Tuesday, September 26, 2017
The Haibike XDURO is a full suspension “cross country” electric mountain bike that’s comfortable and stable on serious terrain. With 120 millimeters of travel on the front and rear suspension elements (RockShox and Fox respectively), a remote lockout feature, 15mm thru axles and massive 203mm x 180mm M615 hydraulic disc brakes by Shimano you don’t have to hold back. I’ve ridden other light-weight eMountain bikes and had the suspension fail which surprised me. Those bikes used SR Suntour and were really meant for very light trail riding. The FS RX 27.5 by comparison isn’t as cheap but the components hold up and support is good (going through Currie Technologies in the US). With 27.5″ 650b wheels you get improved traction, momentum and attack angle but still have enough room for the long travel shocks (and avoid clipping your toes during tight turns). The centerdrive system is ideal for full suspension because it reduces unsprung weight on the rear arm and a unique chain tensioner keeps things on track when the going gets rough.
On flat terrain this bike easily reaches its 20 miles per hour top speed and freewheels efficiently after that. The 350 watt motor sits at the intersection of the downtube and seat tube doubling as the bottom bracket. It’s got a protective plastic shield along its base (to defer any damage from any rocks or stumps you encounter). It keeps motor weight low and center on the bike frame (right where you want it for balance) and leverages a 10 speed SRAM cassette in the rear. This means you can climb easily without draining the battery as long as you shift into a lower gear. Another neat thing about this and other mid-drive ebikes is that maintenance and service on the wheels is handle just like a regular bike. More force is put onto the chain and cassette with mid-drive motors but this one is smart enough to sense when you’re switching gears and will automatically cut out to avoid mashing. The motor produces a soft whining sound (shown in the video) but is mostly covered by tread and trail noise when riding.
The battery pack used with this system is a 36 volt 11 amp hour Lithium-ion configuration that’s light weight and durable (expect 1,000+ charge cycles if you take care of it). It’s removable for easy charging or multi-pack use on longer distance rides. Even though the official specs say 25 to 35 miles my experience is that it’s capable of going much further (depending on the terrain and level of assist). The battery has a nice LED indicator on the side that displays its charge even without turning the bike on (or even having it on the bike). The pack mounts low and center, just like the motor, but does take up the space where a bottle cage might have otherwise been mounted. Given the full suspension design of this bike there’s really nowhere else to add a cage so consider getting a CamelBak or other hydropack.
Saturday, April 15, 2017
Five years into my own startup -- Deborah Mitchell Media Associates -- I must admit that joining or creating a startup, whether you're just out of school or in midlife, may not be for everyone.
"Hundred-million-dollar investment rounds and billion-dollar valuations have created a romanticized version of the startup lifestyle in the public perception. Some of it is justified and some of it isn’t," says Joseph McKeating, president of marketing and public relations firm Pulsar Strategy, whose clients are considered early-stage startups in the technology space.
"To students considering joining or creating a startup for the glory, I’d tell them that there are easier ways to make money," he continues. "If you want to reach new levels of freedom, do it. If you want to truly find out where your breaking point is, do it. If you want to remove the ceiling on your potential, do it. If you want to help change what it means to be a working human being in the 21st century, do it."
If you are thinking about making the leap, then a startup may be for you if you:
Monday, April 3, 2017
Ah, cheap labor. The idea of hiring low-paid or unpaid interns is quite a compelling prospect for cash-strapped startup founders. Indeed, a team of talented, productive interns can allow startups to remain focused on high-level strategy while others do the busywork. What entrepreneur could refuse such an opportunity?
The problem is that many startups do a terrible job hiring and managing interns, causing the process to become more time-consuming than not having interns in the first place. We know this at Brainscape because we've made plenty of mistakes ourselves.
Hiring interns at a startup can be quite different than hiring at big companies. Below are some best practices we've learned about hiring and managing interns at an early-stage startup:
Monday, March 27, 2017
Endeavoring to raise money for your startup businesses can be a tedious process. Creating your minimum viable product (MVP), building your team, and refining your pitch are just the beginning, and each can take months. And when you are ready to seek investment, your attention and energy will be consumed by a long and grueling investor road show. It is a tiresome process made even more frustrating when you ultimately find that early seed investors have all the leverage during negotiations.
It is enough to discourage any startup entrepreneur.