Penny Candy: Ortre BI5 U-lock

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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.

 

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Darkness is here – make yourself seen this winter

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By Shannon Mominee

Nothing signals the coming of winter more than an earlier setting sun. And for much of the country that also means wet weather and darker streets during your commute. There are many companies featuring great products to help us all safely navigate through the season while remaining relatively dry. Here are just a few. Read the full story

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Garmin releases GPS for touring cyclists

This is pretty much the device I’ve been dreaming of for years. This week Garmin announced a new GPS cycling computer specifically designed for touring and long-distance cyclists. It highlights the mapping and navigating features but does without some of the performance features of the Edge 810 model to keep the price down.

The Edge Touring and Edge Touring Plus provide on and off-road navigation and can even create a loop for you to ride based on your distance and terrain preferences. It comes loaded with maps and points of interest and you can add more as  you go. You can also load a route you created with Garmin’s software or your own GPX track.

The waterproof, 2.6-inch touchscreen is designed to be usable even with gloves on and the whole unit weighs less than 100 grams. The rechargeable battery will last up to a claimed 17 hours.

The Edge Touring Plus model adds ANT+ integration for heart rate straps and can even display information from some ANT+ equipped e-bikes. It also includes a barometric altimeter. 

The Edge Touring will retail for $250 and the Edge Touring Plus for $300. They will ship this fall according to Garmin.  

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New Brooks saddle available in limited edition

Brooks of England is an old-fashioned company, but its latest product is decidedly high-tech. The Cambium saddle is a new range of saddles that is made from Vulcanized natural rubber and organic cotton, enhanced with a thin layer of structural textile on top for added resilience and the legendary Brooks longevity. The uniquely flexible, maintenance-free, waterproof top is designed to follow the rider’s movements for immediate comfort and ease of use.

After first soliciting 100 people to sample the new saddle and provide feedback, Brooks is celebrating the launch of the Cambium by creating a limited edition of 1,000 of the C17 and 200 of the ladies C17s that are on sale now. Each will be etched with the series number on the front rivet of each saddle to commemorate this new generation of Brooks saddles.

To the eye, the C17 may appear quite racy in its shape and lines, which indeed it is. A saddle you can really settle into, the geometry and dimensions are based closely on that of our most recognizable model, the B17, ensuring the same timeless comfort mile after mile.

The C17s is slightly shorter than the C17 and more suited to the female anatomy. 

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Review: eoGear Century Bag

By Adam Newman

It’s funny how our gear seems to move around over the years as we’re riding. From jersey pockets to seat bags, frame packs to top tube, there’s always a new place to stash your stuff.

Well the more options the merrier, I say, and the $29 Century Bag from eoGear is a perfect place to perch your portables. (Too much?)

Designed by eoGear’s fervent randonneuring owner, Richard Stum, whom I met at NAHBS, it is stitched and sewn in Utah. Stum started out by building mountaineering packs that would fit his 6’4" frame, then specializing in photography packs, and later turned to cycling after an ankle injury sidelined his ultramarathon running.

The Century bag attaches to your bike just behind the stem via Velcro straps and in no way interferes with steering. The main compartment is plenty large enough to hold a smartphone or three, and there is a zippered pocket on the left for valuables and a mesh pocket on the right for litter. For an extra $2.75 you can get a small food container insert that keeps snacks organized out of their packaging. It makes eating something like trail mix a lot easier.

The material is tough, rip-stop nylon and the zippers are heavy gauge and water-resistant. All are easy to operate with one hand while riding. It even has an attachment for a pen or pencil—useful for filling out brevet cards.

It measures about 630ml (38 cubic inches) and the interior dimensions are about 4 inches high, 6 inches long and just less than 2 inches wide. If you’re looking for something slightly larger or smaller, eoGear offers those as well.

At less than $30, it’s really hard to beat the Century bag for value, since it’s essentially the same price as one made overseas. I’ve been using it to carry tubes, small tools and snacks and it’s never missed a beat.

Visit eogear.com to see the full line of American-made cycling accessories. They are sold consumer direct and you won’t find them in dealerships. 
 

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Penny Candy: Keeping your body, and your bike, rolling

By Shannon Mominee

With prime riding season knocking on the door, it’s time to tune-up your beloved bicycle, and prepare yourself for the miles ahead. Food, hydration, and the means to fix a flat will only add to your cycling enjoyment, so be prepared. Here are a few products to keep you pedaling through the warm weather and beyond.

Food, it’s what supplies the energy to your legs and keeps you satisfied.

Kind creates a variety of incredibly delicious snack bars consisting of all-natural ingredients. I’m talking real food; fruits, nuts, spices, and grains. The easily recognizable chunks of whole food are easy to digest and taste much better than some gooey mystery substance. There’s just something about chewing that is normal. My favorite bar is Dark Chocolate Cinnamon Pecan, but you can’t go wrong with Dark Chocolate Cherry Cashew. Gluten-free, kosher, and about $2 a bar. Also available by the case. Made in U.S.A. www.kindsnacks.com

To easily hydrate, you could ride one-handed all-day-long , holding your water bottle. But I think you’d be happier using a bottle cage.

With a Blackburn Slick Cage you’ll hardly even notice that it’s there. The Slick is made from a polycarbonate material and weighs a measly 23 grams. It has a sleek design, lifetime-warranty and cradles a bottle securely. Available colors are black, red, white, pink, and blue. Retail is $15. Made in China. www.blackburndesign.com

You carry a cell phone when you ride, right? You should also carry the basics to fix a flat and save your significant other the trip to pick you up roadside.

The Syncros Saddle Bag Kit is a super compact bag with a tube and a set of plastic tire levers. It attaches to your saddle rails with Velcro and has a waterproof zipper. I recommend also stuffing a patch kit into it and a fiver. You never know when you’ll get multiple punctures on a single ride. The kit is available with either a 26”, 29”, 650b, or 700c tube. Retail for all kit sizes is $25. Made in Taiwan. www.syncros.com

And to inflate the tube you’ll need a pump and there are many options to choose from. Here are two.

The Airace Turbo Road/CO2 pump is compact enough to fit in a backpack and inflates using a 16-gram threaded CO2 cartridge (included) or by the tried and true pumping motion. It features an aluminum barrel and separate valve heads for use with the CO2 cartridge or without, and fits both Presta or Schrader valves. Max-pressure is 120psi. Retail is $38.

If you travel as light as possible and don’t mind spending more time pumping, the Airace Torch Road weighs 78 grams and is 5” long. It has an aluminum barrel and a thumb-lock lever. The Torch Road stows easily in a pocket, also fits both valve stems, and has the same 120psi. max-pressure. Retail is $35. Both pumps are made in Taiwan. www.airace.com.tw

 

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