Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Bicycles

Pensa/Horse Cycle's Merge is designed for the mean streets of New York City

Although many people may think of commuter bicycles as being the boring frumpy cousins to fancier road and mountain bikes, lately we've been seeing more and more models featuring all sorts of intriguing innovations for life on the streets. Recently, non-profit group Oregon Manifest invited five design firm/bike-builder teams representing five US cities to create prototypes of the ultimate such bike. Members of the public are being invited to vote for their favorite, with the winning bike getting produced commercially by Fuji Bicycles. Here's a look at the contenders.  Read More

The Backtracker handlebar unit indicates the position of the cyclist (green LED at top) an...

Earlier this month, we first heard about a radar system for cyclists, known as the Backtracker. In a nutshell, it emits radar pulses to the rear of the bike, then warns the rider when it detects vehicles approaching from behind. Although it's not yet commercially available, I recently had the chance to try out a pre-production review unit. It definitely shows promise, but could perhaps use one tweak.  Read More

The Rollout Trailer helps motivated cyclists to ditch the car … even when they have heavy ...

The Brouhaha Bike Trailer from Wisconsin-based Rollout Self-Propelled Trailers puts a bit of horsepower behind your two-wheeler. Unlike on some other electric-powered bike trailers, that horsepower doesn't make pedaling any easier; it simply adjusts for the weight of the load so that the cyclist can pedal like normal while carrying everything from a full tailgating set-up to a stand-up paddleboard.  Read More

The Stique Multilever ML123

Cycling multi-tools are sort of like smartphone cases, in that there seems to be no end to the innovations that are possible. One that recently caught our eye was the Nutter, which consists of a tire lever that does double duty as ... well, as a bunch of things. Many people prefer to use a couple of smaller levers as opposed to one big one, however. Those people might be interested in the Stique Multilever ML123.  Read More

The FitRider lets cyclists propel themselves using both leg and arm power

Much as cycling is a good source of exercise for the lower body and the core, it admittedly doesn't do much for the upper body. We've seen a number of attempts to address this shortcoming, mostly in the form of bikes that are pedaled with both the legs and the arms. The FitRider takes a somewhat different approach, looking somewhat like a cross between a regular bicycle and a NordicTrack.  Read More

The Big Wheel Drift trike is proportioned to make an adult rider feel like a kid again

Attaching motors to drift trikes has seen the sport's popularity flourish over the last 12 months. Traditionally a recreation for residents of hilly areas, both companies and DIYers have begun integrating gas and electric motors in a bid to extend the experience to flatter terrain. Auto parts manufacturer SFD Industries is at the forefront of this rise in motorized three-wheeled drifting, and is staking its claim in the form the Big Wheel Drift Trike that boasts a whopping 26-inch front wheel.  Read More

Gregory Zielinski with his Nuseti prototype

Much as mountain bike technology has advanced since the days of friction shifting and elastomer shocks, most MTBs are still equipped with dangling, fragile rear derailleurs and dirty chains. Switching to a belt drive or a hub transmission are a couple of options, but Polish mountain biking medalist Gregory Zielinski has created another. His Nuseti bike features what he calls the Inner Drive System (IDS) – a 16-speed planetary gearbox that's incorporated into the bottom bracket, and a chain that's enclosed within the frame.  Read More

The Backtracker's front module alerts riders via an LED display

Cycling on the highway can definitely be a risky business. If riders are distracted or have the wind in their ears, vehicles rapidly approaching from behind can be almost right on top of them before being noticed. Gadgets such as mirrors and rear-view cameras can help, although riders still have to think to check them. The Backtracker, however, uses a radar signal to automatically alert cyclists whenever a car is closing in on them.  Read More

The Universal Bike's frame can reportedly be adjusted to fit a wide variety of riders and ...

One of the hassles involved in buying a bicycle is determining what frame size you should get. The size that works with one make and model isn't always the best choice for another, plus you might sometimes find that your particular measurements put you "between" sizes. Additionally, even if you get the frame dimensions right, you may discover that components such as the handlebar stem are too long or short. New York City-based Brooklyness wants to address that situation, with its one-size-for-everyone adjustable Universal Bike.  Read More

One of the relatively few S-Works McLaren Tarmac bicycles

Three years ago, US bicycle manufacturer Specialized teamed up with Britain's McLaren Applied Technologies to create what they called "the fastest complete performance bike in the world" – the S-Works + McLaren Venge. Now, the bike-maker and the high-end car-maker have once again joined forces, this time to produce the S-Works McLaren Tarmac. Only 250 of the road bikes will be made.  Read More

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