nuun new flavors

New nuun Flavors and Packaging at Sea Otter Classic

As I started my Thursday off dragging through the Sea Otter venue trying to find a bathroom and coffee, yes in that order, I was stopped by Tall Tyler of Nuun.  A little hand slap and a what’s up “bro”.  Tyler then whispered in my ear that he had some new goods to show me at their booth when I had time.  Soon the California sun was beating down on me and the coffee was wearing off.  I needed hydrated and I knew where to find it.

nuun new flavors

Tall Tyler whipped out some fresh colored nuun canisters.  Gone was the all white with only a small colored trim to differentiate and now there was a new, cleaner logo, with fun colored labels!  With that, thank god, there were new flavors.

nuun Strawberry Lemonade

Let me introduce you to one of my new loves in life.  Strawberry lemonade flavored nuun.   In a 16oz glass of water or bottle it is the perfect hint of tart and sweet, amazing for the long ride or when you are quenching your thirst


nuun strawberry vanilla

The rest of the Sea Otter Classic I literally LIVED on nuun Strawberry Vanilla.  They kept a few water coolers full of their new flavors for people to test, I kept testing over and over anytime my water bottle was low.

There are other new flavors as well : Lemon Tea, Fruit Punch, Grape, and Tropical  I haven’t gotten to those as I am in love with the above.

A full review will be posted of all the new flavors, including how my kids and non-cycling friends like the flavors/concept.

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Camelbak Octane 18X Preview

Camelbak Octane 18X Hydration Backpack Preview

Camelbak Octane 18X Preview
MSRP: $99.00
Water Capacity: 100oz
Size: Expanded 20L, Closed 16L
Weight: 1LB

Details from Camelbak

The CamelBak Octane 18X weighs in at just a pound and with 18L of fully expanded cargo capacity, this pack is perfect for 3+ hours of nonstop action. The Octane 18X features an independent suspension, easy to reach stash pockets, a harness pocket and an expandable cargo pocket so you can comfortably carry everything you need which moving fast. Great for extended trail runs or adventure races. The CamelBak Octane 18X also includes the new 100 oz. Antidote reservoir which has a quick-snap cap that tightens in a quarter turn and a quick-disconnect tube system.

Video Preview from Camelbak of the Octane 18x

Initial Thoughts and Feelings

I try to use water bottles as much as possible.  Too much weight on my back can kill me on hard and fast rides.  When I venture further away from the car or house, I need to carry things.  If it is to be more of a boy scout with things to fix trail side or more water and food for longer rides.    In the past I have used bags from Camelbak (the Lobo), Deuter, Osprey Packs and more .   Several of these will have final reviews posted in the coming months as well!  I have always wanted something lighter, and Camelbak seems to have delivered that.

The material of the bag reminds me of a parachute.  The zipper in the center helps keep things nice and tight when I don’t have a jacket or extra clothes in the bag.  My only concern is the lack of support on the bag.  It literally can be rolled up (without the reservoir) and put in a large jersey pocket.

Full review after Sea Otter

I will be taking the Octane 18x with me to Sea Otter and will be able to provide a full review after I abuse it a bit more in the heat and sand!

Chrome Mini Messenger Bag Review

Chrome Mini Messenger Bag: Long Term Review

In February I did a preview of the Chrome Mini Messenger that I received for review at no charge from Chrome (yes that is my mandatory disclaimer.)    For the past 6 weeks I have been riding, using for work, the gym and even used it as a warm bed for a small baby chihuahua.

Features of the Chrome Mini Messenger

A few key things that really stood out to me, it is about the small details that companies put in their product that stands out the most.

  • Extended flap on sides to keep out rain when the bag is closed
  • Reflective straps on the back buckles
  • Loop for blinky light on tail of bag
  • Bottle opener on the buckle
  • Several pockets to keep the small things from getting lost in my bag

What the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag Is

The Mini Messenger is perfect for those looking for a slimmer and trimmer messenger bag.   It isn’t as bulky or combersome as most messenger bags.   The colors I picked stand out, and often is commented about when I take it to business meetings.   It has personality without being over the top, and it helps that it is my companies branding colors.   The bag comfortable carriers 20-25 lbs with the load spread out over the very padded shoulder strap.

What Fits in the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag

Daily I use the Mini Messenger for transportation back and forth to work.   This includes two or three notebooks, a 17″ MacBook Pro, cables and a small camera shoved in a side pocket, many pens, and sometimes a hat or a rain jacket thrown in for safety.   It doesn’t carry a ton, it is not a bag to carry the kitchen sink.

Other Random Notes and Dimensions

(Pulled from ChromeBagsStore.com)

Weight: 2.3lb
Fabric: 1000 denier Cordura outer shell, 18 oz. truck tarp liner
Made In: Chica, CA, USA
Dimensions: 20″ wide, 12″ high, 7″ deep
Volume: 20.5L

Personal Downfalls of the Mini Messenger Bag

In no specific order, these are the things that I disliked.

  • The cross chest strap sucks for women with boobs.   The bag is so small though, I often didn’t use it even when I had a full load doing urban riding.
  • I wish it had a top mounted handle for carrying purposes.   Yes, I could have asked for the Buran but it didn’t have any pretty stock colors!
  • The liner system was something that took me a few days to figure out.  Essentially the interior bag is suspended over the exterior bag.   It is fully water proof because of this, but I had lost a couple documents in the bottom of the bag not knowing that it wasn’t closed off. No fears, I found them and I’m smarter for the experience.

Final Thoughts and Review of the Chrome Mini Messenger Bag

The bag was pleasantly comfortable to ride in, even with a rigid laptop on the back.   It was very water proof, even in down pour for 45 minutes I never had any wet documents or electronics (thank god.)    The colors are completely me and I’m glad I picked out the bright colors.   As I said above, I don’t use the chest strap that often due to it not fitting well with my chest, but that didn’t cause any problems during riding or transporting a full bag.

I would recommend this bag, but making sure you know it won’t fit the kitchen sink.  It is for a change of clothes OR a laptop and notebooks, not both.   It will be perfect for someone that needs to carry clothes to work and change, or goto the gym (a yoga mat was held very nicely under the flap.)   Beware during the summer heat you will get a sweaty back with this heavy duty material.

Buy your own Chrome Mini Messenger Bag at the Chrome Bag Store. Make sure they know Bike Shop Girl sent you!

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Velo Orange Bar Tape

Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape Review

A few months ago when I was trying to inspire myself to get back on the road bike, I changed out some parts on the Raleigh Clubman I had received for review.   I made it a bit more “women’s fit” and classed it up with Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape.   I’ve always loved the look and feel of the Brooks leather bar tape but it was a crazy price to try out a new type of bar wrap.

Details of the Velo Orange Leather Bar Tape

MSRP : $45-55 from VO (currently they have it on sale for $45!)

Colors : Honey Brown or Black

Initial Preview & Installation of the VO Leather Bar Tape

When I received the leather bar tape I was hesitant to install, to be honest it sat in my parts bin for a couple months after receiving due to be run over by a car and the lack of will to ride.  Slowly I realized the bar tape, among other things, is what I needed.  I needed to find beauty in road cycling again.

Installing the bar tape is much tougher than installing normal cork style bar tape.   There is next to no give and the bar tape in the bend of the bar wants to crease.   I had to try two or three times to get it right and have enough to end properly on my 42cm bar.  This may be due to liking more padding and overlapping half of the wrap as I went around, but I don’t know how it would wrap a 46cm bar and not be super thin.  Or, quite possibly my upper body strength isn’t what it should be to wrap leather bar wrap?

Riding with Leather Bar Wrap

The words I can put in this paragraph won’t sum up how nice the leather feels in your hands.   It reminds me of a well loved baseball glove, or settling into an expensive car with the glamorous baseball glove leather seats.   Grabbing on to the bars, and the soft feel that the bar wrap gives back is like a nice hug back from your bike.   The padding is another story.  I have to wear gloves when riding this bike, and padded gloves are not something I normally wear.

Other Notes

If you look closely at the pictures there are two where the bar wrap was stitched together half way through the roll.

White leather would be hot.

Overall Impression

If I had a carbon fiber 14lb road or cyclocross bike,  I wouldn’t use this bar wrap. For a nice classic steel ride, this will be my staple bar wrap.  No question.  And the $55  is well worth it as it will last 5x more than the cork wrap.  When installing it again, I may find one of my strapping muscle clad friends to help man handle the leather, but its good to know the bar tape will be able to take it!

Find online at Velo Orange

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Soul Run Review

Soul Run Tool Roll and Wallet Review

Last summer I mentioned Soul Run products and carrying your tools in style.  Now that I’ve had some time under my belt with their tool roll and jersey pocket wallet I’m ready to reveal my feelings and emotions around their products.

Soul Run Tool Roll

The Tool Roll is a great concept.   It is somewhat like a seatbag, but it unrolls to display all your tools, tubes or bits without having to dump your goods on the ground to find that tube patch or tire levers.    You can keep it in your messenger bag, under your seat or in your pocket.

Soul Run Tool Roll Review

Overall this roll has been a great addition to my daily riding, especially when commuting or changing bikes/bags.   I can easily take the tool roll from one bag into another, or throw it under my seat with a toe strap.   It won’t ever replace a seat bag as it is impossible to attach a light to it, but again for someone with several bags I use to commute with – this was a lifesaver.  I no longer had to make sure I had everything I needed every time I set off on a different bike or with a different bag.

One of the coolest features to this tool roll was the custom colors, I was able to pick anything I wanted for no additional charge!

The only con I found of this roll is due to the pockets and limited space I couldn’t fit too much in the roll.  I routinely kept a CO2, adapter, tube, tube patch and tire levers.   That’s all that fit and even with that it was very bulky and looked “over stuffed.”

Soul Run Pocket Wallet

Soul Run Review

This wallet was the lifesaver that I never knew I needed.   I carry an Android smart phone and a small digital camera on every ride.  As the summer is hot and humid in Charlotte, NC, I would often put these electronic devices in a plastic bag to keep the moisture of my sweat out.  This wallet saved me from looking like a fool, and I started to use it daily for other uses.  On the one side I put my phone with license and credit card, the other either my camera or cash.   It kept everything dry and stink free!  It also kept everything easy to find in a huge messenger bag, or backpack with out stash pockets.

Other Mentions of Soul Run

Back in October when I was run over by a car, Soul Run sent me a “get well card” to my house due to them having my address from sending me their product for review.  It was one of the sweetest things and motivating factors to my healing process.

Check out Soul Run on Etsy to check out their latest colors and products.  Personally I’m eyeballing the pro bike tool roll!

This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Nalgene On the Fly OTF

Nalgene On the Fly Bottle Review

Nalgene On the Fly
MRSP: $12.99
Size: 24 ounces
Companies Pitch: Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks

From Nalgene on their OTF Bottle

Nalgene’s newest leak-proof loop-top swings open wide to reveal a contoured, high-flow drinking spout that’s easy to fill at the fountain or sink. One-handed push button for easy open/close; locking bail for ultimate insurance against leaks.

  • Holds 24 ounces
  • Silicone stopper seals off the drinking spout
  • Leak-proof with bail engaged
  • Fits standard cup holders
  • Molded-in measuring marks
  • Dishwasher safe
  • 63mm cap fits other Nalgene wide-mouth bottles
  • Compostable EarthFirst® bottle “shrink sleeve” packaging is made from renewable plant resources
  • OTF bottle is made in the USA from copolyester manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA). OTF closure is made in China from polypropylene manufactured without Bisphenol A (BPA).
  • Weighs 136g

Test Results

Tested and abused for the past 8 weeks. Brutal testing done by not only myself, but my testing team. The team consist of two athletic 9 and 10 year old boys. I knew when it came to testing a “leak proof” bottle they would be the best abusers.
Nalgene On the Fly OTF
The above bottle is one that was tested, we haven’t gotten around to taking the label off but even that has worn well. The two bottles that were supplied for review have been taking to sports practices, school backpacks, and even slept in bed with them. I’m happy to report there hasn’t been even one leak!

On the Fly Conclusion

For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.

The Nalgene bottle isn’t for me.  I prefer either a cycling bottle top or a drink with a straw.   The biggest positives for me for this Nalgene bottle is that there are no hidden pieces to pull out or to find moldy down the road, the top design does not leak and is easy enough for kids to use well.  For $12.99 and BPA free I think it is a great lifestyle bottle.

Product Disclaimer : This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand

Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand : Product Preview

As a mechanic you become very territorial and particular with your tools.   Once you find something you like, and that doesn’t let you down – you stick with it until it does.  Ultimate Repair Stands which became Feedback Sports a few years ago is one of those things.  They make repair stands, and scales that I would recommend to everyone and anyone.   When I was given the opportunity to upgrade from my old and well used Ultimate repair stand to the Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand, I bit the chance hard!

Specifications of the Pro Elite Stand

Key specs that I like to point out of this stand are the following

  • Weight : 12.6 lbs.  It makes it easy to take with you on the road and for smaller women to manipulate around
  • Transportable. Tie the weight with the ease of collapsing down the the stand into a relatively compact package
  • Stable. This is where the importance for a mechanic comes in.  I want to be able to do a complete rebuild, full service and do it all on the road.  Everything I’ve thrown at this stand, it has taken. This is thanks to the 54″ tripod base system.  As long as you position the bike correctly on the legs, you won’t have it tipping over on you, no matter the bike.
  • Feedback Sports Pro Elite Repair Stand ReviewQuick Release Clamp.  One of my favorite parts of this stand is the quick release button.  All repair stands need this, more importantly all stands need this feature with it lasting as long as Feedback Sports release last. If you work on bikes often, you’ll love this one hand use clamp.

More on the Pro Elite Stand

As the testing continues, bikes get heavier, clamps get used more, and so on there are a few other notes to mention that aren’t above.   This stand can come with or without a tote bag, I like the tote bag but if you plan on transporting it once a year save your money.
MSRP : Between $220-240 depending where/when and if you want the tote bag

Until I’m finished my review, take a look at Road Bike Review’s video of Feedback Sports 2011 line up:

Disclaimber : This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing.  I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.

Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire Initial Review

Last week I finally received my new Industry Nine wheels that have been on order for about a month.   The same time as the wheels I had ordered a couple Continental tires that I’ve had my eye on for awhile that no one has used locally that I have been able to find. The Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 for the front and the Race King 2.2 tires for the rear were what I ordered.

Width of Continental Tires

There’s always been an issue, especially with mountain bike tires, with the wrong advertised spec compared to truth width. Continental seems to be worst of all companies with this. When I ordered the tires I was aware of this but hoped by going with a 2.4 for the front that it would end up around 2.25.

Continental Mountain King 2.4 Measurement from Twenty Nine Inches was originally at 52.6mm or 2.07 inches for the casing. The guys over there went on saying the tire “stretched” and of course a tire will measure out or fill out differently depending on which rim and rim width you install it on.

Personally I need to measure mine.  They’ve been installed since last Thursday night, and maybe they have “stretched” out a bit too.  Regardless, 2 inch tires aren’t what I was looking for. Especially the front which is supposed to be a 2.4, so now I have a 2″ tire for roughly 800 grams. Not very happy where the weight/width/volume for ride is.

Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Installing Continental Mountain Bike Tires

Installation of the Mountain King 2.4 tire was a bear on the Stans Arch rim. Currently, I’m running tubed and pinched a tube when there was 3 inches of tire left to roll on and no where to go. I’m not going to be very happy if I get a flat on the side of a trail somewhere, I’ll never be able to get the tire back on unless the tire truly did stretch.

Ride Quality of the Mountain King 2.4

The tire rides well. It’s a true trail tire with well positioned deep knobs that ride over various trail conditions from roots, rocks and floats over sand. If I was riding a full suspension, riding deep in the mountains or had front suspension this tire would lay better with me.  Currently it’s on the list to be taken off after a few more rides. I can’t ride a heavy tire with no volume on a fully rigid bike. There are too may other good tires out there to waste my time on riding this. I may try it on the rear once I find a replacement for this as a front tire.
Continental Mountain King 29x2.4 Tire

Overall Opinion of the Continental Mountain King 29×2.4 Tire

I’m not impressed.  Tires, wheels, grips and saddles make or break a bike for me.  There isn’t much else left on a fully rigid 29er but still…these things matter to me. I like stiff wheels, squishy tires with strong yet subtle sidewalls and a comfortable fit. The tires will be measured, I’ll try them tubeless and we will be back for a full review.

Introduction of the Cateye TL-LD570 Reflex Auto Light

We recently received the Cateye TL-LD570 Reflex Auto Light and it quickly was installed on the rear of my Salsa Casseroll.  Our initial spin around the block gave the impression that this rectangle of a light is bright, and the reflector works wonderfully.  Something I didn’t realize I was missing in a light.

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Burley Travoy

Burley Travoy Cargo Trailer Full Review

To be honest, I’ve never walked into a review for a product so excited, yet so worried about the outcome. Normally, I have a pretty good idea of how I’ll feel about a product – sometimes my decision or opinion will be swayed one way or another based on product durability or features. The Burley Travoy is a unique trailer system, that would either completely sell me on trailers for daily use or leave me hoping for more.

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