Product Reviews

Product review: The Knog Oi bike bell

by on October 28th, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Black Knog Oi bell looks good next to a GoPro mount

Black Knog Oi bell looks good next to a GoPro mount.
(Photos and video by Ted Timmons)

I’ve been unhappy with bike bells in the past. I’ve found that standard ones take up too much room (for me) or rattle, and some don’t work well. So I’ve placed and replaced bells over the past few years, currently none of my bikes have a bell mounted.

Until now.
[Read more…]

Product Review: Aquilo full-fingered gloves from Planet Bike

by on February 5th, 2016 at 9:58 am

Aquilo Glove by Planet Bike

Hello Aquilo.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

If you ride year-round in Portland, you’ve pretty much got to have a pair of gloves — or two, or three, depending on the weather. With temps ranging between 30 to 50 degrees and skies going from sunny and cold to wet and mild and every other combination you can think of these past few months, I’ve been rotating through five different pairs. Yes five. I’ve got two pairs for when it’s raining, two that I use either on their own or as liners if it’s really cold, and my newest pair: the Aquilo gloves from Planet Bike.[Read more…]

Product Review: A warm winter cap from Bella Capo

by on January 6th, 2016 at 11:49 am


A functional hat that also looks nice off the bike.

I love hats! As someone who bikes almost every day year-round, hats do many things for me. They keep out the elements (rain and sun being my biggest threats), they soak up my sweat in summer, they keep me warm in winter, and they also hide my sometimes disheveled hair.

I’ve worn hundreds of hats over the years, and it takes a lot of little things to go right for one to become a keeper. For the past few weeks I’ve been wearing one that has become my go-to this winter.

The Bella Capo winter cap is made in Italy for Portland-based Cyclone Bicycle Supply (suggested retail is $35.98). Unless you’re in the industry, you probably haven’t heard of Cyclone. That’s because they’re a parts and accessory distributor that sells to bike dealers and other retailers all over the country. All the Bella Capo caps stocked by Cyclone are made just for them by hand from a source in Italy.
[Read more…]

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

by 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.[Read more…]

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

by 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.
[Read more…]

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:[Read 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 Thanks for reading. — Jonathan
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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.
[Read more…]

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.[Read 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).[Read more…]