Products

Review Giant Anthem X 29er 4
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Preview: 2013 Giant Anthem X 29Er 4 Women’s Bike

A long time ago I wrote an opinion article on why I didn’t believe women’s designed 29ers worked. Designers were being pushed so hard to get things to market that the result was lack luster, and in my opinion these bikes often handled like crap compared to their non-women’s designed brothers. The front end was flip-floppy, unless you had a crazy short stem and wide handlebar. While this works well for the true mountains, it doesn’t work well for women just learning how to mountain bike. Fast forward a few years, more experienced designers, brands with patience and maybe some more knowledge. Now you have women’s bikes that don’t have crazy head tube angles and carry well in switchbacks up or down. Thus, inspiring confidence and excitement to carry momentum through the trails.

Meet the 2013 Giant Anthem X 29er 4 Women’s

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Rickshaw VELO Backpack
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Review: Rickshaw Velo Backpack

“Made right here in San Francisco, The medium Velo edition backpack is an exercise in minimalist design — sleek, simple, lightweight, black. My goal was to address the essential functionality of the everyday, all-purpose carry-all — nothing less, nothing more. I wanted a casual, yet stylish, alternative to the old-school book bag and the over-built wilderness pack — while still working with technical fabrics rather than canvas and leather.”

-Mark Dwight Founder and designer

Meet the Rickshaw Velo Backpack

• MSRP: $139
• Fully customizable
• Ultra light weight at 1.5 lbs
• Waterproof X-Pac™ sailcloth, YKK water-proof zippers
• Top-loading main compartment for quick access
• Seatbelt shoulder straps
• Reflective strip and light loops
• Removable padded 13″ laptop sleeve or document pouch
• Organizational front pocket
• Padded base and lumbar support.
• Made to order in our own San Francisco workshop.
• Dimensions: 15.5” H x 11” W x 5” D (16” top zipper)
Rickshaw Velo Backpack

Initial Thoughts of the Velo Backpack

Pulling the bag out of the box I could tell right away that this is a top quality bag. The seams, fabric choices and the attention to detail is superb!

As the designer stated in the quote above, this is a minimalistic, functional bag for everyday use.  You aren’t going to over load it, or use it for epic trips but for the everyday girl bag that needs to work as a backpack but not weigh you down – this is going to work well

Customization

When talking to Rickshaw about reviewing this bag it was offered to make a customized version. I jumped at the chance picking a bright color that is easy to spot but won’t show dirt horribly. The process is super simple with the Rickshaw online customizer and the back arrived about a week later.

Using the Velo Backpack

The bag is super light weight and easy to move from backpack to tote with the comfortable straps. The backpack straps are of seat belt material, making them wide and comfortable but not too heavy duty. This bag was meant to get you through the day but not to carry tons of weight.

When using it at a farmer’s market it easily was carried as a tote filled with corn and then swung around on to my back for walking or biking.

It’s a verily slender bag, fitting my bag well and leaving room for visibility when looking behind me on a bike.

Rickshaw VELO Backpack

Conclusion of the Rickshaw Velo Backpack Review

These days cycling inspired bag companies are popping up in all areas of the United States.  The quality of Rickshaw and the “handmade in the USA” all have meaning, add in that you customize your bag to your liking and I can’t think of another bag with these features at this price point.

The need to carry my iPad or MacBook Air with wallet and essentials leads me to using this bag more. Walking or riding down to the local coffee shop or office is what this bag was made for. You aren’t going to use this bag to carry you’re whole life but if you are looking for something trim and durable for the every day needs, check out the Rickshaw Velo Backpack.

Disclaimer: This bag was provided at no charge for review

Cross of the North Colorado
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Cyclocross Bicycle Practice, or my First CX Race is This Weekend

My first cyclocross “race” is this coming Sunday; I use the word race loosely as I’m looking at it as bicycle practice, with a very high average heart rate.

Things to do for my first CX race of the season

Find wheels for my cyclocross bike. I have a pair of Specialized Roval Pave wheels that I’ll be swapping over from my single speed. This way I can leave my Powertap on the road bike, and not have to worry about durability thanks to the Roval Pave proofing themselves over the past couple seasons on my single speed.

Find tires for the above wheels. Not knowing any of the courses I’m going to go with my proven “all – around but slow on hard pack” setup. This is a Specialized Terra up front and Michelin Mud2 on the back.

Sign up for a Bicycle Racing Association Colorado license. This is the statewide governing body for all things bike racing in Colorado. While I don’t have to join to race, it saves me from paying one day fee’s and it gives my team points if I place at all.

Register. Thankfully I remembered to do this, and get the BRAC license earlier this week as online registration has already closed for this weekend’s races! Note to self: Always register the Wednesday or Thursday before race weekend.

Test Ride and Skills. This will be tomorrow. Not too much stress, just making sure my bike is functioning and hips are flexible for the mounts. The first few races will be skills clinics in themselves, but I do plan on working in one or two days of CX skills per week.

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Review Course. Then forget what I reviewed.

Create CX’ing Playlist on Spotify. Do you have songs that pump you up? Maybe some Katy Perry “Roar”? Let me know what is on top of your list!

Rock Out. Because that is why we are all doing this right?

Photo Credit: Cross of the North Facebook page

Cannondale Women's Hi-MOD Evo
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Review: Cannondale SuperSix Evo Women’s Hi-MOD Dura Ace

MSRP: $6600
Sizes: 44, 48, 51, 54, 56
Details: Geometry is based on front stack height (how tall the front end is), Shimano Dura Ace through out other than the Cannondale Hollowgram SI cranks. Wheels/Tires are from Mavic

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Bern Allston Helmet Review
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Review: Bern Allston Helmet

Back in July I introduced Bern Helmets’ new ventilated model, the Allston. With a couple months of testing, three different reviewers and some matchy handlebar tape, I’m ready to give you my opinion.

The Bern Allston

The Allston has 16 vents, weighs in at a claimed 13 ounces and comes in 4 colors. With the classic Bern visor style, lighter weight and a decent amount of ventilation this is going to turn some fixie riding heads!

Key Details

MSRP: $89.99
Colors: Matte Black, Matte Grey, Matte Neon Green, Satin White
Features: 16 vents, 13 ounces, Available in 3 sizes (M, L, XL), Snap in liners to make this an all season helmet

Wear Test

The size Medium that showed up in Neon Green fit many heads. The nicest feature of this helmet in my mind is the liner that comes pre-installed. With a baseball cap flap, the adjustment comes from a soft fabric being tightened by velcro at the back. There isn’t a plastic cage tightening against your scull, it also acts as a sweat catcher!

Bern Allston Helmet Review

Ride Test

Bern Allston Test Riding

For bike commuting and low milage city riding this is a great go-to helmet. The vents allow some air flow but the skateboard style shell wraps around your head, a bit lower than most bike helmets these days.

I wouldn’t ride this helmet for 20+ miles unless it’s <60 degrees. While it has good airflow, it isn’t a match for ventilation like Lazer, Giro or Specialized.

Overall Opinion

If you want a great looking helmet, look here. If you want a helmet that can add some warmth in the winter, look here. If you are looking for a solid mountain bike or road helmet and you are often sweating or in warmer temps, do not look here.

I’m a huge fan of the helmet for the right purpose. In city bike shops Bern is selling like hotcakes. The style of the helmet is undeniable and a huge step up from their standard low vent styles.

Support Bike Shop Girl

Looking for a Bern helmet? If you can’t find something at your local bike shop, click through to JensonUSA as I make a commission off all sales you purchase after clicking through from Bike Shop Girl.

Disclaimer: This helmet was provided at no charge for review purposes.

 

Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey
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Review: Sombrio Women’s Origami Jersey

When you hear jersey I bet you think spandex, pockets and zippers. Each of these features have its benefits; pockets for food and tools, zippers for airflow and spandex to keep close to your body. These features have very little use in mountain biking with backpacks strapped to our backs and the desire of looser fitting clothing to be able to move freely. While the free ride and all mountain movement have brought many killer clothes to production for guys, it’s limiting (as usual) for women.

Meet the Sombrio Cartel and the Origami Jersey

Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey

This jersey reminds me of a high end workout shirt from Adidas or Nike, but designed to fit with your arms extended and your torso slightly bent.

MSRP: $75
Details:

  • Seamless construction
  • X-Staticå¨ silver wrapped fiber technology
  • Antimicrobial
  • Eliminates odors
  • Regulates temperature
  • Eliminates static
  • Anti-slip hem

Fit of the Sombrio Origami Jersey

The size medium that I’ve been wearing fits like a glove. While snug, I haven’t had any chaffing under my Hydrapak or feeling of over heating. For sizing reference I wear a size medium/6 in most clothes.

Overall Thoughts

$75 is a pretty going rate of a bike jersey with pockets, zippers and do-dads. $75 for a glorified Lululemon overbuilt workout shirt is a bit much for me. While the shirt feels amazing, does everything it says it will, I’m sure those who live for all mountain riding won’t hesitate for a second to rock this shirt.

If you have the money it’s a great substitute for standard spandex. I find myself pulling this on any chance given, even for wearing off the bike. If the retail on this was closer to $50 I could see buying a couple and it being my go-to shirt. For $75 I may ask for it on a wish list for Christmas.

Visit Sombrio Cartel to see more

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review

Knog Blinder Road Lights
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Preview: Knog Blinder Road Lights

As my hunt continues for amazing bike lights to keep me from being run over, I was sent a set of the new Knog Blinder Road Lights. These rechargeable beauties are part of the hi power series that Knog released earlier this year.

Knog Blinder Road 2 MSRP $79.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 200 Lumens
  • Light Dimensions: W53mm x H30mm x D63mm
  • Weight: 75g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Waterproof: 100% Waterproof and Dust Proof.
  • Light Modes: Total of 8 light modes: 1. Narrow Low Beam, 2. Narrow High Beam, 3. Wide Low Beam,4. Wide High Beam, 5. Dual Low Beam, 6. Dual High Beam, 7. Flashing Alternate, 8. Flashing-1 LED Steady/1 LED flashing.
  • Burn time: Low-beam modes: Steady 2hr, Flash mode 6hr. High-beam modes:Steady 1hr / Flash mode: 4hr.
  • Charge time: 5 hour charge time.
  • Bike Attachment: Two removable silicone straps for bars 22-28mm / 29-35mm. Helmet mount included

Knog Blinder Road R MSRP $59.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 70 lumens in strobe mode (peak)
  • Dimensions: W27mm x H76mm x D52mm
  • Weight: 52g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch.
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Light Modes: 5 light modes: 1.Steady, 2.Fast, 3.Chaser, 4.Peleton, 5. Eco-Flash.
  • Burn time: lasting up to 3.5 hours in Steady mode, 4 hours in Fast, 5 hours in Chaser, 13 hours in Peloton Mode and 20 hours in Eco-Flash.
  • Bike Attachment: Tool-less attachment for standard rear posts measuring 22-32mm. Not suitable for aero post design

Out of the Box Thoughts

The look of Knog lights have always been a clean, catchy, subtle design. The question has always been the quality and longetivity of the light. These new Blinder Road Lights seem to have a bit more to them, first in the band which is much thicker than their other lights, and then second are the cords they are finally shipping with their USB charging lights. You struggle any longer trying to plug one of their lights into the back of your computer or keyboard thanks to this long USB extender.

Only time will tell how the lights hold up, and how long they really do keep their charge. Give me a couple weeks to push the test of these little lights! Learn more over at Knog.

Support Bike Shop Girl

If you are in the market for new lights, click through this link to JensonUSA where I receive a commission off anything you buy (as long as you do so after clicking the link!)

Disclaimer: These Knog lights were provided at no charge for review. 

Screen shot 2013-08-31 at 7.04.55 PM
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The Nutter Cycle Multi Tool

A bike mechanic nerd, tools are a soft spot or me and if you witness my tool collection as I’m fixing up your bike, you’ll understand. The Nutter Cycle Multi Tool caught my eye as it’s simple, yet overly designed, and classy as it rolls up for your jersey pocket or saddle bag.

Chrome Camo Bag Header
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Safety to Another Level: Chrome Reflective Camo Bags

Being seen at night is a big concern for most cyclist (yet reflectors are the first thing that come off new bikes.) Chrome is launching a limited run of Reflective Camo Bags that are made in the USA. What looks normal in the day, lights up when a car light shines on the fabric to make it easier to spot.

Limited run, available at select shops – find one near you or hit up Chrome.

 

This Campaign has ended. No more pledges can be made.


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