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Tag Archive: Redline

Product Review: WTB Freedom Cruz 29er tires

So as I previously mentioned, I’ve been riding the WTB Freedom Cruz 29er tires on my Redline Monocog 29er – and I’ve now got enough time logged on them for a review!

The basics: at a 29 x 2.0″ size (they come in 26″ as well), these are not for your typical city bike or hybrid! Per product description, they’re meant to “turn your 29″ dirt-crusted steed into a quick and nimble commuter workhorse.” While in general I prefer to keep my mountain bikes on mostly dirt, I had the bike available and a new bike I was riding more, so on the tires went!

A (rather technical) caveat up front: these tires are mounted to Mavic A317 rims, which only have a rim width of 17mm. WTB recommends (per the tire sidewall) rim widths of 25mm+ (which is somewhat standard – but not universal – for mountain bike rims). So right off the bat, my experience with handling may be different than someone else’s, as a wider tire on a narrower rim doesn’t hold its shape quite as well as a wider tire on a wider rim or a narrower tire on a narrower rim. I never felt super comfortable on these on sharp turns – but that might change quite a bit if they were used with the recommended rim size.

Now back to riding impressions!

After a couple months of solid riding, I can definitely say the Freedom Cruz fits the bill for commuting! Very smooth-rolling for sure. They also seem to track well on surfaces ranging from pavement to hardpack dirt – I wouldn’t want to try them out in a lot of mud or loose dirt, but on smooth surfaces they work well (wet or dry). The suggested tire pressure is 35-65psi – after some testing, I ended up running the rear at 40psi and the front at 35psi (this for an average guy+gear load of around 160-165lbs). I also found that the tires held air pressure pretty well – I only had to add a small amount of air every couple weeks. My typical experience is that I need to add a more significant amount of air once a week, so this was a pleasant surprise. It may simply be due to the lower pressure – tire pressure on my other commuter bikes ranges from 55psi to 100psi – but it was nice nonetheless.

The hard rubber compound and sidewall on the Cruz did seem to lessen the bump-absorption properties normally associated with wide tires to some degree – I think most of my mountain tires provide a bit more cushion than these do. However, they do seem durable – after about 350 miles of riding I can’t really see any signs of wear.

For the price (MSRP is $33.99 per tire and they can be found for $6-10 less), the Freedom Cruz 29 tires are a very reasonable way to convert a mountain bike into a smooth-riding city bike. They aren’t overly beefy, and once I had my bike up to speed I felt like it took very little effort to keep it at speed. If you’ve got an extra MTB sitting around and want to give it some new life, $50-60 can get you a tire that will give you a smooth ride for a long time… and the all-black styling means your “mountain” bike won’t be hurting too bad for street cred even without the knobbies!

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

2011 Bikecommuters.com Holiday Gift Guide

Before the clock ticks down on Christmas shopping, we thought we’d share some gift ideas for that favorite cyclist in your life. This was a group effort, with lots of good suggestions from Miriam, Noah, Vince, Elizabeth and RL. Some of the products listed below were reviewed here, and that will be noted in the descriptions. Other items are on our own wish lists or are items we’ve seen and think are worth sharing.

Don’t forget about yourselves as you shop…with all that gas and parking money you’re saving, you deserve some bikey treats, too!

Bikes:

— Redline 9-2-5…one of the staff favorites around here. Reviewed here. Get ’em while they’re hot, as Redline drops them from the lineup for 2012.

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— Jamis Commuter 4 — Vince’s favorite, and on special if you’re in the Portland area. Swing on over to River City Bicycles Outlet for a screaming deal on this machine.

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— Urbana Bikes — Reviewed here, and the electric version here.

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Torker Graduate. Or, if you prefer a sensible drop-bar bike, check out our review of the Interurban.

Lights:

Lots of lights to choose from…many that we have reviewed and others that simply caught our fancy.

— Portland Design Works Spaceship/Radbot light set. Reviewed here.

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— PDW Cosmic Dreadnought headlight.

Supernova Lighting Systems…both battery- and dynohub-powered.

Blackburn USB/Solar Flea Lights. Reviewed here.

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Niterider MiNewt 600.

Revolights wheel lights…one of the many Kickstarter projects.

MonkeyLectric M210. Review coming soon.

LED By LITE directional lights…shown here.

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Flashbak safety light. We reviewed this in 2009 but it is one of those products that’s worth a second look.

Clothing:

O2 Rainwear’s Calhoun jacket…review coming up soon now that the rainy season is in full swing.

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Chrome Vanya knickers. Reviewed here.

Pryme Trailhands gloves. Reviewed here.

Pryme V2 Helmet. Reviewed here.

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Nutcase Gen 2 helmets.

DZR shoes. Reviewed here.

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Accessories and Stocking Stuffers:

— Anything by Banjo Brothers…it’s no secret that we have an unabashed “bromance” going on with Eric and Mike of Banjo Brothers, and we’ve been extremely pleased by everything we’ve tried from the cargo-carrying offerings there. Rather than overwhelm you with a string of links, simply type in “banjo brothers” in the search box at the top right of our site and you’ll see just how much we love their products.

Planet Bike “Captain Safety” reflective stickers…so much fun!

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— Bags by Po Campo — made in Chicago. Yay! We reviewed their rack tote and Po Campo offers a ton of other choices.

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Onetwothreespeed’s Reflective Helmet Bows.

Planet Bike Superflash/Superflash Turbo…a perennial favorite here at Bikecommuters.com, and a perfect stocking stuffer. You can never have too many of these (disclosure: I have about ten of them).

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— Gift Certificates to your local bike shop. Yeah, you should support your local shops.

Chainspirations Bicycle Jewelry…. review coming soon, and here is a sneak peak at a necklace. chainspirations necklace

Resource Revival’s recycled bicycle picture frames, bottle openers, clocks and keychains. So cool!

— Cobra Tire Tool — reviewed here. Naysayers be damned; this is a useful tool and one that fits nicely in your sweetie’s stocking (or saddlebag)!

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Got a gift idea for the cyclists in YOUR life? We’d love to hear about them…drop them in the comments below.

Redline R540

We recently took delivery of the Redline R540. This bike will be reviewed by Priscilla. She has a pretty easy commute…2 miles, but is also looking to use the R540 for training to enhance her mountain biking conditioning.

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Lightweight butted 6061 aluminum frame that is fender compatible with a replaceable rear dropout. Lightweight, fender friendly Redline aluminum fork. Wide range gearing with SRAM SX-5 shifters and derailleurs matched to a forged aluminum 48/38/28t triple crankset provide you 24 speeds. Multihand position flatbar with bar ends for heads-up riding positioning. Sturdy and lightweight 32 spoke Alex wheelset uses stainless steel spokes. Available in 6 sizes (43-58.5cm) center to top.

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For those of you who don’t know, Priscilla is our female tester for BikeCommuters and MtnBikeRiders. She’s got some speed, power and great looks! Plus she knows bikes; that makes her even cooler than she already is.

We plan on going on a road ride this weekend to get some mileage out of her Redline 540. I’ll be riding my beloved Redline 925 alongside her…trying to keep up.

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!

Redline R550

When I think of Redline, I think of BMX, Cyclocross and the 9-2-5. However, Redline has a line of what they call ‘Fitness Bikes’, the R550 is their top model of that line.

I took possession of this bike this weekend so I can ride it and give you the skinny on how it performs as a commuter bike. Stay tuned for my first impressions and a full review in a couple of months.