Category: Gear

On the last day of Interbike we met up with the Banjo Brothers Crew. They showed us something new…

Check this out, the left one is the Commuter Back Pack that I reviewed, then on the right is a BIGGER Commuter Back Pack that will be available in Spring 08. It has about 2000 Cubic Inches of storage. The old back pack only had 1500.

Here’s Moe holding another item that will be ready for Spring 08, a smaller messenger bag. They also went away from the tarp-like material and went with a ballistic nylon.

They went with a gray inner liner, they said the white on the original bags would get dirty too easily.

Plus this bag is a switch hitter. Meaning you can have the shoulder strap go either on the left or the right side.

The Banjo Brothers are super cool guys and we’re pretty excited about the new things that will be coming out next year.

Power Grips Update

I installed the Power Grips Pedals on RL’s 925 and all I can say is that I hated them. Before you send me hate mail, please remember that the I’m riding the 925 as a fixed gear not as a single-speed freewheel. I was able to strap one of my shoes, but for the life of me, I just couldn’t strap the other. I was trying to do all this while riding around my non-traffic congested block, so the thought of fiddling with the pedals while riding with traffic just didn’t set well.

RL and I switched bikes again and when I removed the Power Grips pedals I left them on my truck’s bumper. Yeah, you know what happened next.. bye bye Power Grips. Too bad because I was going to give them a go on my other bikes. So what am I going to install on my Swobo Sanchez? I have a pair of Crank Bros Quattro pedals that are not getting riding time, this means that I’m gonna have to find some Vans shoes that are clipless compatible.

A few weeks ago, I posted a “first look�? at the Seattle Sports Fast Pack waterproof pannier.

I’ve had a chance to really ride with this bag — and I LOVE it!! The bag has carried some heavy loads (dress shoes, a stack of big library books, groceries) and has remained absolutely waterproof through some brutal late-summer Florida rainstorms.

In my earlier post, I talked about the great attachment system. The combination of rigid clips and a rotating toggle have made this bag impervious to shifting or “jumping�? off the rear rack of my bike, even with a 20 lb. load in it. It doesn’t rattle or sway in any way. Here’s a look at the attachment system for those who missed my earlier article:

I also really enjoy the ease with which I can open and close the bag to fill it and remove items. I was using some cheapie Nashbar-branded panniers before I got this bag to review, and with that one I have to unclip two buckles, flip open a flap and then undo a drawstring to get at my goodies. With the Seattle Sports pannier, I merely unclip the buckle and roll the top twice to open it. Reclosing it is just as simple — two quick rolls with my wrists, clip the buckle and I’m off!

The fabric, besides being completely waterproof, has also proved to be quite durable. It doesn’t show any signs of wear, even after I scraped that side of the bike against a narrow concrete passageway I sometimes pass through on my way to work. Sharp corners of books that I’ve carried haven’t damaged the bag in any way, either.

I still dislike the inky black interior of the bag — I wish the bag was lined with a lighter-colored material to help me find small items in the bottom, but in practice this really hasn’t caused me any problems.

In any case, this Seattle Sports Fast Pack bag appears to be just the ticket if you have stout commuting loads, live in wet areas and are tired of your other panniers flapping and jingling as you ride. For more information and pricing, take a look at Seattle Sports’ bike gear page.

Now, if I could only scrape together enough cash to buy one for the other side!

I’ve had the Nirve Ultraliner for the past few months. And have used it to commute to work and around town for fun.

The Ultraliner comes in 15? for the ladies, 17? and 21? for the guys.

MSRP: $499.99

Advertised as:

Shifts automatically just like your car to always keep you in the right gear
No more guessing which way to turn the shifter and ending up in the wrong gear
Climbs hills easier. Keep up with your friends with less effort
Lightweight & easy rolling alloy 700C wheels with stainless spokes
SHIMANO 3 speed automatic transmission always chooses the right gear for your riding conditions
Upright Nirve Sports Cruiser handlebars for comfortable cruising
Nirve comfort saddle with springs
Tough impact resistant Polycarbonate fenders
Alloy kick stand

Eye Candy: Whether on my commutes or just for fun, the Ultraliner was always catching some eyes. This bike definitely has more bling than most bikes. The burnished aluminum is a great touch for this bike.

The Ride: The upright position was very comfortable. Even after riding several miles, I did not experience any neck or back pain from slouching over like I would get from other bikes that I’ve had. It’s wide saddle made the ride smooth. Breaking was no problem at all. It’s V brakes worked beautifully.

The Shimano 3 Speed Automatic transmission worked flawlessly. Whether I rode up and down hills, or on rough terrain it shifted at the precise moment I needed it to. It’s shift timing could be easily adjust to shift sooner or later by a dial on the CPU located towards the rear of the bike.

Likes: The ride was smooth, thanks to the 700C wheels. It comes with a full chain guard to keep your legs from getting greasy, and fenders to keep dirt or mud off your back. Extremely low maintenance. The only thing I’ve had to do to this bike is pump the tires. Plus, I love the fact that you don’t have to worry about shifting! I have to mention that this bike totally kicks the Trek Lime’s butt by far. It’s cheaper, and its a bit faster because of the 700c wheels.

Another great thing about the Ultraliner is the Shimano Dynamo Hub not only powers up the CPU for shifting, but it also has enough juice to power up a dynamo light that we added from Planet Bike.

Dislikes: The bike is a bit on the slower side. But then again it’s called a Cruiser for a reason.

Recommendations: This is such a fun bike to commute or ride recreationally. If you like taking leisure rides without having to worry about shifting into the right gear because you’re not sure which is the right gear, then you’ll love the Nirve Ultraliner with its Autoshift technology. This is definitely one of the most pleasurable bikes I’ve had a chance to test out.