D-Fix bike hub keeps gears on and hands clean

Taking off a rear bike tire can be a pain. It’s a multistep process, and you have to be careful if you want to keep your fingers clean of grease. For most commuters, catching a rear tire flat on the way to work is a nightmare that ends with black fingertips and indelible grease gear imprints on your pants. To add insult to injury, you’ll probably be late unless you can get that tire on and off in record time — unfortunately, there are no pace cars trailing us on the Bedford avenue bike path run. The D-Fix bike hub makes changing a rear tire on your multigear bike smooth and clean.

The D-Fix I is a rear hub that separates the cog from the wheel, making it possible to leave the gears on the bike when you remove the rear tire. No need to shift to your lowest gear or touch the derailleur to get the wheel out cleanly, no chain-dangle leading to a greasy frame, and no dirty hands.

Invented by Jan Deckx, the hub features a split through axle and toothed hub ends that lock together. Made of 7075 aluminum and titanium, the lock is secured by a three-turn screw. Jan says he’s tested the hub extensively himself over a variety of terrain. He’d like to see the hub marketed to triathlon and mountain bike users first.

The three major bike parts manufacturers, Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo didn’t snatch up Jan’s new hub, claiming they have patents of their own for similar hubs and haven’t decided to move on them yet. As a major change from existing wheel parts, it would take market-wide acceptance for the D-Fix hub to really take off, but without their support this may have to get its start from a grassroots approach and the inventor’s iron will.  If it does, it may lead to a simplification of rear derailleur designs to remove the spring required to take off the wheel, a feature not necessary with a D-Fix hub.

The tech the D-Fix is built on isn’t entirely new. The Cinelli BiValent hub is the easiest comparison, though Jan claims the two technologies are different and has a Belgian patent for his idea. Similarities of tech aside, we dare you to track down a BiValent hub. It’s a classic from the ’60s and very rare.

This could be a huge help to pro riders by significantly cutting down the time it takes to swap a wheel. Additionally, since riders keep their cassettes they needn’t fear getting a wheel with the wrong gearing from neutral service before descents or climbs. The D-fix hub will have to be approved by the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) professional cycling’s world regulatory group before the pros can use it in races.

For the average rider who rides their miles without a service car, the D-Fix hub erases all the greasy woes of the roadside tube swap. He has an Indiegogo campaign running, offering reductions in purchase prices for hubs and wheels. Lucky for us, Jan says he will start production on a second patented hub of his, “a modification of a famous Swiss mark,” later this summer.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

We toured the Google Hardware Store pop-up in New York: Here’s what it’s like

To show off its slew of new products, Google is opening up pop-up shops in New York and Chicago starting October 18. You'll be able to buy products -- such as the Pixel 3 or the Google Home Hub -- at the Google Hardware Store.
Product Review

Audi's new A8 is so sophisticated and serene, it practically deletes potholes

The 2019 Audi A8’s outline looks promising: Level 3 autonomous driving capability, haptic-feedback infotainment screens, rear-wheel steering, Matrix LED headlights and OLED taillights, plus a predictive suspension.
Product Review

Bigger. Smarter. Louder. The Echo Plus makes Alexa sound better than ever

Amazon’s second-generation Echo Plus speaker is the loudest, bassiest speaker in the Echo fleet. While featuring a smart hub with only Zigbee connectivity, other upgrades make this device a worthy smart speaker.
Product Review

Garmin's Fenix 5X Plus is built for fitness freaks who fawn over every feature

With onboard music, full-color topographic maps, and new sport metrics, the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus sets a high bar for GPS smartwatches. Find out how it can help boost your performance in our Fenix 5X Plus review.
Outdoors

These zip-on bike tires change up your tread to match the terrain

Retyre gives cyclists the ability to change the tread on their bike tires simply by zipping on an overlay designed to provide better grip on trails or in the snow, without replacing the existing tires.
Product Review

Withings Steel HR Sport is a fitness tracker you’ll love wearing

Withings jumps back in the wearables game with the new Steel HR Sport, a hybrid smartwatch that is as much a fitness tracker as it is a timepiece. It's so good that it hasn't left our wrist since we pulled it out of the package.
Emerging Tech

Forget laxatives — this electronic pill will literally shake the crap out of you

Are you suffering from constipation? What you really need is a vibrating smart pill that promises to shake the crap out of you. And we mean that completely literally. Here's how it works.
Deals

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Wearables

Our favorite fitness trackers make it fun to keep moving

Looking for your first fitness tracker, or an upgrade to the one you're already wearing? There are plenty of the wrist-worn gadgets available. Here are our picks for the best fitness trackers available right now.
Outdoors

The Wau stands out in the crowded ebike market with its 60-mile range

The Wau ebike is a high-tech commuter that offers onboard GPS tracking, geofenced alarm systems, built-in front and rear lights, and pedal-assist speeds of up to 20 mph, with a range of as much as 60 miles between charges.
Emerging Tech

With VR dinosaurs and ‘Minecraft,’ one hospital is making medicine less scary

From augmented reality rabbits on the wards to a Minecraft recreation of the hospital for kids to explore, one of the world's most renowned children's hospitals just got a major tech overhaul.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Product Review

The Huawei Watch GT’s battery life gets a tick, but the software may not tock

Huawei’s track record with smartwatches is strong, having releases two models and several spin-offs to general acclaim. This is the Watch GT, and it moves away from Google’s Wear OS to focus on fitness, yet stays ahead of the…