Review: Portland Design Works – RADBOT 1000

30 03 2010

Portland Design Works – RADBOT 1000 1 watt taillight with built in EU approved reflector.

The RADBOT 1000 has one directive: to defend you and your bike from rear collisions.

I have found a new favorite taillight. Sorry Superflash. You are still my faithful number 2 but, there is a new number 1. I have been using the Portland Design Works RADBOT 1000 for the past month and I must say I am very impressed with the design and flashing power of this light. The RADBOT 1000 features a 1.0 watt red LED made in Japan by Nichia brand. Below the LED flasher RADBOT also has an EU approved rear reflector. Some communities require a rear reflector whereas the use of a flasher is optional. Combining both into an attractive and smart package is a great move by the PDW designers. The RADBOT comes with a the standard seatpost or seat stay mounting option but, PDW also includes a rear rack mount. The really cool thing is that they are all identical to the clip mounts used by Planet Bike. So, if you use multiple mounts on different bikes you can swap the PDW and Planet Bike lights as you please. I’ve been using a combination of the RADBOT and a Superflash lately and am quite pleased with the adverse comments from ‘some’ motorists. Like most lights the RADBOT 1000 also has a belt clip on back and also comes with AAA batteries included.

The light itself is very well designed. There is a 1.5 second delay built into the on/off switch. The need to hold the button down to get it to turn on helps to prevent accidental turn ons when the light is in a bag or pocket. The japanese LED is the same one used in the brake lights of new automobiles! It has three modes. Rock Steady, zZz, and zZz POP! It runs for 30 hours flashing and 15 hours on steady. You can view each mode in the PDW RADBOT 1000 video below (click link).

RADBOT 1000 from PDW on Vimeo.

RADBOT 1000. 1 watt japanese LED. EU approved rear reflector.


Budget Transportation: Zebrakenko 5 speed.

15 03 2010

1980's Zebrakenko 5 speed fully accessorized for the Elm City.

When I was a little kid the bicycle shop down the street sold Zebrakenkos. Later as a teenager, when I began working at that same bike shop, The brand was long gone and the shop used barrels of old Zebrakenko t-shirts as shop rags. They lasted for years. I wish I had saved just one! Anyway, Zebras are definitely not one of the more popular Japanese brands from it’s era but it is certainly of similar high-quality. When I saw this commuter I just had to make it one of my ‘Budget Transportation” posts.

This Zebrakenko 5-speed is from the early 1980’s and has a beautiful lugged Japanese-steel frame. It sports a nicely worn Brooks saddle, factory red fenders, comfortable upright seating position, original Pletscher rack, and a single gear lever to change the gears. The bicycle is in immaculate condition for it’s age and was likely ridden very little. The owner purchased it for $225.00 in fully restored and tuned-up condition. It has been accessorized with a front basket, folding rear baskets, cork grips, MKS rubber pedals (smooth!), and a Planet Bike Superflash taillight. The cost of the accessories added was around $125 including installation. Not bad! $350.00 for a fully decked out around town commuter with lots of style to match. This is a seriously classy looking bike.

Zebrakenko 5 speed ready for the city.

The front basket is perfect for carrying your lunch, or maybe a small dog? Woof!

Rear baskets fold down for carrying larger items, like grocery bags. The Planet Bike Superflash keeps everything safe in traffic.

Ode to Superflash

19 02 2010

Planet Bike Superflash.

Superflash O’ Superflash,
I know you’ve got my back.
Superflash O’ Superflash,
your flash like lightening . . . CRACK!

Superflash O’ Superflash,
I know you’ve got my back.
Superflash O’ Superflash,
car drivers think you’re whack!

Review: Bell Citi Helmet

13 02 2010
Helmet Side View

Bell Citi Helmet with Planet Bike Lights.

Here it is! My first review! I just got a new helmet this week and I thought it would make for a great first review for the blog.

I purchased a new helmet for several reasons. The most important reason was that my helmets are all aging. Helmets do age. As they get older the styro-foam core starts to break down. I am no scientist but, basically the recommendation is to replace your helmet when it is about 5 years old. Most helmets have a sticker inside that shows the month and year of manufacture. If you can’t read the sticker you helmet is probably too old. Both of my helmets are 5 years old this year and they are showing signs of age. My road helmet even has some small cracks starting to appear. The other reason is that I really have been wanting a dedicated commuting helmet. A helmet that offers better coverage and better visibility. After doing a bit of research I decided on the Bell Citi. The best feature of all is that I was able to get it in orange. I love orange. Have I mentioned that?

Bell Citi:
• MSRP: $48.00
• Sizes: Universal Adult
• Colors: Black, Brown Leather, Glow in the Dark, Matte Pewter, White Lime Green, Yellow
• Weight: 10oz./283g
• Certification: CPSC Bicycle Safety Standard Certified, CE EN1078

The Bell Citi helmet is designed for commuting and urban transit. It incorporates a number of Bell helmet technologies including In-Mold Microshell, ErgoDial, Channeled Ventilation, Blade Visor, and Cam Lock Levers. It is available in a number of different hardshell colors as well as a fabric option. The 2010 color options are as follows: Black, Brown Leather, Glow in the Dark, Matte Pewter, White Lime Green, and Yellow. The Brown Leather is the fabric option and the helmet looks as if leather were stitched onto it. The others colors all incorporate Bell’s Fusion In-Mold Microshell. The microshell is a clear piece of polycarbonate (Lexan) that is painted from the inside. This shell is then placed in the bottom of the helmet mold and the EPS foam that forms the helmet is poured directly into the shell. The shell and EPS foam fuse together resulting in a very clean look and an ultra durable finish. Fit is accomplished with the quickly adjusting ErgoDial. By turning the dial at the rear of the helmet the headband inside can be adjusted to fit any headsize between 54 and 61 cm. The chinstraps have Cam Lock Levers that allow easy fitting of the strap around the ear. The air vents on the helmet are designed to channel airflow over the top of the head for efficient cooling. The visor is easily removable for those that prefer a cleaner look.

Reserved styling and adaptable features make the Citi the perfect townie helmet, whether you’re on the way to work or off to the coffee shop. From the ErgoDial fit system for easy sizing adjustments to the durability of Fusion In-Mold construction, the Citi delivers like a bike messenger in traffic. Includes Blade visor, easy-adjust Cam-lock levers, air-moving Channeled Ventilation and the option of adding a Flip Mirror and rear flasher lights for better visibility.

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Humu Humu Nuku Nuku APua’A

5 02 2010

Kona – Humu Humu Nuku Nuku Apua'A

Why, Yes! It is the state fish of Hawaii. But, it is also the longest bicycle model name in the cycling world. And, my Humu is the bicycle in my fleet that I have loved the longest. I have reconfigured this orange beauty (I love orange) many, many times to suit my needs. She has seen time as a single speed mountain bike, casual lunch bike, rail trail tourer, and most recently my bus commuter. Right now the Humu is set up to be a little mountain, a little BMX, and a whole bunch of ultra-durable commuter bike. Profile Racing BMX hubs(w/hockey lace hub polishers) laced to Sun Ringlé Rhino Lite rims wrapped with Tioga Factory MTB tires. I decided to go with knobbies for inclement weather since I don’t ride more than a few miles at a stretch when I am taking the bus into New Haven, otherwise I would have kept my Kenda Cross tires. BMX cruiser bars get my hands high and my back upright for safe riding around New Haven. Shimano XT cranks with the big ring mounted in place of the middle ring and a Girvin Rock Ring mounted where the big ring used to be. I have run this setup for years. I don’t think you can get Rock Rings anymore. Too bad! It does a great job of keeping your pant leg away from the chain and sprocket teeth. 48t Chainring and an 18t freewheel for gearing. Crupi BMX chain tensioners keep the Z-chain ideally tensioned. Platform BMX pedals with steel pins. Blackburn rack. SKS fenders. Planet Bike Beamer 3 up front. Planet Bike Superflash and a Cateye Blinker out back. Oh, and did I mention it’s orange? Did I mention I LOVE orange? I love orange.

Shimano XT cranks with Girven Rock Ring

Profile BMX hub with hockey lace hub polishers.