Category Archives: Product Review

In Living Color – “Bicycle Quarterly”

Bicycle Quarterly - Autum 2013 10-14-13 001It was a real pleasure to open the autumn 2013 edition (Vol. 12, No. 1) of “Bicycle Quarterly” and find all the artwork (including the few ads) in full color. “Bicycle Quarterly” is a labor of love of its founder and editor, Jan Heine. If you want technical articles and unrestrained reviews, this is the mag for you.

There is almost a glut of non-racing bicycle journals on the market – “Momentum,” “Bicycle Quarterly,” “Bicycle Times,” “Urban Velo,” and “Bicycling.” Part of the market will shake out with edge going to those that have the editorial courage to write independent equipment coverage. From at least one of the aforementioned journals, one would think that every light, shifter, frame, tire, etc. was a flawless divine creation in which no possible improvement could be envisioned.

While recognizing that the bicycle magazines have to survive within the realities of ad revenues and their dependence on the manufactures for test equipment, “Bicycle Quarterly” stands out. Not only are the tests well documented and based on (in some cases) some sophisticated test modalities but the reader gets the impression that the review is the “whole truth and nothing but the truth. Interestingly, “Bicycle Quarterly” invites the manufacturer to comment on the test/review and publishes the reactions along with the review.

If you are unfamiliar with “Bicycle Quarterly,” try it out – http://www.bikequarterly.com/

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But is it Art?

This is old news, but interesting on a rainy day.How Not to Lock Up 10-7-13

The Kryptonite-4 is in the New York City Museum of Modern art having achieved that status by being rated as having high quality and historical significance. The museum’s assistant curator for architecture and design stated “the lock is simple, a very good solution to the problem.”
Big Lock 10-7-13
Michael Zane is the man behind the U-shaped Kryptonite-4. Zane (an art and history major in college) obtained manufacturing rights for the Kryptonite-4 in 1972 from the original owner and, with his father, created the current plastic-sleeved, sleek design.

So lock up and be proud.

But remember Sheldon Brown’s advice – “A U-lock should go around the rear rim and tire, somewhere inside the rear triangle of the frame. There is no need to loop it around the seat tube as well, because the wheel cannot be pulled through the rear triangle.”
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The Third Great Awakening – Main-Stream Media Discovers Cycling

While one would expect quite a bit of press about bicycles in the New York Times because of the advent of the CitiBike share, it was surprising to have The Christian Science Monitor Weekly and The Wall Street Journal speaking out recently.

The Third Great Awakeing (www.copenhagencyclechic.com)
On July 6, 2013, The Wall Street Journal featured cargo bikes in its article “The New Station Wagon.” The article led off with a homey little report on a family of four going to dinner in Brooklyn coming from Manhattan on a Yuba Mondo (with one adult on a second bicycle). The article had accompanying stats on the Yuba Mondo’s carrying capacity and on cargo cycles in general. The article also presented features of the Extracyles Edgerunner and the Milano Bakfiets (literally, “box bike”).

While cargo cycles form the backbone of the article, there was also a run down on the spread of cycling across the USA: 73 % increase in cycling commuters in Minneapolis (2000-2011); new bicycle share program in NYC and Chicago; and massive new trails/paths in Indianapolis (8 miles) and Atlanta (33 miles).

The Christian Science Monitor Weekly for July 1, 2013 introduced its cover article, “Ride On! Cycling Surges in American Cites,” with a lead-in editorial “The Bicycle Spring” whose main point was that “. . . urban planners increasingly see bikes as an integral part of a transportation system” and which closed with the challenge “Bikes are no longer marginal enjoyments. They are in the mainstream and staying there.”

The main article hit cycling highlights in Boston, Washington, San Francisco, New York, Long Beach, and Portland and provided a raft of encouraging growth statistics.

Histroy Chart
Thanks go out to alert cyclists Frank, Beverly, and Keith for flagging these articles.

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Whoops – No Adaptor!

Oh, oh – flat tire. No problem – you have a patch kit (or a spare tube). In a couple minutes, you’re all set. Whoops – no pump (or inflator). Not to worry, there was a gas station/Stewarts about a half mile back.

Yikes! Your tubes have Presta valve stems – and we all know that gasoline stations cater to Schrader valves!

Here’s a simple fix courtesy of alert cyclist Keith – simply “zip tie” a Schrader-Presta adaptor (about $1.00 at your local bicycle shop) to your multi tool or handlebars (see photos), and you can rest at ease as you amble back to that air.

But, wait a minute, how do I cut the “zip” tie . . . ?

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Riding on Flapjacks – Ergon PC2-L Ergonomic Contour Pedals

Having been quite pleased with several sets of Ergon’s bar grips, I was anxious to try out their new Contour Pedals. Ergon specializes in products that fit the body and, thus, add to riding comfort.

The pedals come in two sizes (small for up to shoe size 8-1/2 and large for sizes above 9) and cost about $65 (you can pay $80, still not out of line for quality pedals). They have a composite body, large reflectors, and polymer bearings. What sets them apart from other platform pedals is a super large platform covered with “3-M Safety Walk,” a partial inner sidewall against which to position the shoe, a slightly angled platform (that promises to keep the leg bones and joints in alignment), and a 2-year warranty. Installation is a snap – although I had to buy a 3/8” drive, 8 mm hex wrench so I could insure the 20 Nm torque specs dictated in the 15-page instruction booklet (6-piece set, $29.99, Sears).

If you’re concerned about the sleek appearance of your ride, these are not the pedals for you – they are BIG! But, as promised, they are very comfortable, and you can really feel that large platform under foot. I’ve not tested the gripping quality of the 3-M surface in wet or snowy conditions, but I have to believe that it will exceed that of conventional toothed metal pedals – we’ll see.

It’s worth mentioning that this German company avoids that awful hard shell plastic packaging by using recyclable cardboard (see photo). The only “plastic” was a single zip tie.

Written by Lorenz

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