Product Reviews

Book review: Pedal Portland by Todd Roll

by on May 14th, 2014 at 10:24 am

Book: Pedal Portland: 25 Easy Rides for Exploring the City by Bike
Author: Todd Roll
Publisher: Timber Press, 2014
Price: $16.95

Reviewed by Nicholas Von Pless

Around this time of year, I’m inviting friends from afar to enjoy the summer we yearn for after a long slog of grey and rain. But with some dry spells and surprising summery days this winter, I was able to get a preview of the rides illustrated in Pedal Portland, the new book from Todd Roll. (If Roll’s name sounds familiar that’s because he also owns and runs Pedal Bike Tours (and he also happens to be the guy who commissioned the now infamous “America’s Bicycle Capital” mural.)

In Pedal Portland, Roll outlines 25 rides that cover the entire region. From familiar bikeways in the central city to regional gems in Gresham, Hillsboro, and Vancouver. Like the guided bike tours offered by Roll’s company, the skill level of the routes ranges from very easy to pretty easy, which is great for my out-of-town friends, and great for reinvigorating the fair-weather riders of our fine city.

Review: LIT road commuter/training tires from Velo Products

by on February 26th, 2014 at 9:41 am

A visit to Velotech-10
Meet the LIT tires, offered by Portland-based Velo Products.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

This review was written by Scott Kocher, a Portland-based trial lawyer whom I met while biking in Forest Park last year. He’s also an alternate member of the City of Portland Pedestrian Advisory Committee and a dedicated transportation activist.


LIT 360 Ultra-Reflective Road Tire (Retail: $49.99)

It’s impressive that Portland-based Velo Products took the crowd-funding route to make their LIT Tires concept a reality. The tires themselves are equally impressive.

I pre-ordered a pair last April because the company is local, they partnered to support the BTA with their sales, and the tire design has Portlanders’ needs in mind. As the months ticked by, I got e-mail updates, mostly describing manufacturing snags. At one point they offered to refund our money because of the delays. I stuck it out, and my tires arrived last week. I’m glad I did.

The advertised stats are: (more…)

Light review: Portland Design Works’ Aether Demon and Spaceship/RADBOT combo

by on February 19th, 2014 at 10:03 am

Just part of PDW’s large family of lights.

— Note from the Publisher: Please join me in welcoming Nicholas Von Pless and Alana Harris to the BikePortland team. Regular readers know that this site does not review products very often. That’s something I’ve been wanting to change for a long time, and Nicholas and Alana are going to help finally make it happen. Stay tuned as we post more reviews and fine-tune the format to make these as readable and useful as possible. Email feedback to jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks for reading. — Jonathan

Product Review: Ergon GP1 Biokork grips

by on March 15th, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Ergon GP1 Biokork grip

As a custom frame builder, I pay a lot of attention to the distances between the three primary contact points that a rider shares with their bicycle — their saddle, pedals, and grips. The millimeters in between guide my decision making from design to assembly. Component and accessory designer Ergon concerns itself, not only with where you connect to the bike but how your body interfaces with the bike in an effort to let you ride with maximum efficiency and comfort. Ergon, based outside Koblenz, Germany has been developing ergonomically designed handlebar grips and winning design awards for them since 2004.

Review: Burley Travoy cargo trailer

by on May 6th, 2010 at 1:14 pm

The Travoy from Burley.
(Photo © J. Maus – All other photos by Chris Sullivan)

Burley nailed it. Their new Travoy — part cargo trailer, part grocery cart, part portable office — is an amazingly well-designed product.

From the first time you hold the top handle and move it around with one hand, you get a sense that it’s unlike anything else you’ve held — much less attached to the back of your bike. (more…)

On Test: Austin bike shoes by Keen Footwear

by on March 18th, 2010 at 10:13 am

On Test- Austin shoes by Keen Footwear-1
(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland’s bike-friendly vibe continues to wear off on Keen Footwear. When they moved their corporate headquarters here in 2006, they wasted no time in putting bikes in their product catalog. Two years later, they promised to expand their cycling-oriented product line.

They’ve kept their promise.

They started by putting an SPD-compatible sole on their well-known sandal design. Then they came out with a closed-toe, cleated bike shoe dubbed the “Springwater“. Now they’ve added two more models to their “Pedal” line — the “Coronado Cruiser” and the “Austin“.

I’m currently wearing a pair of Austins (which, for the record, were given to me free of charge by a Keen rep). (more…)

Work pants made for women work great on the bike

by on October 14th, 2009 at 11:17 am

cycling workpants
Marion Rice and her new work pants in action.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

So, I just have to dish about my new pants. Red Ants Pants are work pants shaped for a woman. Designed by outdoorsy gal Sarah Calhoun, who lives in a ranching town of White Sulphur Springs, Montana, these pants are made for women who ranch, garden, fight fires and do the hard work of being a mom.

From the moment I put these sturdy pants on, I knew that I had found a new friend. Although I don’t plan on vaccinating any cattle in mine, they are PERFECT for biking my kids around Portland in the fall and winter. They have two layers which helped keep me more dry and warm as I rode around in the rain all morning.

cycling workpants

But what makes these pants really awesome is the gusseted crotch. Ahem, if you wear your Levis to bike in you probably have encountered that gnarly lump of fabric down there. Well these pants don’t have that. A diamond shaped piece of fabric replaces the four way cross junction which you find in most pants.

The pants come in two cuts, curvy and straight. My husband liked the way they fit so much he just ordered a straight-style pair for himself.

Learn more at RedAntsPants.com.

Review: Bridging the independence gap with the FollowMe

by on October 1st, 2009 at 8:00 am

[Publisher’s note: This review is by our Family Biking columnist Marion Rice. Marion’s last column explored safety and cultural issues around carrying infants by bike.]

On test- Follow-me Tandem-2
Griffin and dad test riding the FollowMe.
(Photos © J. Maus)


Product Review: Showers Pass “Portland” rain jacket

by on September 10th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

Showers Pass CEO Ed Dalton sporting
the Portland jacket at this year’s
Worst Day Ride
(Photo © Elly Blue)

Showers Pass, a local cycling gear company, has been making waves with its “Portland” rain jacket since it was introduced in 2008. The jacket is notable for crossing technical outerwear with vélocouture flair resulting in a handsome daily commuter piece which serves you well on a fast commute and isn’t an embarrassment to sport on date night.

During last week’s rainstorms I took the Portland for a test ride and appreciated its thoughtful features and subdued appearance. It’s a stylish commuter rain jacket that has a fuller cut so that it looks like a regular jacket when you aren’t on the bike. (more…)

Front baskets help get the job done at BikePortland

by on August 27th, 2009 at 9:30 am

front basket
Jonathan’s camera quick-draw:
a common sight around Portland.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

The front basket used to be a necessary part of any city bike setup, but it seems to have been forgotten over time with the rise of mountain and road bikes.

But baskets are coming back — and in a wider array than ever, from the fancy to the utilitarian. An environmental blog recently did a comprehensive review of a variety of front-mounting baskets currently available (including two locals, Ahearne Cycles and Cetma Cargo).