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Cinelli and Moleskin Team Up

1 Hobo Moleskin

Take two of my favorite things, bikes and Moleskin, and you have the Hobo Moleskin. A nod to the Hobo biker lifestyle, and a pairing for Cinelli’s Hobo bike model.

hobo codeCinelli_Hobo_Moleskine-01

Unfortunately, only available in Europe currently this little Moleskin will surely be on my wishlist for when I need a new Moleskin next month!

Calling all Bikers:

Now’s your chance to win a custom-made Moleskine Cinelli notebook. Share your bicycle experience with us: photographyour ride, send us a bicycle selfie, or show us some writing or sketches from your last trip. Upload your entry to myMoleskine with the tag #bootleghobo and if yours receives the most votes a notebook could be riding your way soon!

Review: Chamois Butt’r Her’ for Women

12 chamois butter her' review

For any ride over an hour I normally apply a layer of thin cream called “chamois cream” between my chamois and skin. The reasoning is to keep friction low between chamois and body, as well as skin to skin.

Chamois Butt’r Her’ for Women $15.99

As the guys in the bike industry are realizing that women and men aren’t made the same we are seeing more products hit the market that are specially formulated for a woman’s body. Chamois Butt’r Her’ is just this, cream designed to not throw off your pH-Balance while protecting your skin from friction irritation.

Continue reading →

Review: Light & Motion Urban & VIS

4 Light & Motion Vis

Fall means less light and a crazy mid-afternoon sun glare for drivers. Why not help them (and yourself) by running blinky lights during the day and night?

Meet my Favorite Lights Reviewed to Date

Light & Motion Urban 200 and VIS 180 Micro

Key things to know:

USB rechargeable
Easy rubber strap mount for installation and removal
180′ visibility with orange side lights
Water resistant (maybe proof?!)

Thoughts and Opinion

I’ve reviewed many lights on Bike Shop Girl and Commute By Bike. One thing or another happens after a few months of constant use. Mounts break, lenses fall out, water damage or the battery stops holding a charge (especially in the cold.)

After a year of constant use (day and night) on one bike or another, using the Urban 200 during a couple nights of camping, I can happily say I want this set of lights on all my bikes.

Interested in buying a set? Support BSG by buying through JensonUSA.

Disclaimers: These lights were provided at no charge for review, my opinion is true. If you buy through the link to JensonUSA, I may get commission. Support BSG & do it.

 

 

Safety to Another Level: Chrome Reflective Camo Bags

5 Chrome Camo Bag Header

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.

 

Review: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

4 Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

Above is a great example of what I normally carried in the frame bag. A random piece of fruit or a small, light-weight, rain jacket are missing from the photo.

Roughly a month ago I did a quick preview of the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag, which you can read over here. The bag has around 700 commuting miles and a couple accidental tumbles while gravel grinding.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99

Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike, 55cm carbon road bike, 17″ mountain bike

Use and Abuse

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

The main testing ground of this bag over the past few weeks was on my cross bike during my August commuter assault. 60 miles a day for 2-4 days a week during the month of August. Only once during this assault did  I not used the frame bag and used a backpack instead to see if my opinion of this frame bag could be swayed.

The bag looks pretty brand-new even with the daily use. The only thing showing wear is some mud on the bottom down tube strap. The velcro and straps aren’t fraying and they never scratched any of my frames due to a nice piece of padding between the velcro strap and frame.

The zippers have a nice weather resistant cover to them and in the handful of rainstorms I caught myself in, the fabric nor zippers let in water. This is also in part of the front “pocket” that you can pull the zippers into.

Features

There are a few things I really like about this bag.

  • Reflective piping around the rim of both sides make this bag a great extra piece of safety when riding at night.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

  • The smaller and larger pocket compartments are a nice touch. Allowing me to put smaller things like multi-tool, money and keys in one pocket and then food/jacket and tubes in the other pocket.
  • Double zippers allow you to access gear easily from either end of the bag. Pretty crucial in the dark when you are looking for your arm warmers that you buried thinking that you weren’t going to need them.
  • The padded piece between the velcro and frame are pretty killer.

Downfalls

Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

  • My front bottle was pretty hard to get out when using the frame bag. If you are using this frame bag for bike camping or long rides get in the habit of drinking out of your seat tube mounted bottle and then rotating when you empty that one. They do advertise you can run a 70oz hydration bladder in the bag.
  • Take care when trimming the velcro. If you plan on moving it between bikes it may be long on some frames and rub your leg. There is no way around this, but if you keep it on one bike you can trim the velcro straps perfect and never run into a problem.

Overall Thoughts and Review Conclusion

I used this mostly during the testing for review while bike commuting. This bag may not be ideal if you have to lock up outside or leave your bike parked somewhere that the bag could be lifted. If you are doing some longer rides, want to test out bike camping without breaking the bank or just want a different way to carry some essentials with ease – give this bag a try. You can’t beat the price, quality or company standing behind the product.

To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed using this bike, when we plan out some overnight bike camping this fall I plan on picking up another one for my gf’s cross bike. Pairing a Banjo Brothers Frame Bag with one of their Handlebar Bags and Waterproof Trunk Bags, I believe she’ll be set as I’ll be carrying the tent.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review purposes

New Product from Banjo Brothers

3 Banjo Brothers Header

While I realize the below product may not be that new from Banjo Brothers, it is awesome product that I haven’t talked about yet. Look for many of the mentioned products in Bike Shop Girl reviews over the coming weeks as a box of bag goodness showed up earlier this week from Banjo Brothers!

Metro BackPack $74.99

 

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

 

Features

  • Available in Black, White and Red
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches
  • Click for Product Page

 

Canvas Waterproof Commuter Backpack $99.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Canvas Commuter Backpack

 

 

Features

  • Fully-waterproof replaceable liner
  • 20-oz heavy-duty canvas construction
  • Water repellent dry-wax finish
  • 1500 cu in.
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

 

Frame Packs $32.99-34.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

 

 

Features

  • Efficient gear carrying frame bag
  • Ballistic nylon
  • Waterproof Zippers
  • Zipper-pull Garage
  • Two Pockets – one full size and one flat pocket for smaller items
  • Med Size fits 70-oz hydration bladder
  • 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

Top Tube Bag $14.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Top Tube Bag

 

 

Features

  • 41 cubic inches (6.25″ L x 2″ W x 3.25″ H)
  • 840 denier nylon fabric with padded and lined interior
  • Rubber-backed frame straps are secure and gentle on bike’s finish
  • Interior key clip and reflective piping
  • Clear flap helps keep your stuff dry and allows full view of contents
  • Plenty of room for race tools/food, or camera, phone, etc.
  • Click for Product Page

 

Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet $5.99

 

Banjo Brothers Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet

 

 

Features

Review: Jaybird Bluebuds X Headphones

1 Jaybird BlueBuds X

Headphones I find to be essential for the long haul, putting in training miles, or maybe the need of getting lost in a good podcast while being active. Loud enough to tune my thoughts out, but not loud enough to tune out the cars around me.

In late April there was a short preview of the Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones, Bluetooth, multi-fit, “training tools”, as I would call them. They aren’t a requirement for a good workout, but they do make it easier.

Full Review of the Jaybird Bluebuds X

Features and Spec

  • MSRP: $169.99
  • Wireless music and phone calls
  • In-ear white noise reduction that eliminates listener fatigue
  • 8 hour playtime on one battery charge
  • Sweat-proof

Personal Thoughts on Features

Pricing

When I see prices of Bluetooth products these days my jaw drops. Normally $100 will get you a “decent” Bluetooth headset to make calls in. Anything below that will wear out and echo. When I saw the price of the BlueBuds X, I thought “that is pretty expensive” and then I thought about using them for music and phone calls. If they prevented me from ever using my phone to my head again, that will be worth it.

Wireless music and phone calls

Phone calls sound amazing, and the music quality warms the soul but if you are a cyclist you may not be able to get both. The headphones have multiple fits, one in your standard “in-ear” and then one “over-ear.” The in-ear fit bothered me with my helmet straps, and the over-ear fit was perfect but you can’t use the microphone very well when the headset is in the over-ear setup. Switching between the two fits isn’t hard, but it include pulling off a rubber wing and putting it on the other ear bud. Over time the wings stretch and don’t stay in place any longer.

One last gripe is that the features on my phone for music are no longer accessible. The double click forward tries to make a phone call, and the triple click for last song confuses my phone. This is a bummer to be able to use it well with my iPhone.

 

Jaybird gave me some directions on how to move tracks forward and back: Hold the up volume and it advances the track, hold the down volume and it goes back a track.

In-ear White Noise Reduction

This feature works really well. I have found in the past with Bluetooth headphones if I am listening to something very quietly the low buzz of the headphones & music output is annoying. There isn’t really a low buzz using these headphones.

8 hour playtime on one battery charge

This one is key for me, I have enough things to charge after a bike ride or day at work. Remembering to plugin my headphones every night is a nuisance. I’m able to get through almost a full weeks of bike commuting with these headphones, or a couple days on the road while making phone calls when driving. It uses a mini-USB charger so make sure to it handy, as an Apple user this size plug isn’t too common for me.

Sweat-proof

All I can say on this one is that it seems good so far. I’ve done a couple pretty sweaty workouts with the headphones and they are still working fine but this is exactly how I’ve killed a couple other Bluetooth headphones.

Overall Impression and Thoughts

Jaybird Bluebud X Headphones

As headphones these guys are great, all the fits work well for my ears and the sound is amazing. The cable resting on my neck doesn’t bother me or tangle in my hair at all. With a long lasting charge and easy to sync feature it will be a big hit for those that don’t mind the in-ear fit with their helmet and want to make phone calls.

I’ll continue to use these headphones, and will check back if they ever stop working. If you are an avid music lover and want something for your active lifestyle these are it. Better than the Motorola, Beats and Yurbuds that I have tested. If you are wanting something for both, you’ll have to pick between your music or phone call quality but at least you can pick which you want to sacrifice.

20% off Bike Shop Girl Discount for 10 days only!

Jay Bird has offered a 20% off discount code for Bike Shop Girl friends. Use BSG20 at check out and get 20% off!

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review. 

The HandleBand

12 The HandleBand

I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of this mount but my rockstar girlfriend has debated with me over coffee that this design is very thought out and will benefit many people. Not so secretly, they had me at bottle opener.

What Is The Handleband?

Our phones help us navigate and train. They’re our cameras, our lights, and our emergency link home. So why don’t we use them with our bikes?

The Handleband is a simple tool that brings to light the untapped potential of our smartphones. It offers a simple, elegant and universal means of uniting your smartphone with your bicycle.

Here are a few things that make it unique:

  • (1) In use, it is smaller than a deck of cards.
  • (2) It is removable (so its doesn’t clutter your ride)
  • (3) It works with any phone, bike and case.
  • (4) It is simple and robust. (One reinforced unit)
  • (5) It holds a lot (flashlights, pumps, diplomatic flags)
  • (6) It is a bottle opener.

Check out Handleband.com and Kickstarter page

This Little Light of Mine, Using Lights at All Times

5 Light & Motion Lights

This is a drum I have beat a decent amount in the past, but I need to beat it again as the summer days get longer and people are riding their bikes more and more. There are many reasons I believe you should have a front and rear light on blinking at all times on the bike, at the end it is safety and keeping you intact on your bike.

Reasons to Use Front and Rear Blinky Lights All The Time

  • I have been left hooked in a major intersection and fully believe a front light would have made the old man see me
  • Make yourself easier to spot
  • It makes cars more aware of you, and the space around you. In my experience with a rear blinky light it seems cars give you more space as they pass
  • Habit to turn on your lights
  • Why not??

Recommendations:

My favorite light set is the Light & Motion Urban 200 Combo Kit (support BSG and buy through that link!)