It is not that often I get excited by shirts, but over the last months, I’ve been wearing three that deserve some attention.
First, this short-sleeved Zoic Nirvana. While it is classified as a jersey on Zoic’s website, it looks and wears like a favorite button-up. A single large zip rear pocket can carry supplies, and a mesh vent offers some ventilation.
The cut is loose without being baggy, and the poly/nylon fabric dries quickly and breaths well. The front is a basic button closure, no extra zippers or do-dads to annoy.
The zipper in the rear pocket can be uncomfortable with a heavy hydration pack, and the loose cut makes carrying anything heavier than a pair of gloves and an energy bar a floppy situation. But those small gripes aside, when it gets really hot, the loose fit and slight seer-sucker style fabric pucker makes this much, much more comfortable than a tight lycra jersey. At $75, this isn’t a cheap piece, but I’ve certainly gotten a lot of use out of it. Available in three plaid and three solid colors, and in a zipper front closure.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Twin Horizon flannel. Since cyclists aren’t lumber jacks, (we just like to dress like them), Twin Horizon has this slim fit heavy cotton flannel to keep things looking classy and comfortable on the bike.
This is a fall/spring shirt, and the heavy fabric is warm and comfortable. The 100 percent cotton material is soft and reassuring in a world full of synthetics. Sleeves are just the right length and the back is long enough to cover the crack without looking out of place. Tiny armpit vents may or may not do something for ventilation, but they aren’t noticeable anyway, so whatever. My only complaint is a tiny bit of tightness around the shoulders, which is being addressed in the newest shipment of shirts with gussets at the shoulders. Shirts are made in China, designed by an expatriate New Jerseyite.
The standout feature is a small button flap pocket on the lower right rear of the shirt, the perfect spot to stash a phone while riding, especially if your pants are too tight to fit your iPhone. The next production run should be up online at $56 plus shipping. There you can also check out Twin Horizon’s collection of screen printed t-shirts.
Last, and nowhere near the least, is this AeroTech Designs commuter shirt. Actually, as per the AeroTech website, the complete name is “Men’s Urban Pedal Pushers UPF 50+ Commuter Dress Shirt”, but let’s not be scared off by that. Aero Tech manufactures men’s and women’s (and kids) clothing just a few miles from our office, including an impressive selection of Big and Tall sizes.
Made from a nylon and recycled polyester microfiber, the material has bit of stretch, and combined with an loose fit, makes for a very comfortable and unrestrictive shirt. Most of the features are similar to travel shirts (back vent, buttoned flap to secure rolled up sleeves, chest pockets) but adds a small, zippered back pocket. Choose from three subdued plaids, either black, grey or blue.
If I was going to go on an extended tour, this shirt would be the first in my bag. It is light enough for hot days, and the SPF50 treatment keeps my Irish complexion in its usual state of pale. The DWR treatment keeps the shirt clean, and it dries very quickly when wet from sweat, rain, or washing. It seems impervious to wrinkles, and is nice enough looking for wear almost anywhere on or off the bike. I could do without the zippers on the chest pockets, but that is a wee little complaint in an overall super useful and flexible garment. Also available in women’s sizes.
This is one jacket that truly lives up to its name. Built from a waterproof/breathable exterior over a soft, polyester fleece liner, the $145 Alpine Storm jacket from Royal Racing straddles the riding and lifestyle categories from bike saddle to bar stool.Tweet Print
The Back In 5 U-lock from Ortre is a compact theft deterrent designed to keep your bike safe as you dash into the store or grab a coffee. It’s not the strongest lock and I wouldn’t use it as a primary lock in high theft areas, such as on campus, but as a secondary lock or use in low crime areas it functions fine.
Unlike most locks, this one has push-button locking, so the key doesn’t need to be in the core to lock it. Measuring 4 by 7 inches, the BI5 is just long enough to secure my front wheel to the down tube, or lock the top tube to a rack, and it’s small enough to fit in a jean pocket. It’s also light, 520-grams, so I left the BI5 in my pannier, which was perfect for when I forgot my other lock or made unplanned stops on the way home from work. BI5 is a good lock for $40 and better than no lock at all. Two keys are included and four colors are available.
For me, the hitch mounted tray rack is what you graduate to after toying around with other, lesser types of bike carriers. The Holdup 2 from Yakima is an excellent example of what a bike carrier can and should be.
The Holdup comes in two variations for receivers of either 1.25-inch or 2-inches. Yakima supplies you with a hitch bolt and lock for said bolt. The bolt screws into a receiver inside the rack itself and tightens, eliminating side-to-side sway.
For an extra $285, you can get an extension (the Hold Up +2) complete with extra trays and wheel locks for two additional bikes. Making your potential carrying capacity 4 bikes, though not without paying for it.Tweet Print
Let me answer this question first: no, this is not a Krampus with holes drilled in it. While ECR closely resembles its 29+ brethren, it is a completely different beast. The frame is different, the geometry is different, the build kit is different and the fork is different.
Built for loaded touring, exploring and “Escaping Common Reality”, Surly designed the ECR from the ground up with versatility and cargo capacity in mind. It has eyelets for pretty much anything you can imagine: Up to five bottle cages, three sets of Salsa Anything Cage mounts, mounts a cargo rack out back, fenders (if you can find some wide enough), lowrider or cargo racks on the fork, a Rohloff hub, even a Surly trailer mount. All of this is made possible with Surly’s stout 4130 steel tubing (‘natch) and unique rearward-facing dropouts shared with the Ogre and Troll models.Tweet Print
Bellwether’s Coldfront series of clothing is designed for cold and dry winter conditions. Utilizing their proprietary Coldfront soft shell fabric, Bellwether delivers a wind-resistant, water-resistant and breathable jacket. This stretchable 3-layer fabric is made up of a tightly woven outer layer to turn away moisture, a wind blocking, breathable membrane, and a light fleece backing for a touch of insulation.Tweet Print
Raise your hand if you have a bag obsession. Me! Me! Backpacks are great for my shorter rides and I’ll take a two-strap pack over a briefcase for work any day.
The Port in the name refers to a clear window under the main flap, designed for accessing a tablet’s screen without removing it. This could be a great feature for folks who use public transit or need to find directions around town; either way, not having to take out your electronic device during a rushed time period is very cool. For me, the front window was useful for displaying my “to do” lists everyday. Open the bag and—BAM!—list of things I should have done yesterday.Tweet Print
I have gotten fat this winter, and I couldn’t be happier.
Just before Christmas this neon dream of American-made aluminum showed up from the Khaki Santa (aka the delivery guy) and made my riding bright.
Fatback is built exclusively around fat bikes, and it has kept this decidedly American sport homegrown by partnering with Zen Fabrication in Portland to build all its aluminum frames here in the U.S. of A. It’s built from 6000-series aluminum with an oversized headtube, three sets of bottle cage mounts, an S3 direct mount front derailleur mount and a 31.6 seatpost diameter.Tweet Print
I’ve been riding around on Salsa‘s 2014 Warbird 2 for the past few weeks and thought it might be a good time to share some of my first impressions of the bike. First off, the Warbird is Salsa’s take on a gravel racing bike. If you’re not already familiar with gravel racing it’s what it sounds like…racing bikes over gravel roads sometimes for incredibly long distances. Think Dirty Kanza at 200 miles, or the Trans Iowa which ticks off somewhere around 340 miles. The Warbird was designed to provide comfort while maintaining a light, efficient build that can push a fast pace over some seriously rough roads. Sounds like fun, right?Tweet Print
Mountain bikes have been reaping the benefits of hydraulic disc brakes for years now, and while they were finicky at first, the products available now are virtually maintenance-free. When they first began appearing on road bikes, mechanical discs were the obvious stop-gap—a brake cable is a brake cable, after all. But now that discs are becoming more prevalent, roadies want the benefits of hydraulic fluid, too.
First came a series of cable-actuated master cylinders that mounted in all sorts of places, and now at the high end, you can get a complete hydraulic brake system (combined with shifters) from Shimano or SRAM. But many of us already have disc brake bikes and perfectly good drivetrains. The new HyRd (pronounced “high road”) brakes are technically an open hydraulic system, but since it moves the master cylinder from the lever to the caliper, it doesn’t require any special cable or hose routing, and can work with any shifters.Tweet Print