|Earlier this year, I finished reading a book called “Cradle to Cradle; remaking the way we make things” by William McDonough. It outlines a process for what is now called “regenerative design”. The author argues that product designers should take the environment into account at every single stage of a product’s design.
As a former Materials Scientist, I found this new concept very inspirational. Indeed, I know all too well about the environmental impact of materials. I have always supported reducing, reusing and recycling. But this book really got me to think a lot more about the environmental consequences of all the phases of a product’s life-cycle. The aim of regenerative design is to minimise [or preferably eliminate] the contamination of our natural environment during the production, distribution and disposal of a product.
|While I was reading this book, I started looking at many other products to see if they embraced the Cradle to Cradle mentality. Not just bicycle components, but anything and everything being sold. I looked at all the stuff being sold on supermarket shelves. I looked at office products. I looked at furniture. I soon realised that –unfortunately– most things are not designed with this concept in mind. I’d see that a product might say that it can be recycled, but it is not made of recycled ingredients. Or something might say that it has been made with recycled components, but cannot then be recycled.
One of the benefits of being the owner of a small business rather than an employee is that owners have the final say in the decisions they make about their businesses. Owners have the power to take a company in their own direction. So I’d like to take this company down a more ecological, more sustainable path. One way to do that is to make our products last as long as possible. But we already have the longest-lasting cable housing on the market and the truth is that I don’t really know how to make our products any better [at least until nano-scale engineering comes along]. Read the rest of this entry »
I’m pleased to report that we are finally operational again as of July 2015. We now have 99% alumina brake and gear lines in stock in most colours. The design of the website has also been updated. It’s now looks cleaner, organised better, uses nicer typography and loads faster.
Unfortunately we have had to raise our prices to reflect the cost of running a business in Australia. However, the goods news is that we will be offering discounts from time to time!
|Just a quick update as we have been getting a lot of emails about our out-of-stock situation. The news is that we are planning on moving back to Australia in late May 2014. This is most likely going to be a permanent move. As you can imagine, this is a very big deal for us so we have decided to temporarily stop production & shipping until we can sort ourselves out over there.|
|We should be right to go from the next financial year around July of 2014, however you can expect a significant price increase when we resume business. We’ll update the website as time permits. Thank you for your support during this difficult time.
|The latest news is that we have placed a series of adverts in the reknowned Rouleur Magazine, starting with issue 33 which is on sale now. Needless to say, here at Vertebrae Components, we are very proud to appear in such a high quality publication. Shown here is the cover artwork, not our ad.|
|For 2012, Vertebrae Components is working closely with industrial designer Maximilian-Peter Werner, who is in charge of Norland Cycles. Norland Cycles is a new downhill brand originally conceived in Chile. It features a dual-chain transmission which eliminates interference between suspension & pedaling.|
Maximilian now lives in Finland and hopes to take the bike into production there. Thanks very much Max – good luck with Norland Cycles!
|Since we just have one “show bike” so far this year, if you’re planning on displaying a show bike for 2012 Eurobike, it’s still not to late to contact us to arrange something before September!|
|For 2011, we are again represented at Eurobike. There will also be 50 free 2″ samples of vertebrae up for grabs in the clear colour.|
|We have organised to have the new Vertebrae anubis on display at Eurobike 2011, mounted on an all-new show bike built by A2J at the Carbon Sports / Lightweight tent on press day (30th August). We will also have a few different lengths of vertebrae housing on demonstration for you to touch and feel at the German Carbon Group stand (THM-Carbones booth in Hall A2 booth 205).|
|Just a quick update:
Thanks very much for the continued interest in Vertebrae Anubis! Actually there is some good news!!
We have had 25,000 black ceramic pieces made up already for some time now (enough for 53 gear kits).
We are going to release our own slimline 0.7mm gear polymer-coated stainless steel cable housing and proprietry teflon liner so it works together as a fully-functioning system with truly ultra-low friction.
|I am currently working on Vertebrae Components here in Australia over the next month, then I will be going back to Tenerife on July 18 and I think we can expect it to be ready for sale by the end of July (finally!). The main wait now is just for the teflon liner to be sent to us…
Dr. Leslie Brown (Mat. Sci.)
It’s that time of year again, so you can expect to see more frequent Vertebrae updates! Here’s some detailed information about all three materials used in the construction of vertebrae ceramic cable housing, namely: 96%, 99.5% alumina and ZTA. We’ve included both the mechanical and thermal properties in a tabulated format.
96% Alumina Material Properties
|Flexural Strength (MOR), 20 °C||—||—||358 (52)|
|Elastic Modulus, 20 °C||GPa (psi x 106)||ASTM-F417||303 (44)|
|Poisson’s Ratio, 20 °C||—||ASTM-C848||0.21|
|Compressive Strength||MPa(psi x 103)||ASTM-C773||2068 (300)|
|Hardness||GPa(kg/mm2)||KNOOP 1000 gm||11.5 (1175)|
|Rockwell 45 N||78|
|Tensile Strength, 25 °C||MPa (psi x 103)||ACMA TEST #4||221 (32)|
|Fracture Toughness K(Ic)||Mpa m1/2||NOTCHED BEAM||4-5|
|Thermal Conductivity, 20 °C||Wm degrees K||ASTM-C408||24.7|
|Coefficient of Thermal Expansion||1 x 10-6/degrees C||ASTM-C372||8.2|
|Specific Heat, 100 °C||J/kg*K||ASTM-E1269||880|
|Thermal Shock Resistance, (delta)Tc||degrees C||NOTE 3||250|
|Maximum Use Temperature||degrees C||NO-LOAD COND.||1700|
|Numerous customers have recently enquired about Vertebrae Anubis cable housing as our expected delivery date came and went. Apologies to everyone for the delays & lack of updates regarding this product. This is just a confirmation that we have been busy behind the scenes and we are still working on it…|
|The special black anubis vertebrae were delayed in production; here are some photos of the current prototypes…
The other main reason for the delay is that we chose to go with a high-performance PEEK liner, another world first for bicycle cable housing (more on PEEK’s unique properties below). Because of that decision, we now expect Vertebrae Anubis to be ready at the end of November  and we firmly believe it will be worth the wait. We don’t want to take orders until it is 100% in stock and ready to ship. When it becomes available, we will update the product page to include anubis as an selectable option.
In other related news, our high-performance 99% alumina version should also be available to the public before the end of 2010.
|We’re pleased to announce that you can now fax us your order and pay directly by credit card or direct deposit via IBAN.|
|Simply download this orderform (in pdf format), print it out and fax it to our Australian fax number: 61 (0)2 8569-1597. Once you have printed our order form, all you need to do is indicate the items you would like to purchase (don’t forget to tell us your preferred colour choice as well as any other important options).
This is a convenient option for any international customers who do not have a paypal account and would like to purchase any of Vertebrae Components’ products. Australian customers are advised to contact us via email and we will then provide you with our Australian bank details. Please note that American Express cards are not accepted at this time.
|We just got news that Vertebrae cable housing was reviewed in the Summer 2010 Issue of Mountain Bike Rider (MBR), a very popular UK mountainbiking magazine. It’s featured on page 152 in their “Tested » Products” section:|
|Vertebrae Anubis is the latest generation of gear cable housing specifically designed to work with Campagnolo ergopower controls. Anubis features black slimline alumina ceramic vertebrae, which are compatible with the new shiftlevers without the need for any modifications.|
|The benefits of Anubis over standard cable housing are: precision shifting over time, reduced finger effort, lighter weight, no need for lubrication, and of course significantly greater longevity. Anubis is currently in the prototype/testing phase and will be available for release at the end of October 2010. Further details will be released before then.
It’s widely known that Campagnolo have recently reduced the diameter of their Ultrashift gear cable housing to 4.1mm with the introduction of their 11 speed system. Many cyclists have experienced various shifting ‘issues’ while some have even resorted to riding with 10 speed in the interim. We’ve previously reported on the disadvantages of undersize gear cable housing; unless the overall design and/or material of housing is changed, undersized housing leads to imprecise gear shifts (this is because the cable housing is more likely to compress when the gear cable is under tension, since the outer housing has less surface area to inhibit these forces).
|Vertebrae brake housing makes a brief appearance in the next July-August issue of Bicycling Australia Magazine on page 38 as a new product announcement. The editors of Bicycling Australia Magazine have informed us to expect a more detailed review later in the year.|
|Vertebrae Components ceramic gear housing is also shown in the tri-monthly August-September-October issue of Mountainbiking Australia Magazine, as a new product announcement on page 24. Again, we’ve been told that you can also expect a more detailed review to appear later in the year.|
|In other news, we have already sent evaluation kits to Spoke magazine & Road Cycling NZ. Next on the list are RIDE Australia magazine & Canadian Cyclist. Meanwhile, Ridemag seems to have misplaced their kit and we haven’t heard a single word back from bicycling.com despite more than a few e-mails. Other reviews are pending (fiets.nl) and we’ll keep you posted as they appear…|
|Just a quick note to say that in less than 1 hour, Leslie will be heading to Sydney on a business trip. A brief stopover in Singapore is also planned.|
|So if you are from Australia or NZ and are thinking about placing an order with Vertebrae, the best time is between the 2nd of July and the 13th of August. That way, it’ll be shipped from Sydney and hence will arrive within 48 hours instead of 1-2 weeks. All other European orders will be shipped as normal from our Spanish HQ. During this time, you can reach Les directly by calling +612 9570-1634.|
|You requested it and we have responded! All Vertebrae cable housing will soon be available in a “true red” colour! Expected arrival is from mid-July 2010.|
|We realise that this is an all-important colour which has been sorely missing until now… since it is one of the post popular colours appearing on many bike schemes. Needless to say, it took us a very long time to find a suitable supplier. This brings the total number of colours to 15, including our recently released ultraclear FEP option.|
|Earlier this year, we introduced a limited edition set of Vertebrae cable housing called ZTA. You can read more about its properties here.There were initially only 5000 ZTA pieces manufactured, enough for 19.2 metres of “the ultimate” housing. As of today, 67% of the limited edition ZTA vertebrae have now been sold, leaving just 6.4 metres left! This is just enough for 2 road bikes to be fully-equipped with vertebrae (alternatively, 4 MTB gear housing only sets).||There is still siginifcant interest by a number of potential buyers, so you’ll need to get in quick to reserve what’s left. However, just in case you miss out this time, we’ll consider re-introducing this special version of Vertebrae again towards the end of 2010.|
Coming mid-June: new black-coloured teflon liner! We call this new product “pipeline”. Pipeline will be included in all self-assembly and intervene kits. It will also be available separately for ~€5/metre. Note that the current white teflon liner is still available, but only while stocks last.
|Spain’s premier online cycling magazine, arueda.com, has featured a review of Vertebrae gear and brake housing. If you can read Spanish, you can read the results of that test here.
This news was released earlier today, so it’s still on the first page of the arueda site! A special thanks to Gonzalo Vilaseca for taking up the opportunity to test our housing and publish the review!
Pictured below are two new Vertebrae colours cot previously shown (grey and tan). The Vertebrae logo is now printed on the outer casing:
The other news is that all Vertebrae ZTA gear kits will be supplied with black slick-coated jagwire cables and black alloy end crimps as the photo below shows. We’re still working hard to try and find black brake cables in 1.5mm diameter…
|This week we are releasing a new optional FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene) copolymer wrap for all pre-manufactured vertebrae cable housing (Intervene & Custom ZTA vertebrae).|
|One advantage of FEP is that it is completely transparent (as opposed to the pre-existing ‘clear’ coloured polyolefin heatshrink which is actually has a more translucent finish).
The main benefit of FEP however is that grease and dirt will not adhere to this material. It simply wipes off with a clean rag, leaving your vertebrae housing completely clean and free of grease marks. FEP is very flexible once it has undergone heatshrinking; FEP also has a very high tolerance to heat, solvents and other chemicals compared to conventional polyolefin heatshrink materials.
NOTE: This option will not be available for the basic self-assembly kits since FEP has a straight tubing form factor before heat shrinkage, complicating the postage of our product.
|This is a limited warranty which covers against falts or defects in workmanship of the ceramic parts only.Warranty periods are as follows: 96% Alumina is guranteed for 3 years from the date of purchase; 99.5% alumina is coming later in 2010 and will be covered for 4 years, while our premium ZTA ceramic vertebrae possess an extended 5 year guarantee!
NOTE: The liner material, SpinalWrap, cables and ferrules constitute consumables and will not be covered under this warranty. Neither does it apply to improper installation.
Nevertheless, this is an industry first for cable housing -there are handlebars out there with shorter warranty periods than ours…. this is simply our way of saying that we are confident that our own product will stand the test of time.
|We are now offering a bonus 1.5m teflon liner with each new order provided you spend more than 90€. This brings the total length of teflon liner in the basic self assembly kits to 3.5m (or 5.5m for the complete gear & brake cableset). It enables you to either run full length liner from the beginning or alternatively you can save it for later use…|
|24hr Custom Vertebrae Installation!
If you are planning a Tenerife cycle training vacation, you should be pleased to know that we are now offering a door-to-door cable housing fitment service with a 24 hour turnaround period.
We first pick your bike up directly from your hotel or apartment in Tenerife, where you will meet Dr. Leslie Brown to discuss your specific requirements; we then perform a professional, customised vertebrae installation to your exact specifications, finally returning your bike to you within 24hrs in perfect working condition.
There is currently a €150 surchage for this premium service (price subject to change). We are pleased to also offer you a courtesy rental bike from Pro Bike Hire while we are working on your bike.
Alternatively, you can opt for a rest day and see some of the attractions in Tenerife while we setup vertebrae on your bike. Please call +34 605 56 2020 for more info.
|Why Tenerife?It’s no coincidence that many cyclists choose to train in the Canary Islands -Tenerife- the largest island, offers one of the best cycling locations in Europe all throughout the year.This is home to the world’s third largest volcano, and it serves up some of the biggest and most challenging climbs in all of Europe. Starting from sea level, you can ride up to an altitude of 2300m!
What better place to test the limits of your braking & shifting? Naturally, with all the steep offroad descents to be found, it’s even popular with the DownHill crowd.
For more information on cycling Tenerife, please see our sister site: www.tenerife-training.net
We’ve been working for some time on the latest generation of Vertebrae ceramic cable housing which will be 100% compatible with 2009 & 2010 campagnolo lever bodies previously requiring “ultrashift” 4.1mm cablesets.
The new housing will have a diameter of just under 4.0mm (3.99mm without the spinal wrap to be more precise), hence no modifications will be necessary to your existing levers. This product is currently in the prototype & testing phase. We estimate that it will be ready to purchase online by Autumn/Fall of 2010. Read the rest of this entry »
|In light of the new ZTA version soon to be released, we will be lowering the price of the standard vertebrae 96% alumina ceramic housing. As of the 10th of March 2010, they will retail at just 99 Euros per kit instead of the usual €125.
The only down side is that due to the substantial price drop, we aren’t left with a significant margin for international distributors (yes they cost that much to manufacture). Therefore, you’ll have to purchase them directly from our online shop (or speak with us over the telephone and order a set that way).
|We’re pleased to announce the launch of our latest model vertebrae cable housing, called “Vertebrae ZTA”. These are made of the ultimate ceramic material, zirconia toughened alumina (ZTA). ZTA is considerably stronger and tougher than our standard 96% alumina.|
|Due to the exhorbitant cost of this material, we have an extremely limited production run, enough for 6 brakesets and 6 gearsets. The ZTA editition is available in all the standard colours and will be on sale at the end of April 2010. If you would like to place an advance order, please contact us.
More about the ceramic toughening mechanism in ZTA:Transformation toughening is a breakthrough in achieving high-strength ceramic materials with very high fracture toughness. ZTA exhibits an internal mechanism for actually inhibiting crack propagation. A crack in a normal ceramic travels all the way through the ceramic with little inhibition, resulting in immediate and brittle fracture and catastrophic failure. Transformation Toughened Zirconia (TTZ) exhibits a fracture toughness (or resistance to crack propagation) which is 3-6 times higher than normal zirconia and most other ceramics. TTZ is so tough that it can be struck with a hammer or even fabricated into a hammer for driving nails. The stress intensity factor values for window glass (silica), transformation toughened alumina, and a typical iron/carbon steel range from 1 to 20 to 50 respectively.
Components manufactured from Zirconia Toughened Alumina (ZTA) show considerable improvement in strength and toughness over alpha alumina engineering ceramics. The increase in strength and toughness in ZTA is attributable to the stress induced transformation toughening mechanism which is introduced with the addition of optimized amounts of fine zirconia particles dispersed thoughout the alumina body.
Typical zirconia content is between 10% and 20%. As a crack grows through the ceramic, the crystal structure of the zirconia particles in the region of the crack changes from the metastable tetragonal phase to the stable monoclinic phase. The change increases the volume of the particles by about 3-4% and generates compressive stresses in the alumina matrix. This process closes the crack; although it does not ‘heal’ the damage, it does act as an energy barrier to further crack growth. The addition of zirconia to the alumina matrix increases fracture toughness by two times and can be improved by as high as four times, while compressive & flexural strength can be more than doubled.
|We’re pleased to announce that we’re now using environmentally friendly envelopes on all our shipments. 2¢ from every € spent on these envelopes goes to the Plantemos para el Planeta foundation. These green envolopes are also made of ecological chlorine-free paper with recycled polyethylene bubblewrap. Note you’ll need to separate these before recycling…|
|Vertebrae components is pleased to announce that we will be represented at Interbike 2009, which is held from the 23rd to the 25th of September this year.|
|You will find a complete set of vertebrae ceramic gear & brake housing displayed on Torelli’s showbike. Torelli is an official exhibitor and can be found at booth number 4054. Unfortunately we weren’t able to organise a demo bike in time for Eurobike… but we’ll definitely having something to show there in 2010.|
If you have an official UCI ranking or belong to a professional cycling team, we are interested in hearing from you to discuss the details of our sponsorship program!
Other cyclists are also open to apply; please send us an e-mail / short letter about why you think you deserve to be sponsored and we’ll consider it. Remember that all sponsored athletes are effectively ambassadors to our company – that means you should be willing to represent Vertebræ, to talk about our products and their performance to other riders at each and every opportunity.
If you would like to link to us, you can copy and paste the following html code into your website:
Link with transparent Vertebrae logo optimised for white backgrounds:
Link with Vertebrae logo optimised for black or dark backgrounds:
Vertebrae simple text link:
(feel free to change the anchor and title text for something more appropriate if you know how)
|This artifact is believed to have originated before the Quaternary period, but some time after the Pliocene to upper Miocene era. It was found buried on the Northern coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, a place not normally associated with these types of discoveries.|
|What’s interesting about these particular remnants is that vastly different various materials and fabrication methods were used throughout construction. The majority of the mechanism which is now brown in colour has been completely “fossilised” and is no longer functional. However, the white components have not experienced any visible signs of degradation. Upon closer inspection, this strange device works quite effectively – it is still able to resist compressive forces yet remains completely flexible. There is no sign of any cables in the immediate vicinity (possibly they were lost or stolen before burial), but this remarkable housing appears completely intact, despite being exposed to the elements for around 5-20 million years!|
Firstly, a big thankyou to www.light-bikes.de who posted this news story about Vertebrae last Monday the 10th of August. We are continuing to receive a great number of vistors through that article, as well as the additional forum comments!
Next we’d like to acknowledge Jason from fairwheelbikes for this excellent review.
Here’s what people are saying about Vertebrae in other countries: Read the rest of this entry »
Let’s face it: anyone who rides both on and offroad knows that even current road bikes have less-than-ideal brakes. With the advent of 8 and 9″ rotors, braided lines and quad piston calipers for downhill MTBs, “lame” is probably a better word. Road bikes are faster than their cross-country MTB counterparts, so they should really be equipped with more powerful brakes. In this article, this logic is questioned in depth. Read the rest of this entry »
As of next month, Vertebrae is proud to introduce 5 new colour options:
• Hot pink
• Neon green
• Glow in the dark