Magic Flute bike pump is a magical tool you shouldn’t ride without

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The Magic Flute bike pump is as gorgeous as it is practical.
The Magic Flute bike pump is as gorgeous as it is practical.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Best List: Magic Flute bike pump by Portland Design Works

The magic of the Magic Flute is its ability to do two things with equal aplomb.

On the one hand, it is a solidly built hand pump that lets you fill your bike tire the old-fashioned way. On the other, it is a handy CO2 cartridge adapter that lets you fill your tire quickly without the need for elbow grease.

Streamlined bike computer captures all the data you need

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You'll rule the road with Lezyne's Super GPS bicycle computer.
You'll rule the road with Lezyne's Super GPS bicycle computer.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Best List: Super GPS bicycle computer by Lezyne

It seems silly to call something with so much technology packed into it “simple,” but this is the word I keep coming back to when describing Lezyne’s new bicycle computers.

They are simple. They are also powerful and sleek — and they just might be the perfect option for cyclists who like to have their data, but don’t need it blasted at them the entire time they are on their bikes.

A great mountain bike helmet gets even better for your brainpan

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Protect your gray matter with Smith Optics' Forefront bike helmet (now with MIPS), and maybe toss in some cool shades, too.
Protect your gray matter with Smith Optics' Forefront bike helmet (now with MIPS), and maybe toss in some cool shades, too.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Best List: Forefront bike helmet with MIPS by Smith Optics

There’s MIPS in that there Forefront. Smith Optics’ Forefront mountain bike helmet has been around for a bit and has gotten excellent reviews from both the media and the man on the trail.

Now Smith has added the latest buzzword in safety — MIPS, or Multi-Directional Impact Protection System — to the award-winning lid.

The only thing better than beautiful bikes? Innovative bike gear

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DeRosa carbon fiber road bike
Found on the floor at Interbike was this beautiful Italian goodness in the form of a blinged-out DeRosa.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — If you need proof that the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in the bike industry, look no further than Interbike. The massive bike show here is an undeniable indication that innovators are still plugging away in their garages, trying to build the next big thing and prep it for Kickstarter.

Independent innovators are making cargo bikes one at a time, marketing lightweight welding masks to protect riders from the rain, and dreaming up helmet inserts for the world’s great sweaters. Cult of Mac takes one more lap around the convention center hall …

The greatest (bike) show on earth

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Uvex's Variotronic sunglasses darken up at the touch of a button.
Uvex's Variotronic sunglasses darken up at the touch of a button.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — If you noticed a substantial drop in leg-shaved and Lycra-clad bicyclists on the roads in your part of the world it is because they are all taking a spin in Sin City.

They didn’t come for the penny slots, forced air and big-ass beers, though. They made the pilgrimage to Vegas to attend the annual mega-bike show known as Interbike. It brings out industry giants like Giro and Shimano, but the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well too, with small builders and garage tinkerers showing off their latest big ideas.

Cult of Mac walked the show floor on day one look at it all. Here is some of the coolest new stuff we found.

Best List: Gear so great we can’t stop talking about it

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If you don't have a dedicated roadie or one of those robotic tuning guitars, there's no easier way to tune your ax than with a Snark. Just squeeze the thumb-size mount and slide your headstock between the rubberized grips. Then press the little button on the front of the Snark's colorful LCD readout, pluck a string and get your instrument ready to play.


Lightweight and accurate, the Snark SN-2 All Instrument Tuner works with acoustic or electric guitars and basses, mandolins, banjos, whatever. It's perfect for situations like in-studio radio shows, where you don't want to drag around a stompbox tuner or a large amp that might have one built-in tuner. It also boasts pitch calibration, which lets you tune to something besides A-440, and a metronome that I can't complain about because I've never used it. The Snark SN-2 is a great buy at $39 list (and a steal at Amazon's price of $12.99). — Lewis Wallace


Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

If you don't have a dedicated roadie or one of those robotic tuning guitars, there's no easier way to tune your ax than with a Snark. Just squeeze the thumb-size mount and slide your headstock between the rubberized grips. Then press the little button on the front of the Snark's colorful LCD readout, pluck a string and get your instrument ready to play.

Lightweight and accurate, the Snark SN-2 All Instrument Tuner works with acoustic or electric guitars and basses, mandolins, banjos, whatever. It's perfect for situations like in-studio radio shows, where you don't want to drag around a stompbox tuner or a large amp that might have one built-in tuner. It also boasts pitch calibration, which lets you tune to something besides A-440, and a metronome that I can't complain about because I've never used it. The Snark SN-2 is a great buy at $39 list (and a steal at Amazon's price of $12.99). — Lewis Wallace

Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac


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Pump-Hub, an ingenious system that keeps bike tires inflated, is ready to roll again

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Kevin Manning has the idea for a hub system which inflates your tires as you ride, eliminating the  need for a bike pump and making sure you have proper inflation every time you hit the street. Manning has the idea the prototypes, but lacks the funds to move into production.
Kevin Manning's ingenious Pump-Hub system inflates bike tires as you ride. Photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

SAN FRANCISCO — Sometimes even a great idea falls flat at first. Take Pump-Hub, a self-inflating bike tire gizmo. It was rolling along at trade shows and getting lots of good press before the financial crisis of 2008 sidelined the project.

Now its creator, engineer Kevin Manning, is getting back on track with a new team behind him and plans to expand his original idea — an automatic, adjustable, tire-inflation system housed in the hub of a bike wheel.

For cyclists, the Pump-Hub means no remembering to check the tire pressure or pack a pump, no fiddling around with the valve and then racing to put the cap back on before the air wheezes out and your aching arms have to start all over again. It inflates the tires to the proper pressure while you ride, making a gentle clickety-clack sound reminiscent of spoke cards from childhood days. When the tire hits the designated pressure, the fluttering sounds stop. If you get a flat, just upend your bike and spin the wheel until pressure is restored.

“It’s like how using a Macintosh is easier than using a command-line interface,” Manning says, turning his Gunnar bike upside down on the Embarcadero to show me how the Pump-Hub works. If you really boil down all the technology behind his invention, he adds, the main advantage basically ends up being “it’s easier.”