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Garmin Vivoactive review

Hello Bike commuters, roadies, mountain bikers and anyone who found this post via Google. I hope you all had a great labor day weekend, I know I did.

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A little while ago I wrote a post about fitness bands but even though I found the Moov to be the most adequate for cycling, it was not fulfilling all of my cycling and hiking needs. A few friends recommended the Garmin Vivofit Active so I bit the bullet and I plunked $179 for one.

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So what made me spend more than twice than what a fitness bands costs? The Garmin Vivoactive’s features:

-Utra-thin GPS smartwatch with a sunlight-readable, high-resolution color touchscreen.
-Built-in sports apps, including GPS-enabled running, biking and golfing plus swimming and activity tracking¹, let you view your stats even when away from your phone.
-Pairs with your smartphone to gently vibrate and display alerts for incoming calls, texts, emails and calendar items plus notifications from social media and other mobile apps.
-Customizable with free watch face designs, widgets and apps.
-Fast Battery charge lasts through all your activities with up to 3 weeks6 in watch/activity tracking mode or up to 10 hours using GPS
-Easily sends all your ride stats to Strava once your activity has been completed saving your smartphone’s battery.
-Keeps track of your indoor activities such as indoor cycling and running

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I also like Garmin’s app; the amount of data that I can have at my fingertips is quite a bit and I love data:

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I also opted for the heart rate monitor and the handlebar mount:
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Is there anything that I did not like about the Garmin Vivoactive? Yes, it is hard to see indoors unless you use the backlight and some of the faces have very small letters that make it impossible to read if you need reading glasses.

Overall, I do recommend the Garmin Vivoactive for cycling and hiking. I know that there is a newer version that eliminates the use of the HR strap but you will have to shell out $70 to $100 more.

The Bike Geek: Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500

Hello fellow bicycle riders! I know it is late but I had a fun filled weekend hiking and riding my mountain bike that I did not have a chance to ride my Spicer Cycles CX bike until today.

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If you visit our Facebook page, you noticed that I posted a picture of something resembling an X-men belt, it is actually the Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 (say that three times fast) lock.

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I had the chance to ride to the post office for a quick errand so I decided to take the lock with me for a first impression. This lock is like nothing I’ve ever seen, it folds tidily into a pouch that features a very versatile strapping system.

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Notice I was able to strap the lock to my Axiom Streamliner DX rear rack which helped counter balance my 2 Wheel Gear pannier backpack convertible. You can also attach it in lieu of a water bottle cage, but I’m a thirsty guy so I need both cages on my CX.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is a little heavy, weighing at about 3.88 lbs but unless you are carrying it in your backpack, the weight is not too noticeable.

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The lock features 5.5mm steel bar made of special hardened steel and Soft-touch coating on the bars and matching silicone lock body cover protects bike’s paint job. Just be careful with the links because they can pinch you.

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As I arrived at my post office, I immediately parked my bicycle with the tire inside the rack. Well, the lock was not long enough to lock the front tire and the frame so I decided to lock my bike to the side of the rack. Mmmm, not too happy about that.

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Since I was only going to go inside the post office for a couple of minutes, I felt OK leaving my bike locked as the pictures show, but no way I would leave my bike locked like that for an extended period of time. Why? I think my wheels are an essential part of my bike and since they feature quick release skewers, they would be easy to steal.

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The lock also comes with a key that has a little blue LED so you can find the hole in the dark, I think that it is a nice little feature.

The Abus Bordo Granit X plus 6500 is sort of like a flexible U-lock, but bulkier, and heavier and the price…. $179.00 which is over twice as much as a Kryptonite lock. I also did not find any guarantee if your bike gets stolen while using this lock, that is a bummer for a lock of this price point.

We will try to break this lock using rudimentary tools, will it hold up? We will see soon….

The Bike Geek: Two Wheel Gear pannier backpack convertible review

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Welcome to May also known as Bike to Work month, so to start things up, here’s the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible review.

You may remember a preview of the Pannier-Backpack convertible that we posted about a month ago. I was very impressed with the quality, the space and how easily the pannier converts from backpack to pannier and vice-versa.

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I’ve been doing my train-bike commute with this pannier and its functionality has been a convenience that has made my commute really enjoyable. I board the train in backpack mode and when I’m ready to ride; I simply convert it to a pannier and on my way I go.

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So why not just a pannier? As I stack my bike in the train with other bikes, having just a pannier will be on the way of other bikes and it may get damaged or stolen.

So why not just a backpack? The number one question that I always get as a bike commuter is: Don’t you get sweaty when you ride? And the answer is yes and riding with a backpack makes your back really sweaty so having a pannier allows me to arrive to the office a little “fresher”.

I also envision this pannier-backpack being great for students who ride to school, photographers who use their bike as a mean of transportation and short bicycle getaways such as simple overnight trips.

So let’s recap the main features of this pannier-backpack:

  • 24 Liters of space
  • High Quality Weatherproof materials
  • Compartments galore
  • Easy convertible system
  • Rain cover
  • Reflective accents
  • Comfortable straps
  • Padded laptop/tablet compartment
  • Reasonable price

Here is a little video of how easy the pannier converts to a backpack:

I did not find any ssues or drawbacks with this product, but I do have one suggestion: I would love to see an outside mesh that would hold my helmet when in backpack mode.

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Do I recommend this product? Oh heck yes, I love this pannier-backpack and if your commute is very similar to mine and if you want a more elegant solution than a wire basket and a backpack; it’s a no-brainer.

For more information regarding this product or to purchase it, please visit: twowheelgear.com

Here is the link to our fabulous FTC Disclaimer: FTC Disclaimer

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Next week: The Rosarito-Ensenada fun ride!

The Bike Geek: Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible

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We have received the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack convertible from the land where Americans will leave to if Donald Trump gets elected. Interestingly, my Devinci Caribou is also Canadian so both items will be rightfully immigrated just in case Trump wins the election.

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Disclaimer: The fine fellows from Two Wheel Gear noticed that I was commuting via train and bicycle so they sent us their new Pannier Backpack convertible to put through its paces.

So the big boss at BikeCommuters.com asked me if I wanted to review this thing that is supposed to be a Pannier AND a backpack. I was intrigued and I was also in need of a nice Pannier so I quickly accepted his offer.

Let’s begin with the “convertible” system:

The backpack features two shoulder straps like a regular backpack:

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There are a couple of zippers on top of the bag that if you unzip them, it will reveal the Universal Rixen & Kaul rack attachment:

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Stuff the straps in the bag opening:

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and then fold the flap inwards:

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Then simply mount the pannier to the rear rack:

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Close the bottom straps, and voila, you got yourself a pannier!

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The conversion takes about a minute, this was a huge plus for me on my last train-bike commute. I boarded the train in backpack mode and as soon I got off the train, I simply converted it into a pannier and I was ready to ride the bike to work.

Let’s move on with some of the Features:

24L of space-That is huge! I was able to fit my jeans, shirt, pump, tire levers, tube, hoodie AND lunch. Notice the nice compartments:

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This includes a padded sleeve for a 15″ laptop or a tablet!

High quality weatherproof materials– Includes reflective accents!

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And for those people who ride while it rains:

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A Fluorescent, reflective rain cover!

The guys at Two Wheel gear are geniuses; I was truly blown away with their Pannier/Backpack design. The functionality, the looks and the materials are top notch but we will see how this bag holds up to my train/bike commute. Stay tuned for a full review.

You can purchase this pannier/backpack at TwoWheelGear.com for a very reasonable $119 USD.

Next week on The Bike Geek:

Protect-Your-Nuts!

Rad Power Bikes-RadWagon Electric Cargo Bike First Impressions

We took delivery of the Rad Power Bikes RadWagon for testing. After a 45 minute assembly session, we were on the road. Yes, you read it right, this is an Electric Cargo Bike. Reminiscent of my old Xtracycle, but electrified.

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This bike is powered by a brushless direct 750w drive motor,  48V 11.6Ah Li-Ion With 30 Amp Continuous BMS Samsung 29E Cells. Battery life, depending on mode ranges from 15-50 miles. They say top speed is is 20mph, but I got it up to 21.5mph on the flats.RadWagon

It’s a steel frame with entry level Shimano components. The electronics give you 5 pedal assist modes and a walking mode. The RadWagon weighs 75lbs, but handles really well. Comes with Tektro Mechanical disc brakes with 180mm rotors. Oh yes, it does come with fenders and a rack, which makes it a strong candidate as a “commuter bike.” To read more tech/spec info, simply go HERE.

My favorite feature on this bike would have to be the rear cargo area. It has a wood deck and floor boards so you can carry passengers or cargo. Check out the fender skirts on this bike, that’s in place so your fingers, legs, dress or anything that could get caught in the rear wheel…doesn’t. I like how they made it clear so it doesn’t take away from the look of the bike.

The total payload, that includes rider and cargo is 350lbs. I’ve yet to load it up with cargo, but I know when I had my Xtracycle there was some twisting that could feel. So I’m going to make sure I look out for that on the RadWagon.

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This is the control panel. You can set your pedal assist, check your speed, ODO and max speed as well as battery life. The panel also has a built in USB charging port, just in case you want to plug in your device while riding.  IMG_5640

As you can see on the control panel, there’s ZERO miles, that’s because we just finished putting the bike together and we’ll be testing it out in the next few weeks. So stick around for the review.