Category: review

Bicycle product reviews

You know those buyer product reviews you see at retailer websites like REI, Trek, Sierra Trading Post and so forth? Those reviews are all managed by Power Reviews, which hosts the reviews and filters the content for spam.

In addition to getting published on the retailer website, those reviews are also published to Buzzillions. Online orders or product registrations are linked to email addresses, and the retailer sends a request to the buyer for a review that will be posted to both the retailer website and to Buzzillions.

If you’re looking for reviews for cycling product, Buzzillions has created a Buzzillions Cycling Reviews category specifically for bikes, components, accessories, clothing and other cycling products. They have reviews on literally thousands of products.

An interesting feature for bloggers is the ability to directly post reviews to your blog. You click a button, enter in your blog info including username and password, and viola — you have an automatic review post for your blog. I tested this feature out but I couldn’t get it to work with Cyclelicious, which uses for posting.

There are also RSS feeds available, though I don’t see any for just the cycling category. Let me know what you think of this kind of stuff.

Monkey Electric wheel lights (and a coupon code)

Susan and Judy look at my Monkey Electric bike lights I’m showing off the Monkey Electric wheel light to my co-workers Susan and Judy. Dudes and dames, flashy bright stuff on your bike work well to attract the opposite sex, drawing them like moths to a porch light or fireflies to each other.

I’m not that great of a photographer and these things are devilishly hard to get good photos of, especially when I’m using a broken camera, so you’ll just have to trust me when I write that I love my Monkey Electric wheel lights!

This gadget attaches to your wheel spokes with zip ties. The set of bright, colorfully flashing LEDs makes cool persistence of vision patterns as you roll. These even work well in shade (like we have in the Santa Cruz Mountains) and overcast skies (like we often have in San Francisco).

These guys do a fantastic job lighting up the ground around you.

These are about twice of the price of comparable Hokey Spokes. Monkey Electric lights do not sync up like Hokey Spokes do, but then you don’t need two or three units to make a decent pattern, and the LEDs on the Monkey Electric lights are much brighter and colorful. Some people like the aesthetics of Hokey Spokes better, and I think Monkey Electric are a little bit less resistant to theft since all you need to do is snip three zip ties to take these things; Hokey Spokes are secured with screws.

For details and online purchase, visit Monkey Electric. Use the coupon code “BIKECULT” for 25% off of your order until July 15, 2008. Order fulfillment is quick, shipping is fast, and installation is no problem at all.

Princeton Tec Swerve bicycle tail light

The new Princeton Tec Swerve is my new favorite bicycle tail light. It features 2 half watt super bright LEDs, a multitude of mounting options, and a great big toggle switch for easy on/off operation.

Princeton Tec Swerve light

Princeton Tec introduced the Swerve light at the Sea Otter Classic last weekend. My biggest grip about most bike lights is lack of flexibility in mounting them. Princeton Tec has solved that problem with the Swerve, which has the best mountain system of any light I’ve seen, with a clip, brackets and multiple bands allowing you to mount the Swerve to just about any surface on your bike, your bag or your helmet. Princeton Tec even wants your photos of your unique mounting technique at the Swerve Your Bike website.

With a pair of half watt LEDs (either flashing or persistent), the Swerve is brighter than the Planet Bike Superflash, which has a single half watt LED along with smaller flashing LEDs. According to Princeton Tec, one of the keys to the Swerve’s effectiveness and visibility is that the LED’s have different collimators (lens) – one is diffused, while the other is focused. This creates two different beams patterns that the viewing eye has to juggle. Enough light diffuses through the transparent red case to provide effective side lighting, also. The LEDs are bright enough to catch the eye even in daylight and through fog.

A nice usability feature is the large toggle switch, which is very easily accessible and easy to operate while on the go. You can even flip the lens around to move the toggle from left to right if you want. I started my ride home from Monterey last Friday evening in daylight, but as dusk approached I reached around my seatpost and my fingers quickly found the toggle switch.

My only gripe — and it’s fairly minor — is the relatively slow flash rate compared to most modern LED tail lights. I really like the super fast flash on the Planet Bike Superflash, for example.

The Princeton Tec Swerve will be available from outdoor and sports retail shops as well as bike dealers beginning in June for $29.95. Learn more at Swerve Your Bike and at Princeton Tec’s blog. See also my review of the Princeton Tec Switchback headlight.

Bicycle iPod speakers review

Ari Bader-Natal reviews the “iHome iH85B Bike to Beach Speaker System for iPod” over at his bits and bikes blog.

Your iPod docks in the speaker unit which sits in a water bottle cage, and the iPod is controlled from a wireless controller mounted on your handlebar. It’s a handy looking gizmo and would make a nice gift for the bike commuter who has everything. Read the full review at bits and bikes.