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Tag Archive: Swobo

Spot Brand Hires Sky Yaeger

We don’t post press releases too often here on Bikecommuters.com…but this one we HAD to share. We’re all huge fans of Sky Yaeger and her work…everything she touches, bike-wise, turns to pure gold. Check this out:

SPOT BRAND HIRES SKY YAEGER

Golden, Colorado—July 8, 2010—Andrew Lumpkin, CEO of Spot Brand bikes announced today that they have hired Sky Yaeger for a newly created position as Senior Product Manager. Yaeger started immediately, working out of a Marin County, California office. The majority owner of Spot Brand is Wayne Lumpkin, having founded Avid in 1991 and, after successfully building the international brand, selling it to SRAM in 2004.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me, as I have always admired Spot Brand and been a huge fan of Wayne and Andrew. After they acquired Spot Brand I was excited to see where they would take it and I am honored to be joining a company with such legitimate MTB heritage, and now huge potential with the Gates belt-drive system,? Yaeger said.

Yaeger brought some of the first production single-speed mountain bikes to market in the mid-90s, while at Bianchi USA, and spec’d Spot hubs on those first bikes. “I go back with the brand and have always liked the simple, clean design and fun vibe.?

Andrew Lumpkin added, “Sky is a trendsetter in the industry and will be instrumental to Spot Brand’s continued trailblazing of new technologies.?

For the past 4 years Yaeger has been working at Swobo Bikes, which was recently acquired by Santa Cruz Bicycles. She started designing the urban bicycle product line in 2006, and the line-up now includes 10 models currently in production. Before that she was VP of Product Development at Bianchi USA for many years.

The industry veteran will be responsible for a new line of Spot models that will incorporate the Gates belt-drive technology. “I think the future looks bright for alternative drivetrain options. I’ve always believed in simple, elegant solutions to complex problems. The internal hub is an old idea but it’s been my mission, since I designed the Bianchi Milano in 1996, to get more people to appreciate the function and simplicity of internally geared hubs on modern bikes. Add a belt to that and you have an almost perfect drivetrain.?

sky
(photo by Richard Masoner of Cyclelicious — thanks for letting us borrow it!)

Fixed Gear Friday: Are ‘major’ brands not hip enough?

Editor’s Note:This post keeps receiving interesting comments so we decided to bring it ‘back to life’. Be sure to check the comments, there are times that comments are more interesting to read than the post itself.

The following post was written on August 25th, 2007.

I’ve noticed that Fixed gear bikes made by major bike companies such as Giant, Specialized or Trek don’t retain their value as much as a Bianchi, IRO or Swobo.

Giant Bowery
giant bowery

Specialized Langster
langster

Trek T1
Trek t1

Is it because it is not hip to ride a bike that’s from major bike companies?

Lunch gitter and why do they stare?

Every other Friday I have to drive to work; however, I always take a bicycle to take care of errands or to ride to lunch. I like to visit a local sandwich maker (with better tasting subs than Subway) that is about 1/2 mile away from work. Last Friday I took my newly-acquired and already modded Swobo Folsom to the restaurant.

I usually call in my order and the sub is waiting for me when I arrive. What I don’t get is the looks and stares of people eating at the restaurant as I arrive on any of my bikes (not just the Folsom). Their look is priceless, like ‘Did he just get here on a BIKE?, OMG!’. I also get these type of looks when I go to the pharmacy, bagel shop and other establishments.

Is it just Angelenos that are not used to seeing someone (other than the Huffy riding migrants) riding a bike to a place or does this happen to you too?

Wool Wednesday: Basic Black with SWOBO pt. 1

This Wool Wednesday is a real treat, not only are we reviewing a killer product but Stevil from Howtoavoidthebummerlife answers some questions about Swobo and wool! First, the review!

SWOBO Men’s Short Sleeve Merino Jersey

The Look
When this jersey came in, I was all oohs and ahhs. The black version of the jersey is a no nonsense sharp looking jersey. It’s classy and low-key with subtle contrast stitching to create the lines of the jersey. Restraint seems to be the guiding principal here. No giant Reese’s Pieces on this baby.

The left sleeve has SWOBO embroidered on it and that’s it. This jersey has nothing to prove but gives you a little wink to let you know you’re wearing some quality threads.

The Wool

The feel of the wool is soft right out of the bag. No breaking in or washing in necessary. I’ve owned some older wool jerseys and some early jerseys from Portland Cyclewear that really took a wash or two to get the wool soft. Not so here. The hand is smooth and plush without being overly thick.

The weight of the wool makes it pretty flexible. I did a few long rides in the jersey in temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the upper 70-s and it performed well. Again, it really depends on your riding style. You could probably wear it lower if you hammer and keep your body-heat up. The nice thing about wool is that even if you’re sweating in it, it will keep you warm. You could also wear it into the 80’s and 90s if you have the zipper down and aren’t completely hammering.

The Fit

For me, I ordered a size larger so the fit is a little looser. I’m not a racer. I’m a commuter and a bike tourist. This really makes it flexible. The extra room lets me wear a featherweight or midweight wool baselayer underneath and coupled with some arm warmers and gloves, I’m good to go into the 40s without the bulk of a jacket.

Does this make a great commuter jersey? Heck yeah. Its flexibility with temperature, coupled with the fact it won’t stank when you get to the office is a great mix. Plus, it doesn’t look like Photoshop vomit. You can ride in the street without feeling like a big sweaty billboard.

Am I going to bring it on my next bike tour? You better believe it. You can wear wool for several days without washing and it won’t be odoriferous like your plastic tuxedo jersey. Plus, it’s black, and it won’t stain as easily 🙂 The jersey also has pockets on the back to carry your phone or snickers for the long ride home.

Pros and Cons

Pros:
-All around great jersey for racing, commuting and touring…can’t go wrong with basic black
-Stank protection…nuff said
-Soft out of the bag…no breaking-in needed
-Performs great in a wide temperature range
-Nice, understated styling you Philistines…

Cons:
-Wool ain’t cheap…price may be a bit of a barrier, but this could be mitigated by the fact you don’t have to buy as many jerseys since you can wear it over and over

Get yours here.

Gear Review: Swobo Gloves….best gloves ever?

I’ve been wearing my Swobo gloves for about a week and thought it was a goodly time to write a review. If you haven’t heard of Swobo (you live under a rock), you’re not alone. I did a quick tour of all the local bike shops in Long Beach, CA and no one carries their gear and when I asked some people if they had heard of Swobo, they thought I was trying to score some wacky tabacky.

In all seriousness, I think their apparel is nicely designed and doesn’t look like the typical photoshop vomit you see on other cycling gear. They’re also big fans of wool which is enjoying a little renaissance with the help of companies like Rivendell, Portland Cyclewear, and EWR (Earth, Wind, Rider). I like to think that wool is the new “high-tech” fabric, it keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it wicks moisture, it resists odor and it isn’t made from oil. In fact, it’s a renewable resource.

Anyway, back to the gloves.

They’re wool and on the outside of the right hand is a nice square little brown tag with yellow stitching that says Swobo. Understated. Classy. Sweet. Left to a lesser designer and they would have put racing stripes or flames.

On the flip side there are yellow sticky dots and an awesome little design detail, a sticky hand (hanging loose)! How awesome is that?!

Here’s a detail.

The glove fits…well, like a glove. It’s warm and toasty and has been keeping my hands warm on my morning commutes. The thermometer on my computer has been reading upper 40s and low 50s in the morning and these gloves have been keeping my hands warm. Anything in the low 40s and 30s though, I might use these as liners for another pair of gloves.

The sticky dots (and hand) do their job. They grip the Salsa tape on my road bike and the shellacked cork grips on my touring bike with equal fervor.

The nice thing about these gloves are they’re not too “sporty” (although they do have a sense of humor). They wouldn’t be out of place on your hands while you’re hitting the town, unlike some of the funky designs with multiple colored panels and palm implants. These are just great everyday gloves for on and off the bike.

Another great thing about these gloves is that you can wash them without plastic parts getting all weird. I have yet to wash mine, but I do own several articles of clothing that are made from wool. I would suggest washing it with this because it has lanolin which reconditions and softens the wool. Wash it in cool water in the sink and for godsakes don’t wring it! Do a light squeeze to get some excess water out, then wrap it burrito style in a cotton towel and stand on the towel. This will force the water out of the wool and into the more absorbent towel (this technique works for wool shirts and jerseys as well). Then leave it out to dry.

I have been riding with the gloves for a week and love them. The yellow sticky things aren’t so yellow anymore, and no doubt with time they will chip away, but probably not until I’ve gotten good use out of them.

All Swobo products (at least the ones I’ve purchased) have come with this enigmatic tag. On the flip side it says:

We’ve decided that hang tags, in all their dangling glory, are a waste of paper and natural resources. If you’re in need of extra information concerning Swobo products, or do indeed have a hang tag fetish, visit Swobo.com to get product information. Do what you can….when you can. This isn’t hippy banter, this is old school actions applied to real time issues. Thanks for listening.

You got to love a company that’s willing to put that on all their products.

I highly recommend these gloves because it’s a good product coming from a good company. They do what they’re suppose to with style and humor (who knew gloves could be so funny?). A+