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Reviews

Featured Product: Monkeylectric LED Wheel Light

From time to time, we get some cool and fun products to ride with and feature on the site. The Monkeylectric M132 is such product.

Here are the product’s features:

· Unique and powerful graphics synthesizer system:
generates thousands of constantly changing patterns and colors
instantly customizable colors, patterns and activity to fit any situation
· 32 Full color, wide angle, ultra-bright LEDs provide nearly 360-degree visibility
· 8 mounting options fit nearly any Road, Mountain or BMX bike wheel
· Ruggedized construction designed for daily use and frequent wet weather
· Vibration-proof 3-point mounting system
· High strength fiber composite construction withstands rough riding
· Hook & loop battery strap keeps batteries secure and easy to replace
· Lead-free, RoHS compliant environment-friendly construction
· Only 65 grams without batteries
· Clear hardcoat over all LEDs keep the lights fully waterproof for the deepest puddles
· Lasts up to 30 hours on 3 x AA batteries, rechargeables provide best performance

I installed the Monkeylectric LED on my DB Transporter-Xtracycle, I figured that the bike is an excellent candidate since I like to cruise with it in the dark.

The LED is fairly easy to use, simple push the power button, select a color, pattern and speed and you are ready to go. One of the things that I really like about the LED is that is really bright and it really attracts attention. As I rode through my neighborhood during 4th of July, I got a lot of cheers from the people that were enjoying the 4th of July festivities outside in their driveway.

The only drawback of this light is that it may make your wheels imbalanced, since I don’t ride very fast on my Xtracycle, I don’t really notice, but here’s what Monkeylectric says about how to handle such imbalance:

Our more casual test riders can’t tell the difference when riding. As with any product you attach to your bike wheel or bike – it can affect the handling especially at high speeds. We recommend that you familiarize yourself with the handling of your bike after installing the m132s.

Any imbalance is more noticeable on high-performance lightweight wheels, and at faster riding speeds. If this is important to you there are a couple things you can do: (1) mount the m132s closer to the hub of the wheel – this will dramatically reduce any imbalance, (2) remove the batteries when you are not using it. the bare unit is only 65g, the batteries usually add another 100g. (3) mount a second m132s, or similar weight, on the opposite side of the wheel.

Here’s a short video of the Monkeylectric in action (Sorry about the fuzziness, my camera is not really equipped to shoot in the dark):

At $64.95 it may not be cheap, but Monkeylectric seems to be sold out due to high demand. I think that if your commute is a short one or a slow one and if you ride at night, you could benefit from the Monkeylectric M132’s brightness making you more visible at night.

Review: Ryders “Oasis” Sunglasses

A couple months back, the folks at Ryders Eyewear sent me a pair of their “Oasis” sunglasses to try out. I’ve been wearing these sunglasses exclusively for all that time…to the beach, to work, on recreational bike rides, to events and out on the town. So, I think I’ve developed enough of an impression to write something about them.

Oasis

Here’s a little bit about the glasses from the Ryders website (these glasses are part of their “Chill Collection“):

    FRAME: GLOSS BLACK, DURAFLEX
    LENS: GREY, POLYCARBONATE, 100% UV PROTECTION
    TINT: 15% VLT
    FIT: MEDIUM
    FEATURES: ANTI-SLIP NOSE PADS AND TEMPLE TIPS
    PRICE: $39.99

Although these glasses are not sport-specific, they seem well designed for active lifestyles. The lens material is tough, the hinges and finish are durable and the temple and nose pads do their thing without slipping.

There are three major attributes I really liked about these sunglasses. First, the lens is almost completely uninterrupted by the nose bridge…that bridge is just a tiny vertical strip of plastic, giving the wearer a great field of view with no obstructions. Here’s a shot of the lens as viewed from the inside:

nose bridge

Secondly, the shape and curve of the lens gave me great peripheral vision. While the temples and hinge area of these glasses are chunky, they are set back far enough in my field of view that I can barely see the edge only if I really crank my eyes over to the side. With other sunglasses I’ve tried, my peripheral vision tended to be obstructed unless I turned my head. Not so with these glasses — I get the full sweep with no head-turning!

Third, the glasses fit very tightly to my face. I have a very narrow face, and sometimes sport glasses stick out past the sides of my head, giving me a rather “insect-like” appearance. Also, if there’s a big air gap at the top or bottom of the lens, this can cause my eyes to tear up when the wind hit them at speed (I like to ride fast…what can I say?). The Oasis lenses curve both horizontally and vertically, snugging up to the contours of my face. In fact, the tops fit so closely to my eyes that I actually have to tuck my wacky, Leonid Brezhnev-style eyebrows in!

Untucked:
untucked

Tucked:
tucked

For those of you who live in hot, humid environments, have no fear…the hydrophilic nose pads and temple inserts WILL NOT slip, no matter how much you sweat. Sunglass slippage is the bane of many a cyclist — it’s a safety hazard! And, while many reasonably-priced sunglasses have rubber pads that claim to be slip-free, they don’t often deliver; good pads are usually in the realm of really expensive sport-specific eyewear. Not so with Ryders…these rubber pads are the real deal.

So far, I’ve been incredibly pleased by these sunglasses. They filter out a good amount of light and glare on sunny Florida days, they stay in place and they keep my eyes from watering. Sure, they look a little “pimp”, but hey — that’s how I roll!

Check out the full collection at the Ryders Eyewear website…oh, and Ryders, if you’re reading this, I’d sure love to try out some of the other models (hint, hint).

G-Form Gel pads Review

What:G-Form Gel Saddle kit, Gel Brake hood Over-Grips, Bike Shoe Inserts:

About G-Form:

About me and my commute:
I’m 5′7″, 160lbs and 37yrs young. My commute is 23.6 miles round trip and it is mostly flat. I ride from Whittier, CA to Downey CA in Los Angeles County. 90% of my commute is ridden on the street and the rest is on the San Gabriel River Trail Bike path.


Brake hood overs freshly installed.


Gel Saddle pads freshly installed

Overview:I installed the G-form saddle pads and the Gel brake hood overs on my trusty and reliable Ibex X-ray cyclocross commuter bike. I was looking for a little extra comfort, specifically in the brake hood area. Although I didn’t need the extra comfort in the saddle area, I installed the saddle gel pads to see if I could feel a difference. I’ve ridden with the G-Form pads for over two months and put over 200 commuting miles on them. Here’s the skinny:

The pads work as advertised, they do add the extra comfort and they absorbed and dampened some of the imperfections of the road. I really liked the hood overs — they gave me the comfort that I was looking for and my hands were not fatigued at the end of my commutes. I was also pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the saddle gel pads were; I used another type of gel saddle cover once, but I really hated it because it moved all over the place.


Hood overs after 2 months and over 200 miles


Saddle Gel pads after 2 months and over 200 miles

Some of you shared some concern about the durability of the gel pads; I was also a little worried that the glue of the pads was not going to last. After 200 miles, the saddle gel pads needed a little ‘patch kit’ that G-form is now including with their saddle kit. These little patches MUST be installed or the tips of the saddle pads WILL unglue.

The hood over pads are showing their wear and tear; the edges are not sticking to the hoods anymore and when is really hot outside, they tend to soften up and bunch up a little. The bunching up does not really affect the comfort of the pads, they tend to firm up after a while. I’m guesstimating another month of commuting before they become totally unglued. I still don’t care much for the shoe pads — after correctly installing them, I didn’t feel any added comfort.

So the big question is, are they worth it? For those who are seeking comfort from their saddle, the gel saddle pads are comfortable and durable. You can try to buy another saddle, but that would be a hit and miss and those other gel saddle covers are just horrible. The gel hood over pads durability is questionable, but they may be worth it to you if you don’t mind shelling $12.95+ shipping about every 3 months. I can’t say much about the shoe pads, my guess is that if your feet experience discomfort, give the pads a try.

G-form sells all three items for $47.85 and shipping is included, if you are thinking about trying the pads, this would be the way to go. If you want to buy an individual item, ask your LBS to carry G-form pads — you’ll save a few bucks in shipping and handling.

For more information or to buy the G-form pads, go to www.gformcomfort.com

Fixed Gear Friday: KHS Flite 100 Review

The KHS Flite 100 is KHS’ offering for track racers and bike messengers. Here are the specs of the bike:

Frame: Reynolds 520 Double Butted full CrMo
Fork: CrMo track
Headset: Cane Creek A-Headset
Rims: Weimann SP17 Alloy, Doublewall, black
Hubs: Alloy Flip-Flop Track, black
Tires: Kenda Koncept 700x23c, Kevlar
Spokes: 14G Stainless 36°, black
Chain: KMC Z30
Crankset: FSA Vero Track, 165mm x 48T, black
Bottom Bracket: Sealed Cartridge
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace SS-7600, 16T
Pedals: Alloy road w/toe clips & straps
Seatpost: Alloy micro-adjust
Saddle: San Marco Ponza Lux
Handlebar: Alloy track bend, black
Stem: Alloy 3D Forged, black
Tape: Cork Tape, black
Brake Levers: Tektro alloy top mount, Front Only
Brakes: Alloy dual pivot, Front Only
Color:Flat Dark Gray
Frame Sizes: 50, 53(tested), 57, 60cm (measured center-to-center)

Weight as tested:20.05lbs

Here’s some info about me and my commute: I’m 5’7″, 160lbs and 37yrs young. My commute is 23.6 miles round trip and it is mostly flat. I ride from Whittier, CA to Downey CA in Los Angeles County. 90% of my commute is ridden on the street and the rest is on the San Gabriel River Trail Bike path.

Aesthetics:
The KHS Flite 100’s flat dark gray/black scheme reminds me of a Stealth Bomber; the bike is very unassuming, it has proper track dropbars instead of risers and there are no trendy Deep V rims here. KHS did add a little touch of ‘retro’ with its fork:

KHS also added a front brake to this year’s bike; you can also add a rear brake since the frame is drilled for one.


These cracks on the road help me determine the bike’s ride quality.

The ride:
The KHS Flite 100 is one fast machine: once you are up to speed, you can cruise at 19-20mph effortlessly; if you want to sprint, the Flite 100 feels stiff with no noticeable flex. The steel frame absorbs most of the road chatter; however, the 150 psi tires will make the ride uncomfortable. I usually inflated the tires to 100 psi and I had no issues. The San Marco Ponza Lux saddle is rather hard, but once I dialed it in, I got used to it. The Tektro front brake did a great job slowing the bike down in conjunction with my legs, being able to use your legs to control the speed of a bike is one of the great things of riding a fixed gear bike.

I found the 48X16 gear combination to be adequate for my commute, it does take the Flite 100 a little time to get up to speed, but when it does, it flies. The last half mile of my commute is a gradual incline, it does take a little bit of more effort to get up the road, but that is how your physical condition is improved by riding a fixie/singlespeed bike.

Things I would like to change:I complained about the lack of water bottle bosses, so I asked KHS why is it that they are missing. Their answer was that the KHS Flite 100 is a true track bike that it is used for competition and it is also mostly used by messengers that ride short distances. My solution was to add a handlebar water bottle mount which kind of ruined the look of the bike, but another alternative is to get a water bottle holder that clamps to the seat tube or the downtube. I also didn’t care for the pedals; I know that this is a personal preference, I just like the easiness of entry of clipless pedals.

Should you buy one?
Riding a fixed geared bike is an experience that I recommend trying, not because it is the cool thing to do, but because of how much your pedal technique and your physical condition improves. The MSRP of this bike is $549, which is pretty much the average. Although the bike is a great seller among track riders and messengers, I also think that this bike is a good medium distance, flat terrain machine. If you are looking for a decent Fixed Gear bicycle, check out the Flite 100, you won’t be disappointed.

For more information, go to www.khsbicycles.com

Hoss Sienna Plaid Ponderosa Knickers

I wasn’t much of a fan of knickers…that is until I tried the Hoss Ponderosa Knickers. I’m a huge fan of their Ponderosa shorts; I own 3 pairs and I use them to commute and to mountain bike. So, Hoss sent me a pair of their Sienna Plaid Ponderosa Knickers to ride with.

Here’s some technical info about the knickers:

* 8 panel microfiber polyester outer shell is lightweight and durable
* 6 panel polyester/Spandex liner with CoolMax for moisture management and comfort
* CoolMax sanitized chamois with multi-level technology improves comfort by relieving the pressure points between body and saddle
* Adjustable bungee cord closure on legs
* 6 pockets, including 2 side cargo pockets and a rear cargo style pocket with Velcro closures
* Partial elastic waistband with extra secure belt and buckle for comfort and fit
* Rear stretch panel for comfort and flexibility

The biggest reason why I like these knickers is because they cover my knees and they shield the cool morning breeze . Having arthritis, this is a big plus; my knees don’t stiffen up and become sore when I get to work. So how do they feel in the hot afternoons? The Ponderosa knickers breathe rather well, and riding in the hot afternoons is not an issue for me. The chamois is also top notch — it absorbs the sweat and keeps my derrière very comfortable.


Bonus Blue Power ranger Picture

The adjustable bungees do a great job in keeping the knickers’ pant leg away from the chain. I also like their style; they are not super tight and they are not too baggy — the Sienna plaid fabric give these knickers a subtle touch of class.

The knickers are priced very competitively at a MSRP of $69.95, but frankly, for all the features that these knickers offer, I think that the Hoss Ponderosa knickers are an excellent buy.