Saturday, October 28, 2017


At the 2010 Interbike show, Haibike revealed what is considered to be the forefather of e-mountain bikes, the eQ XDURO. This was the first e-bike that was actually able to be taken off-road and understandably it was a huge success, selling out quickly. The design was then used by Haibike on many later e-bikes.

In the following years, new models of off road e-bikes were produced. Including more industry firsts like the first all mountain and enduro e-bikes. Also the first e-mountain bike with electronic suspension control and Haibikereceived numerous awards for their achievements.

The HAIBIKE TREKKING 4.0 is a 27.5” hardtail e-bike. There is a suspension fork on the front to take the sting out of any impacts. It also ensures no power is lost when zipping around the streets. Although perfect for getting you from your home to the office or to the shops but not only. The Xduro Trekking 4.0 has been designed with longer trips in mind. Haibike have succeeded in producing a confident and comfortable e-bike to do just that.


The hydroformed aluminum 6061 frame has a perfect weight to strength ratio for this kind of bike. Also you do not need to worry about it corroding. Haibike have used their skidguard design to protect the motor and all cables are internally routed. On the other hand, it is giving the bike a clean look. Five sizes between XS and XL are available so anyone can find their perfect fit.

Shimano take care of the gears. The 11 speed SLX M7000 cassette has a range of 11-42 teeth. Up front there is a SRAM X-Sync crankset with a 16 tooth chainring. Connecting the two is a strong KMC X9 chain.

PS! Remember to check the chain for wear after 1000 miles and each 500 miles after that.

A Shimano Deore XT M8000 derailleur connected to a Shimano SLX M7000 rapidfire shifter ensure effective and immediate gear shifting. Keeping everything spinning is a reliable FSA bottom bracket. The Xduro Trekking 4.0 comes with plastic platform pedals, which will get the job done, but you may want to swap them for your pedals of choice.

Related: Best Hybrid Bikes

Powering the drivetrain is a Bosch Performance CX, 250W, 75Nm motor with a max speed of 25 km/h. This is connected to a Bosch Intuvia display to give you control while allowing your hands to stay on the handlebar. You will find it is the perfect companion with features like gear shift recommendations to keep you in the most efficient gear and get the most out of the Bosch PowerPack 500 Wh battery.

The XLC Evo disc wheelset with hard wearing and fast rolling Schwalbe Super Moto X tires are a great combination. You can fly around town on the tires but the profile will still provide grip if you want to take the bike on fire roads.

Brakes & Suspension

When you need to slow down, you can do so with confidence thanks to the Magura MT4 hydraulic disc brakes. These brakes have been designed to be lightweight, reliable and low maintenance. They also have great modulation, meaning once the pads have engaged, you can still pull the lever some distance before the wheel will start to skid. More modulation gives you more control over the stopping power.

To take the sting out of uneven roads surfaces is an SR Suntour XCM RL-DS suspension fork. It has decenth 100mm of travel. Inside the fork is a steel spring for reliability and durability. The fork features a remote lockout so you can keep it stiff when on paved roads and open it to smooth out fire roads.

A selection of high quality components finishes off the package. Haibike provide their own 720mm wide handlebar and stem. A wider bar also has the benefit of giving you more control in rough terrain and allowing easier breathing because wider hands open the chest. Haibike also provide the seatpost and clamp, which hold a comfortable Selle Royal Milo saddle. Your hands will stay comfortable on the Herrmans Line Ergo grips. The word “Ergo” in the name refers to the ergonomic shape, designed to give you all day comfort.
Other Specs

As always, saddle and grip choice are very personal, so feel free to swap them out for something that you prefer or are used to. A Lupine light system will show you the way and keep you visible to other road users at night. You can also mount your pannier bags to the strong rack. Mud guards are included to keep surface water and puddles on the ground and not on you.

Altogether the Xduro Trekking 4.0 weighs 23.7kg, which is a very reasonable weight for an e-bike. Haibike have kept the weight as low as possible without compromising on the strength. After all, this bike is not just for commuting but long trips as well. For that you need something strong and reliable for longer trips.

Visually the Xduro Trekking has hybrid styling. The shape of the front triangle on the frame is reminiscent of high-end mountain bikes, while the mudguards and pannier rack show its commuting and trekking intentions. The burly hydroformed shapes give away the fact that this bike does not want to just stay on paved roads.
What can I expect?

Haibike have done a great job of creating an e-bike for the cycling enthusiast that always wants to be on two wheels. A balance of practical features and component choices has resulted in a bike that will accompany you on all of your cycling adventures, no matter how big or small. Whether you are riding to work, heading out to the shops or setting out on a two day weekend tour, the Xduro Trekking has got your back!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

More Than a View: Windows Double as Solar Panels

A tech startup on a mission to make modern commercial and housing estates energy neutral has outfitted the headquarters of a Dutch bank with the world's first commercial, fully transparent solar-power-generating windows.

The windows have solar cells installed in the edges at a specific angle that allows the incoming solar light to be efficiently transformed into electricity.

"Large commercial estates consume a lot of energy," said Ferdinand Grapperhaus, co-founder and CEO of the startup, called Physee. "If you want to make these buildings energy neutral, you never have enough roof surface. Therefore, activating the buildings' facades will significantly contribute to making the buildings energy neutral.

The windows could generate 8 to 10 watts of power, according to Grapperhaus.

"This enables the user to charge a phone per every square meter [11 square feet] two times a day," he told Live Science.

The first installation of Physee's PowerWindows was unveiled in June in Eindhoven, in the south of the Netherlands. The headquarters of Rabobank, the Netherlands' biggest bank, has been fitted with 323 square feet (30 square m) of the PowerWindows. The bank's employees will be able to plug their smartphones into the windows using USB ports to charge their batteries, according to Physee.

Other buildings in the Netherlands are already lined up to receive the innovative solar technology, which has won Physee a place on the World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers 2017 list.

At the end of June, the headquarters of the Amsterdam-based charity the Postcode Lottery were fitted with the PowerWindows. After that, Physee will move forward with its first large-scale project: a 19,000-square-foot (1,800 square m) installation in a large, newly built residential complex in Amsterdam, the Bold tower.

"I believe that every new type of glass needs power," Grapperhaus said. "Either for the glass to be tinted electrically or heated or inside windows there are these solar blinds, which are electrical and can go up and down but also more and more you can see video glass."

Grapperhaus said that the cost of the wiring that brings power from the grid to such windows is considerable in large commercial estates, and investing in power-generating windows would therefore make commercial sense.

Physee is already working on the next-generation technology that would triple the efficiency of the PowerWindows. The surface of the second generation of PowerWindows will be coated with a special material that transforms oncoming visible light into near-infrared light, which is then transported toward the solar cells in the edges of the windows.

"It works similarly to a [glow-in-the-dark star]," Grapperhaus said. "The difference is that the glow star emits the green wavelength, but the coating on our windows emits light in near-infrared wavelength."

The coating is based on the rare-earth metal thulium. Grapperhaus, together with his friend Willem Kesteloo, discovered the ability of thulium to transform a broad spectrum of light into near-infrared light in 2014, during their studies at the Delft University of Technology.

"Over time, our efficiency will improve further due to the development of better solar cells (for example: GOAL ZERO NOMAD 20 ) but also because of the economies of scale," Grapperhaus said. "Right now, we are looking for iconic projects all over the world to show that a large glass building can be made energy neutral in an aesthetic way."

Physee was among 30 early stage technology pioneers highlighted for 2017 and selected by the World Economic Forum for their potential to change the world. The list, announced June 14, consisted of firms developing various technologies, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity solutions and biotechnology.

Physee's presence on the list shows that the world is starting to take climate change seriously, Grapperhaus said.

"Ten years ago, sustainability was something that wasn't taken very seriously — not by venture capitalists, not by many governments and neither by large corporations," Grapperhaus said. "What I have seen over the last three years is that corporations are becoming more and more responsible, governments are becoming more and more supportive, and venture capitalists are becoming more and more interested" in sustainability.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Charging batteries with solar power is great on the environment and for batteries. Charging and maintaining batteries through solar will result in better battery performance and longer battery life. With solar chargers rated 15 watts or more, we recommend the use of a controller. It's no surprise that if a battery reaches full charge, but the sun keeps on shining, you risk overcharging the battery. Solar controllers regulate the voltage output from the solar panel and prevent batteries from being overcharged.

A charge controller, charge regulator or battery regulator limits the rate at which electric current is added to or drawn from electric batteries. It prevents overcharging and may protect against overvoltage, which can reduce battery performance or lifespan, and may pose a safety risk. It may also prevent completely draining ("deep discharging") a battery, or perform controlled discharges, depending on the battery technology, to protect battery life.[2][3] The terms "charge controller" or "charge regulator" may refer to either a stand-alone device, or to control circuitry integrated within a battery pack, battery-powered device, or battery charger.

Renogy 30A PWM Charge Controller is a very nice controller, easy to install and very well made. It can be used with a 12V battery or battery bank.


Nominal Voltage: 12 VDC
Rated Charge Current: 30A
Working Temperature: -20°F - 113°F
Dimensions: 6.45 x 4.31 x 1.76 inches
Weight: 0.65 lbs

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Vintage watch store in Manhattan Beach keeps owner ticking

For Manhattan Beach Watch Repair + Vintage Watches owner, Victor Kartounian, watchmaking is in his blood.

“I come from a watchmaking family,” Kartounian said. “My grandfather, my dad, my uncles, my cousins, my brothers, everybody in the family’s a watchmaker.”

Kartounian’s aunt gave him his first watch when he was 5 years old. It broke within two days, and he was devastated. However, this broken watch started his love for watches.

“I started collecting and actually destroying watches at the age of 11 and 12. Finally, I started working for my dad at 13. I started doing minor watch repair,” Kartounian said. “I moved up into basically cleaning, overhaul, disassembling, reassembling, adjusting and regulating watches at 17 years old.”

Kartounian went on to work for his five uncles in various watch shops, from Pasadena to Santa Monica. Then, Kartounian opened Tic Time at the South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach in 1996 while he attended Cal State Long Beach, where he earned a bachelor's in sociology. Six years later, Kartounian decided to give the store to his brother, Sam, and he opened Redondo Beach Watch Company also in the Galleria.

“In 2008, when the recession hit in the South Bay, our store took a big hit because we are a luxury store. I also saw the market dwindle because of the internet,” Kartounian said.

Kartounian gave Redondo Beach Watch Company to his brother, Sam, and father, Peter, in 2012. When thinking about opening another business, he decided he wanted something smaller than his previous 1,200 square foot store in the Galleria. Something he could manage himself without employees if necessary.

"After 20 years of wearing suits and ties, I got tired of being in a corporate-style business, and I wanted to do something different, something boutique," Kartounian said.

When searching for a smaller, boutique-like shop, he came across a space for lease in Manhattan Beach on the corner of Highland Avenue and 13th Street. He opened the store in the front of the building in 2012, but last year he moved the shop to the back of the building when he had the opportunity to buy the location.

As the sole proprietor, Kartounian does everything from minor watch repairs to window cleaning. To help him focus more on his customers, Kartounian has four on-call watch repairmen for larger watch repairs.

“We are very local. We are very grassroots. We don’t sell anything online. You cannot call me and buy a watch through the telephone,” Kartounian said. “I don’t want to sell online. I don't want to sell on different venues. I want my clients to come into my store.”

In the store, you’ll find a variety of brands, such as Rolex, Omega and vintage Bulova watches. All the watches are secondhand, vintage and collectible timepieces. When asked why he only sells vintage watches, Kartounian explained that he thinks the quality of older watches is higher quality than those made today.

Kartounian said his watch shop is more than just a business.

“This is what keeps me going. I’m almost like a kid in a toy store. Watches, to me, are not only works of art, but they’re toys that we wind and play with every day,” Kartounian said.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Facebook Advertising Features

  • Video is the future of Facebook.
  • Someday, Facebook might even be all video, all day.
  • And there’s good reason for that. People love to watch videos. At last count, Facebook users are watching 100 million hours of video per day on the social network.
  • Are you using Facebook Ads to grow your business?
  • If not, you should be. Here are nine reasons why.
  • Facebook has many great ad formats, targeting options, and campaign types.
  • Here are my top 10 favorite Facebook advertising features.

1. Lead Ads

In addition to being cheap and insanely effective, Facebook Lead Ads totally eliminate the need for people to visit a landing page on your website.

With Lead Ads you can acquire valuable contact information from potential customers who are using Facebook on a mobile device.

You can use these ads to get people to sign up for your email newsletter, offer deals or discounts, schedule appointments, and more.

2. Video Ads

Video ads are an awesome and cheap Facebook advertising feature — you can pay as little as a penny per video view!

More memorable than the usual text and image combo, Facebook video ads deliver strong brand recall and high engagement — and drive purchase intent.

Simply upload the video to Facebook’s native video player, customize the description, thumbnail, budget, and targeting, and go!

3. Engagement Ads on Wall Posts

Engagement ads can help make your Facebook Page look super popular to anyone who is checking out your business.
Facebook will only show this type of ad to the people who are most likely to engage with your post — reacting, commenting, or sharing.

Sure, getting thousands of comments and reactions is ultimately just vanity — but people want to be part of the in-crowd. Facebook Pages with zero fan interaction always looks a bit suspect. If your business is so great, where are all your customers?

4. Remarketing

Facebook remarketing lets you reach people who have already interacted with or checked out your brand in some way. Maybe they visited your website (or a specific page on it), took some sort of action in your app or game, or gave you their email address or phone number.
Facebook tags these people with cookie. Your remarketing ads will show to those people as they go through their Facebook News Feed so they will remember you and perhaps convert on one of your hard offers.
People who are familiar with your brand are 2x more likely to convert and 3x more likely to engage. Ridiculously powerful stuff!

Monday, February 13, 2017

You Need Clarity of Purpose to Succeed

Your direction defines what you do every day. Clarifying not only your purpose but your direction reinforces your ultimate life purpose. You should have a clear understanding of what you want next month, next quarter or next year.
Think about it: When you feel unclear about a goal, you have difficulty achieving it. And if you don’t know why you should do something, you lack committed to taking action.

Napoleon Hill once said “There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.

People who are constantly striving to achieve something meaningful in life crave clarity. It’s the only way to reach deeper into yourself to find out what makes you come alive. We all start from somewhere confusing, because you probably like to do a lot of things. But once you define your purpose, you will become unstoppable.

Successful people have a definite sense of direction. They have a clear understanding of what success means to them. Everything they do is consistent with their goals. They look forward and decide where they want to be. Their day to day actions help them move closer to their vision.

Once you find your why, you will be more careful and selective about your daily actions. In the words of Margie Warrell, Author of “Brave”:
“Knowing your why is an important first step in figuring out how to achieve the goals that excite you and create a life you enjoy living (versus merely surviving!). Indeed, only when you know your ‘why’ will you find the courage to take the risks needed to get ahead, stay motivated when the chips are down, and move your life onto an entirely new, more challenging, and more rewarding trajectory.”
Great visions aren’t hard to think up; committing to them and carrying them out is the problem!
Without a purpose, it’s easy to pursue things that you “think you should be doing”

“Existence is a strange bargain. Life owes us little; we owe it everything. The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose.” — William Cowper

According to Deepak Chopra, M.D., founder of The Chopra Foundation and co-founder of The Chopra Center for Wellbeing, what most people find when they look inside themselves are:
Confusion: this manifests as not setting clear priorities because the path ahead doesn’t look clear and decisive.
Distraction: this manifests as a hundred small things that pull your attention this way and that.
Disorganisation: this manifests as a lack of orderly thinking that leads to productive results.

Most people’s lives are still not perfectly clear. It’s a struggle almost every adult goes through. “What do I want to do with my life?” “What do I not suck at?” Millions of people have no clue what they want to do with themselves. And that’s okay.

No assessment is going to provide you with immediate clarity and sense of purpose. Seeking clarity in uncertain times can be a daunting experience, and it can be very stressful if the solutions you seek don’t appear when you need them.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

The crimes against dopamine

Dopamine is in the cultural zeitgeist. Want to lose weight? Eat the Dopamine Diet. Want to dress happy? Try Dopamine Dressing. Want to be a Silicon Valley hi-tech entrepreneur genius? Boost your dopamine. Want to feel constant pleasure? Stuff as much dopamine in your noggin as you can.
Craving that dopamine hit? Then check your phone. Read a story. Watch an advert. Or visualise something good happening.

Dopamine will enhance your mental prowess, give you the figure you always dreamed of, and make you happy. Not bad for a lowly chemical sloshing around in your brain. And all of it utter rubbish.
Here’s what it does. Dopamine either changes fast or slow. Fast changes are an error signal. Slow changes are a motivation signal. That’s it.

Dopamine: fast and slow. Error and motivation. These correspond to two different ways dopamine is released. One way is a precise, short, large spike in the amount of dopamine, in a small region of brain. The other way is all the time, creating a constant, low concentration soup of dopamine sitting around in many regions of your brain.

(A couple of things to get out of the way. Dopamine is in many places in the brain. There’s some in your eyeball, for example. But when the media says “dopamine” it means the dopamine releasing neurons in small groups in the middle of the brain. And they also mean where those neurons release their dopamine: a big brain region tucked up nice and warm just under your cortex: the striatum).
How is that precise, short, large spike an error signal? Say you wandered into my house unannounced and, instead of throwing you out on your ear, I offered you a chocolate biscuit (McVities, obviously). Your dopamine neurons would burst into life, spiking dopamine. They signalled the error between what you predicted (being forcibly ejected with a hoof to the bum) and what you received (a nice biscuit). This prediction error was in your favour – it was a positive error.

Say I asked you to turn up at my house at 3 o’clock so I could you give you a chocolate biscuit. You turn up at 3 o’clock, and I give you the promised biscuit. What do your dopamine neurons do? Sod all. You predicted you’d get a biscuit at 3 o’clock, you got a biscuit at 3 o’clock; all is right with the world. Nothing surprising is going on. There was no error.

What if, when you turned up at 3 o’clock, I didn’t give you that chocolate biscuit? What if I just blithely ignored your presence instead? Then your dopamine neurons would briefly pause their activity, stopping the release of dopamine. They signalled the error between what you predicted (a chocolate biscuit) and what you received (nothing). This prediction error was not in your favour – it was a negative error.

This is what fast dopamine does: it signals the error between what you predicted and what you got. That error can be positive, negative, or zero.
It is not reward. Dopamine neurons do not fire when you get something good. They fire when you get something unexpected. And they sulk when you don’t get something you expected. Rewards make you happy. Dopamine does not.