TWIT 944: Shilling SponCon

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

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@Leo I posted this in the IRC chat during the show, but if you want a bike with a belt drive, you can get one online at Priority Bicycles or their sub brand Brilliant. I have one with a 7 gear internal gear hub and I love it. They claim the belt drive is maintenance free for 10 years.


I have an eBikes Das Orignal Advanced Urban Pro Diamant with carbon fibre belt and Shimano hub (5 speed) and Bosch Performance Kiox 300 motor. I’ve done over 2,000KM (1250 miles) on it since March and it is excellent. Not having to oil it and keep everything clean (removing oil and gunk build p etc.), just giving it a quick wipe every few days is great.

How do you find it with the 7 speed (that was an option on mine, but 5 speed was deliverable same day, 7 speed was a custom build and a several month wait), the 5th gear is only really usable above 30km/h (20mph) and the motor only assists up to 25km/h, so I’ve only used it a few times so far.

It is a really great combination. I also really like that the Kiox 300 system can use a display, or you can switch the display out for a smartphone hot-shoe, with wireless charging and use the smartphone directly as the display. It also feeds the information directly into Apple Health (I assume Google’s equivalent as well).

I’m guessing I’ll need a new belt every 3-4 years - my wife needed a new chain twice a year, due to the amount of travel she did, and a new cassette every year. Brake pads were also replaced at least once a year - she was doing around 15,000KM a year. I’m guessing I’ll be doing around 6-7,000KM a year.

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Mine is just a pedal bike, no battery assist. I use 1st gear for starting/stopping, and usually ride in 3rd gear on flats and mild hills. I just got the bike in June, so I feel like I’m only now getting acclimatized to 3rd gear and could move to 4th for flats. Usually every night after supper I take the bike out for a 7-10km ride just in the neighbourhood. During that ride there is one minor downhill, where I switch to 7th gear and probably hit about 20km/h. (It’s the highlight of the ride. :wink: ) I presume, if I rode alone, and wasn’t trying to go at a speed that works well with another weaker biker, that over time I might keep adjusting up to run at 4th, 5th and maybe 6th gear… but to be honest, I really can’t imagine using those gears often.

My riding partner has a 3 gear IGH (also from the same place) and belt drive, and uses the 2nd gear pretty much full time.

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Sounds like the top gear(s) on both are for Profi cyclists.

I generally cruise in 4th at about 26-28km/h, dropping to 3rd on the hills. The motor only assists up to 25km/h, so I’m usually riding without the motor - the manufacturer gives a range of 50-80km, I’m getting between 80 and 155km out of a charge at the moment. The motor is useful to get me up over 20km/h, which is what I used to cruise at on my old bicycle.

It is my daily driver now, I ride to work every day on it, the car is used just for shopping at the weekend.

I had a Rohloff Speedhub 14-speed with belt drive on one of my bikes for a while. Amazing bit of engineering, but the weight distribution is odd as you end up adding a kg or so of weight to the rear of your bike. Annual oil change, that’s it for servicing.

Sold it though, that bike now has a derailleur, cassette and chain.

Your wife is getting impressive miles out of her transmission @big_D I rotate 3 chains and try to get the maximum life out the cassette, which is the expensive bit.

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Another cracking episode this week - great job Leo and panel!

One small correction: The obituary piece about Dennis Austin had Leo describe him as the creator of PowerPoint when he was, in fact, the co-creator. Bob Gaskin had the original idea for PowerPoint in the summer of 1984 and Dennis joined him to work on the application three months later. Both men are widely recognised as the co-creators of the application, though Gaskin also credits the contribution of Tom Rudkin, who came on board about a year before PowerPoint’s publication in 1987.

BTW Gaskin’s book about the creation of PowerPoint, called “Sweating Bullets: Notes about Inventing PowerPoint” is well worth a read.


As per the request in the show…

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I’ve listened to you shows for years, even back when you were doing Tech TV and always enjoyed them. However this episode and the previous episode of TWIT with Brianna Wu presented an incomplete picture of Starlink’s role in the Ukrainian war effort. I worked at NASA for 15 years during shuttle and post shuttle when SpaceX as getting its start as a commercial cargo provider and have left the industry and started my own IT company that builds large wifi networks in rural areas. You may not be aware, but Starlink is hardly the only civilian satellite internet provider. There is Inmarsat, Globalstar, Iridium, HughsNet, Viasat, and others. The US military has its own global network of communications satellites SATCOM, and NASA has its own global network as well TDRSS. So to say that Elon Mush and Starlink are the only game in town for Ukraine’s internet battlefield needs neglects the fact other sat internet providers do exist. The battlefield advantage of Starlink is its larger constellation of satellites which makes it harder to jam by the Russians. But it is hardly Ukraine’s only option. In addition the wall street journal misreported that Elon musk was going to flip the kill switch on starlink for the Ukrainian forces if they moved into Crimea. In actuality, Elon does not service Crimea and refused to activate Starlink service in those areas out of concerns it would escalate the war to a nuclear war when Ukrainians attack the Russian naval base. I’ll concede bad contracts from the pentagon have allowed Elon to influence the war, but to say that Ukraine’s only communications option is Starlink, gives Starlink much more importance than it has in reality. Also shame on the US government for not making the Starlink contracts more explicit in what they want Starlink to provide.


Similarly, I expect the mercurial nature of Elon to mess with GM, Ford, Honda and the other automakers who have signed up to use the Tesla superchargers in the US.

It’s a real shame that Electrify America has turned out to be a dumpster fire and nobody else has figured out how to finance anything close to a national charging network.


Thanks for the added insight - I was aware of the other satellite networks (I’ve used Inmarsat shipboard, Iridium on sat phones, and Apple uses GlobalStar, HughesNet for Internet), but didn’t know why Ukraine chose to use Starlink instead. Could it also be bandwidth? Starlink seems to be much faster than the alternatives.