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Product Review: Cycle Cuffs

For those of us who don’t live in SoCal or other similarly moderate climates, riding in longer pants is somewhat inevitable. If we want to keep those pants clean and not tangled in the chain, there are a couple options. One is a chain guard – and if you’ve got one you pretty much can skip this article! However, those don’t come on most bikes made in the U.S. so most of us make do with rubber bands or the slightly-more-advanced reflective velcro bands found in many bike shops. The problem is that while those keep your pants cuff out from getting caught in the chain, they generally don’t keep your pants leg clean. What to do? Well, the guys at Cycle Cuffs think they’ve got a solution to that problem for you!

The Cycle Cuffs generally come in pairs (though you can order a single if you really want). There are now several options available in terms of color (I reviewed the “future classic,” which is a basic black ripstop polyester fabric). They all come with velcro attachment, reflective stripes at top and bottom, and a large ring in the middle. The ring is so that they can be threaded onto a lock (U-lock or cable) and they stay with the bike. I was initially skeptical of this feature (and wasn’t sure about the styling), but ended up routinely locking the Cycle Cuffs up with my bike as that was the best way to not accidentally leave them at my desk!

So how did these do on the bike? Very well actually! They were easy to attach (loosely, so they don’t crease pant legs), stayed on without a problem, and kept my pants legs grease-free and crease-free. Over the past couple months they’ve become part of my normal bike-to-work gear, and overall I highly recommend them to keep your pants cuffs/legs clean and out of the way of the chain. Yes, they’re a bit more expensive than a basic reflective strap (and run about the same per cuff as the Leg Shield I tested earlier this year), but I think they’re more effective than either, and I plan to continue using mine until they wear out (unlikely to be soon, they seem quite tough!).

Will the Cycle Cuffs revolutionize your cycling experience? Probably not… but they don’t need to, because what they’re meant to do they do really darn well, and sometimes it’s the little things that can make the difference.

Chain maintenance – Lube it… in practice

This morning I put into practice some basic chain maintenance. I wiped down my chain. Too many rides through wet and grimy roads and then a few miles on crushed limestone path this past weekend had left too much grit accumulating on my chain.

Per Mike Kaelon’s advice in “Lube it or Lose it,” I followed the advice to “first wipe the chain down, and get it as clean as possible just using a rag.” I know I need to do better in my daily – post-ride – maintenance of my bikes. Unfortunately I usually allow too much time to pass between such maintenance and my chains often end up gunky and worn out more quickly than they should be.

I’m currently using SpinPower Superior Chain Lube and have yet to test the White Lightning “The Trigger” Clean Streak Chain Cleaner. We’ll see how ambitious I feel in pursuing my in-home mechanical skills or if my bikes just end up in the shop.

All the grit that came off my chain just from wiping it down this morning:
chain grit

A bit cleaner:
chain-cleaner?

I still think my whole drivetrain could benefit from a thorough cleaning:
rear derailleur
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Grit still in the cassette:
cassette

Last week I took my commuter to the shop to get looked at since I couldn’t shift. The rear derailleur was so gunked up — just from my lack of regular wipe downs:
toro-drivetrain

It’s time to get tuned up for summer riding! (hopefully this season will be less messy all around)