My favorite ride

Much is written in cycling media about ‘epic’ rides and trips to exotic locations. Riding my bike in France, Italy, Australia, and other far away locations would be incredible. However, this assumes I need to travel half way around the world to enjoy an amazing ride.

Each time I swing my leg over the bike, clip into my pedals and set off, I am freed. All emotions are transformed into a youthful exuberance. The freedom a bicycle provided when I was young is found again. Like a great movie provides a sense of suspended disbelief; time spent on my bike provides a unique pathway to mental and emotional relaxation, while exercising my body. Enjoying the way each input into the bike results in an immediate and direct output. More power results in more speed. More pressure on the left side of the bar pushes the bike right. Sounds and scenery invade my senses, allowing me to disconnect from work, stress, daily challenges and other mental hurdles.

For me, each ride is a reward, a reason to get excited. Even my daily, 9 mile commute gets my endorphins flowing and positive emotions flooding my body.

This past weekend, I was able to enjoy the rewards of an early morning departure and ride to the top of Mt. Tam. Riding above the clouds, the weather quickly warmed into the 70’s. The rewards, in my opinion, speak for themselves.

How to Videos

We are working hard to capture videos on mounting Bar Fly mounts and accessories. All videos will be posted to our Youtube Channel and website. If you have feedback, or requests, please email us at info(at)tatelabs.com, or submit a response through our website.

Behind the numbers

There is a popular saying, ‘what gets measured, gets done’.

Organizationally, this is a mantra we try to use in all aspects of our business; including marketing. Bar Fly’s stated goal is to design, engineer, and support amazing products for cyclists of all types. Often (as discussed in a a previous post about bike racing), it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of racing and the elite levels of the sport. The reality is very different. USA Cycling processes less than 100K licenses per year, about 45K on the road, and 15K for MTB. Contrast this with USA Triathlon which had over 500K licenses issued last year, or Strava and Map My Ride (both of which claim membership/users in the millions) and it is easy to understand cycling is truly rooted in recreation, NOT racing. Gravel racing and other non-sanctioned events are growing in popularity and attracting fields of huge numbers and diversity. Here in northern California, an event called the Grasshopper will attract world class road, MTB and CX riders, as well as the most casual cyclists, all riding side by side (at least to begin the ride).

Who cares? Why is any of this important? As an industry, most of the marketing dollars are spent pushing the racing image. Flip through a magazine, visit a website (even ours), watch a few minutes of a race on TV, and you will quickly see most companies are trying to align with racers. This approach works great for Nike, NASCAR and other industries, is there a better way? How do we make cycling a more approachable sport, emphasizing health, recreation, transportation, and fun?

Companies like Volagi have built a strong brand and image around the recreation side of the sport. Does this preclude them from selling to racers, maybe…but this is not their target market. Magazines and websites are catering to casual riders and are showing growth numbers.

Upon reflection, we hope this post, and others like it, will prompt responses from our customers, and begin a discussion- allowing us to better understand our customers needs and provide better products, messaging and service for Bar Fly customers.

SLi: Available NOW

The new SLi is now available for purchase. Available in the following configurations, SLi for Garmin, SLi for Garmin with GoPro mount, SLi for Garmin with Light mount. Orders received today will ship early next week.

Wind Tunnel Testing of Bar Fly products

This past spring, we were fortunate to spend time in the Specialized Wind Tunnel. Many cycling products claim to be faster, more aero and save watts. Based on our collective backgrounds in CFD, we had strong opinions on real-world results differing from many of these ‘claims’. Specifically, we wanted to know if Bar Fly mounts were any faster than the competition, and what enhancements (if any) could we make to further optimize our products for speed.

We set out to test a wide variety of mounts, with the goal of determining absolute time savings over 40KM (24 miles). As Chris Yu of Specialized explained, the time savings over 40KM are constant across all riders- regardless of speed. The percentage of savings might be greater at higher speeds, but the actual time differential, the time it takes the rider to go the 40KM, will be constant regardless of how fast they are traveling. Confused? Simply put, aero benefits impact all riders, allowing all of us to get from A to B faster.

While getting setup, the team at Specialized allowed us to stand in the wind tunnel, while incrementally increasing the air speed. At 50 MPH we needed to lean forward to keep from being pushed off balance. This gave a good starting point to the test, and a sanity check. Over 80% of our energy as cyclists is used to over come our own bodies drag.

The test itself was run much like an experiment, with all variables being controlled and the same bike/position being utilized throughout the test.

Our tests yielded interesting results:

  • Bar Fly mounts are the fastest mounts in the world, when tested with Garmin 500 and 1000 computers (compared to the competition).
  • Bar Fly mounts save up to 10 seconds per 40KM over competing mounts.
  • Bar Fly mounts would save a World Tour team of 9 riders a total of 2 hours and 6 minutes throughout the duration of the Tour de France.

Over the next few weeks we will expand on the information we gathered during our trip to the tunnel, and begin to peek into how we design, engineer, test and manufacture our products.

Who cares about bike racing?

We struggle with social media. The more we begin to understand it, study it, and research it, the blurrier it becomes. Engaging our users and fans is challenging, attracting new customers, follows and likes is even harder.

A great example of this challenge is happening this week. Both the Tour of California and the Giro kicked off. These races both represent the pinnacle of the profession. Millions of dollars in advertising and marketing dollars are thrown at each event, with little regard for ROI, conversions, and new customer engagement. We assume (likely incorrectly) consumers who buy bikes and Bar Fly products have an interest in these races. In full disclosure, we have no idea how many of our customers are following these races, or have an interest in seeing social content related to these events.

Each time we post content to Facebook, we try to understand the performance of the post (time of day, content, shares, boosts, etc.). Typically, ‘race’ related content under performers relative to product and lifestyle content.

As fans of bike racing, we get excited about racing, but in reality, this seems to push away customers, and potentially create a divide between our business and our customers. As we struggle to find the right balance, we look to our customers for feedback and for help shaping our future content.
Like us on Facebook and share your feedback!

Bar Fly Rain Fly

The worlds lightest and fastest installing full coverage rear fender for road and CX bikes. Installation takes less than 30 seconds using 4 zip ties. Total weight of less than 40 grams.

Multiple mounting positions- optimized for different frame types, sizes and geometry.
Be seen- multiple hi-viz color options allow this fender to increase rider safety.

Introduction to the Bar Fly SLi Family of products

We are always working on creative and clever ways to make your ride better. Over the last year, we have been in development of the SLi platform (in 3 versions, for all types of bikes) and related accessories- giving all bikes the opportunity to have a clean aesthetic and purpose built mounting system for all bar mounted products. Bar Fly has come up with a line of products for mounting anything on your bar. This means the SLi mounting platform works with multiple bar diameters, computers, cameras, junction box, lights and even your favorite post ride beverage.

In order to carry up to 325 grams (the average weight of a computer, camera, AND junction box), we needed to find a material up to the task. Without a material bias, we set out to find a product which would be strong, light and durable. The composite material we use in the SLi has been tested to be over 20 times stronger than competing products, and without the associated fatigue issues with some metals.

Strength was our primary engineering consideration, but we also wanted to ensure the Bar Fly SLi was designed to compliment the increasing array of bar shapes and diameters (works with both 31.8 and 35.0 bar standards). We also wanted the SLi to be fast. After testing our mount at the Specialized wind tunnel, we are excited to report the SLi by Bar Fly is the fastest mount in the world, saving riders up to 10 seconds for every 24 miles ridden. For a team at a grand tour, this is over 2 hours and 10 minutes of time saved during the race!

The SLi computer heads and accessory mounts are all interchangeable across the platform- giving riders over 50 options to customize their cockpit, with more accessories in the pipeline to enhance your ride experience. Please let us know if you have ideas for accessories and how you have customized your Bar Fly SLi.

The Bar Fly Daily worlds lightest, most versatile courier bag

The new Daily messenger bag uses the same ultra-minimalist theme as Bar Fly’s recently-introduced Saddle Hopper seat bag, expanding Bar Fly’s softgoods offerings.

The Daily’s thin, diamond shaped ripstop material can fold down to the size of a wallet, easily fitting into a pocket (jersey, pants, etc.). However, the Daily has enough room for a 13in laptop computer, or a six-pack of your favorite frothy beverage and dinner. The material is  waterproof, and the adjustable should strap includes a chest buckle, for either the right or side.

Born from a need for a minimalist, yet everyday commuter bag, the Daily is the ultimate storage vessel.