I’ll keep you from reading my rant of why I feel that child bike seats are unsafe and can lead to danger for the child and adult. That will be saved for another day.
Earlier in the summer Burley sent out a D’Lite Child Trailer for review purposes. Walking into the review I knew from my experience in the past with Burley, their trailers and the quality they take around design and development – I would be pleased with the results of their D’Lite trailer. As my children are grown to 10 and 11 years old, I borrowed and stole children of all sizes for the review and testing. At the bottom of this is a ton of photos to hopefully document all the details that the D’Lite has to offer.
My Burley Trailer History
My first experience with Burley outside of selling them was back in 2005. The shop I was managing outside of Boston had a few rental Burley trailers to use on the local rail to trail. During the early spring before our rental period picked up I adopted a puppy. I used a kids trailer with a couple blankets and a short leash to transport my new puppy to the shop and back. She loved it, I loved it and it was perfect. Since then Burley has actually released the Tail Wagon which is a trailer designed for your dog!
My next experience with Burley was as a bike line. My small shop in Charlotte, NC stocked and sold their road line. Beautiful steel bikes, a dying breed. Since then Burley has restructured and really going after the trailer and pull behind niche.
Replacement covers available in Yellow, Blue or Red
Bowed-out sides for increased interior width/shoulder room
Elastomer suspension system
Exclusive height-adjustable handlebar that doubles as roll bar
All weather cover with waterproof zippers
Deluxe reclining padded seats
Five-point harness and padded shoulder harness
Removable, washable seat pad and shoulder harness
Tinted side windows
Number of children
100.0 lb/ 45.4 kg
28.0 lb/ 12.7 kg
25.2 in/ 64.0 cm
26.4 in/ 67.1 cm
Interior seat width
20.0 in/ 50.8 cm
20.0 in/ 50.8 cm
The things I found unique and completely Burley:
Tinted side windows
Rear window that zips down for airflow and the child can see around
Drink and snack holders on both sides the seats
Reflective piping and logos all around the shell
Easy to use
Push button wheels
Standard 20″ wheels, not the plastic kind
Did I mention easy to use?
Adaptable to all types of bikes
My Overall Feelings
The D’Lite delivered as I expected it to. The trailer isn’t the cheapest out there, but if you purchase an accessory kit this could become your do all stroller, running jogger and kid hauler. The ability to completely flatten, pull the wheels off and stow it in the back of your vehicle is irreplaceable for the family on the go. Why not have one killer trailer/stroller/hauler instead of 3 that do 3 different things?
In the end I do believe that trailers are safer, allow you to bring two kids, clothing, and they are tucked behind UV windows, rain fly’s mesh, and a roll bar. 5 point harness system will keep every kid in place. Extra room allows you to put snacks and toys in with them, without the ability of them throwing it overboard.
I hope to explore how parents can get their children interested in riding in the trailer, how to do it safely and tips/ideas of how to get out with your family. In the end it is completely how the parent handles taking the their child, how they encourage healthy living and being outside.
Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge. I was not paid or bribed for the review and was completely as judgmental as I am with everything else in my life.
Details from Lizard Skins:
2.5 mm thick for that extra bit of comfort. At 82” of lengththere is ample length for any bar & 50 grams per set MSRP: $38
When I first saw the Lizard Skins handlebar tape popping up in the local bike shops I was intrigued. Anytime a company comes out with a product that is twice the price of their competitors they are either idiots or they have some amazing technology worth the cost.
Second thing I saw was that the Lizard Skins company doing a great job with merchandising. They give shops that order a certain amount of minimum product a great eye catching point of purchase. It is a handlebar that allows a consumer to try out the tape, some even have pieces of all the colors and styles available, this is the seller. The tape is different and Lizard Skins knows this – allowing you to try it. It reminds me of the really nice tape you can buy for fancy tennis rackets. It is a bit tacky to touch and only becomes more tacky if it becomes wet. It really hits on the name of the company “Lizard Skins.”
There are many colors to chose from, along with the thickness of tape. 2.5mm is the one I went with for better shock absorption, but there is also a 1.8mm for those that like to “feel their bars.” The color, pink of course!
Long Term Review of the Lizard Skins Handlebar Tape
While my review package of tape showed up in early summer, I wanted to put the tape through its paces. As the tape is almost $40 to wrap a handlebar I wanted to make sure it was worth the cost and continued to feel tacky, padded and pink.
Every time I get on my cyclocross bike with this handlebar tape installed, I am impressed. 600 miles on the handlebars, and the pink is still going strong. A bit dirty, but still pink and tacky.
Not everyone needs to spend this much to wrap their handlebars. If you have a problem with sweaty hands, slippery handlebar tape, maybe have to wear gloves for grip, or you wear through tape a couple times a season.
This tapes for you.
I’ll leave you with this. While at my local cyclocross practice a friend and gear whore, George, saw my tape, felt my tape, asked me about my tape then quickly went out and bought his own tape (not in pink). We both realized quickly that it is durable and perfect for cyclocross.
Disclaimer: Lizards Skins provided this tape free for review, I wasn’t paid or bribed.
As cyclocross season is getting rolling, cyclocross product is rolling in the door for test riding and abusing in the name of reviews! One of the most sensitive subjects for cyclocross racers (other than bike geometry) is tire choice and pressure.
2012 Specialized Cyclocross Tires
Three new cyclocross tires focused on from the big S, Specialized Bicycles. One for each terrain, hard packed, mixed conditions, and wet or muddy conditions.
Specialized Trigger Tire
This is the tire for the hard pack conditions, and developed with the help of Todd Wells.
Details: Sharp but shallow diamond tread pattern in the center. Increased and more stable blacks in the shoulder for cornering in hard surfaces.
While at Sea Otter this past spring I was hooked up with the new pinkAnswer Products ProTaper XC Flatbar. After installing and riding the bar for a couple months (15 or 20 rides) I can give some honest feedback.
ProTaper 650 XC Bars Details
Width: 685mm Weight: 235g (flat) Back Sweep: 3º Colors: PINK, Mango, Red, Green, Brunette (brown), Black
Answer ProTaper 650 XC Review
While the handlebar got me at the word “pink”, the weight and options are really what kept me interested. Even though flat bars really aren’t my gig, not giving enough sweep for my longer distance hauls. I ended up riding these bars for a couple months on my geared Airborne Goblin and then moving it to my Surly Karate Monkey single speed. The weight and taper were confidence inspiring, especially when you use a stem like Thomson that can sometimes crack handlebars when not installed correctly. A bike shop could carry a few of these bars in different colors and really add some flair to customers bikes. Check out more Answer bars on JensonUSA.com
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.
Pedals on a commuter are always an interesting dance.
Platform, clipless, toe clips, and then which brand/level? For my around town getter I try to keep platforms on year around to be able to hop on and just GO! The bike I keep at my office in Uptown Charlotte is this type of bike. Originally with BMX style platform pedals, $10 Wellgo pedals, they did well as a pedal but only when I had soft bottom shoes on. When I had dress shoes or some sort of heal the pedal’s “spikes” didn’t grab and became very slippery when wet.
Ergon PC2 Pedals
For 2011 I am on the Ergon Commuter Team where we are testing out their new products and talking bike commute goodness! In July I was sent a pair of their new PC2 pedals to give a spin and give feedback on. While this isn’t going to be a full review I did want to preview them and give my initial thoughts.
The PC2′s remind me of beach cruiser pedals with the sand paper feel on each side. This works very well and no matter the shoe so far, they hold a grip.
The pedals are size specific, I’m on a small pedal but at the maximum shoe size with a euro 42 shoe. Two of these pedals do feel very large in your hand, but once on the bike they feel supportive under feet and keep traction between your shoe and drivetrain.
After a handful of rides I am really enjoying these pedals. With an MSRP of $70 I hope they continue to impress me and provide a good alternative to BMX pedals and clipless for commuters!
There have been many reviews released for the Chrome Sherman “Utility” bag. These reviews are mostly by folks riding their track bikes down to the local velodrome, swapping out wheels and gearing to race that same bike. For me this bag introduces a new look at doing business as a mechanic and ease of use for tool storage.
The spring and early summer season is always my busiest. First to Sea Otter, a couple local endurance races, a 24 hour mtb race and a handful of South East crit series to hit up. As a racer, but more importantly as everyone’s friendly female mechanic it is my job to be organized and prepared for whatever you need at the race.
Using the Chrome Sherman
At first this bag is overwhelming, so many pockets and clasps. In fact three weeks after actively using the bag I found a hidden pocket to hold my chain whip and pedal tool! The bag trifolds to easily be carried on your back, or the top flap folds back to be clasped on a repair stand, fence or whatever is close by. Once you figure out all the pockets, what zippers, what velcro’s, and what can go where is when you can start pushing the bag to its extreme.
The Chrome Sherman for Daily Use
As I mentioned, I use the Sherman for different purposes than others. I use it as my tool bag, that travels on my back from car to pits, of garage to car to races. I’ve never ridden more than 2 miles with the thing on my back, but the bag is used daily with my bike tools.
To be able to grab the Sherman from where it hangs off my bookcase or repair stand, fold up the tri-fold and head off to wherever I am going. It is amazing. I’m not repacking all my tools, questioning where I left my measuring tape or 3-way. It is where I keep it, organized and always in the same spot.
If I am doing a full overhaul in my garage I will take out most the tools I know I’ll need and put them on the bench or on the wall for their homes, but this is more for speed than anything else.
What Goes in my Chrome Sherman
A random list of what is normally in my Sherman for daily use. Each race is different, if I’m going to a road race I may pull something different than a mtb.
Full run of allen hex’s. from 1.5 to 10mm
4 main allen wrenches, 8,9,10,15
Adjustable wrench x 2
Phillips screw driver x2
Flathead screw driver x2
Small squeeze of grease
Wax based lube
Teflon based lube
Small tackle box of misc parts (quick links, headset spacers, tire boot, co2 head, pens,
Single speed cogs x2
SRAM 9 speed chain (new)
SRAM 10 speed chain (new)
Small container of Stans NoTubes
Crank tool x 2
Shimano crank tool
BB tool x 4 (outboard, octalink, square taper and Campy)
Brake cables x2
Shifter cables x2
Overall Review of the Chrome Sherman
The Chrome Sherman is a bag that makes you think out of the box. (No pun intended.) It has allowed me to expand my services as a mechanic, and be more efficient when doing so. It handles cross country trips well, being shoved in the trunk of a car, or slapped on your back to haul on a bike.
There are things I would change, pockets I would expand, tool slots I would stitch in but for a non-custom bag at MSRP of $190 the bag does what it needs to do. Now at $190 you need to utilize the thing to death to justify the cost, but keeping my tools safe and organized in all conditions is worth it to me. Chrome, please add custom colors to the mix in the future!
80 mile road rides, epic mountain bike rides, a Swiss Army knife that folds into a camel’s back. The Camelbak Octane 18x is a great bag. You’ll make some sacrifices on the long day trips for a lighter bag, but overall this is a great water hauling bag.
How the Camelbak Octane 18x Fits
To save some weight they take the structure and extra padding from the pack. The bag can be rolled up and the shoulder straps are thin. With tons of weight this would make the pack pretty uncomfortable but with clothes and water it was great. I never used it to haul down hill gear on my back! As a woman I normally have issues with the chest strap being too high on my neck, or stuck across my boobs. This one had enough room to move up and down without hindering.
Uses of the Octane 18x
Expandable, from 16L of room to 20L when unzipped. This holds a good amount, more than the bag could probably support on your back comfortably. I stuffed it with clothes, shoes and food one day. Due to not having tons of back support it is easily conformed and the bag’s light weight material ended up looked like a sack of potatoes. I loved the waist pockets with key clip and the zipped up minimal sizing. I used this bag on the road since it was so light, on hike a bikes, and simple rides around town. As long as the bag isn’t loaded down it is pretty ventilated. It doesn’t have any fancy mechanics to keep it off your back, so you do get sweaty, but the bag isn’t heavy so it isn’t horrible during my southern humid commutes.
Final Thoughts and Review of the Octane 18x
When I was approached my Camelbak to review some of their product I had things in mind. I’ve used many “all day” packs. Ones that carry your life on your back comfortably. I wanted something for cross country riding and possibly using on longer road rides. Weight and ability to still haul was what I needed.
The Camelbak Octane 18x answered all my wants. While it isn’t going to be perfect for everyone, it fits what I was looking for and that is rare in my life.
Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review
MSRP: $139.99 Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5) Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle
Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me. I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years. When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes. Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over. I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!
Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe
Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk! The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton. The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove. I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes. This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years. Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)
Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe
The key selling features to me were the following
neutral yet fun color
toe box protection
toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes
If the shoe fits, wear it. I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep. While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes. Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs. The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop. Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.) I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between. My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes. There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.
I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay. Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost. If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased. Also, my shoes are worn out. The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”
These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.
Power: 100 Lumens powered by an LED Burn Time:
63 Hours Blinking
14 Hours Low
4 Hours High
Initial Thoughts of the Push Light
I received the Princeton Tech Push light in for review last fall. After my accident in October I wasn’t able to really test it as it should be tested in a true commuter/road aspect. A few weeks ago I started using it as part of my daily front light for my commuter. My first feelings of the light out of the box was superb. Princeton Tech has great retail product package experience, and they also do a great job with the user interface of the light. It simply works.
The light mounts to the handlebar using a rubber coated round clamp that tightens up with a plastic knob on the end of a screw/bolt style. The light head pivots on the mount incase your bar isn’t perfectly straight. The light easily is removed, yet is very sturdy on the handlebar thanks to the combination of the rubber and knob you can tighten down on.
I chose to mount my light upside down on my bar mainly as I felt the red blinking lights that are on the side (cool feature) weren’t able to be seen if the light was mounted on the top of the bar. Normally I also like this way as the light has less “top heavy” feel, flopping less on the bar.
Main Features of the Light
We’ve already gone over the mounting system of the light. This works well as I have mounted the light on my mountain bike and did some easy off roading and the light did not move. Here’s some more features that I love.
Easy to use large button function. One button, with gloves it is easy to find.
Red blinking lights on the side. This is a pretty cool feature and even able to be seen to a point during the day. On drop bar bikes the drops hide the blinking, and if you mount the light on the top of the bar the red blinking light is towards the bottom of the light… which it was more centered on the sides.
Several light functions. The below video will give a good run through of the settings.
Overall Review of the Light
This light for $49.99 is a great deal. Aesthetically I love it, even over my normal go to Planet Bike Blaze 1W. This is mainly due to the mount feature and the clean metal/black look. The Blaze does have a better run time, but I don’t know what the Blazer provides in lumens (I haven’t been able to find on the internet..) I should also mention that more local bike shops carry Planet Bike products over Princeton Tech. I haven’t run my Push light through a full set of new batteries, that is a set of batteries I have installed fresh instead of the ones that came in the box. For the most part I run this light in blinking mode during my commute thanks to day light savings.
I highly recommend this light for someone that needs a reliable light source, has funny handlebars or possibly will take their rig off the beaten path.
This product was given to me at no charge for review. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out. Several of the above links are affiliate links. I believe in this product and feel you’ll be happy if you purchase.
I’m a color freak. Ask anyone that I’ve built a bike for, I love things to compliment, match and fit pieces together well. Colored housing, grips, zip ties and spacers – they all matter for the end product. For women especially, wanting to ride a bike is almost as important as how well the bike rides. While walking the grounds of the 2011 Sea Otter Classic I spied color, ProTaper XC colored handlebars from Answer to be exact. There aren’t enough bike components made in green, and we all know my love of pink.
Answer ProTaper XC MTB Handlebar
I was caught taking photos by one of the Answer guys, I inquired if they were making a flat bar in pink. 29ers ride very well with flat bars… The nice guy said “Yes, yes I do! How about you check out the matching gloves?”
How could I turn this nice guy down? White gloves, pink accents, and a clean subtle feel to the palm. The graphics on the handlebar and gloves are matching, the main graphics will be hidden under a grip other than the very prominent brand and model logo’s displayed in the middle of the stem.
The gloves have been used daily for riding and a couple times for wrenching, they work perfectly so far. Longer term I’ll document the fit and a full 360º of the glove as well. The handlebar will be installed this week and tested for fit, weight and awesome color flare!
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.