Archive for category accessories
No more jingles, introducing the C.A.T. (Carbon Access Tool from Ruckus Composites. Clean, sleek and classy. The C.A.T. can fit a variety of keys and tools including most bicycle lock opening devices. Available next week for purchase, stay tuned and pick one up. Guaranteed to make you the talk of the town, or at least the coffee shop.
As important to my rides as having a clean kit, plenty of food and water, and a spare tube, is having my iPhone. It keeps tracks of my rides, keeps me connected to my family and friends should something go south, and more often than not, maps to get me through newly discovered country roads or maybe to take a pic trail side. Now where to put it. I have always thrown it in my jersey pocket but doing so isn’t the greatest with sweat or for hot days, the occasional dowse of water. What about mounting on the handlebars or stem? Everything I had seen made the iPhone’s overall size much larger and more in the way. Then enters the new v3 bike case and mount from Rokform.
Machined from anodized Billit 6061 T-6 aluminum and only weighing approximately 64 grams, it won’t impact your ride for the weight weenies out there. It connects to any of Rokform’s v3 cases, which include cases for the iPhone 4/4s, 5, and Samsung Galaxy S3 (not verified, but possibly the S4 as well). The case adds around 25 grams so still keeping it light. Rockform sent us the iPhone 4/4s version for our review.
Very easy to install, remove your existing top cap and bolt from your stem and install the mount. The mount is adjustable with a -20 to +55 degree viewing angle and is set during install. Once installed, your phone is then securely placed in its polycabonate case, with an optional lanyard for ease of carrying and for a third level of protection for your phone. Third level? What is the first and second? Well, I’m glad you asked. There are three ways the Rokform case and bike mount work together to keep your phone secure and with you along your ride. First, you twist the case onto the mount, while doing this you will feel the tug of the second level of protection, which is the nice sized magnet embedded in the case.
I tested the case and bike mount over a couple of months on all types of riding, be it road bike on asphalt, gravel, dirt, and also mountain bike trails. I didn’t use the lanyard and never did the case and mount disconnect. On particular rough road or trail, there is a small inherent rattle, which I believe to be where the case and mount touch. My gut reaction always was to check to make sure it was still locked and it always was. The overall size of the case is the most minimalist I have seen to date. With that said only on my road bike would I occasionally brush the case while climbing with my thighs. One might say a simple fix is just to keep my weight shifted back and this fixes the problem, don’t tell anyone, I sometimes bump my legs against the top of my bar on the road bike while climbing also.
For less than $100 you have a case and bike mount that will withstand the long rides or abuse you put it through. The case you can bring anywhere, fits well in your pocket and protects your phone in the event it takes an accidental fall to the floor. It fits other Rokform accesories, such as their sport clip or their tripod mount, as well comes in several colors.
Pretty cool concept, simple and easy to install it appears.
Whether clipped onto your messenger bag, sitting on your workbench or your office desk, the Boombotix Boombot2 delivers great sound from your Bluetooth device. Three button operation makes it simple. Press the center button to turn it on, when the light turns green you can use the headphone jack input to play music. Press the button again, the light turns blue, you can connect via any Bluetooth device. The outside two buttons are simply to turn the volume up and down. When you are done or need to charge the battery, press and hold the center button and it turns off with two beeps. Charging is done with the supplied mini-USB cable, to your computer or USB wall plug you might already have from your iPhone.
The Boombot2 comes in a handful of designs, but you can paint it very easily and make it all your own. Boombotix sent us over one for our review and we were impressed by the sound and volume. It comes in handy not only around the bike but also around the house and outside. We found where our iPhone lacked in sound the Boombot2 was right there to solve that problem. It took a beating; getting tossed around and the occasional splash of water. At around $70 the Boombotix Boombot2 gives you some great sound that is totally portable and lasted for hours.
Chrome Industries announced today two new bags, the Welded Postbag and Welded Rucksack, weatherproof, utilitarian packs made for the city commuter. The Welded Transport bags use the same technology as Coast Guard boats to deliver the most durable waterproof protection with the least amount of weight. Chrome’s 100% RF welded waterproof bags with versatile and can be worn over the shoulder, carried in hand or strapped onto a bike rack or basket.
Chrome Industries’ Welded Transport bags include:
Welded Postbag: Heritage inspired postbag with high-tech welded waterproof seams. The Welded Postbag has an adjustable shoulder strap for cross body wear and interior haul handles for off-body carry. It’’s designed to be worn over the shoulder or strapped onto a bike rack or basket. Features included welded waterproof seam construction to keep contents dry; removable, padded laptop sleeve that fits up to MacBook Pro 15 inches; Daisy Chain mounting loops on back panel; and quick access exterior pockets to fit U-lock, wallet, keys, and personal items. Made with waterproof 600 denier TPU coated outer shell and custom gunmetal finished hardware.
Available in Charcoal
Available in-store and online: 5/1/2013
Welded Rucksack: Heritage inspired Welded Rucksack features high-tech welded waterproof seam construction that keeps contents dry. Features include a removable, padded laptop sleeve that fits up to MacBook Pro 15 inches; Daisy Chain mounting loops on back panel; quick access exterior pockets for U-lock, wallet, keys, and personal items; shark tooth closures that adjust for different volumes and load sizes; ergonomic shoulder strap design; and industrial metal cam lock compression buckles. Made with waterproof 600 denier TPU coated outer shell and custom gunmetal finished hardware.
Available in-store and online: 5/1/2013
Welded Transport bags can be purchased in Chrome Hubs located in New York City, San Francisco, Chicago and Portland, OR and online at www.chromeindustries.com.
This concept helmet includes headlight, turn signal and brake light.
As you may have figured out from my previous review here, I have been using my iPhone 4S to record my rides and runs. A few weeks ago I got a Blue HR heart rate monitor from the folks at Wahoo Fitness. It’s a Bluetooth heart rate strap which was incredibly easy to set up and use.
At the time I first started using it a couple months ago, Strava didn’t support it (they do now), so I downloaded the WahooFitness App from the app store. There is a big list of supported apps so your favorite training app is probably on the list.
I didn’t play around too much with the settings, just turned it on and let it find the HR monitor. It has options to upload saved runs or rides to Strava so it all gets over there in the end.
For $79.99 it’s a really great accessory for the iPhone 4S. Worked seamlessly, easy to set up, and pretty versatile with variety of compatible apps.
Here’s the Strava chart for my off-road lunch ride from Tuesday with the Heart Rate input:
An iPhone might not be your idea of standard cycling equipment, but your cell phone is one of those things (like your keys) that pretty much go with you on all your rides. I recently got an iPhone 4s and was very happy when Kurt sent me the Vapor Pro Chroma case to review.
I had not put a case on my iPhone yet. There’s just something about being a mechanical engineer and a cyclist that makes me cringe at covering up beautiful stainless steel housings with brightly colored silicone rubber or plastic covers. I’m also a bit skeptical with the fact that you are putting in extra effort to protect something that probably will not be an heirloom in your family passed down from generation to generation.
Here is where the Chroma comes in. If you’re going to cover up a nice metal housing, what better than to use machined and anodized aluminum? And despite my “heirloom” comments above, nobody wants to accidentally drop their phone and crack the screen or accidentally scuff it across the parking lot.
So, here’s what came in the box. A black anodized case, a nice little zippered case (more on that later), a little keychain/hex wrench for assembling and with a couple extra screws, a microsuede cover for the back, a smaller one for the front, and a screen protector.
A couple of features on the case that I liked was the integrated button on the top, and the dove-tail press fit (see below). I did notice that on the black phone, most of the housing has a slight matte finish but the dove-tail piece is more of a brushed finish. It’s different enough to notice but not different enough to look like it was intentional. Some of the other color cases use a completely different color for this piece.
Installation was pretty easy. The installation tool has a nice little o-ring for grip. I am willing to bet that the small diameter of the installation tool is designed to try to prevent you from stripping out screws so use it! The frame really doesn’t add much physical size to you phone, but the phone feels much bigger. It’s a lot easier to grip and hold, especially with your full-finger cycling gloves on. The frame has a generous cutout around the headphone jack but a standard 90 degree non-Apple one may not fit.
I was pretty skeptical of the microsuede back cover. It’s just kind of weird to go from smooth glass to living room sofa. I was curious if over time it will start looking like my living room sofa, but a couple months in it looks fine. So what is it for? Want to put your phone on your legs while your sitting legs-up on the couch? The microsuede grips your jeans perfectly. Also the thickness is just close enough to the frame height that if you set your phone on flat surface, the frame contacts the table but you can’t accidentally slide it around and off the table due to the friction from the back cover. It’s different but it’s really grown on me. With that said, I chose not to install the little microsuede cover for the front. At first I put the screen protector on the front instead. Then I decided that de-resolution of the screen wasn’t worth it. Maybe the front cover would help with grip but the frame is already doing a great job on that.
Another thing I was skeptical of at first was the zippered case. Looks nice but why do I need a zippered case for my phone? I pretty quickly figured out why the case is awesome. I use my iPhone on all of my commutes and lunch rides and runs to track miles using the Strava app. I don’t have a handlebar mount or anything. I don’t really care where I am or how fast I’m going in the moment (that is until someone invents the hands-free bluetooth heads-up display), but I’d like to track my miles and see how I did when I’m done. This means starting the app, stuffing my iPhone in my pocket or bag and heading out. Not a problem in nice weather, but when you’re talking about a lunch time mountain bike ride in the rain, I need something better. I didn’t test if the case is waterproof, but it’s in my bag anyways. I figure the added protection against water and the added padding protection against any superman-over-the-bars moves are totally worth it.
As far as durability goes, While changing for one of my lunch rides I dropped my iPhone about 3 feet onto a hard tile floor. If I look hard I can find a little dent in the frame. No issues with the phone. As with most cases, you will get some dust between the case and phone over time, so you might want to take the case off every once in awhile and dust.
My main gripe is actually the difficulty I had finding an armband for running. The frame is not big, but it’s big enough so you won’t be able to fit it in most iPhone specific armbands. I found one from Cygnett which sort of works. Maybe if you got one for a larger phone. You do have the tools to take the frame off, but that’s not something you want to do every time you go for a run.
So if you have an iPhone and you are looking for a case that doesn’t totally ruin the looks of your phone you should check out the Vapor Pro Chroma. Being a machined metal cover, it’s going to cost more than an injection molded silicone cover, but you probably already guessed that.