Bike Product Reviews

I own or have owned all of the following products. I have not been paid by anyone to include these products.

Reviews

Image of Planet Bike Eco Rack Oversized 6061 T6 Aluminum Bike Rack with Pre-installed Hardware (Black)

Planet Bike Eco Rack

For those who are just starting to ride their bikes to work, school, or to go shopping, I recommend this low-cost and easy-to-install rear bike rack. It won't last forever, but I still recommend it as part of the "learning period" (when you figure out for yourself what you do and don't like).

Image of Planet Bike Blinky Super Flash 1/2-Watt Blaze LED Plus 2 eXtreme LED Rear Bicycle Light

Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight

The best value taillight. It has three red LEDs that alternate and provide extreme brightness. I have two of these.

Image of Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 Standard Bicycle U-Lock with Bracket (4-Inch x 9-Inch)

Kryptonite Evolution u-lock

For u-locks, I only recommend Kryptonite Evolution series (orange) or better (yellow). Kryptonite color codes their lock series. Only buy orange or yellow; never buy OnGuard. I have three of these locks and none has been tampered with.

Image of Planet Bike 7027-5 Full ATB Cascadia Mudflaps (Black, 60-mm width/130-mm)

Planet Bike Cascadia Fenders

All three of my current bikes (as of November 2010) have Planet Bike fenders. Two have Cascadia fenders; the remaining has Hardcore fenders. The main difference that I see is the size and quality of the mudflap. I use the 29er fenders on my Yuba Mundo (Cascadia) and the 35mm fenders on my Nishiki Prestige (Hardcore) and Raleigh Rush Hour (Cascadia).

Image of Planet Bike Men's A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Bicycle Saddle (Silver/Black)

Planet Bike Men's Anatomic Relief System (ARS) Saddle

After 45 minutes of non-stop riding, the saddle is no longer comfortable. But it's really hard to find a saddle that is. This one has a cutout to relieve pressure on your perineum. It's a little wider than road or racing saddles. It's foam doesn't lose its shape (I've had mine on the Nishiki Prestige for two years).

Image of Pyramid Bicycle Bungie Cargo Net, Black

Bungee net

An extremely versatile element to carrying cargo on your bike, whether in an overloaded basket, a rear rack, a pannier, or a front rack.

Image of Men's ColdGear® Longsleeve Compression Mock Tops by Under Armour

Under Armour ColdGear longsleeve shirt

This shirt has two benefits for bicycling: 1. It's compression-wear which gives some benefit to your muscles (or something) and feels very comfortable and makes it easy to move, and 2. It has a warm lining that helps keep your body insulated with its own heat.

Image of Detours Toocan Utility Pannier (Black)

Detours Toocan utility pannier

I've used this pannier to carry groceries, books, my laptop, clothing, anything. I like it because it's stylish (but also "normal" looking at the same time), stands up on its own, is extremely durable, and has the most universal attachment system: two hooks.

Image of Brooks Saddles B67 Bicycle Saddle (Men's, Chrome Springs, Antique Brown)

Brooks B67 leather sprung saddle

So far my longest trip was 40 miles on this saddle. It molds to your butt like Birkenstock sandals mold to your feet. The springs make the bike ride a little more comfortable and more fun (weird, because you bounce up and down on them). It also looks gorgeous. Comes in 3 colors - I got black.

Image of Schwalbe Marathon Plus HS 348 Road Bike Tire (700x32, Allround Wire Beaded, Reflex)

Schwalbe Marathon Plus tires

So far I haven't had a flat with this tire. I've used Continental Gatorskin and Panaracer T-Serv, both of which have had flats (same Chicago streets). The Gatorskin has less tread than both, and wears to a slick surface faster.

Image of Deuter Trans Alpine 30 Pack: Black/Granite

Deuter Trans Alpine backpack

I've used this backpack for over three years now; I bought it to replace a messenger bag that led to shoulder and back pain. This backpack is designed with a mesh and shell system that keeps the weight directly off your back so you can stay cool. I'd say this makes it about 15% more comfortable than a traditional backpack - don't buy it just for this reason. Buy it becomes the shoulder straps are comfortable, and that it comes with its own rain cover. It also has a helmet holder, but I use that to hold clothing, shoes, or a frozen pizza (because that doesn't fit inside). The "smallish" size of this backpack prevents you from overloading it. I use it for everyday use, and I also carried books in it for school.

Image of Defeet Blaze Socks with Wool LG Charcoal/Gray

DeFeet Blaze wool socks

I have four pairs of these that I rotate through the week. Them being wool means they don't smell as bad as cotton or polyester socks; they also dry faster and don't make your feet cold when wet.

Image of Park Tool AWS-1 Hex Wrench Set- Y-design (4mm, 5mm and 6mm)

Park Tool 3-way hex wrench

The most common hex sizes you'll need for any bike on a single tool: 4mm, 5mm, 6mm. The triangle design makes it easy to get a good grip and leverage.

Image of Park Tool VP-1 Vulcanizing Patch Kit

Park Tool patch kit

Cheapest patch kit around.

Image of Tretorn Men's Strala Vinter 471480Shearling Boot

Treton Strala rain/winter boots

I bike in these. They are waterproof. They are the only shoe I took to Europe, for 18 days.

Image of Cannondale Slice Plus Gloves - BLACK, M(7.5-8

Cannondale Slice gloves

These are my spring and fall cold weather gloves. I've had the same model for 5 years (when they used to be called Windfront).

Image of GoPro HD HERO2: Outdoor Edition

GoPro Hero HD2

Catch all those bad drivers on the road so if you get into a crash with one of them, you have evidence. See example video I've shot.

Image of Planet Bike Beamer 5 LED Bicycle Light with Quick Cam Bracket Mount

Planet Bike Beamer 5

Planet Bike headlights offer the best value: quick release, water resistant (don't dunk it), easy on/off, and they sip batteries. I've been using them since 2009. Get Lit.

Image of Abus Folding Bordo Key 6000 Link Lock, 90cm

Abus Bordo 6000 folding lock

This lock provides more flexibility when locking your bike, making it easier and faster (than a u-lock) to lock your frame and front wheel around a variety of poles and fixed objects. Read my review.

Disclaimer

Note: I generally recommend ALL of Planet Bike’s products because they donate 25% of their profits to bicycle advocacy groups and because of their dedication to good customer service. They also have a lifetime warranty on all of their products.

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  • http://twitter.com/cog_itate Daniel Evans

    Good reviews. I use many of the same products and especially love the Planet Bike Superflash Taillights and their fenders too. Think I want to try the Bern helmet too.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I paid a lot of money for my Bern Brentwood Matte Cyan helmet (about $77 after tax). I bought it locally after figuring out that the Matte Cyan is harder to come by and can’t really be found for less than MSRP. I don’t regret it for a second – the comfort advantage of a Bern helmet is alone worth the additional cost over the “sporty” helmets. I also had to pay more for the color. The plain black models cost less. If you do get a Bern helmet, ensure it has Zipmold foam.

      I haven’t searched for an alternate to the Superflash taillight, and I doubt I will. I am impressed by Planet Bike’s customer service (for defective products, or needing small replacement parts they’ve come through several times) and that they donate part of their profit.

  • http://twitter.com/cog_itate Daniel Evans

    I use the Kryptonite New York Series and have found them to be great locks…

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      If I need to get another lock, I will look into the New York (yellow) series, but so far the Evolution (orange) series has been okay.

      This is what I don’t want to happen.

  • http://twitter.com/cog_itate Daniel Evans

    Good review. I love those Planet Bike SuperFlash Taillights and actually wear one on the back of helmet. I am going to check out the Bern helmet too.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I paid a lot of money for my Bern Brentwood Matte Cyan helmet (about $77 after tax). I bought it locally after figuring out that the Matte Cyan is harder to come by and can’t really be found for less than MSRP. I don’t regret it for a second – the comfort advantage of a Bern helmet is alone worth the additional cost over the “sporty” helmets. I also had to pay more for the color. The plain black models cost less. If you do get a Bern helmet, ensure it has Zipmold foam.I haven’t searched for an alternate to the Superflash taillight, and I doubt I will. I am impressed by Planet Bike’s customer service (for defective products, or needing small replacement parts they’ve come through several times) and that they donate part of their profit.

  • http://twitter.com/cog_itate Daniel Evans

    Good review. I love those Planet Bike SuperFlash Taillights and actually wear one on the back of helmet. I am going to check out the Bern helmet too.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I paid a lot of money for my Bern Brentwood Matte Cyan helmet (about $77 after tax). I bought it locally after figuring out that the Matte Cyan is harder to come by and can’t really be found for less than MSRP. I don’t regret it for a second – the comfort advantage of a Bern helmet is alone worth the additional cost over the “sporty” helmets. I also had to pay more for the color. The plain black models cost less. If you do get a Bern helmet, ensure it has Zipmold foam.I haven’t searched for an alternate to the Superflash taillight, and I doubt I will. I am impressed by Planet Bike’s customer service (for defective products, or needing small replacement parts they’ve come through several times) and that they donate part of their profit.

  • Tim Carman

    Steve – though I looked at the Planet Bike saddle you reviewed, I actually bought a Selle Royal Respiro in mid-January for about $50. Yes, it was twice the price of the Planet Bike saddle, but it was highly rated and, after some long indoor training sessions on my Giant Road bike, I’ve had no numbness or discomfort. So far, it’s been worth every penny.

  • Tim Carman

    Steve – though I looked at the Planet Bike saddle you reviewed, I actually bought a Selle Royal Respiro in mid-January for about $50. Yes, it was twice the price of the Planet Bike saddle, but it was highly rated and, after some long indoor training sessions on my Giant Road bike, I’ve had no numbness or discomfort. So far, it’s been worth every penny.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I’m still riding my ARS, but I can’t tell if my butt is hurting because some of the foam is depressed, or some other reason. The “skin” is finally wearing off, but there’s a second layer of skin below it. So I’ll be good for at least a third year of riding on it :)

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I’m still riding my ARS, but I can’t tell if my butt is hurting because some of the foam is depressed, or some other reason. The “skin” is finally wearing off, but there’s a second layer of skin below it. So I’ll be good for at least a third year of riding on it :)

  • http://jqr.posterous.com Jonathan R

    As it happens, I just got two bikes with Schwalbe Marathons, and had one flat in the first two weeks. Still, it’s a good looking tire. 

    Planet Bike has very helpful people on the phone who will send you small parts and stuff for your fenders and lights if you ask nicely. And they also have a discount for members of bicycle advocacy groups.

  • http://jqr.posterous.com Jonathan R

    As it happens, I just got two bikes with Schwalbe Marathons, and had one flat in the first two weeks. Still, it’s a good looking tire. 

    Planet Bike has very helpful people on the phone who will send you small parts and stuff for your fenders and lights if you ask nicely. And they also have a discount for members of bicycle advocacy groups.

    • stevevance

      I don’t believe it at all! Not true!

      Just kidding, I wonder what happened. Maybe you can get Scwhalbe to replace it.

      Planet Bike replaced my SuperFlash that I dropped on the Golden Gate bridge.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      A good looking tire? Heh. I bought it for other reasons ;)

      In addition to my Planet Bike lights, I also have a Performance Bike headlight. I emailed them to see if they sold additional handlebar brackets: no, they don’t. Darn – I wanted to use the same headlight on a different bike. I like how Planet Bike makes universal brackets (to their brand). So a Beamer 3 fits a Beamer 5 bracket and vice versa. 

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      A good looking tire? Heh. I bought it for other reasons ;)

      In addition to my Planet Bike lights, I also have a Performance Bike headlight. I emailed them to see if they sold additional handlebar brackets: no, they don’t. Darn – I wanted to use the same headlight on a different bike. I like how Planet Bike makes universal brackets (to their brand). So a Beamer 3 fits a Beamer 5 bracket and vice versa. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Candace-Moore-Hill/736896802 Candace Moore Hill

    I love my Basil wire bike baskets for marketing.  They hook on my rack and lift right off to take into the store or into the house.  Had to buy them online though, couldn’t find any good shopping baskets in stores in Evanston.

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I bet there are some shops in Evanston that stock Basil. We have three European-oriented bike shops. Copenhagen Cyclery, Dutch Bike Company, and JC Lind Bike Co. Tell your friends if they want a similar basket. 

    • http://www.stevevance.net/planning Steven Vance

      I bet there are some shops in Evanston that stock Basil. We have three European-oriented bike shops. Copenhagen Cyclery, Dutch Bike Company, and JC Lind Bike Co. Tell your friends if they want a similar basket. 

  • http://www.videoconverterfactory.com/tips/rip-dvd-to-mkv.html Jason Howard

    Nice review, I think it is very cool to have this bike.

  • http://www.videoconverterfactory.com/tips/rip-dvd-to-mkv.html Jason Howard

    It would be good to have a this kind of bike, thanks for sharing the review, it helps me a lot.