Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Wheel Skates... the next big thing?

How do you fancy these in your awkwardly wrapped & somewhat misshapen Christmas stocking then folks?! These are wheelskates, "a pair of large wheels that have the skater's feet suspended below the axles enabling a smoother, more fluid skating experience that crosses boundaries into skiing and cycling". The large wheel & pneumatic tyre of Wheel-skates allow you to:

  • gain and maintain momentum with less effort,
  • greater stability and more manoeuvrability
  • skate over rougher terrain or ski down grassy slopes
    or commute like a bicycle free of seat & handle bars

With the snow we've got currently, it could make for an interesting commute to & from work. And as for the journey home from the Christmas party...!!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Outstanding Landboarding vid...

This vid kind of makes skateboarding look a little bit tame... Enjoy!

Don't try this at home folks, at least not without the appropriate safety gear & training. Take it from one who's done enough face-plants in the mud (& never really learnt to fall with style, Buzz Lightyear fashion!) to know that landboarding really is as hard as it looks... ;0)

Happy weekend everyone!


Thursday, 17 December 2009

F1 in Schools - 1 month to the UK finals...

With just under one month to go now until the UK National finals of the F1 in Schools competition, we're pleased to bring you the latest update from the lovely Mach1 team at Lutterworth College, Leicester, who we are proud to be sponsoring in this year's event.

They've attached a preview picture of the new car for us,

"The shape has been decided on but I may have to reshuffle some decals" Elliot of Mach1 team advises.

This car has a few new tricks up its sleeve, which we have promised not to reveal just yet, in case the competition is having a sneak preview too! We'll keep you up to date as we hear more from the development team at Mach1.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Cycling & festive cheer!

Real Cycling's blog post

has this week filled us with festive cheer & we thought we'd share it with you!

Admittedly, Real Cycling's message was less festive cheer & more safety first (very importantly) but, if we're being honest we just like the twinkly lights!

Please send us more twinkly pictures & we will post them. Red Bikes has very kindly sent us the image below (you need to check out Red Bike's Christmas tree vs cat video, it's very funny - http://redbikes.blogspot.com/2009/12/lauras-christmas-tree-wont-last-long.html )


Has anyone actually got a tree on their bike yet?!!

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Coolest Cycle track... ever!

Berlin's Cycle show last weekend featured possibly the best bike track ever invented in the world... ever! Check this out:

Cyclists power little Playmobil figures round a track in a race against the clock & each other. It may be impractical & a tad on the large side, but I WANT ONE!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Happy Birthday Schaeffer!

We're really excited to be able to bring you Schaeffer Mclean's latest skate vid today. It is his sixth birthday on Monday, so we'd all like to say

Since we last told you about his exploits, Schaeffer has been very busy - his Mum Eve tells us more:

"We went to Milan at half term and some of the footage is in the vid. We aren't doing King of the Groms this year, we will probably wait until he's a bit older, but meanwhile we have been skating all over. He just did a little rippers competion at the Boardroom, Leicester, last Sunday and he did really well, and won 3 prizes!"

Well done Schaeffer, we're really proud of you. We hope that you enjoy wearing your new SMB skate gear, which is winging its way to you very soon...


We just have to give a quick mention to this post:

Whether you want to buy anything or not, this is funny! I love the " brother who just turned fifteen - so bored and world-weary that you wonder if he's into anything at all. Invariably you'll find out that the grumpy, sarcastic little blank starer actually does enjoy a handful of things: skating, hanging out, listening to music, etc" bit!!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Thursday, 3 December 2009

Cycling in England is dangerous...

Well we all knew that really, but today it has been declared officially! ON THE BBC!! THEREFORE IT MUST BE TRUE!!! A long-term study made by researchers from the University of Surrey has revealed how dangerous UK roads are for cyclists, with a disproportionately high number of cyclists injured on the road, compared to car drivers and passengers, as reported by The Independent newspaper.

For those of us who can't move to Holland tomorrow (apparently much safer) or don't actually give a monkeys & cycle anyway, we thought we'd share a few of our favourite cycling blogs & sites...

For those of you who no longer feel safe cycling out of doors, may we introduce you to the exotic world of indoor trick cycling - here some very clever German ladies in leotards show you how it is done...


Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Glen Pointon fishing the Wye

We've enjoyed watching Glen Pointon's exploits for a year now & he's just posted his first underwater fishing video, showing his release of a Grayling that he caught fishing the River Wye. What we love about Glen (other than his amazing blog, beautiful photos & dashing good looks!!) is that he catches all the subtleties of fishing, down to the fact that Grayling are a different colour on the Wye than they are on the River Dove.

See more of his posts at http://glenpointon.blogspot.com/

The other thing you have to love about Glen is that, doubtless through years of experience & tough times, he makes it all look smooth, effortless & verging on the elegant, unlike the poor gents pictured below who just make you think "WHY?!!!" ;0)

Saturday, 28 November 2009

1st Birthday...

Doesn't time fly by - we're celebrating our blog's 1st birthday today!
A big
to all our lovely contributors & loyal visitors - we've enjoyed your comments, guest posts, suggestions & helpful hints enormously.
We hope that you enjoy our blog - we will always welcome any thoughts, comments, ideas, posts, criticism etc so please keep in touch.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Skate Vid...

A little something to keep you entertained over the weekend... have a great one folks!

Think you can do better than this?

Fancy being an SMB team rider? Send us your vids & stats & we'll look at sponsorship options. We are proud supporters of our riders & indeed all those that we currently sponsor in cycling, skating & rc modelling. You don't have to be well known - if you're just enthusiastic & motivated then we'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

The world's most expensive bicycles...

We're not the sort here to revel in other people's misfortune, but we did have to have a little chuckle at this...
Britain's biggest retailer, Tesco's, is taking legal action after mistakenly paying almost £1 million for six bicycles which should have cost less than £1,000, sources said.

Tesco is seeking restitution of the overpaid monies following the error by its finance team, who in August should have paid £984 for six Muddy Fox Suspension Bikes but paid £984,000 instead. Oops! Still, best not to laugh too long or hard as it can happen to the best (or stupidest) of us ;0).


Friday, 20 November 2009

Mach1 Team - F1 in Schools Regional Champions...

Our hearty congratulations to Mach1 Team from Lutterworth College, who at yesterday's regional finals qualified for the National F1 in Schools Championship final being held at Birmingham's NEC, during the Autosport International Show, in January 2010.

Mach1 celebrated a trio of trophies, taking overall victory in the Formula 1 class, as well as taking awards for the Fastest F1 car(1.289 seconds) and Best Engineered car.

Pictured below are Johnny, Elliot, our very own Chris in the middle, Alex & Ricky. Chris joined the talented quartet for race-day at the NEC, to offer whatever technical assistance & general encouragement he could (& to get to play with lots of cars...).

The cars, designed by students aged between 9-19 race along a 20 metre track, shown below, at speeds in excess of 60Kph...
Teams are judged on car speed, as well as supporting evidence of their design, verbal presentation and marketing display stand in ‘‘the pits”. The Mach1 team's pit was very impressive & made great use of all the materials they had gleaned from their sponsors, including SMB Bearings.
The victorious Mach1 can't rest easy though, as preparation must begin in earnest for the national finals, now only 8 weeks away.
We'll be working hard for the team too & are looking for ways to improve our bearing performance as much as possible to achieve an ultra free-running, high speed finish. We've already treated previous bearings with Diamond Nanolube & are now looking again at this option, compared to results achieved by coating bearings with a Molybdenum disulfide suspension. Both substances act as thousands of tiny particles, suspended in a carrier oil, coat the surfaces of the bearing & float between the metal parts of the bearing to keep surfaces apart (it will still work even if the carrier oil is gone):
  • preventing metal to metal contact
  • prolonging bearing life
  • reducing friction
  • preventing galling, gouging & scoring
  • preventing heat build-up
We're not sure ourselves yet whether there will be any advantage between the two different methods for this application, but we'll do our best to find out very soon.
We'll also be investigating the benefits provided by ceramic hybrid bearings (ceramic balls, metal cage, rings & shields). The speed increase for hybrid bearings is, on paper at least, approximately 30 percent with adequate lubrication. Hybrid bearings can also operate better with limited lubrication as the lower friction material generates less heat but running speed should be reduced.
A word or two of caution - ceramic hybrids have become something of a fashion "fad" in recent times, with many Chinese hybrids flooding the market. These bearings are often of a poor quality & do not deliver on a theoretical promise to reduce friction & increase speed. For Mach1, we'll be trying to deliver on the theoretical promise by sourcing Japanese ceramic balls for their bearings... watch this space ;0).

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Fishing photos...

We've found a wonderful site for fishing & wildlife fans who also love their photography, called Inshore Nearshore - just visit http://inshorenearshore.blogspot.com/. I hope they won't mind us showing you a couple of prime examples of their beautiful work...

In weird fishing news this month, a Japanese 10 tonne fishing trawler was sunk by giant jellyfish...

On 2nd November, the crew of the fishing boat was thrown into the sea when the vessel capsized, but the three men were rescued by another trawler. The trawler, the Diasan Shinsho-maru, capsized off Chiba`as its three-man crew was trying to haul in a net containing dozens of huge Nomura's jellyfish. Each of the jellyfish can weigh up to 200 kg and waters around Japan have been inundated with the creatures this year. Experts believe weather and water conditions in the breeding grounds, off the coast of China, have been ideal for the jellyfish in recent months.

One of the largest jellyfish in the world, the species can grow up to 2 meters in diameter. The last time Japan was invaded on a similar scale, in the summer of 2005, the jellyfish damaged nets, rendered fish inedible with their toxic stings and even caused injuries to fishermen.

These aren't like the jellyfish I remember as a kid, you used to be able to poke those with a stick & escape unscathed (except for the telling-off you got from your Mum of course)!!

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Another skating great...

Kid stuck in a skatebowl...

... you sort of feel sorry for them, but it is funny & our Dr Evil side won out ;0)

Good news in SMB-land this week, our skate shirts, caps, jackets & decals are being printed (hooray!!) & this is a taste of what they'll look like...

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mach1 Team F1 in Schools Update...

With only days to go now until the regional finals of the F1 in Schools Competition, at Birmingham's NEC on 19.11.09, the Mach1 team have announced the launch of their new website & you can take a sneaky peak here...

Good luck to everyone taking part, but most especially to our very own Mach1 team! We look forward to meeting you on the day & hope that everything goes well for you in the run-up to the big event.

If anyone else fancies going along to supprot the teams & have a great day out, you can register for a pass at http://www.ichf.co.uk/d+t/.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Spectating is a dangerous sport...

Free-running wheel bearings aren't necessarily such a good idea, especially when combined with gravity & forward momentum!


Friday, 30 October 2009


What do you reckon to this then?! It looks pretty alien, but then I guess the modern bicycle did when it first put in an appearance...

Unlike a bike though, without battery power the Yikebike is about as useful as a chocolate teapot on a very sunny day... It needs recharging every 5 miles or you are left with just your own two feet for company! It will be certainly be interesting to see whether this product develops & gets over it's initial flaws.

Happy weekend everyone!

Photo of the week...

...not relevant to anything but we just LOVE it!!

Do you ever think some people just have too much time on their hands?! ;0)


Friday, 16 October 2009

RC Model boats - a beginners size guide...

We found a rather spiffy website, called http://www.rcsailboatguide.com/ & thought that our RC hobby-nuts might be interested in this article:

"Almost without exception the uninitiated spectator who has been watching a model out sailing and then sees it being brought ashore will express great surprise at how big it is. That little model you see out on the pond can be eight feet long and weigh up to eighty pounds. Unless you sail in a swimming pool, the rule of thumb is: the larger the model, the easier to sail. And one of the most important considerations in selecting a model is its size, all other things being equal. If you cannot see the boat well enough to distinguish wind changes on the sails and reaction to the controls, you will be unable to operate it among a fleet of models sailing offshore.
The distance to which we can sail our model yacht is limited not by range of the radio transmitter and receiver in the control system but by the capability of the human eye. Beyond a certain point we cannot see the boat well enough to set the sails properly. Visibility is crucial for setting sail trim and course – and also for avoiding collisions.

From a practical standpoint, the minimum overall length is 36 inches if you plan to sail with other larger models. The large “J” boats and “A” Class boats measuring eight feet in length represent the upper limit. Thirty nine to sixty inches constitute the most common hull lengths.
In selecting your model size consider: where you will store the model when not in use; how you will transport it to the water’s edge; what is involved in your launching it (depth of water required, weight of model, bulk of model, etc.). At the time of purchase you will need to consider the cost of having the model kit delivered to you. Generally, models up to 50 or 60 inches can be packed to ship by mail or United Parcel. Models which cannot be packed within UPS size and weight limitations must either be picked up personally at the shop or be shipped by truck. The same considerations must be given to the spars for your model. A tall one-piece mast may be very expensive to have shipped. If you overlook the shipping costs, you may find the shipping more costly than the model itself, unfortunate but sometimes true.
Sailing model weights range from five pounds to over 80 pounds. Fifty inch models will range from ten to 30 pounds, which is within the launching ability of most adults. The larger boats require a cart or two persons for launching.

While a child’s toy boat can be launched from the edge of the pond, the size of the R/C models requires a launching area with water deep enough to allow for the depth of the model keel. The typical 50/800 Marblehead draws 15 to 18 inches. You may need to wade out into the water to launch and recover your model. At facilities for full-size boats, there is usually big-boat activity which wipes out model activity – model boats sail best undisturbed by powerboat wakes and water skiers! The Parks and Recreation Department in your town may be willing to follow the lead of the Town of Needham, Massachusetts, in providing model-boat facilities, particularly at ponds where other public access is restricted. Consider too the possible need to launch a small boat to recover a disabled R/C model.

The sails on the modern model racing yacht are left attached to the spars rather than furled or stowed as they would be on a big boat. In the normal home it may be hard to find space to stow away a ten-foot mast with sails attached."

Well, it just goes to show - size is everything, in the world of RC boating anyway ;0)

We can offer a range of KS440 stainless steel bearings for RC sailboats - they offer good corrosion resistance to damp environments & whilst not totally resistant to corrosion in a marine setting, they offer the advantage of being a harder material & taking higher loads & speeds than most marine-grade bearings.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

F1 in Schools Update

This season we are sponsoring 'Mach 1' F1 in Schools team, based at Lutterworth College, who have just sent us this exciting new update & we're really pleased to share it with you:

"Here are some photos of the final car on ProDesktop with all of our sponsors names on. If you look at the wheels you can see where your bearings are situated. Your logo is in a prime position for all of the photos and videos taken of the car because the cars go so fast the only place you can take a photo is when it is at the start and the crowd will be in front of the car so the main focus point is the front aerofoils (where your logo is situated).

I also have a big smb thing planned for the stand which is hard to explain but i will send you photos when i make it.
Ps. The car is being cut out as we speak"

Thanks guys - how cool is that?! We can't wait to see the finished article & look forward very much to finding out what the intriguing "big thing" for the stand is... ;0)

For those of you who haven't heard about the F1 in Schools competition before, here's what it's all about:

Spanning age ranges of 9 to 19, F1 in Schools teams must raise sponsorship and manage budgets to fund research, travel and accommodation. The challenge inspires students to use IT to learn about physics, aerodynamics, design, manufacture, branding, graphics, sponsorship, marketing, leadership/teamwork, media skills and financial strategy, and apply them in a practical, imaginative, competitive and exciting way. The race is then on, literally! Completed cars race side-by-side along 20-metre straights. Teams are judged on car speed, as well as supporting evidence of their design, verbal presentation and marketing display stand in ‘‘the pits”. Teams compete regionally, nationally and internationally for the Bernie Ecclestone F1 in Schools World Championship trophy.

For more details on the school & team, you can visit their website at http://www.lc.leics.sch.uk/


Monday, 12 October 2009

Skating, surfing, snowboarding - Playmobil style...

A slightly long, but excellent homage to those most excellent Playmobil dudes.

I just used to lose their heads/limbs/torsos under the sofa & then get them stuck in the vacuum cleaner during botched rescue missions myself...


London Cycle Show

For all fans of shiny new gadgets, this weekend's London Cyle show was an absolute must.

Exhibitors included:
Spoke Shirts
Polaris Apparel
surf sales
Ana Nichoola
2 Pure
& many more, so if you've missed it this year make sure to pencil it into your diary for October 2010!

Fab bloggers http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com were there & have posted a great review of the show & the available retail delights for all to see, so don't miss it.

Cycle Chic fans may also have seen the work of this very clever lady recently, Kara Ginther Leather: http://www.karaginther.com/ - if you have a few pennies to spare on your two-wheeled pride & joy, these may well be for you - aren't they gorgeous?!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Latest inline skate/landboarding vids..

This amazing video has just popped up on YouTube & we thought it was well worth looking at!

And we must give a nod to an excellent chap from America, Pat Hinch, who has grabbed my fancy by combining two favourite hobbies, landboarding & skating (although he appears to be a lot better at both than I ever was). Just click on the link below to be whisked to his video:

And sticking with landboarding for a few minutes...

Good eh?!!! When I needed replacement bearings for my board I got rubber sealed bearings & had them re-greased with water-resistant, free running grease so that they turned easily but kept all of the beach nasties out! Just a little pointer for landboard bearing maintenance - if you brush your wheels to get the sand off them after a landboaring sesh at the beach, be careful not to brush the seals that cover the bearings as you might actually be pushing grit into the bearings, eventually making them much harder to turn.


Friday, 25 September 2009

RC Plane landing... how not to!

Thanks to http://thefishingguy.blogspot.com for this great image, captured whilst out on the lake for the Ravenna Thunderbirds annual water fly show in the US. The crash apparently occurred because of a loss of a part on take-off. Fishingguy jokes "It is a good thing I got this shot for the FAA to determine cause of the crash!"
Should your rc model suffer from a similar disaster (WE DO HOPE NOT!), we can supply high quality replacement bearings for you** - we don't have a minimum so you can order as few as you like.
**Did you know, most manufacturers supply their models fitted with the cheapest Chinese bearings? These bearings are ok for low-tech, low-spec applications but aren't suited to most models, so they tend to fail very quickly. We can offer high qualtiy Chinese bearings (mid-range in price terms) or the high quality Japanese bearings (usually branded, so they tend to cost more), both of which are smoother running, machined to a higher tolerance & last longer under the pressures that most models are subjected to.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Overheard at the Bike Shop...

Courtesy of http://ditmcyclingclub.blogspot.com/ we have this fabulous little snippet...

"One of our regulars is in the bike store. He's blind and is the stoker on a tandem. He has his dog next to him as he's trying on helmets. When he leaves, one of the "higher education" students asks the guy behind the counter how a blind guy can ride a bike. The guy behind the counter says that "he rides on the back of a tandem"..... The girl accepts that, but then starts to look really confused. After a minute she leans over the counter and quietly asks the salesman in all sincerity, "how does the dog steer the bike?"

Do you ever wonder how some people manage to breathe & stand upright at the same time?!


Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Essential Fishing Gear...

We just loved this post from Lunker Hunt's blog http://lunkerhunt.blogspot.com/. Let it be a salutory reminder to those of us who tend to suffer from the occasional 'senior moments'...!!

"As a seasoned angler, I've learned a few things. Preparation is key to a good trip, and I always check (and double check) my gear before hitting the road.

Imagine my surprise when we arrived at the Mackinaw River put in spot last Saturday, only to discover that my friend Dave forgot the single piece of gear any angler can't do without - his rod.


You'll be pleased to know, dear reader, that Dave did eventually retrieve his rod & had a good day's fishing.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Schaeffer's latest video (with bad ass moves)

Schaeffer - you are the best & we are very proud to be your sponsors. If you're this good now, just imagine how awesome you'll be when you're really old... like six!! ;0)


Friday, 18 September 2009

Gadget Show's Pick of the Bikes

For those of you who haven't seen it - Channel Five's "Gadget Show" is a techie's Nirvana, jam-packed with all the latest gadgets, gizmos & amazingly cool stuff that you just never knew you needed. You can find out more at http://fwd.five.tv/gadget-show & also watch online.
We love it!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Fishing reel bearings...

We've been working closely with a fishing reel manufacturer recently & are proud to show you the the fruits of our labour - a super smooth-running reel, fitted with corrosion resistant bearings, GPL202 lubricated to be free-running, hassle free & have a long bearing life. We can help you out in the same way, even if you just need one or two replacement bearings.
And they're shiny & come in a very nice box...!!

Friday, 11 September 2009

Tour of Britain 2009 (12.09.09 - 19.09.09)

Cycling fans rejoice - it's back!

This weekend sees the start of the 2009 Tour of Britain, once again taking place over eight days, beginning in North Lincolnshire on Saturday 12th September and finishing at the heart of London on Saturday 19th September.
Eight exciting stages will once again provide close and spectacular racing, ensuring that a worthy winner is crowned in London after the final day's action.
A combination of familiar venues and regions, as well as new exciting additions will mark the route of this year's Tour of Britain, which will begin with a Grand Depart in Scunthorpe for the first stage, which finishes in York.
Subsequent stages will re-visit the North East as The Tour once again travels from Darlington to NewcastleGateshead on Stage Two, while Stage Three will see the northern most point of the race, as The Tour heads to Scotland and takes in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway.
The Tour of Britain then heads south, with Stage Four featuring the North West of England and Blackpool, with Stage Five both starting and finishing in Stoke-on-Trent, with a hard days racing in store through the scenic North Staffordshire countryside.
The South West, scene of some of the races biggest crowds in 2008, has two stages in 2009, with Stage Six taking the riders across Exmoor as the pass from Somerset into Devon, on their journey from Frome to Bideford.
The penultimate day of the race then sees the peloton retrace its steps, from Hatherleigh in Devon to Yeovil in Somerset, on a stage that could decide the winner of this year's race.
A spectacular final day of racing will round out the 2009 Tour, as riders tackle the iconic London circuit that opened last year's race.
For the second year running there will be full coverage of the race on ITV, with viewers able to once again enjoy an hour long nightly highlights show of all the action on ITV4, between 7pm – 8pm, with repeats the following day, so if you can't make it out to your nearest stage, you won't miss out on any of the battle to win the 2009 Tour of Britain.

For more details & up to the minute news, visit http://www.tourofbritain.co.uk/default.asp