Rokform v3 case bike mount | review

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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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Musguard

Pretty cool concept, simple and easy to install it appears.

More information can be found at their site here.
Help the cause on their Kickstarter page.

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Bike brain teaser

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Urban Cycling Hall of Fame launched

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Chrome Industries and ECHOS partner with urban bike pioneers to celebrate and announce the Urban Cycling Hall Of Fame (UCHOF). UCHOF is a collaborative effort that celebrates the culture of urban cycling and showcases the history and people shaping the modern urban bike movement.

UCHOF Selection Committee is compromised of those individuals who have contributed to the urban cycling movement and have been assembled to cull through the nominees and select the UCHOF Class of 2013. This year’s inaugural committee includes Kevin “Squid” Bloger, John “Prolly” Watson, Christina Peck, Austin Horse, Nelson Vails and Andy White.

UCHOF pays tribute to those individuals who have contributed significantly to the urban cycling culture and draws attention to the influence urban cycling has had in popular culture through events, products and legendary triumphs of influential cyclists. UCHOF’s mission in the first year is to collect the artifacts and stories of urban cyclists to create the Collections that will tell the story of urban cycling and educate the public on urban cycling culture. At it’s core UCHOF was born from the desire to unite riders and gather collectibles to tell the story of where we came from and who helped us get here

As part of its launch, UCHOF is issuing an open call to the public to nominate cyclists who have contributed to the urban cycling movement. The categories include Riders, Organizers and Makers. Riders are recognized heroes who have earned respect from a local to global level. Organizers are the masterminds who work behind the scenes of legendary events that play a pivotal role in the cycling culture. Makers celebrate the true artisans of our time and are those who have proven their excellence and add value to the community we live and ride in.

From September 18 – 20, 2013, UCHOF will be exhibiting and participating at this year’s Interbike in Las Vegas where they will host the First Annual Urban Cycling Award Ceremony at the Double Down on Sept 18 2013.

To nominate a cyclist into UCHOF or donate cycling memorabilia, visit www.uchof.com.

Check out the UCHOF on instagram at @UrbanCyclingHOF, they will be spotlighting riders and memorabilia that will be collected for the physical hall of fame.

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Boombotix Boombot2 Review

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.

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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.

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Bicycle Rear View Camera

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Cycling Specific Jeans: Yes you need some.

Some of you might be of the school of thought that any jeans are riding jeans, why spend top dollar just because someone’s labelled them ‘cycling” jeans? Is it a form of hipster trap? Why do I even want to ride anywhere in jeans? These are valid questions. Here’s why…

I rarely wear anything besides jeans unless I’m going for a ‘proper’ road ride. I live and work in a town which is a perfect size to get around by bike, and as a result I have worn clean through the arse area of the following jeans: Seven For All Mankind, Superdry, 2x pairs of G-Star, and my Hudsons are getting dangerously close. I love my jeans and these were all rather nice ones… It’s depressing when they go, and it’s pretty much impossible to fix. (I have tried, both with a sewing machine and with iron-on patches) The G-Stars in particular were useless – a new pair wore through in less than a year!

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon Creux Cycling – an Australian urban cycle clothing brand – and fairly rapidly decided I wanted to own everything they made, especially their jeans. At a glance they just have a style I love, and on closer inspection they’ve considered everything to make these the ultimate legwear for living and riding in.

Fortunately while at Bespoked Bristol a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting the man behind (iL) Soigneur who has been hand-making really lovely musettes since 2011, and doing rather well at it. (iL) Soigneur now stocks a selection of Creux gear here in the UK and I took away a pair of the men’s and the women’s jeans to see which I’d get on with the most.

(Size info: I’m testing the Men’s Small and the Women’s Large (12),  most of my jeans are a size 29-30 waist. My waist is 29 inches, and my hips are 40 inches)

The Review

The men’s version of the Soigneur Jeans are, on me at least, a slim fitting straight-leg cut which fit comfortably around my waist, higher than most of my jeans which are all low rise cut, these come to about an inch and a half below my belly button. The lower legs are just loose enough to turn up a couple of times to avoid your bike chain, but I couldn’t roll them up any higher than in the pictures. When riding, I prefer the men’s because of the higher waist. It feels just right in the bike position, no pants on show.

Men’s version.

The women’s cut has a lower rise, and a much skinnier leg. I LOVE how these look when I’m walking around, but when I’m riding I found that once they’d loosened up a bit, they were coming down a bit too low at the back. It’s no biggie if your shirt is tucked in, but if not; PANTS CITY.

Women’s version.

The fit is really quite different from the men’s, and I’m surprised by how well the men’s cut fits me – I do not have boyish hips. So it really comes down to your preference – do you want slim straight leg or skinny leg? Higher waist or low rise? Both are super comfy on and off the bike.

Two things I love about turning these jeans up: The cyan coloured tape sewn over the seams on the inside looks ace, and on the men’s version, the large reflective Creux logo inside the right leg, which massively increases your visibility in the dark. Never mind products with a tiny bit of reflective piping here and there, there’s nothing better than a huge block of the stuff to catch driver’s eyes. Plus it looks freaking cool. It’s not there on the women’s, no doubt because they’re a lot skinnier so you can’t really roll them up.

 

Men’s – reflective turn up

 

Both versions are very slightly stretchy, but to be honest I think they could be stretchier, because it’s such a heavy weight denim. When these jeans first go on they feel heavier and stiffer than most jeans. Unsurprisingly though, after wearing these for a few days they loosened up a fair bit, became less tight around the waist, and altogether more and more comfortable as the days wore on.

The denim itself is such a big feature of these jeans, it feels so tough that I can’t imagine ever wearing through the arse section. Even if the bum was one layer thick I don’t think I would – but as it happens Creux have built in a double layered seat, complete with lightly padded chamois! I was a little concerned this would feel bulky and even too warm, but when I’m not riding I just don’t notice it.

Then there’s the Schoeller NanoSphere treatment, which is unbelievably valuable. Living in the UK, if I waited for it to stop raining, I’d barely ever get to ride so I don’t tend to shy away from wet weather. After all, skin’s waterproof, right? Turns out these jeans are too. Close enough anyway. I live a short distance from work, but even a short distance will soak regular jeans through if it’s pissing it down as it often does. I’ve sat at my desk for several hours with wet jeans, patiently waiting for them to dry out after the 5 minute ride in. It takes about 3 hours, I’ve timed it. So since testing these jeans out, I’ve had it rain on me a couple of times, once while riding, not overly heavy rain, and once when it just absolutely shat it down for 5 minutes, so I went outside and sat in it. Just to see what would happen.

I’d say that in extremely heavy rain, 95% beads and splashes right off you, and 5% begins to dampen the jeans. Dampen, mind, not soak. I came back inside, brushed them off and sat at my desk, and within 10 minutes the jeans felt completely dry again. My hood stayed wet for the rest of the day.

The men’s jeans have a few little features which the women’s jeans don’t have, although I’m not entirely sure why. There’s an extra pocket on the right hip which is much easier to dig into then the front pockets when you’re sat down, there’s a little loop for keys on the left side waist band, and there’s a D-lock holding loop on the back, which is pretty handy if like me you often pop into town without a bag.

The only thing to be aware of is that these jeans are very heavily dyed, and it will transfer to your pale coloured couch. I’m hoping that it will wash off the cushion covers. I’m told the denim is designed to fade with use, so I fully expect a lot of loose dye to come out in the first wash which will probably stop the couch getting any worse.

There’s not much else to add, so I’ll summarise by saying that, like me, you can test these jeans out without buying them because (iL) Soigneur is offering a no quibble try before you buy scheme. So if you’re still not sure, try them out for yourself! I for one will be putting my money where my mouth is and buying them. I’m just not sure which ones…

Screw it. I want both.

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Chrome Industries Announcement – Welded Postbag and Rucksack

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:

CIpostbag

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
MSRP: $80
Available in-store and online: 5/1/2013

CIrucksack

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.

MSRP: $110
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.

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Hitler loses all his Strava KOM’s

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Marin Bikes – Suffer and Stoke photo contest

The guys over at Marin Bikes are putting on a photo contest to capture your “Suffer and Stoke”. Simply go to the Marin Bikes Suffer and Stoke contest site, sign up upload your photo and get some votes! Top Suffer and Stoke photo gets a 2013 Marin Mount Vision XM6, top Suffer photo gets Oakley Radar Sunglasses, and top Stoke gets a Chrome Niko Camera Bag. Winners will be announced May 20, 2013. See the site for rules.

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