Tag Archives: review

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S

iPhone 4S, side

Like many others today, I received my iPhone 4s. I plan on trying out and reviewing a lot of the Bike Computer/GPS apps that you can get for the iPhone. Along with some different bike mounts/cases. This will hopefully good comparison of what bike apps for the iPhone, to help people chose the one that is right for their needs.

With all these Apps and accessories you can get the iPhone is a perfect choice for cyclists. This phone has great GPS/Mapping capabilities, battery life, and a great 8mp camera with 1080p video. It would be great to do everything on bike tours.

I have enjoyed the phone so far. Just waiting to get some cases to feel safer using it on the bike before starting the reviews. Here are the first videos I took with the iPhone when I was riding along the river on the bike path.

iPhone 4S Video – Caterpillar Footage

iPhone 4S Video – Caterpillar Footage 2

Advertisements

Review: Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand

Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand frount view

4 months ago I bought the Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand from Velo Orange, in hopes of using it on my Surly Long Haul Trucker. Despite my wishes, the stand didn’t work on the bike. There was nothing wrong with the stand itself or VO, it was Surly’s decision not to make the LHT kickstand capable (you can read more about Surly’s view of kick stand HERE). I knew this was going to happen so I had a back up. I would let my girlfriend use it on her bike. The kickstand that came on the Linus Mixte was a low quality, single leg kickstand that made the bike lean too far over, and would easily fall over when loading up panniers.

The Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand seemed like wonderful solution for that. I had chosen this stand over others mainly because it had adjustable legs, no need to cut them. It can be mounted onto bikes with a kickstand plate, or without (if the spacing is right). It comes with all the hardware to mounted the way you need it. The legs have large, rugged, plastic feet that can be unscrewed and adjusted to the length you need them to be. The plastic feet has a large foot print to help support it on softer ground. The legs spread down with a “scissor-action”, and when kicked up they lay on the non-drive side of the bike like most kickstands.

The kickstand makes for great help when loading up the bike with any weight, and keeping the bike from shifting too much. It’s always a help when loading the panniers. It is even helpful to keep for needlessly leaning your bike up against things that can scratch it, and stopping it from being knocked down in a bike rack. This kickstand also make for quick changing of both front and back tires. I used it that way a couple of days ago after the bike got a flat at U of O. The wheel was able to be off the ground just enough to get it out, and was stable enough to stay up with just the stand and one wheel. Great, quick way to do any small maintenance out and about with the bike.

The kickstand is made out of strong aluminum and and rugged plastic feet. The “scissor” spring is good and strong, but still easy to kick down and up. The only problem we have ever had with it is the mounting bolt has come lose a couple times while riding, so the pedal can just barely reach the very end of the kickstand while riding. It took us a while to figure out where the noise was coming from. This could easily be fixed with a little lock-tight on the threads. The kickstand is not as sleek or pretty as some others, but still has some design quality to it, making it look nice on any bike and getting the job done.

This is a great stand for all bikes, recreational, utility cyclist, commuters and even touring bikes could take advantage of this stand.The Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand is carried by Velo Orange and sold for $30.00

Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand rear view

 

Copenhagen Dual Leg Kickstand legs up

Review: Delta Airzound Bike Horn

Airzound mounted on my LHT, you can see a little horn on the white triger

I ordered the Delta Airzound Bike Horn  back in February. I have had a good 8 months to try it out now. The Airzound is a great accessory for a cyclist that does anything more than recreational cycling. The basic design is a plastic bottle (it looks just like a single use bottled water) full of compressed air. Leading off of the bottle is a plastic hose that meets up with the horn itself. The horn has a button over a schrader valve that you can refill the bottle with air through. The bottle can hold up to 80psi (claimed to be about 30 blasts). This is a closed system, so if the hose gets pinched, or punctured, it won’t work. Delta doesn’t offer any repair kits.

Placing the horn on the bike took me some time before I got it mounted where I liked it. There is little space on my bars for accessories, but I still figured out a good way to mount it. The bottle and hose are another story. The bottle is a smaller diameter then the average cage, so it’s hard to fit it in securely. It might have been nicer if they had made it out of thicker plastic and made it fit like a cycling water bottle should. The bottle is wrapped in velcro and it comes with another velcro strip to zip-tie onto the frame. Different kinds of bike frames will have different set ups for the Airzound. The tube that leads to the horn can also be hard to route. Make sure not to crush the tube under a zip-tie; that will cut off the air, or worse, break the tube. The easiest thing to do is run the tube alongside the cables.

The overall manufacturing quality is good, no flaws. The sound from the horn is extremely loud. It really works when you’re trying to get a car’s attention. The drivers seem to get surprised when there is such a loud sound coming from a little bike. But that is what this horn is all about. I must warn you though, this horn is not to be used towards other cyclists or pedestrians. Please be cautious about using it around people who aren’t in cars. It is claimed to be up to 115dB. This falls in between a car horn (110 dB) and a jet engine (120 dB). There is a volume control, but I haven’t experimented with that feature. I prefer to leave it on the loudest setting, just in case. Even when I know I’m about to use the Airzound, the noise that comes out of it startles me sometimes. I try to warn whoever I’m riding with before I use it, so they are prepared.
I haven’t had any problems with mine yet, but have read cold weather will dampen the sound. All in all, this is a great horn for cyclists, whether you are bike touring on country roads or your daily commute involves a lot of traffic. This horn lets you be heard when needed.

The Delta Airzound Bike HornMSRP is $39.99. I bought mine off of Amazon for around $25, and I have seen them in most LBS for around $25-30. There is nothing else out there on the market to really compete with this product. So bottom line is, if you want a horn to make others aware of your presence when necessary, this will do the trick.

Trigger button lifted to show schrader valve used to refill the air

Front view of Airzound

Air bottle mounted under down tube in an upside down bottle cage for clearance

I Miss My Schwinn Continental

I miss my Schwinn Continental; it’s back in Illinois at my parent’s house. Well, I hope it is, if my dad hasn’t done anything with it. For what it’s worth, that is a great little bike. They might weigh a lot, being that it seems to be made out of old gas pipes. These  bikes are old Chicago Built Schwinns. The bike was always nice to ride, never seeming to have any problems. I keep seeing a lot of Continentals around Eugene, which just makes me think of mine sometimes. These are the only photos of the bike I can easily find.

My Schwinn Continental and I standing of the frozen Illinois River

My Schwinn Continental and I in Chicago (I think)

Surly Disc Trucker

Surly has recently posted photos on their website of the Disc Trucker. Though I am not personally interested in disc brakes for myself, I think they have made a great move offering this option. Many people have been excited about this. I like how they solved the issues of the rack mounting with a disc brake by mounting the dropouts within the rear triangle, allowing any rack to be used. And moving the spare spoke holder up on the non-driveside seat stays. The bike looks really clean, and the new Super Dark Green is a great color on this year’s bikes. I can’t wait to see this at a LBS.

Disc Trucker

Disc Trucker, Super Dark Green

I know a lot of people hoped the Surly Cross Check would be getting disc brakes. I don’t like to speculate but they are probly still working on it, tring to get over the issues of the Semi-horizontal dropouts and disc brakes. Even with disc, people will love that even more in a single speed cross setup. But until then you just have dreams.

Target Missoni Bike(and other fashion BSO’s)

Target Missoni has been brought up so many times this past week that I had to find out what it was for myself. It’s a new collection that has come out from Target, including things for your home, clothing, luggage, as well as a few bikes.

While most box store bikes are pretty inexpensive, these bikes are in the $400 range. This is because of the designer label, not because the bikes are good quality. The item details on the bikes are very non-descriptive, like most cheap bike are, other then the Nexus 3Speed Coaster Brake Hub. This bike could be quite a strain for people to deal with, weighing in at 41.4 lbs. For comparison, my girlfriend’s Linus Mixte weighs 32 pounds and she sometimes talks about wanting something a little lighter. My Long Haul Trucker, a fully loaded touring bike, weighs about 36 pounds. Other less expensive bikes can easily weigh less than 30 pounds.

Here is a description of how to clean it from the site:

“•Care and Cleaning: Wipe Clean With a Damp Cloth”

I hope people realize the bike will need more “care and cleaning” than what a damp cloth will do. I don’t know how these bikes will really stand up to the test of time, like some old department store bikes have. These bikes will still fall prey to the troubles that other box store bikes do, like forks being put on backwards, and parts breaking after a week. People that are not into bikes always wonder why bikes from places other than big box stores can cost so much. It’s the quality of the parts. Regardless of the $399.00 price tag, it seems the bikes are pretty popular with their target market, selling out within a day of being released.  It’s hard to grasp why anyone would spend this much, when they could buy a better functioning bike for just about the same amount of money, even if it is a low-end model, from a real bicycle company. Another big reason for not buying from a big box store, is you can only get service from a real bike shop. If something breaks on these bikes, they can’t bring them back to Target and expect an associate to fix it, even something as simple as a flat tire. As far as I can tell, these are just fashionable BSO’s (bicycle shaped objects), that probably won’t get many miles put on them, but will look stylish in someone’s apartment.

Missoni Women's Comfort Bike - Copper or Black/White (28") - $399.00

Missoni Men's Comfort Bike - Black/White (28") - $399.00

Here are some other bikes that I share similar feelings about. Republic Bike  started out as cheap bike company that let you choose the color of all the parts you wanted, but that was all you could change.  A couple years ago they started producing bikes for Urban Outfitters.  I have seen bikes sitting on the floor there with cheap parts falling off of them.

Urban Outfitters has bikes from Republic Bike

Republic Bikes from Urban Outfitters - $399.00

Crate & Barrel also have a Republic Bike with CB2.

Abuelo 3-speed men's bike - $499.00

There are plenty of other bikes out there that are fashionable and of much better quality for reasonable prices, that will give you much more bang for your buck. These are bikes you can get from a real bike shop, with real service and warranties, for around the same cost:

Electra Bikes

Electra Bikes Amsterdam Original 3i


Linus Bikes

Linus Bikes Dutchi 3speed


Public Bikes

Public Bike C3

Bikes like these have a much more classic style and functionality behind them, being modeled mostly off of French and Dutch bikes that have been around for decades.

Surly Disc LHT *update more photos*

So far after the first day of inter bike, and wishing I was there. I have been trying to find so news about new product as best as I could. I did come up with a photo of the front fork of a Disc Long Haul Trucker. Also Surly has updated there website, as well as adding a page/specs for the Disc Long Haul Trucker(no photos yet), Troll Complete, Ogre, and Moonlander.

Finally A full photo of the bike. I actually like the looks of the bike as a whole. It looks very clean, but I did just see the rear disc brake cable running on the top side of the down tube. This might not be the final product; Surly hasn’t posted official photos on there sites. I figure there are some little changes they might do. The non-drive side seat stay has the spoke holder; I figured they would do that. With the Disc Trucker, it looks like it will be easier to mount fenders on. My brakes got in the way when I first put my fenders on, do to to the cables.

Front Fork

Photo via JustinPratscher on Flickr (click image for link)

Rear dropout

Image from Ride Bikes Blog (click image for link)