Product Reviews

Review: The Silca Ypsilon “Y” wrench

by on November 7th, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Quality tools encourage you to do learn about your bike and work on it yourself more often.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

As with many of Silca’s products, their latest tool called Ypsilon Wrench caught my eye and I could not resist. This is a quality tool that looks the part.

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Keep it waterproof: A guide to getting more out of your gear

by on March 9th, 2018 at 9:20 am

You know the feeling: It’s nice when it beads, but it doesn’t last forever.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland and James Buckroyd/BuckyRides.com)

James Buckroyd is our Product Geek. See his previous stories here and delve deeper via his website BuckyRides.com.

We spend a lot of time choosing our gear carefully and as we know cycling gear is expensive! Especially when it comes to all-weather wear. But do you know how to keep your Rapha softshell going strong? Your Castelli Gabba still stretchy, or your favorite Showers Pass shedding through the spring? With a little investment in care you can keep your gear performing well.
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Product review: The Sport Series long sleeve jersey from Wabi Woolens

by on November 27th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

Testing Wabi Woolens jersey -5.jpg

(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’m picky when it comes to jerseys these days. It’s probably because I’ve been riding and racing long enough that I’ve become a curmudgeon and I don’t have patience for second-rate stuff. And being “in the industry” means I’ve come across some of the best kit available.
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Product Review: Cool weather, USA made kit from Ornot

by on October 24th, 2017 at 3:54 pm

Socks, Bib shorts and jersey colourways sync up for a put together look.
(Photos: James Buckroyd)

Pretty psyched for a change of season, I ordered up some new gear.

I needed some new colder weather kit and wanted to try something different, so I grabbed a few things from Ornot, a smaller San Fransisco company that has been around for about four years. Ornot’s brand stuck in my mind from the play on words in their clever marketing campaign: “You can be a rolling billboard, Ornot.” The whole point being that their kit has no logos, no sponsors, no massive branding. In the cycling world we’ve all been subjected to logos everywhere on cycling kit — some tastefully done, some not. Browsing through the website you see an array of products all with minimal branding and really nice patterns and designs.

I ordered up some winter bib shorts, a winter jersey and socks for the full matchy-match look.

Here are my impressions…
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Tested: Castelli gear to help you beat the rain

by 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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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.
(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.
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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.
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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.
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