Archive for category accessories
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.
How do you write a review for something you hope never to use as intended? I mean, I can give you all the details about the bracelets and the ordering process and the laser engraving, but let’s face it, nobody orders a RoadID because it’s the cool new trend, it’s not a Power Balance Bracelet, it actually serves a purpose, one that we never want to test.
It’s a little bit like your insurance company, you hope it works well, but would be happy never to find out.
With a few promo codes sent by the folks at RoadID, the Tread Heads ordered a Wrist ID Sport (Sam), Wrist ID Elite (Kurt), and Wrist ID Slim (Michael). Here’s the rundown:
Wrist ID Sport ($19.99): Basically a nylon strap with RoadID tag and Velcro closure, is probably the most durable of the three we tested. According to Sam (this is the only style of the three we’ve tested that I’ve never worn) it’s more comfortable than it looks and it has the added advantage of being easily identifiable to any medical personnel that might need the information. Available in six colors and supports up to six lines of text.
Wrist ID Elite ($29.99): A little more expensive and a lot more stylish. For $10 more than the sport you get a band made from “Fashionable Rubberized Compound” (think sports watch band) with metal clasp. The elite is comfortable and easy to size. The watch-like clasp makes putting it on and off a breeze. Our only complaint was the slight rattle in the clasp when riding on rough roads and the tendency for grime (sunscreen, dirt, soap scum, etc) to build up on the clasp. That said, when asked what he would change, Kurt suggested adding a bottle opener. Available in eight colors and supports up to six lines of text.
Wrist ID Slim ($15.99): In my humble opinion, the best of the three. Basically, a high quality Livestrong bracelet (far more durable, however) with a smaller stainless steel ID tag. More stylish (in that it’s less obvious) and more comfortable than the Elite, the Slim is designed for people, like me, who, either, can’t be bothered to take it off or have trouble hiding the inevitable tan-lines that came free with every Wrist ID (somewhere around here there’s a photo of my mid-summer RoadID tan-line…). Of course, the tradeoff for the small design is that, perhaps, it’s less likely to be noticed by medical professional. Available in seven colors and supports up to six lines of text.
All three IDs come with laser engraved stainless steel tags that can be customized with whatever information you think might be helpful in the event of an emergency. Choosing who or what to put can be daunting and the limited amount of space makes it likely you’ll offend the person you didn’t choose to include. Mine looks something like this:
ALICIA XXX-XXX-XXXX WIFE
DOB 19XX * ORGAN DONOR
O POS BLOOD TYPE
Kurt drops the organ donor and blood type info and includes a home phone number (because he thinks it’s 2003 and still has a landline), drug allergies, and an inspirational quote. Sam has included me on his list of contacts, which is only a little silly because we ride together so often – or, that’s what I tell him so his feelings aren’t hurt. But, don’t fret, the RoadID website also offers examples and suggestions for how to abbreviate things so you can fit as much as possible in the small space.
If you’ve got a long medical history or your emergency contact keeps changing his/her phone number, you can also get an “Interactive” RoadID which has your name and a phone number/url for medical personnel to call/access in the event of an emergency. The pin # printed on the back of the tag will give emergency responders access to the information you’ve uploaded to your Emergency Response Profile. The first year is free with purchase of a new RoadID, each additional year is $9.99.
I’ve had my RoadID for…a long time and ridden over 3000 miles with it. Except for a few minutes here or there, it’s been on my wrist 24 hours a day. It has been exposed to heat, cold, sand, salt water, chlorinated water, soap, grease, yard work… The bracelet itself still looks new but, most importantly, the laser engraving is still as clear and easy to read as the day I took it out of the box (I’d take a photo, but then you might call my wife and talk her ear off about how awesome I am and she gets enough of that from me).
Ryders Eyewear got their start twenty-five years ago in 1986 when neon was everywhere. Those times have passed, but Ryders is still bringing to the scene eyewear for cyclists, skiers and snowboarders a like. Ryders eyewear sent over a pair of their photochromic and polarized (polarphoto) Seeker sunglasses for our review.
The Seeker sunglasses are available in a multitude of options. First, frames are available in either black, white or red. Lenses are available as either standard, polarized, photochromic, polorphoto (polarized and photochromic) and interchangeable. Keeping connected to your face, the thermoplastic frame is aided by hydrophilic (non-slip) nose pads and temple tips, which essentially provide the grip and work better when wet. Weight of the Seekers are not bad at 32 grams. Seekers provide a larger lens coverage area and most likely would be a bit large for a smaller faced rider, front bridge measurement is 135mm. The photochromic grey lens offers 34%-12% visible light transmission, which for my review I barely saw the difference, I would have liked to see the lens move slightly darker for middle of summer sun. The polycarbonate lens offers 100% UV protection, is shatterproof and as well has a scratch resistant coating. The lenses held up very well to the “Kurt test” (I occasionally drop my glasses), I didn’t see any scratch from my fumblings, but they are not completely scratch proof so do take care.
The Seekers are great for either road cyclist or mountain biker that is looking for a higher-end, but affordable sunglasses. They stayed well connected to my face without the need to push them up during a ride. The design and look is fitting both on and off the bike. Being someone with light sensitivity I appreciated the lens coverage and while I would have liked to see the lens have a slight darker end point, they worked well for the partly cloudy to full sun rides. At a $89 price point for a photochromic and polarized lens, they are affordable, which I see is because the frames, very-slightly, are more flexible than other higher priced similar glasses. My only issue with the frames is that the ear piece tips would occasionally come into contact with my helmet head basket, so on next versions if they were shorter, this would be an improvement.
Dirty Dog MTB is a California based company bringing “Made in the USA” rotors to your mountain bike. They sent a set over for review.
Dirty Dog MTB rotors come in all popular rotor sizes, 160mm, 185mm, & 203mm with a thickness of 0.070″ and weights ranging from 147 g to 248 g, depending on size. Since they utilize the popular sizes they are compatible with major caliper manufactures, but always check the specs for your caliper before ordering. These are laser cut from stainless steel and come in several different designs, Dragon, Gecko, Skull, Ace of Spades, Spider Web and Bone Burner. The designs are look great and are well cut with plenty of braking surface. Burn is of course required as with any new disc brake set, so after a few go and stops, you are on your way. How do they stop? Very well!
If you are looking to set your ride apart from your friends and looking for easy upgrade, these rotors fit the bill with prices ranging from $69 to $80, depending on size, but searching the internet you can find some great deals. Even with the designs choices already available, it would be great to see a few more options.