Splendid Cycles Big Sale

Light and warmth: New Portland Design Works Lars Rover and Showers Pass baselayer

Posted by on November 26th, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Two new products from Portland-based bike companies deserve your attention — especially as evening commutes get darker and rides get colder.

Body-Mapped Baselayer from Showers Pass

baselayer

Male version shown. It also comes in a female version.

Showers Pass rain jackets are sort of an unofficial uniform for Portland bike riders. Given how many of them dot the streetscape when weather turns wet and cold, you’d think they were handed out at the border.

We’ve loved watching this company grow and expand ever since they moved to inner southeast Portland. They launched a line of gloves last year and they’ve also expanded their line of pants. Now Showers Pass has broken into more new territory with their first inner-wear product to complement their popular outerwear.

The new Body-Mapped Baselayer (suggested retail $69) is a mix of four materials: Modal(35%), Spandex (8%), nylon (47%), and merino wool (10%). That mix, says Showers Pass, makes their baselayer soft, form-fitting, stretchy, durable, warm, and odor resistant. I haven’t worn mine enough myself to see if all those claims are true — but I can already attest to its softness and stretchiness.

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So, what about how it performs? Here’s a bit of tech from Showers Pass:

“The Baselayer features a body-mapped knit pattern designed to vent out excess heat in the areas where you tend to sweat the most – an important design point for the active users who are fans of the brand’s outerwear. Multiple knit patterns are used to achieve the body-mapping without adding additional seams; the torso is seamless to minimize chafing.”

The Body-Mapped Baselayer is available in two sizes for both men and women. Learn more at ShowersPass.com.

Lars Rover 650 from Portland Design Works

lars-main

I’m a sucker for a good light. And, as a captain of a family fleet that numbers five bikes, I’m always in need of them. That’s why I was excited by the new offering from our friends at Portland Design Works. Their Lars Rover 650 ($110 suggested retail) is a very solid addition to their line-up. It’s a USB rechargeable front light that packs plenty of brightness for everything from neighborhood rides to nighttime off-road excursions.

What I love about PDW stuff is that they take design seriously. There are so many lights on the market that just don’t feel or look very appealing to me. The Lars Rover is different. It’s got smooth lines and it looks great. You can also feel its build quality just by picking it up. It comes with three mounts: one that clamps to your bars for rough rides, a quick-release buckle for city riding, and a helmet mount.

At its highest of five settings, the Lars Rover burns at 650 lumens (and will do so for two hours at full charge). At its lowest setting, 175 lumens, it will last 7 1/2 hours on a single charge. It also has two flashing modes — which put out just 125 lumens so as not to be annoying to induce seizures and/or annoy those who detest flashing lights.

Learn more about the Lars Rover at RidePDW.com.

Both of these new products can be found at your local bike shop. If you’re lucky, you might even find one under your Christmas tree!

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BIKELEPTICNathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database)BarneyNicholas SkaggsJohn Liu Recent comment authors
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colton
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colton

Does the Lars Rover have a horizontal cutoff?

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database)
Guest

Nope. I just got one recently to review (still working on writing the review though). It has the standard circular beam that most US lights have.

Nicholas Skaggs
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Nicholas Skaggs

Nathan,

Do any of the common battery-powered bicycle lights in the US come with a horizontal cutoff or an asymmetrical beam? I was under the impression that the only lights readily available with these features were imported- specifically, dynamo lights.

Thanks!

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database)
Guest

That’s correct. Pretty much all of the lights with a cutoff are manufactured in Germany. I did just get word of a new light from a Montreal-based company that’s launching later this month. $55, horizontal beam cutoff, 500 lumens. They’re going to send me one to review, but I haven’t received it yet so I can’t vouch for its quality. It sounds very promising though. I’m expecting to have a review for it done in late December, so if you follow us on facebook or twitter you’ll see an update when that review is published.

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database)
Guest

By the way, not all of the lights with a horizontal cutoff are dynamo-powered. The Busch and Muller Ixon Core and the Phillips Saferide are two battery-powered options I know of. They are available imported in the US. Also, Light and Motion, a US company which manufactures all their lights in California, does have several lights that have a non-symmetrical beam. Their Taz series lights (my review here) have an excellent, smooth, even beam, but in my opinion still shine too much light upwards to be considered as a “beam cutoff”. Still better than the status quo in US lights though.

Cheif
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Cheif

I can see that mannequin’s nipples.

Barney
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Barney

Will I look that fit if I wear one?

Nick
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Nick

I’ve used the Lars Rover 650 for about 3 weeks now, handlebar mounted. Its highest setting throws just enough light for me to comfortably ride an otherwise unlit street at speeds up to about 20mph. It has a fairly centered beam pattern, with little scattered peripheral light loss. Faster than 20mph, I find I “out-ride” the usable light. Haven’t used it off-road yet but I suspect most people would want some more lumens and maybe a wider beam. I also wish I knew how waterproof it is since the FL1 standards allow each product to have a range of water resistent tolerances. So far, I’m happy with it for urban use.

Dwaine Dibbly
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Dwaine Dibbly

Shower’s Pass needs to make “Athletic Fit” and “No Longer Athletic Fit”. 🙂

caesar
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caesar

I looked into the Lars Rover for handlebar mounting on my Easton Monkey Bar riser bars, on my mountain bike. I almost bought a few weeks ago. But I found out that it cannot be adjusted in the horizontal plane (side to side), only vertically (up and down). Which means that it would be difficult, if not impossible, to aim the beam correctly if the unit was mounted on anything other than a horizontal bar that is perpendicular to the long axis of the bike (the central part of a road bike’s drop bar, for example). Otherwise it looks like a really nice light.

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database)
Guest

I just got a PDW Lars Rover 650 recently to review, and spent about 2 weeks riding with it daily. Full review isn’t published yet, but I can say a few things:

– I like the flash pattern options. One of them is a medium-speed pulse that modulates between 125 and 0 lumens. Attention grabbing without being distracting like a strobing light. The other is a rapid-strobing pattern much like their Aether Demon taillight’s flash mode. It alternates between fast strobing flashes and two quick pulses. The pulse-only mode is good for riding at night when you don’t want to distract people, and the strobing mode is good for added visibility in daylight as it grabs the eyes.

– Lots of mounting options is good. The light is compatible with Planet Bike’s headlight mounts, but I like PDW’s much better. I prefer the rubber strap mount personally as it makes it quick and easy to take the light off.

– I appreciate PDW using the FL1 Standard to test their lights. More companies need to do this, because so many manufacturers overstate or even outright fabricate their battery life and lumen claims. Using the FL1 Standard tells consumers that the company isn’t trying to hide anything.

– The beam is unremarkable. It doesn’t have a vertical cutoff. Enough spill, but nothing to write home about.

– The worst part: ZERO side visibility. The lens is recessed into the body of the light, so there’s literally no visibility from a 90 degree angle at all. You have to be in front of the bike to see the light, unlike many lights these days which have cutouts to increase side visibility (like the Light and Motion Urban series, Cygolite Metro series, Serfas USL-x05 series, Bontrager Ion, and many others).

I would hesitate to use it as my only light in an urban environment due to the lack of the side visibility. Overall though it’s a quality light, and it’s great to support local businesses.

Mike Quiglery
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Mike Quiglery

I see by the Body Mapped Base Layer image that it’s marketed toward your average bike rider. BTW, Costco has a similar item for under 10 bucks.

John Liu
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John Liu

I wonder if anyone can enlighten me. Is there any connection between showers pass and the old Burley jacket company?

Barney
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Barney

My old Burley rain jacket was nearly identical to the early Showers Pass model. When I wanted to order again my local shop (not in Oregon) told me Burley had purchased the Showers Pass clothing line. That was back in 2007.

BIKELEPTIC
Guest

I’ve felt up both the base layer tops and bottoms back in mid September – and their pants; and am in love with them. They have really great breathability where you sweat the most. I own all sorts of base layers (even the Costco ones) and nothing compares to these babies. Also their new breathable waterproof socks!! I wouldn’t say it if it weren’t true – because I tore SP a new one several times before to their face and behind their back.

There’s a blurb about the stuff at the bottom of this article.
http://bikeleptic.com/2014/09/15/interbike-2014-day-2/