Product Review: Chrome Welterweight Hondo Backpack

Posted on August 7th, 2017 at 2:15 pm.

The Hondo by Chrome, which is now a Portland-based company.
(Review and photos by James Buckroyd)

James Buckroyd is a professional product designer who happens to be addicted to cycling and is always seeking out the perfect route and the perfect piece of gear. He blogs at BuckyRides.com. His last review was the OttoLock.
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Portland born and raised, the OttoLock hits a bike security sweet spot

Posted on July 20th, 2017 at 5:13 pm.

Surprisingly convenient and useful.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Q: What do you get when a cyclist, an engineer and a businessman walk into a bar?

A: A stolen bike.

At least that’s how the joke used to go before the OttoLock came along.

Designed and engineered in Wilsonville by Otto Designworks, the company got started in 2015 after a successful Kickstarter campaign for their first product: an app and tool that helped people adjust derailleurs. With the OttoLock, the company seems to have found its stride.

Word-of-mouth for the product ignited early on in large part because one of the idea generators and spokesmen is professional cyclist Jacob Rathe (whom you might recall from our story on him when he made the U.S. National Team in 2008). We first covered the OttoLock nearly a year ago when it was still in the prototype and design phase. Now that it’s starting to show up in bike shops around the country, it’s time for a closer look.

Here are my impressions after using it for several months…
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Former pros Floyd Landis and David Zabriskie launch hemp oil product in Portland

Posted on July 20th, 2017 at 10:55 am.

Floyd Landis and Dave Zabriskie-4.jpg

David Zabriskie (left) and Floyd Landis.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

It takes moxie for someone whose name is closely associated with a controversial drug use to make his comeback drafting off a product derived from a controversial drug.

That was my thought when I heard former professional bike racer and Tour de France winner Floyd Landis would come to Portland to launch his new product, Floyd’s of Leadville CBD Hemp Oil. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is derived from the stalk and seed of cannabis (hemp) plants. It’s non-psychotropic so it won’t get you high, it’s categorized as a dietary supplement and it’s considered a more natural alternative to ibuprofen.

I can say Landis is no stranger to drug use and not even mention his positive urine sample that stripped him of that 2006 Tour de France crown — just four days after he celebrated it on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. That’s because he broke his hip during a training ride in 2003 and turned to opioids to escape the pain. Three years later, after achieving the biggest victory of his life only to be labeled a “doper” and ultimately thrown out of the sport he loved, Landis used the drugs to escape reality. He eventually switched to marijuana, a move that might have not only saved his life, but could help him create a new one.

Now 41, Landis is ready to re-enter the public eye as CEO of a company he founded last year in marijuana-friendly Colorado with former teammate and friend David Zabriskie.

Both of them spent a few days in Portland this week to launch the product at River City Bicycles (a well-known local shop whose owner, Dave Guettler, is a marijuana advocate).
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Product review: The Saltzman jersey from Anthm Collective

Posted on June 27th, 2017 at 1:50 pm.

The Saltzman jersey from Portland-based Anthm Collective.
(Photos: James Buckroyd)

By our newest contributor, James Buckroyd.

In the world of product development, this is how it usually goes: You have a great idea, you make contact with an agent in Hong Kong or Mainland China and you start in a series of negotiations. After many long e-mail chains and late-night phone calls you begin to develop a product.

Unfortunately, what gets lost in the back-and-forths with the factory are the fine details that are essential to make the product shine in an ever-demanding consumer market. As you view sample after sample from your offshore agent, you realize things aren’t as perfect as you’d like them to be.

Rewind the tape. Enter Brian Anthony of Portland-based Anthm Collective.

“Basically we wanted gear to ride in that represented the values we believe in,” he shared with us recently. “So we went out and made it.”
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The Portland connection behind the limited edition ‘Sequoia Merz’ bike from Specialized

Posted on May 24th, 2017 at 1:36 pm.

The Sequoia Merz from Specialized.
(Photo: River City Bicycles)

One of the most well-known bike brands in the world has just released a limited edition model (only 200 will be sold) that has a Portland framebuilder’s name on the downtube.

The new Sequoia adventure road bike from Specialized Bicycles has the name “Merz” emblazoned on the frame in honor of the work of Jim Merz. As you might recall in a story we shared of a bike tour Merz took in 1972, he was one of the first custom framebuilders to set up shop in Portland. After getting his start here in the early 1970s his work caught the attention of Mike Sinyard — the man who started Specialized. It was 1982 and Sinyard needed help building his “Stumpjumper” mountain bike frames which were taking the country by storm.

When “The Big S” wanted to bring back their Sequoia road bike to capitalize on today’s big adventure riding/gravel bike market, they contracted with Merz on the design. Below is an excerpt form an interview with Merz recently posted on the River City Bicycles website. In it, Merz explains how he first met Sinyard:
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Tested: Castelli gear to help you beat the rain

Posted on May 12th, 2017 at 9:57 am.

Castelli has you covered for wet spring riding gear.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This year has been absolutely brutal weather-wise. So much water has fallen from the sky that it seems as though I can count on one hand how many times I’ve left home for a ride and not gotten wet at least once. The recent few days of sun have been a welcome change, but there are still a lot of rainy days ahead before the reliably dry late-summer-fall season.
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Industry Ticker: New ‘Atlas’ jacket from Showers Pass; Islabikes launches ‘cross tires for adults

Posted on February 22nd, 2017 at 12:07 pm.

New offerings from Portland-based Islabikes and Showerspass.

We love seeing local bike companies expand their product lines. It demonstrates that our bike economy is strong and that the spirit of innovation from our local bikey brain trust is alive and well.

Today we’ve got words and pictures of two new products now available from two Portland companies: Showers Pass and Islabikes USA.
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This ‘Spirit of ’77’ dream bike is awaiting a Trail Blazers player

Posted on February 9th, 2017 at 12:35 pm.

Introducing the “Seven Spirit of ’77,” on sale now at a local bike shop.
(Photos: River City Bicycles)

Portlander Dave Guettler is a huge Trail Blazers fan. He also happens to own River City Bicycles, one of the best bike shops in the country.

And now River City (located just a mile from the Blazers’ home court) is probably the only bike shop in America with a high-quality custom bike made specifically for a tall person who happens to play for the Blazers.
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Can Ikea’s “Sladda” bike bridge the bike-shop-or-big-box gap?

Posted on January 17th, 2017 at 1:36 pm.

One of the barriers to more cycling in America seems simple: More than 100 years after bikes ruled our nation’s roads, we still don’t have access to a bike with the right mix of features, design, quality, pricing and availability that could spur a real revolution. For years Americans have had to choose between bikes from bike shops (more expensive, higher quality, harder to find) or bikes from big box retailers like Target or WalMart (cheaper, terrible quality, available everywhere).

Ikea’s “Sladda” — which just became available to U.S. customers — could bridge that gap.
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Survive winter riding with these 30 pearls of wisdom

Posted on January 2nd, 2017 at 4:35 pm.

Sandy Ridge in the snow-6

The weather outside is frightful, but with the right gear and wisdom it can be delightful. This treasure trove of winter weather riding advice was inspired by an email thread from the hardy folks of “Unpaved” — a Google Group and Ride With GPS club that share and ride adventurous routes. It was originally posted in this form by Our Mother The Mountain and has been reprinted here with their permission. (Keep in mind, this advice is mostly tailored toward for big adventure rides, as opposed to commuting a short distance to work.)
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Winter riding in the Pacific Northwest can be a uniquely challenging affair. Whether exploring deep National Forest gravel roads, churning out paved base mileage, pounding grimy singletrack, or simply commuting — there are a few universal truths that will hopefully take a bit of the adversity out of the season. Initially compiled by Ryan Francesconi, the following list reflects the cumulative wisdom of the Unpaved community.
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