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Commuter Bikes

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

Mandy Fender

We normally don’t do kickstarter campaigns, but we love bamboo and this company has this really unique way of setting up your own bamboo fenders, it’s called the Mandy Fenders.

mandy fender

The Mandy Fender is a sustainable bicycle fender that enhances the functionality and aesthetics of any bicycle:
Versatile and interchangeable: The Mandy Fender is the most versatile bike fender ever designed. It fits on nearly every type of bike design: You no longer need a different bike fender for each bike you own.
Easy to install: The Mandy Fender comes with all the parts and tools you need. With a simple video tutorial and a clear instruction manual, anyone can install the Mandy Fender in 30 minutes or less.
Tough and functional: Designed and made from bamboo, the Mandy Fender is light, durable and weather resistant. The mounting hardware consists of both 304 stainless steel and chrome-plated parts.
The Mandy Fender is made with a layer of memory film that allows them to retain its shape. It can be reshaped to fit onto a different bicycle using hot air (from a hair dryer). It is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions such as snow and mud.

Bicycle Adventures-Bike Black Friday

Everyone knows that Black Friday is usually a time spent where hoards of people are rushing to get the best deals. But have you considered doing something different? You know, different as in not getting caught up with all that ruckus. Why not try being active on Black Friday. Yep, get out there and ride.

The folks at Bicycle Adventures have made it Black Friday something you do on your bike. Plus, they’ve given us an incentive to do so! Here’s how it works, If you take a picture on Black Friday while riding your bike outside or if you’re in the gym at a cycling class, and post it to your Twitter, Instagram and/or Facebook, with #BikeBlackFriday, you will be entered to win prizes! See, I told you it was that simple.

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By doing so, you’ll increase your chances in winning a Bicycle Adventure to Bryce and Zion National Parks, an Orbea Urban bicycle and much more!

Here’s the “official rules” from http://www.bikeblackfriday.com/

It’s easy! Here’s how to enter:

1. Use the hashtag #BikeBlackFriday and tag @bikeadventures. Tell us how you plan to ride on Black Friday. Post an Instagram photo of yourself (or yourself and friends.) 

2. Any bike ride counts: indoors, outdoors, solo or group ride.

3. Enter up to 5 times (but you can submit as many photos as you like!)

4. Fill out the form below.

5. Share with friends!

*Contest Prizes: 1. Grand prize: 6-day Bicycle Adventures tour of Bryce & Zion National Parks. 2. Orbea Carpe urban flat-bar road bike. 3. Set of #BikeBlackFriday t-shirts and water bottles for cycling group or indoor spin class (up to 30.) 

 

 

BikeBug.net Cargo Trike Update

So we set out to create a new project for BikeCommuters.com. We wanted to debut the project at the Two Wheels One Planet Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. The proceeds of the event was donated to the American Cancer Society; Making Strides Against Breast Cancer. We reached out to BikeBug.net because we thought their Cargo Trike would be a perfect match for this build. They saw our vision and graciously sent us one of their Cargo Trikes. bikebug.net

 

Once un-boxed, we started building it up. Here’s a photo right after we assembled it. We did make a few changes. We added a bell and a white saddle. But the major changes are coming!cargo trike bikebug.net

As you can see from the cargo area, there is quite a bit of potential. What we did next was very important to the build. We sourced wood from old pallets. In fact, the wood came from broken down pallets that Two Wheels One Planet received from deliveries. We did have to get 2, 2×1 lumber pieces to help with the framing. With all of our materials in-hand, we started cutting and piecing things together.12074968_10207174347184637_4451090786850402141_n

This is the floor of the cargo area that is supported by 2×1 pieces that are bolted onto the frame of the trike.12079541_10207196393895791_1585582633886914512_n

Flipping the trike upside down made it easier to create a jig so we can make sure that our floor was installed evenly. 12088383_10207196394135797_4526714278549380360_n

Floor is pretty much done. We then started building the upper shelf with more 2x1s and then used the pallet wood against the bars of the cargo area. Once everything was screwed in and bolted down, the shelf was pretty secure.IMG_5063

The next step was to box in the upper shelf to keep our goods secure. Again we used reclaimed wood, measured twice and cut once. We’re almost done! Now we just have to finish up the rest of the wood work and then we’ll get to try out our new build.

So here’s what we set out to do…serve cotton candy for the Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. We figured the pink cotton candy was a great match to the event’s theme color.12122398_10207259838761873_4199634754740551532_n

Yes, cotton candy! So here’s the final product…We installed a commercial grade cotton candy maker on the upper shelf to help us serve massive quantities of cotton candy.IMG_5088

The upper shelf also has 6, 1″ holes that holds the paper cones for the candies. That sign was hand painted by my 14 year old daughter and it came from a used pallet! The bottom shelf is great for storing extra goods such as sugar, cones, extension cords and etc. We installed the BigBug.net 200 Smiles Per Gallon plates right in the front so people can see it!IMG_5089

Notice the white wall tires? Those were provided by Two Wheels One Planet! I went with the white theme because the fenders were white and I upgraded the saddle to a white one. I’m considering running white bar tape too. IMG_5090

Here I am explaining to a “customer” how cotton candy works. I told him that cotton candy is “delicious science!”trike

Here’s one of the great things about the BikeBug.net Cargo Trailer. It fits perfectly in my mini-van. That way if I want to do another event for a school or other non-profit, I can easily load it up and go! 12088045_10207263810461163_1412244360725008626_n

Believe it or not, we served more cotton candy to adults than kids! In fact we served some to a whole family who have never had it! Both mom and dad as well as their daughter have never touched it. This photo is of Muni, one of the employees of Two Wheels One Planet, he wanted a cotton candy bigger than his face! Challenge accepted!12143259_10207266149319633_5574283332260106554_n

Overall the reception of the BikeBug.net/BikeCommuters.com Cotton Candy Trike was well received. People kept asking about the trike and where they could get it. When I explained that the wood was sourced from the bike shop, I got more nods and approvals.
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We want to thank the folks who supported this build such as BikeBug.net, Two Wheels One Planet and of course BikeCommuters.com (someone’s gotta pay for supplies). I also have to thank our friend Loren Brewster who guided us in building the wood sections of the trike. We anticipate many more events where we can feature the cotton candy trike. We’re hoping that we can bring it out to more bicycle events like Ciclavia, Ride of Silence and even local races.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “why cotton candy?” Simply put, people love that stuff and it’s easy marketing. We can pass out stickers, business cards and tell them all the great things going on at BikeCommuters.com as well as BikeBug.net.

Maiden Voyage-BikeBug.net Cargo Tricycle

bikebug.net cargo tricycle

This was our first outing with the BikeBug.net Cargo Tricycle. I have to say, there’s going to be a learning curve on how to ride this rig. Once the front cargo area is weighed down, it shouldn’t be too bad. One of the things we’re working on this weekend is installing a new drive train. We’ll be upgrading to a 3 speed Nexus hub and installing some white wall tires. In addition, we’ll be starting the build out for the cargo area.

bikebug.net cargo tricycle