Category: Gear

Wow, we’ve sure been covering carry options today on!

The other day, I received a very unique and waterproof backpack from Seal Line, the makers of dry bags for canoe and kayak enthusiasts.

The backpack came a bit late to test in Florida’s recent tropical storm (“Barry”, for you BeeGees fans out there), but I will give this bag a shakedown for you in the coming week. My initial impression of the bag is pretty favorable, though. The bag looks and feels like it is pretty tough — and the harness system is easy to adjust and quite comfortable.
The shoulder harness -- padded and ventilated!

Stay tuned for a more complete review in the next week or so — I’ll take this bag riding, pack it full of stuff and see just how waterproof it is and all the other fun and maniacal stuff a product reviewer can do!

I drove down to the Nirve Bicycles head quarters in Fountain Valley, Ca. to pick up their new Ultraliner. This bike has the similar components and design as the Shimano Coasting Group, but only better!

nirve ultraliner

Here are the specs:

# NEW AUTOMATIC SHIFTING TECHNOLOGYShifts 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
# Climb hills easier. Keep up with your friends with less effort
# Nirve 17” aluminum Sport Cruiser frame
# Lightweight & easy rolling alloy 700C wheels w/Stainless spokes
# SHIMANO 3 speed Automatic transmission for varied terrain conditions
# Upright alloy Nirve Sport Cruiser handlebars for comfortable cruising
# Nirve comfort saddle w/springs
# Tough impact resistant Polycarbonate fenders
# Alloy Kickstand
MSRP $529.99

I met up with Dan Bon, President/CEO of Nirve. He went into great detail about the Ultraliner. One of the features that stood out to me about this bike was that the Shimano Auto D CPU allows a rider plug in any generator light set to it. He explained how the Shimano Dynamo Hub acts as the generator and produces enough electricity power up a head light and tail light. The CPU even has a photo sensor that knows when it gets dark. So when the sun goes down, the lights will automatically come on! Cool eh?

I rode this bad boy around the neighborhood. Surprisingly this thing is quite fun! To me the Ultraliner is better than any of the Coasting bikes that Trek, Giant and Raleigh put out because it has subtle features on it that make it superior. Here’s a list of why I like the Nirve Ultraliner better than the other auto shifting bikes out there.

1.V-brake, not coaster brakes.
2.High pressure tires.
3.700c wheels, Coasting bikes have 26″ wheels
4.Light weight aluminum
5.It doesn’t look like a girls bike.
6.It rides really smooth, big wheels= faster and smoother ride.
7.CPU allows the rider to manually adjust the shift timing.
8.Sweet Nirve styling.
9.Comfy Seat

So stay tuned as we review this bike and possibly make some upgrades to it and make it more commuter friendly.

NuVinci Hub
As RL mentioned, the awesome people from Seattle Bike Supply sent us a Nuvinci hub to test. We chose the B27-R aka the M.U.T.T as our test steed. Reason being is that the B27-R is already set up as a single speed bike and the 26″ wheel fit perfectly.

NuVinci Hub

I did run into some hurdles, first of all, my mustache bars had to go. The diameter of the ‘Cruise Controller’ was too small to fit the bars.

NuVinci Hub

The other issue that I have is that the chain tensioner will not fit due to the hub’s flange. Shouldn’t be a big deal,
I just need to install a ‘half-link’ on the chain.

NuVinci Hub

I need to finish installing the rear pulley housing, the most difficult part in my opinion, but I’m hoping to be done by the weekend and ready to hit the streets on Tuesday. We test rode the hub at Sea Otter, but this will be a better test as I ride my bike to work, and to the beach. (Can’t wait to see the faces of the snobby roadies on the river trail as I blast down on my MUTT)

The Pasadena Commuter Bike Expo is next weekend. Here are the bikes that we will be showcasing:

RL’s Redline 9-2-5
Redline 9-2-5

Raleigh One Way
Raleigh One Way


KHS Green
KHS Green

Ibex Alpine with the Xtracycle Freeradical

You will be able to smell, touch and maybe ride the bikes. We will also be featuring Accessories from Banjo Brothers, Inertia Designs, Hoss and PrincetonTec. We hope to see you there!!!