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Safety Equipment

Planet Bike SuperFlash TURBO Recap

Ok, as a brain refresher here is a link to the original post:
http://www.bikecommuters.com/2011/03/01/product-reviewsneak-peek-planet-bike-super-flash-turbo/

Well folks. It’s a unanimous decision. The Super Flash TURBO is a winner! Although my initial post was dated in March, I had been using the TURBO since late January. Day and Night, Night and Day. Rain – CHECK. SNOW – CHECK. SNAIL – CHECK.

The TURBO light pattern is VERY attention grabbing. AND the 1 watt LED is BRIGHT! My wife usually whined about riding behind me.

The original batteries that came with the light held up the entire time. In fact they just barely gave out last week. 4+ months run time is not bad at all! The light began to shut off on it’s own, so I shelved it and grabbed my old standard Super Flash in the interim.

So Monday morning, I slapped in some brand new ‘AAA’ batteries, jumped on my commuter bike – a 5″ travel mountain behemoth (take that Selk!), and pedaled frantically so that I would beat the lines at VooDoo Donuts. Since I hadn’t a minute to spare AND I didn’t have the PB seatpost bracket mounted, I simply utilized the tail light loop on my messenger bag. “Good enough”, I thought.

2 miles into my 5 mile commute, I heard what sounded like plastic hitting the pavement. I figured it was my 2.3″ tires kicking up some road debris. The lines at VooDoo were out the door already, so I pedaled on to the shop.
I arrived at work feeling fresh as always. As I pulled my bag over my head to set it down..GASP!!!!
The Super Flash TURBO had vanished!
That sound I heard was the TURBO hitting the pavement…
homer-simpson-doh

So, in the end here is what I determined:
PLANET BIKE SUPERFLASH TURBO = GREAT LIGHT
PLANET BIKE SUPERFLASH TURBO CLIP = NOT SO STRONG

PB Superflash CLIP

If PB could work on the clip grip, my grade is “A++” , but for now I simply give it an “A”.

Pryme V2-Lite Review

We received a pair of the Pryme V2 Lite Helmets to review for BikeCommuters.com Here’s a little description about them:

The all new Pryme-8 V2 Lite Helmet weighs a mere 300 grams!

How did they do that?!By using In-Mold technology, Pryme was able to cut their helmet weight in HALF – yet still maintained its CPSC tested strength.

The look of the new V2 Lite is further enhanced by the unique transparent colors that are derived using the in-mold process.

msrp: $59.99

I was excited to try out the new Pryme V2 Lite helmets because I’m actually a big fan of “skater style” helmets. One of my biggest complaints with the brands that I do own is that they are pretty chunky. Even with the straps cinched down comfortably, the helmet can and will shift on my head. I’ve used brands such as Bell, 661, T.H.E and Free Agent.

The first and immediate difference I found with the Pryme V2 Lite was its weight. 300 grams is nothing compared to the weight of the competing helmets that I’ve mentioned. It’s so light that while I was riding with it, I almost forgot that it was on my head!
Pryme

The inner pads fit just fine. I actually prefer the Pryme (pads) over the pads you’d get with other brands because they are thin yet comfy and you don’t have that wet mess touching your head while you’re riding. What I noticed with these pads is that they actually dry pretty quick. Plus, you can easily hand wash them in the sink and voila, fresh helmet! With some skater helmet brands, the pads are way too thick and act much like a kitchen sponge, which is gross because when you’re sweating, bacteria will get trapped in there and start to smell after a while.
Pryme

Have you noticed the bright colors that they sent me? Pinkish-Purpley (but they call it trans-purple) and Red! Wow! Not only does it speak visibility, but it looks good. The plastic shell they used is very similar to what you’d see in standard road/mountain biking helmets. It’s thin enough where it doesn’t weigh anything, yet its tough enough that if you were to drop it or drag it on the ground that the shell wouldn’t disintegrate.
Pryme

My biggest grip with this style helmet would be its breathability. Pryme addresses this issue with 13 large vents. Most brands only offer 12. So am I saying that the extra vent makes a difference? Possibly — because I wasn’t all drippy with a sweaty head during the testing period. Then again, I’m sure the cooler weather had something to do with it. However, the large vents do work because I can feel the air passing through them as I rode.
Pryme

What kind of person should be wearing this helmet? That all comes down to personal preference, but if you’re a bike commuter, mountain biker or even a BMX rider, this is a great helmet! The biggest selling point for Pryme is that it barely weighs anything, only 300 grams. What I think is that the color options Pryme offers make it even more appealing to both men and women as well as children.
Pryme
I simply love it and my since the wife said I can’t wear the pinkish-purpley helmet anymore, my daughter loves hers too!
Pryme
By the way, they even offer a reflective version.

Our review disclaimer.

Product Review/Sneak Peek: Planet Bike Super Flash….TURBO!

(STAFF WRITER’S NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, this post was delayed…A WHILE)

I arrived home from work the other day to find a small brown box addressed to ‘lil ol’ me!

Oh! What could it ever be!?!?

Planet Bike

Mark from Planet Bike sent out a new product to try out that will be released this  Spring!

<INSERT DRUM ROLL HERE>
Introducing the NEW 2011 SuperFlash TURBO!

Planet Bike Super Flash Turbo

Here is an into from the ‘wordsmiths’ at Planet Bike:

In 2006, our introduction of the Superflash tail light ushered in a new era of innovation in bicycle lighting.  Building on our tradition, we are now proud to introduce the evolution of bicycle safety: the Superflash Turbo.  We paired our time-tested design with a powerful 1 watt LED, then added the new attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern. It’ll give you peace of mind riding day or night.

Superflash Turbo tail light (#3070)

  • 1 Watt Power LED plus 2 red LEDs for visibility up to 1 mile
  • New attention-grabbing Turbo flash pattern
  • Soft-touch power switch accesses flashing or steady mode for up to 100 hours of run time on two AA batteries
  • Ultra compact vertical design is weatherproof, lightweight and durable
  • Includes bike mounts and clip mount for multiple mounting options

MSRP     $34.99

In my initial inspection of the light I couldn’t find any major differences. The Turbo is the exact size of the tried and true original Super Flash. The housing is identical, with the exception of the red “TURBO” printed on the clear face and the big RED Super Flash lense

Since I had just ridden home from work, my first chance to test this light out would be on my next trip to and from work.

The next day, I suited up and clipped the Super Flash Turbo onto my bike. It was a bit overcast, so ambient light was at minimal levels. I felt as if I was being followed by a group of glow-stick swinging club kids! The TURBO light pattern is definitely more eye catching…

(side by side comparison of the Turbo & Standard Super Flash light pattern)

I am excited to say I was one of the most visible people out on the wet streets of Portlandia!

Many more miles of commuting ahead of me… I’ll give you an update at a later date…gotta ride!

Review: Giro Surface Helmet


Over the past several years, a number of bicycle helmet manufacturers have added more urban-friendly lids to their lineups…in colors ranging from understated to 100% funky. Urban cyclists were growing tired of wearing racing- or racing-inspired helmets and wanted something with a more polished look…or they wanted something that really expressed their individualities with bright colors and patterns.

The kind folks at Giro Helmets contacted us a few weeks ago and offered to send us their take on the urban helmet — the new “Surface” model — to check out.

DSC05461s

As you can see, it’s rather “skateboard lid” in styling, with a gently rounded shape and a short brim. Volume-wise, it’s fairly massive; about 1/3 larger overall than a similarly-sized Nutcase helmet in my collection. The Surface helmet comes in a variety of colors from mild to wild…Giro didn’t offer me a color choice, but the matte titanium-finished sample they sent me was just the color I would have chosen — understated and rather classy. And, on first glance, the helmet vaguely reminded me of the helmets worn by Imperial Scout Troopers in Return of the Jedi. As a lifelong Star Wars nerd, I can live with that!

On the outside, the helmet is simple: the aforementioned short brim, four vents up top and two in back. Inside, the padding and suspension system is very much like their racing helmets…sweat-wicking pads and the excellent In-Form System that consists of the suspension and a rotating dial that allows up to 6cm of adjustability. This helmet is easily adjustable…from fitting to my freshly-shaven head to the fleece helmet liner I wear on cool days and all the way up to the helmet liner/wool balaclava combination I wear on truly frigid workdays. A quick spin of the ratcheting dial adjusts the helmet so that it fits snugly without tipping or rocking. Thumbs up!

Here’s a look at the back of the helmet and dial:

DSC05487s

Ventilation is adequate — although I haven’t tested the Surface on a truly warm Florida day, which to me is the real make-or-break test for a helmet. If I had to guess, I’d say that the Surface is probably a lot like other skate-styled helmets on the market…a bit stifling on a hot day. There’s room up front for a couple of discreet vents, and that’s something I’d like to see. Coupled with the internal channeling and the existing vents, a couple more small ones would definitely help. Not all is lost, though: I DID notice that the brim helps bring some breeze into the front of the helmet. We’ll see how this helmet does as Florida’s springtime temperatures ramp up.

Interior channeling and pads:
DSC05486s

The straps are made of a soft nylon.. no bells or whistles here, just a simple quick-release buckle and sliding strap adjusters like on most other helmets. The straps feel nice against my skin, at least.

Has anyone ever complimented you on your helmet? Yeah, me neither…but a few friends and riding partners have made fun of my patriotic-themed Nutcase. Well, that all changed when I started wearing the Surface to work. I’ve had three coworkers compliment me out of the blue on my helmet…and they even appeared serious about it! Will this helmet make you look dashing and debonair? Perhaps not, but at least it doesn’t scream SPORTING EQUIPMENT the way a racing helmet might. And, by carefully choosing the color, this Surface could pass for “office casual”; it doesn’t clash with my work wardrobe, in any case.

DSC05463s

Because of its overall size, the Surface is rather heavy. That can be a drawback for some. I can be sensitive to heavier helmets but the Surface hasn’t bothered me too much because it fits so securely.

So, the helmet isn’t perfect — I have concerns about warm-weather ventilation and the overall size and weight might not appeal to everyone. Otherwise, though, the Giro Surface is a nice helmet…the adjustability alone tips things over to the positive side… and is worth considering if you’re in the market for an urban bike helmet. Check out Giro’s many other offerings by visiting their website.

Please click here to read our review disclaimer as required by the Federal Trade Commission.