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Author Archive: Moe

NiteRider Sentinel tail light review

It has been a little over eight years since we wrote our non-scientific rear light comparo. Planet Bike’s Super Flash rear light was a top favorite and it is still one of my personal favorites.

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We were offered to review the NiteRider Sentinel rear light featuring lasers. Yup, lasers! In top of the lasers, this light also features a 2 Watt LED light producing about 40 lumens. Let me tell you, even without the lasers, this light is freaking bright. Another cool feature is that the Sentinel is a USB rechargeable light-a huge plus in my book.

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I’m guilty of purchasing those inexpensive Chinese laser rear lights and they eat batteries like crazy, not to mention that the quality of the lights was horrible. Lesson learned.

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We used the NiteRider Sentinel during most of our weekly nightly off-road cycling ride. Our local ride offers a variation of horse trails, small streets and big avenues; a rear light is a must for safety reasons. The Sentinel performed with no hiccups even going through some bumpy trails.

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The Sentinel was also tested during our morning rides to the beach on Pacific Coast Highway. Although the lasers were ineffective during daylight, the 2 watt LED was clearly noticeable.

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Pros:
USB rechargeable
Super bright 2 Watt LED light
Freaking Lasers!
Mount can adapt to most seatpost shapes and sizes
NiteRider Quality
Good run time
5 running modes

Cons:
Lasers are invisible during daylight
A little pricey at $50.00

What I would change:
I think that the concept of having virtual laser bike lanes is a good one, however, I don’t really think that we need a laser on the right side since most of us ride close to the curb. It would also be a good idea if the left laser would be 3-feet away from the bike since a few states have a mandatory 3-feet passing law.

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With its super bright 2 Watt LED, convenient mounting strapping system, USB charging and cool lasers; I can definitely see the NiteRider’s Sentinel being one of my favorite tail lights.
Our review disclaimer.

Wabi Cycles Lightning RE Review

I posted a first impression of the Wabi Cycles Lightning RE about two weeks ago. I mentioned that this road bike has been the most comfortable bike that I’ve ever ridden. I still stand by that statement. After ridden the bike on the streets, river trail, uphills and downhills I absolutely love the way this bike rides.

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But before I go into the specifics of why I love this bike so much, I want to get into what a buyer will experience when ordering a bike from Wabi Cycles. It all started with a call from Richard Snook asking me my measurements to ensure that the bike that I was going to receive would fit properly, after I gave him my measurements we decided to stick with a 49 frame. Richard will make sure that the bike that you will be ordering will fit properly.

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I also decided to ask Richard about Wabi, I could hear the passion that he has about his bikes by chatting with him. You can read Wabi’s story on the “Wabi Story” page. He also gave me brief explanation about the different types of steel tubing and explained to me that the Columbus Spirit Steel tubing used on the Lightning RE is the lightest in the industry. If you want to learn more about the different types of steel, click here.

Let’s get into the specs of the bike:

Frame: Hand built using heat treated, triple butted oversized Columbus Spirit super light steel complete tube set and forged vertical rear drops. Integrated, fillet brazed seat post bolt design. Rear brake cable routed through top tube. Braze ons for front derailleur and two bottle cages.
Fork: Carbon fiber blades with 1 1/8″ aluminum steerer and aluminum fork ends. FSA Orbit X headset with sealed cartridge type bearings
Wheels: Sealed cartridge bearing hubs, 28 hole 14/15G DB stainless, 3 cross lacing, 22mm depth aero section rims with CNCed braking surface. 1650g/set
Drive train: Micro Shift Centos 2 X 10 system, with 11/25T cassette
Crank/BB: Cold forged aluminum arms, 170mm, 39/50T chain rings, external bearing type sealed BB
Tires: Kenda Koncept Kevlar bead folding 700×23, 210g each
Brakes: Cold forged aluminum F&R with cartridge type pads

Why did I love riding this bike so much? Comfort, speed and handling with an emphasis in comfort. I’ve owned and ridden steel bikes before so I thought that it was going to be a subtle difference on how the Lightning RE rode. I was floored on how different the ride was right of the bat. Richard is right, the quality of the ride is unmatched to aluminum and lower grade steel bikes.

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I mentioned my reservation about the Microshift Centos drive train, I’ve never heard of them but what little I found in the internet was positive. My experience with the Centos was also a positive one, shifting was fast and crisp rivaling the feeling of the Shimano 105s. One thing that did bother me was that the shifting paddle does feel flimsy. I also had a tough time on the uphills; the Lighting RE boasts a classic 39/50T on the front and 11/25 cassette on the rear, I was left looking for more gears on over 7% grade uphills.

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Blasting down the hills on his bike was really fun. The bike was responsive with quick handling but the brakes were another story. The Tektro caliper brakes faded a bit and it took quite a bit of pressure on the brake levers to slow down the bike on the steep downhills. The saddle was comfortable and I had to issues with the Kenda Concept tires.

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At $1,950 the bike is not cheap, but if you value ride quality that easily surpasses aluminum bikes and rivals carbon fiber, the Lightning RE’s price point is actually an excellent value. If you can’t get over the Microshift Centos, Wabi also sells the Lighting RE as a frame set (Includes frame, fork, headset and seat post clamp bolt).

Our Review Disclaimer

Wabi Cycles Lightning RE First Impression

“It is the most comfortable bike that you would ever ride”

That is a big claim for bike that will cost you about 2 grand. Did I mention that it was steel? oh yes, but not just “any” steel but Columbus Spirit Steel.

(Disclosure: Wabi cycles sent us a Lightning RE for us to review.  Moe has accepted to do the review because he is roadie, loves bikes and he is just plain awesome. -RL Policar)

If you follow us on Facebook, you would have seen some of the teaser shots from the un-boxing of the Lightning RE to its first 18 mile ride to the beach. Here is my first impression of the bike:

For starters, the bike came well packaged and protected in a box via Fedex.

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It is also worth noting that the bike was pretty much 90% assembled, a simple hex tool was all I needed to put the bike together.

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As soon as the bike was assembled, I couldn’t help to notice how beautiful the bike is. The frame is traditional with a carbon fiber fork, the parts are polished and that Red… quite captivating. The bike got a few compliments as I was riding the bike to the beach, it is definitively a looker.

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There is one thing about this bike that I’m still on the fence; the Microshift Centos shifting components. I’ve never heard of Microshift before, a quick google search yielded few results, some of these results comparing this grouppo with Shimano 105s. Well, my current bicycle is equipped with 105s so a comparison will be a must.

So what about that claim that this is going to be the most comfortable bike I’ve ever ridden? So far it is totally true. The bike blew my mind, I just could not believe how different the ride is from my Giant TCR SLR 2.

The ride to and from the beach is relatively flat with minimal shifting and braking so I still need to put the bike through some uphills and descents. Stay tuned for my full review.

DZR GMT-8 Urban Cycling Shoe review

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I’m a simple type of guy when it comes to shoes; no fancy Nikes or Reeboks that have gels or springs and cost over 100 bucks. I’m a Vans guy — I’ve been wearing them since high school. Cool thing is, Vans haven’t gone out of style, they are inexpensive and they come in hundreds of styles. So when RL told me that he had some shoes for me to test that have the same style as Vans shoes AND are SPD compatible, I got excited.

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So here they are, these are the DZR GMT-8 Urban Cycling Shoes. Check them out, they are beautiful and simple. The DZR GMT-8 have nifty details such the reflective rear badge, chain link sole and two- tone design.

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Before I installed the cleats, I wore the shoes for a couple weeks, I wanted to see how comfortable they felt and wanted to break them in. The shoes fit me just right, their width was adequate for my feet and I didn’t feel any funny bumps on the bottom of my feet. These shoes are outright comfortable.

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Installing the Cleats was a straight forward process. I simply cut out the plastic cover, screwed in the cleats and I was ready to rock. Notice how the cleat does not protrude at all, this means no click-clack noise that is incredibly annoying when you wear standard road shoes. I was concerned that the comfort level was going to change after I installed the cleats, I’m happy to report that installing the cleats did not change any of the comfort characteristics of this shoes. They are still super comfy.

So how did the DZR GMT-8 perform as a road shoe? Right off the bat I had a few concerns; the long laces, the white toe area and the softness at the top of the shoe.

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The shoe lace concern proved to be wrong, I never had issues with the laces getting tangled on the crank while pedaling. I did make sure that my shoe laces were quite tight.

The white area of the shoes got quite dirty thanks to all the riding and walking I did in them. If you like your shoes looking like new, you are going to have to clean them often.

The DZR GM-8 shoes provide adequate stiffness on the sole area, you could easily forget that you are riding with cleats. But if you are a roadie or if you use road cycling shoes you will notice something off about the DZR GMT-8 shoes; the shoes lack stiffness on the upper area. Although this makes the DZR GMT-8 shoes quite comfortable, they do sacrifice power transfer while pulling on the pedal stroke. This is not a big deal for non Cat 6 commuters but if you are looking for these shoes to be high performance road shoes, they are not.

What this shoes are, these are awesome shoes for those bike commuters who don’t want to carry extra shoes but must ride with cleats. The shoes look great on and off the bike (just leave your TdF lycra kit at home) and they are very comfortable on and off the bike as well.

With a price point of $85.00, I consider the shoes to be a good value due to their versatility and comfort. I highly recommend them.

DZR offers more styles and colors of shoes , please visit their website at www.dzrshoes.com for more information.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.

Interbike 2010- Torker Bicycles Interurban-E

E-bikes have a very strong presence at Interbike, most of the bikes are either modified mountain bikes, hybrids or foldables. Torker Bicycles decided to go a little out of the limb and added the electric kit to a road bike with drop bars.

The Interurban-e is an interesting concept, equipped with an Alfine hub and disc brakes it is definitely one of the first of its kind.