BikeCommuters.com

Reviews

Reviews roundup

It seems like BikeCommuters.com is well known for all the reviews that we do, so here are some of our most popular reviews:

Trek SoHo S
by RL

Kona Smoke 2-9 by Moe

Swobo Sanchez Frameset by Moe

Bilenky Cargo Bike by Russ Roca

Dynamic Crosstown 7 by Ghost Rider

Redline 9-2-5 by RL

Keen Commuter Sandal by Alan Barnard

Rear Blinky comparo by Moe

Seattle Sports Waterproof pannier by Ghost Rider

Banjo Brothers Panniers by Moe

Ergon BD-1 Backpack
by Ghost Rider

Banjo Brothers Commuter Backpack by RL

Hoss Stallion Shorts by The Veloteer

There’s more stuff on on our review category, check it out!

SweetSkinz Rattleback long term review

I always get questions about the tires installed on my Ibex X-ray Cyclocross commuter bike:


They are SweetSkinz Rattleback 700X37c tires. If you don’t know who SweetSkinz is, here’s a little bit about them:

SweetskinZ launched in 1999 with the goal of revolutionizing the tire industry. The company was originally conceived by combining a passion for cycling with a drive to design high-quality, personalized products — the first of which was the world’s premiere bicycle tire featuring a variety of full-color graphics and patterns that are also reflective.

Building on the success and interest from the cycling community, SweetskinZ is working to expand the SkinZ product line with a wide range of industry leaders. In conjunction with new SkinZ Application Partners, SweetskinZ is conducting research and development to bring designs to other products, including a variety of motor vehicle tires, apparel, footwear, golf cart tires and club grips, conveyor belts, and numerous industrial applications.

Our Goal? To not only produce the best quality products on the market, but to infuse a little style along the way so that both consumers and retailers can make a bold, unique statement.

SweetskinZ has evolved from a promising idea, to a company poised to revolutionize and revitalize industries.

OK, so back to the tires… I’ve been riding with these tires for over a year and logged over 700 miles on them.

Thumbs Up: The SweetSkinz rattleback tires have a rattlesnake diamondback pattern (thus the name), I like the design because it is one of their more ‘subtle’ designs, the design is more noticeable when the bike is parked and not when I’m riding it. The tires are meant to go on ‘comfort bikes’, but due to the high tire clearance of the X-ray, they fit rather nicely. How do they ride? The tires are low PSI so they are very plush and they roll with ease.The tires are also puncture resistant, I haven’t had one single puncture with these tires, Here’s what I consider being worth the price of the SweetSkinz tires, their reflectivity:


All SweetSkinz tires have reflective properties embedded on their patterns, a pretty cool safety feature.

Thumbs Down: Weight weenies need not apply, SweetskinZ tires are on the heavy side. Limited 700c sizes, 700X37c is the only available size, unless you have a bike with high tire clearance, tires will not fit. At $39 bucks a piece, tires are not on the cheap side.

BikeCommuters.com bikes on SweetSkinZ tires:



Recommendation: We love SweetSkinz tires for various reasons, yes, at $39 bucks a piece they are not cheap, but I believe they are worth it because of their durability, safety features and coolness factor.

SweetskinZ also supports our website by donating their tires for events like the Urban Bike Commuter Expo and the Bicycle Bash by the bay. We also get a small percentage of every sale if you click their banner and buy tires, all of this money goes for operational costs, not to make us rich.

Green Tuesday: A Simple update

I had my Simple Shoes Eco S for almost a month, so how have they held up to my use (and some abuse)?

Since I mostly ride with clipless pedals, the Simple EcoS shoes see mostly errand or cruising duties. Since I can’t wear sneakers at work (except for casual Fridays), I wear the shoes when I get home and during the weekends.

The Good: The shoes survived a downpour when I was caught in an unexpected storm, there was no damage or shrinkage. I also used the shoes on a Sea World visit; that meant 12 hours of walking. My feet were tired from walking but the shoes were very comfortable. While riding on platform pedals, the rubber soles (made from recycled tires) grip the pedals very good; there was no slippage.

The Bad:The only bad thing that I found about the shoes is that since I do so much stuff with them, the beige portion of the shoes has become somewhat ugly due to the dirt.

I think that the Simple Shoes would make a great Father’s day present, I’ve already asked for my next pair:

so make sure you put them on your list!

For more info or to buy a pair (free shipping on some shoes!) visit www.simpleshoes.com

Peace Coffee: Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast Review

This week we reviewed the Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast from Peace Coffee.

Peace Coffee has placed a clever WARNING LABEL on the package of their coffee…

Here’s are the “specs”

Bike delivering a trailer full of beans. True java to go. Bold flavor and fuel for the uphill. Sweetness on the way down. Rapid.

Roast Level: Medium Dark
Acidity: Medium – Winey
Body: Heavy
Aroma: Complex
Flavor Notes: Dark chocolate and raspberries. Clean finish.

Farmer Cooperative: Fondo Paez

The Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast is a medium roast. Just think of it as notch up from the Birchwood Blend that we reviewed.

The beans grounded to a nice darker earthy tone. The aroma that hits your nose is very pleasant. The medium roast has that coffee scent everyone is familiar with, but it doesn’t have a burnt like smell that some Starbucks beans can have
.

Just like the Birchwood Blend, we used the French Press to make the coffee. Again I first tested the flavor just plain black.

The Columbian Heavy Pedal Roast is a great medium blend coffee. This would be perfect for the rider that likes coffee but not strong like espresso. So its a great in between blend for those that “like it just right.” Acidity level is very low, I measure by seeing if I get a stomach ache and the runs after having a cup. As far as the flavors, Peace describes it as “dark chocolate and raspberries.” I’d have to agree, it was a bit hard to figure out at first, but as I had my second cup, I could definitely taste a dark chocolatey flavor. Just think of a smooth dark chocolate bar that’s been made into a drink. I couldn’t pickup the raspberry flavor, but there’s an obvious twinge of sweetness that hits your taste buds. Actually it doesn’t really it hit, it kinda just flirts with it, as it goes smoothly down your throat.

Peace Coffee describes the Columbian as “Bold flavor and fuel for the uphill. Sweetness on the way down. Rapid.” The coffee does provide a good pick me up, to help you in your morning rides. I say get some of this coffee, have it before you get on your bike in the morning and about 15 minutes before your ride in the afternoon. You basically get the same benefits of an energy drink, but no sugar, carbonation and it doesn’t cost you over $2.00 per serving. Again, a 1lb bag of this Peace Coffee is only $9.99. That should last you at least week or two.

Seattle Sports Waterproof Pannier — Long-Term Update

Way back in September of last year, I posted a review of the Seattle Sports “Fast Pack” waterproof pannier. Here’s how the bag looked when I first got it for review:

shiny new bag

Well, this bag has been on many journeys since last year…hundreds of miles of “soul crushing” loads of pointy-cornered hardbound library books, groceries, dress shoes, tools and assorted other weights. The bag is discolored from sun exposure, tree sap and road grime and has been through 15 or 20 rainstorms, cold weather and any other condition central Florida could throw at it. Here’s how the bag looks now:

she looks rough, but she's still tough!

My verdict on the pannier is this: this bag is indestructible. I’ve stored it outside for all these months on three different bikes, and the only time water ever entered it was when I left it open accidently and my neighbor’s poorly-aimed sprinkler shot over the fence and soaked the bag. Since the bag’s liner hangs from the rim of the external waterproof layer, I simply pulled the liner “inside out” and it dried in a matter of hours.

Despite the bag’s rather wretched appearance, there are no loose seams, gouges or tears anywhere on it. I’ve carried 40 lb. loads of books in there, fully expecting those corners to punch through, but this bag took it all and asked for more!

The mounting system continues to impress me…I’ve never bucked the pannier off its rack mounts despite those punishing loads and they hold tight to virtually every rack I’ve hung the bag on. That’s good quality and great design, in my opinion.

Sure, there are flashier bags out there with more features, but I appreciate the understated “workmanlike” appearance of these panniers. They get the job done without drawing too much attention to themselves. It’s like this: If you value your loads and need them to arrive clean, dry and safe, these panniers by Seattle Sports are hard to beat.