Shiny new toys for the two-wheeled set

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PARK CITY, Utah — It’s now officially summer (although you couldn't tell it by the snow here last week). That means it’s time to talk about our favorite warm-weather tech obsession: bikes. We recently flew to Utah to check out the newest offerings from several of the most important bike companies. What follows in the gallery above are the items we’re most excited about. There’s everything from battery-powered, full-suspension mountain bikes to ultra-aerodynamic wheels and jackets that glow in the dark. Time to step away from your computer, put down your phone, turn off your tablet and get outside.
PARK CITY, Utah — It’s now officially summer (although you couldn't tell it by the snow here last week). That means it’s time to talk about our favorite warm-weather tech obsession: bikes. We recently flew to Utah to check out the newest offerings from several of the most important bike companies. What follows in the gallery above are the items we’re most excited about. There’s everything from battery-powered, full-suspension mountain bikes to ultra-aerodynamic wheels and jackets that glow in the dark. Time to step away from your computer, put down your phone, turn off your tablet and get outside.

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

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.”

Gadget roundup: New gear for photogs, travelers and pencil pushers

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Sony’s new RX-100 III takes the best pocket camera in the world and makes it even better. Now the 20MP shooter packs a pop-up OLED viewfinder, a faster ƒ1.8-2.8 maximum aperture across the 28-100 zoom range, a new 180-degree flip-up selfie-ready screen and “full-sensor readout 1080p.” There’s even Wi-Fi so you can post the results to Instagram. $800

Sony’s new RX-100 III takes the best pocket camera in the world and makes it even better. Now the 20MP shooter packs a pop-up OLED viewfinder, a faster ƒ1.8-2.8 maximum aperture across the 28-100 zoom range, a new 180-degree flip-up selfie-ready screen and “full-sensor readout 1080p.” There’s even Wi-Fi so you can post the results to Instagram. $800


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Fresh photographic equipment stole the show this week, but we also got wind of some great new outdoor gear (and some stuff for desk jockeys).

First the camera news: Sony is coming on strong with the amazing R100 III camera, while Nikon’s most exciting new gadget is an underwater flash. On the outdoorsy front, San Francisco is gearing up for summer with new bags from my favorite bag makers Rickshaw and Waterfield, and if you’re out in the warm/cold spring on your bike, you might like to do it wearing the beautiful Vulpine merino wool cycling jersey. If you’re not the outdoors type, we have you covered too — you can stay home and organize your desk with a handsome wooden pen and phone holder.

Have fun!

Allo, The All-In-One Bike Speaker And iPhone Mount

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Here we go: Just as the spring eases into the seasonal throne and forces winter to curl up and pretend to be a footstool for the next three months, along comes the Allo, a combination bike mount and speaker for your iPhone. It’s a Kickstarter project, but as the expected delivery date is May, you should get one in time for summer.

Rickshaw Commuter 2.1 Bag Is As Well Designed As Apple Gear You’ll Put Inside [Review]

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Commuter 2.1 byRickshaw
Category: Bags
Works With: iPad, MacBook
Price: $180 as tested

I’m a huge fan of Rickshaw’s bags. Pretty much everyone in the Rickshaw office cycles to work, and it shows in the design of the bags. They’re well made, practical and light, but still full of clever design details. The Commuter 2.1 is no exception, somehow managing to offer a huge collection of pickets and cubbyholes, and yet remaining light enough to be more comfy on the shoulder than many more simple messenger bags.

Want to know more? Read on:

Booq’s Nerve Is A Messenger Bag For Suits

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What would happen if you took a dork-o-lithic nylon “Executive Laptop Case” and tossed it onto a (giant) blender with a Chrome messenger bag? Well, I guess the blender would choke and break, but if you used a metaphorical blender then you’d end up with a slurry that could be turned into the Boa Nerve, a bag designed to take you “from the conference room to your bike.”

Wahoo PROTKT Lets Your iPhone Perch Safely Atop Your Bike’s Handlebars [Review]

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PROTKT byWahoo
Category: Sases, sports
Works With:iPhone 5/S
Price: $60

Take a look in your local bike emporium and you’ll see zillions of options for mounting your iPhone onto your handlebars. Wahoo’s PROTKT, as its name suggests, goes for boxy protection above all else, although the iPhone within remains quite usable. But should you go for this coddling case, or would you be better off with a super-simple silicone band?