Gimmick or godsend? My review of the NiteRider Sentinel with “Laser Lanes”

Posted on November 17th, 2015 at 1:59 pm.

The light has two lasers that project a bike lane on the road alongside your bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

A bike light that creates virtual bike lanes wherever you go? That’s the promise behind the NiteRider Sentinel 40, a rear light that comes with a special “laser lanes” mode that projects two bright lines on the ground around your bike.


Product review: Turn Siri into your mechanic with the OTTO Tuning System

Posted on November 6th, 2015 at 10:54 am.

My bike’s profile in the app.

One of the cool things about having a good friend or a partner with a different knowledge set than you is that it gives you access to expertise without having to be an expert in everything yourself. Since my partner is a bike mechanic, it means I don’t have to master a headset press — and he doesn’t have to master WordPress.

Although I’m very familiar with basic bike maintenance, I’m by no means an expert. Sure, I understand how to adjust my derailleur, but I’m always going on guesswork. And un-expert guesswork, at that.

That’s the problem that the new derailleur tuning system from OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, is trying to solve. Their OTTO Tuning System uses an iPhone’s camera, visual alignment technology, and a set of gauges to help you quickly adjust your derailleur. It’s compatible with most Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed cassettes, and costs $39.


Riding the latest e-bike system from Bosch

Posted on July 23rd, 2015 at 1:16 pm.

Bosch e-bike system test ride-4.jpg
Murdered out e-cargo bike.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Electric bikes have a very bright future in Portland. There are many reasons why: Many Portlanders love cycling and our city encourages it, we have hills and steep bridges to pedal up, our expensive housing is forcing longer bike commutes, and e-bike technology — as technology tends to do — is always getting better/lighter/cheaper.

On that note, I had the opportunity to test ride the Bosch eBike System last week. From what I’ve heard around the industry, their new mid-drive system is the best on the market. As the largest automotive parts supplier in the world and with over a century of experience, it’s not hard to fathom that Bosch could jump into this market and deliver a solid product.

I also noticed that Xtracycle decided to spec the Bosch system on their Edgerunner cargo bike. That alone is a good sign that the Bosch system is worth paying attention to.


First look at Yuba’s new ‘Spicy Curry’ electric-assist cargo bike

Posted on May 12th, 2015 at 1:31 pm.

Yuba Spicy Curry cargo bike-3.jpg
Yuba Bikes Founder and CEO Benjamin Sarrazin on his new Spicy Curry e-bike.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)


Wilsonville company promises ‘perfect shifting’ from phone app and hardware combo

Posted on May 5th, 2015 at 2:34 pm.

OTTO Photo Shoot Freddy
The smartphone camera uses the targets on the
gauges to create 3-D models of your gearing.
(Photos courtesy OTTO DesignWorks)

The rising tide of products that combine physical objects with mobile apps has come to do-it-yourself bike maintenance.

OTTO DesignWorks, a startup based a few miles south of Portland in Wilsonville, says its first product will offer “perfect shifting in under five minutes” for people with Shimano and SRAM 9-, 10- and 11-speed gear cassettes.

As the video below shows, the company sells gauges that can be attached to a cassette and derailleur. Its free mobile app then uses a smartphone camera and photogrammatry — the mathematically intensive process of turning images into three-dimensional modeling — to diagnose the situation and walk someone through the tuning process.


On-bike air conditioning system and a periscope: Two things you didn’t know you needed

Posted on April 21st, 2015 at 1:34 pm.

Hit the Spruzza for a quick cool mist.

Here at BikePortland we get a fair amount of product pitches (especially since the advent of crowd-funding). Just when I think I’ve seen it all, something new pops up. Cases in point are two products that have found their way into our inbox in the past few weeks: A periscope and an on-board mister for your bicycle.

Yes, you read that right.

The Spruzza ($59) is described as, “an on-board cooling system that attaches quickly and easily to your bike. Spruzza ‘air-conditions’ by allowing you to spray just enough water to cover and cool your head, face and neck. The relief from the heat is immediate.”


Industry Ticker: Cycle Dog launches jersey and Earth Day tube drive

Posted on April 21st, 2015 at 12:01 pm.


Portland-based Cycle Dog has found success by combining two things local love: bikes and dogs. The six year old company has a retail store and sewing shop in northwest and their products are found in hundreds of stores across the country.


Industry Ticker: Showers Pass launches Double Century RTX jacket

Posted on February 11th, 2015 at 12:58 pm.

Women’s plum color on the left, men’s white on the right.
(Images: Showers Pass)_

Industry Ticker

Showers Pass, a riding apparel company based in southeast Portland, continues to push the boundary on innovative bike apparel that works in wet weather. Their latest is a jacket that packs up small and packs a high-tech rain-busting punch. I’ve got one to try out so stay tuned for a proper review.

For now, check out the press release below…


Sombra bike light ‘lampshade’ aims to reduce blinking effect, improve visibility

Posted on January 20th, 2015 at 3:41 pm.

Sombra in action.

Here’s an interesting idea: A sheet of polypropolene that wraps around your rear light to make it more visible and less annoying at the same time.

How are rear bike lights annoying? Did you forget the huge debate and discussion we had back in July after we shared how someone spray-painted “F*** you and your epileptic bike lights.”

Now a London-based product designer hopes to solve that problem with his “Sombra” — a “lampshade” for your tail light. Sombra’s creator, Offer Canfi, was inspired to create the product after being passed by another rider during a nighttime ride in central London. “He had one of those blinking, bright-red taillights, and in the dark it played some nasty tricks on my eyes,” writes Canfi on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site he’s set up to fund the first run of Sombras.


Tested: The Orp bike horn and light combo

Posted on December 5th, 2014 at 11:22 am.

The Orp smart horn-2
The Orp in black.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bells are the rare bike accessory that hasn’t really changed much in the past century or so. While shifting and braking and other bike tech has evolved considerably over the years, many people still use bells that would seem right at home on a high-wheeler. (I personally have two bells I use almost every day — both made of brass that’s dinged with a low-tech, spring-actuated lever.)

Then there’s the Orp, a product invented and designed right here in Portland by Tory Orzeck that’s decidedly modern in its looks, feel, and sound. I’ve been using the Orp since last summer in all sorts of conditions and I’m finally ready to share my impressions.