bike, tyre pressure app, twig-powered charger, Velobici Roadwear & lots more

Mad Czechs design electric heli-bike, Vittoria tweaks your pressures, new clothing from Leicestershire

Helicopter Bike

If you think it’s a headache getting motorists to co-exist alongside cyclists, just wait until it’s pilots we’re having to worry about too.

A bunch of Czech engineers and beardy enthusiasts are working on the FBike, a six-prop helicopter bike that allows the rider to rise up and out of traffic - at least for as long as the battery holds out.

Jan Cinert, Jindrich Vítu, Martin Dršticka, Michal Krivan, Filip Plešinger, Milan Duchek and Jozef Lajda have been using 3D modeling tools from Dassault Systèmes to create a number of concept renderings of a multicopter bicycle and they’re now building a prototype for test rides in August.

Although the bike itself looks basically like a mountain bike, with the main triangle space filled with  Lithium-polymer batteries, there’s a special strap-in seat, which you might be glad of if you were actually flying. The whole thing weighs 84kg, so the UCI will be fine with it, right?

Landings and take-off are vertical, giving you the perfect escape route for sticky situations, and five minutes of flight are promised. The only problem is that it’s slightly too wide for the bike lane.

Here's a video:

More details at Design Your Dreams


Get your tyre pressure right with Vittoria’s app

Need to know the optimum pressure for your tyres? There’s an app for that! Italian tyre maker Vittoria and sister brand Geax have launched the iTire Pressure app, where you simply enter your tyre type, along with your weight and your bike’s weight, as well as weather and terrain and you’ll get tailored advice.

Given the number of variables, it’s not always obvious what sort of pressure you should be going for, so this could be handy, if you care enough. And, say Vittoria, you should care. They say: “The right tyre pressure allows for a better control of the bike, it optimizes the wheel grip and its stability under braking. It also helps to improve the tyre's life.”

Available for Android and iPhone, downloadable on Google Play and as a web app.

Find the right download for your device at Vittoria


Velobici Roadwear

The Leicestershire cycle clothing company Velobici was started by Chris Puttnam and Tara Love,  both children of knitwear factory owners in the area.

The pair of designers and keen cyclists have gone back to their roots and come up with a collection of made-in-Leicestershire performance road clothing, with the emphasis on qulaity and materials.

What’s more, the collection is available in a pre-launch bundle discount until July 17th: £220 for a jersey and bib set.

The Van-Abel jersey has red top pocket binding with matching waterproof lining. , while the Van-Dapper is similar with yellow trim. The bibs match with similar embossed branding and chain ring design on the side panels.

Details are nice: the jerseys have a full zip with rear drop back hem, reflective piping on the sleeves and the rear hem and a handy five pockets, two of which are zipped and waterproof. There’s silicone gripper on sleeve cuffs and jersey hem.

Super stretchy bib shorts and top of the range Gopresia Airmesh seat pads ensure comfort, along with flatlock stitching to prevent any rubbing and a handy centre back radio pocket.

More details at Velobici


Whining is for soccer player, pain is for cyclists.

Show your total lack of enthusiasm for the Euros with an appropriately sloganed t-shirt from Dutch cycle blog RaceFietsBlog. They could be our rivals, but our Dutch isn’t good enough to be sure, so if you want to wear their shirts, fine by us.

25 Euros from RaceFietsBlog


Charge your gadgets while cooking dinner, using only twigs

Ever wished you could harness the power of twigs to charge your iPhone? While cooking dinner? Well, friend, we have the product for you.

The Biolite Stove uses the heat of a small fire (that’s where the twigs come in) to create electricity which then both charges any USB gadget while also powering a fan to feed oxgen back to the fire.

It can heat a litre of water to boiling in 4.5 minutes, so it’s certainly not puny, but it also packs small enough to fit in the side pocket of a large rucksack (it’s 8.25 x 5 inches), making you completely self-sufficient for as long as you can find twigs.

It’s a great option for tourers, especially those heading into the great unknown, and it also claims to save money over its lifetime as compared to solar or fuel-powered camp stoves.

More details at Biolite 

Philosophy bags

It’s always nice to support a product with provenance, and Philosophy are hot on that; their slogan is “Made in the USA paying living wages… not minimum wages. Our focus: Better Bags not More Bags”.

This summer they’ve launched a classic looking range of panniers and satchels, canvas with leather trim that are really rather smart. The heavy wax fabric won’t let water in and repels stains, and the stainless steel buckles and embossed leather straps are timeless.

Philosophy claim these hardwearing bags just get better with age, and we’ve asked them to send us one to test, so check back to see how they go.

More info at Tokyo Fixed


Nikwax BaseFresh Launch

Are your baselayers a bit grey and a bit niffy? Be honest here. Because if they are, Nikwax, those classic waterproofing people, have let us know that they’re launching a deodorising wash-in conditioner that you can use along with your normal detergent.

It freshens up your kecks and the like, while making them faster drying and better wicking, which is always nice. And the faster they wick, the less horrible they smell, apparently.

Nikwax say that the product also makes layers less susceptible to ‘day-to-day soiling’. That’s good.

Now, here’s the science. Nikwax say independent tests show a significant reduction in B.O. and 90 per cent faster drying times, and 30x more wicking.

There’s a video, should you need to know more.

Nikwax BaseFresh in 300ml retails for £3.49, 1 litre for £8.99, and 5 litre for £29.99. Available from November 2012.

More details from Nikwax.


Flip Flip

They were showing these off at the Bike Bath event last night, and we nabbed one to test, so keep an eye out for the full review.

This nifty little jeans pocket-sized reflective is actually two pieces riveted together at the top. The top layer is yellow hi-viz reflective, and the bottom layer is fleecy on the back, and rubbery on the front. That means it’ll stay lodged in your back pocket with the reflective hanging out, giving you extra visibility with the minimum of hassle.

We can see its uses when you’re just hopping on a Boris bike, and don’t want to carry a proper jacket or extra lights, and it’s easily tucked in a pocket or bag when you’re finished.

£16.95 from Flip Flip 

Add new comment


biketinker | 11 years ago

As an alternative to the Vittoria app, you might consider this one my friends and I made:
It allows you to choose the tire width (even different widths front and back). Presets allow for Road bike, Low-trail French Randonneur, and City Bike profiles. Each type of bike weights the tires differently. We plan to include a Triathlon preset, but until then, you can use the Randonneur setting, and reverse the wheels.

Karbon Kev | 11 years ago

Velobici might be more expensive but remember they are designed and made in the UK, Nottingham and Leicestershire. Not made in some Taiwan factory as Rapha ... and worth it for that reason alone imo.

cat1commuter | 12 years ago

Vittoria tyre pressure app is hopeless. Forgets all your parameters, so you have to re-enter them every time. And no mention of tyre width. I guess it only does 23 mm wide tyres, but it doesn't say. Oh, and I think it assumes you have Vittoria tyres.

tuercas | 12 years ago

Mmm, velobici, as you say like Rapha but even more expensive, even more superficiality and look, a guy on the homepage wearing a Colomba jersey that costs about a third of one of theirs, a bit odd.

bauchlebastart | 12 years ago

 13 Velobici, even more expensive than Rapha!

Gkam84 | 12 years ago

Getting the tyre pressure app as we speak, to add to my growing collection of pretty useless but geeky bike app's

I like the look of Nikwax if not the price.

I was going to post the "flying" bike, but got distracted by the other things in the ETA email, The new toyota and zebra crossing

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