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Sunday, April 19, 2009
  Delta 7 Ascend road bike review
By Yokota Fritz 

It's not about the bike, but...

The Delta 7 Ascend is the road version of Delta 7's "IsoTruss" carbon fiber mesh frame. I got to play with it during the Sea Otter Classic 2009.

Delta 7 Arantix Ascend Road Bike

Gary Fisher and the infamous "Bikes Gone Wild" both gave me grief for it, but I just had to try this paen to space age technology. Jeffrey of Delta 7 set me up with the Ascend while Erik hit the trails with the Arantix mountain bike.

The Ascend is a real head turner. I'm a moderately homely middle aged guy with birth control glasses; I rode for a short while with Liz Hatch in her Vanderkitten kit and her Storck Absolutist bicycle. Every male roadie we passed by snapped their necks looking at me, not Liz. If you've seen Liz on a bike, you know that's something.

Built up, the Delta 7 Ascend weighs a hair over 13 lbs without pedals. The light weight combined with a reasonably aggressive road geometry and super stiff rear triangle translates into rocket like acceleration and effortless hill ascents. I popped up to bunny hop over a pothole and nearly launched myself into orbit because the bike is so light. If you want to try for sub 20 minutes on Old La Honda Road, this wouldn't be a bad bike to use.

During my test ride, I caught up with a cyclist on a nice looking Trek wearing Astana kit. He looked strong but tired pushing up a steep hill, so I whipped out my phonecam and took a photo of this guy as I rode no handed on the magic bicycle. Sorry for the lousy phonecam photo -- we had to push through a crowd clanging cowbells and shouting "LEVI." I didn't realize the jeans company had such a big presence at Sea Otter.

Levi Leipheimer Sea Otter

I only put a few short miles on the Ascend so I can't do a full evaluation, but the ride on this bike isn't the least bit jarring in spite of the stiff frame.

Everybody asked me if this bike whistles in the wind. Here's video of my riding the bike on a steep downhill -- no whistling, but the shadow of this mesh bike looks pretty cool against the road surface. The video was shot using GoPro's new Wide Angle HERO Cam strapped to my chest.

According to Delta 7, they performed wind tunnel tests on this frame expecting more wind resistance from all of the surfaces and they wanted to quantify just how bad the turbulence would be. There's indeed more drag because of all the flow through the lattices, but the drag induced by vortices behind the tubes completely disappears, resulting in a net benefit: the IsoTruss design results in less drag than conventional tubes.

In summary, the Delta 7 Ascend road bike is fun, stiff, light, fast, comfortable and very expensive. My buddies at Road Bike Review took delivery of the Ascend so watch for a real, in depth review from them Real Soon Now. Also, "Bikes Gone Wild" promised to provide his own comments on this bike in the comments after I post this review :-)


Friday, April 17, 2009
  GT Aerostream city bike
By Yokota Fritz 
I saw Valerie at the GT Bicycles booth with the Aerostream cruiser bike and asked her to describe the benefits of this bicycle. GT Bicycles Aerostream bicycle has some nice features differentiating it from other bikes in the cruiser bike category.

GT Aerostream city bike

Valerie was kind enough to demonstrate some of the features of this bike:
  • Gates carbon belt drive
  • Shimano 3 speed hub
  • Efficient and smooth rolling 700 x 47 tires
  • Women's model (shown) has a front basket for Valerie to store her pom poms. This front basket has a collapsible frame which is cheaper to ship (lowers dealer cost)
  • Men's model has rear racks and panniers.
  • Unique rear triangle design eliminates the usual bolt off triangle used in other belt drive designs.
  • Lightweight aluminum frame is stiffer, less clunky and lighter than your standard beach cruiser. Valerie let me ride her bicycle and I can report that it indeed provides a very nice and smooth ride.
As you can see, just sitting on the GT Aerostream automatically makes anybody at least 14% hotter. This is what Valerie looks like off of the bike:

...And here's another photo of Valerie on the GT Aerostream:

GT Aerostream city bike

Your mileage may vary.

Valerie also tells me that REI is now selling this bike and absolutely loves it.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008
  Knog Bullfrog front light
By Yokota Fritz 
The days are getting shorter and my son had to cycle to his Boy Scout meeting tonight so I bought him the Knog Bullfrog front light. This is my new favorite front light!

It's very bright, attaches easily to any roundish protrusion, and has a very fast flash pattern that I like. I use rechargeable batteries and changing them is a bit of a pain -- you need to slide the whole silicone cover off to get at the batteries -- and I don't know how waterproof this is yet, but so far I'm impressed.

This is a "be seen" light -- it's good for being seen on lit city streets. If you need to light the way to see the road, the Knog Bullfrog isn't the right light for you. Otherwise, though, this thing looks cool and it stands out from the other lighting.

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Friday, September 05, 2008
  Chafed and sunburned
By Yokota Fritz 
Back in my college days when I used to compete, my running jersey and shorts would chafe so badly my sensitive areas would bleed from all of the running. Back then I never thought about any way to ameliorate the damage -- I'd put up with it, bleed and ignore the pain.

Fabrics and design are better these days, but chafing and skin damage is still a problem for endurance athletes. Surfers, for example, wear rash guards under their wetsuits to keep skin irritation down, but chafing still happens near the underarms. It's not unusual for my feet to bleed on hiking trips. Cycling shorts are better than ever at keeping the chafing down, but I still get saddle sore and even blisters on occasion. Yesterday, oddly enough, the hot weather I rode in made the back of knees itch something fierce.

Endurance events and skin care

There are products used by many endurance athletes: Bag Balm, Body Glide, Chamois Butt'r, and so forth. Anybody who spends all day outdoors also is concerned about exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

When ultramarathoner Charlie Engle became the first human to run across the Sahara Desert, he discovered nothing he tried stayed on his skin in the brutal desert sun. He slathered on creams and lotions and sunscreens, and they all washed off his skin as he sweated. He burned. He chafed. He blistered. And he wanted a product that would work for him.

Mission Product "Athlete-Engineered Skincare"

Engle's agent got him in touch with entrepreneur Josh Shaw. "I'm good at a couple of things," says Engle, "and creating a personal care business was not one of them." Shaw brought financing and marketing expertise this new venture, Mission Product, which sells "Athelete-Engineered Skincare." Engle and Shaw have signed some world class athletes not with the usual endorsement deals, but as part owners and product development experts. Swimmer Amanda Beard, NBA MVP Steve Nash, soccer player Mia Hamm, Halfpipe medalist Gretchen Bleiler and extreme endurance athlete Hunter Kemper have signed on as founders and product innovators at Mission Product.

I've received a sample of their products -- SPF 30 sunscreen, SPF 20 lip balm, Anti-Friction Cream (oh yes baby), Foot Gel and "Revive Gel" -- and my initial impression is very favorable. I'll put these products through the ringer by biking, hiking and swimming and let you know how it all holds up.

Mission Product skincare products are available from some sporting goods stores and online. You can learn more about Mission Product through their blog.


Wednesday, July 09, 2008
  Bicycle product reviews
By Yokota Fritz 
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 Blogger.com 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.


Friday, May 23, 2008
  Monkey Electric wheel lights (and a coupon code)
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Thursday, April 24, 2008
  Princeton Tec Swerve bicycle tail light
By Yokota Fritz 
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.

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Thursday, November 29, 2007
  Bicycle iPod speakers review
By Yokota Fritz 
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.


Wednesday, October 03, 2007
  Reelight bicycle light review
By Yokota Fritz 
I installed a set of the popular Danish Reelight SL100 electrodynamic battery-less bike lights on my bike and reviewed the lights at Commute By Bike.

Quick summary: I like them. Handy, no batteries to fuss with, they work as advertised.

Reelight bike light on front wheel

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007
  Raleigh Coasting review
By Yokota Fritz 

Raleigh Coasting

About $450.
Steel frame, 700x35 tires.
Shimano Coasting group with 3-speed automatic shifting and coaster brake.
Perfect for casual riding, commuting.

Other resources

Photos from my Raleigh Coasting test ride.
Bicycling magazine on Shimano Coasting: No shifting, low maintenance, all fun.
Sheldon Brown's Interbike 2006 report includes his thoughts on Shimano Coasting.
Visit Raleigh USA for U.S. Dealer locations.
Raleigh Bicycles Blog.
Raleigh Commutes Blog.

I poked, prodded and rode Raleigh's new Coasting bicycle based on the Shimano Coasting group. With the Coasting project, Shimano and its bike industry partners worked to create a bike for the 160 million 'latent cyclists' in America who know how to ride a bike but do not. They're not interested in performance or the latest technology; they just want to ride a bike for fun.

While the Coasting offerings from Trek and Giant are cruisers appropriate for the bike path with big 26 inch tires, Raleigh took their inspiration from the old English three-speeds like the classic Raleigh Superbe to create a hybrid city bike with 700c wheels, a steel frame with a fairly lively geometry, and a practical front rack (complete with bottle opener) for carrying stuff.

Other nice details on Raleigh's Coasting bicycle are a retro leather saddle with big coil spring, the Coasting chain (and wow! what a chain it is), leather grips on the swept-back handlebar, and attractive shimmery paint job. The other Coasting offerings invite the rider to wear flip flops and sun hats; the Raleigh bike has a more refined, casual yet civilized look and feel.

Minor problems

My sample bike did not shift properly on my test ride; we figured out this was due to a problem with assembly. Because bike shop mechanics may not be familiar with the Coasting mechanism you will want to check for proper operation.

Raleigh Coasting: Coffee ride

Sheldon Brown is famously skeptical of the Coasting experiment, calling Coasting “a wrong-headed exercise in form over function.” Coasting adds mechanical complexity to simplify the actual bike-riding experience. Sheldon, though, prefers the ability to quickly get at the mechanical bits so riders can fix them. “Making the bike look simple is not the same as making it be simple. The hubcaps over the wheels cover up the stuff you need to get at to fix a flat tire.”

Sheldon Brown also objects to the missing front brake, which he considers to be a safety flaw. I'm personally not a big fan of coaster brakes either, but I think this may be because I'm not accustomed to them. Positioning the pedals after you stop, for example, is difficult with coaster brakes. I suspect the target market for this bike won't care about the lack of front brakes. Front brakes are required for bicycles in the UK.

Because of the automatic three-speed shifter and coaster brake, no cables clutter up the lovely clean lines of this bike. The hub caps and special fork ends may make it a little more difficult to fix a flat, but Raleigh has equipped the Coasting with flat-resistant Kenda tires.

When I noted the lack of a fender to Raleigh marketing coordinator Carey Schleicher-Haselhorst, she explained that they considered fenders but kept them off due to pricing. “We wanted to keep this bike at a certain price point that would be appealing to that first time rider and unfortunately adding a set of fenders was going to pop the bike into a different price bracket. We put the money into the specific coasting chain, the chain guard with the window, the rack, 700c wheels, the grips and seat and frame silhouette,” Carey told me.

Riding the Raleigh Coasting

Some fat-saddle hybrid bicycles are so overbuilt that they really impact the ride. The Raleigh Coasting bicycle, though, feels just like a bicycle is supposed to feel. I didn't expend a lot of energy pushing past unnecessary bulk. The wide leather saddle with its coil springs very effectively smoothed the ride without getting in the way of my pedaling. The steel frame, traditional geometry, moderate fork rake and Shimano Coasting components quietly and efficiently transfer power to the wheels while giving a responsive yet comfortable ride.

Coasting is perfect for neighborhood trips to the coffee shop, but the Raleigh also is a nice commuter bike. This bike is built well enough for the occasional charity ride.

While bike shop revenues were up last year, actual unit sales are down. The National Sporting Good Association recently announced that cycling for recreation plummeted in 2006, falling behind bowling – bowling! -- in popularity. Shimano and their builder partners have put a lot of energy into Coasting in the hopes of growing the bike market pie. In spite of the slight shortcomings I mention above, overall I think this bike is a winner. Raleigh did an excellent job of designing an attractive city bike that I think will appeal to non-cyclists.

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Sunday, April 15, 2007
  Raleigh Coasting bicycle
By Yokota Fritz 

Raleigh Coasting: Chain
Originally uploaded by richardmasoner.
I took a test ride on the new Raleigh Coasting bicycle. The Raleigh Coasting is a hybrid bike featuring Shimano's new "Coasting" component group, which has an electronic automatic shifter and coaster brakes. Click here to see photos of the Raleigh Coasting bicycle in action. Preview of this bicycle coming Real Soon Now.

I did my 1000 meter Tax Man Scramble time trial on this bike today. I think I did it in between five and seven minutes, sweat free! Woo hoo!

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Monday, January 22, 2007
  Symbiot Sportback Review
By Michael 
Picture courtesy of SymbiotDesign

Philadelphia has the distinction of being the birthplace of many things, among them amazing cheesesteaks, the Manayunk Wall, and Rocky Balboa. However, there is another item that can now be added to the list, the Symbiot Sportback.

This backpack for the active lifestyle is one of the most comfortable backpacks I've ever worn. It fits snugly around my torso (eliminating the usual shifting you get from other packs worn over the shoulders) and fits perfectly against my back in the tuck position (less of an effect from the wind). Plus, the padding you get for your back is very thick and hardly keeps you from noticing it. You don't have to worry about not having enough pockets with the Sportback either, there are plenty provided for you.

Although space is limited in these (don't plan on carrying a large laptop in here), there is still more than enough room for the things you'd take for a spin. Plus, with bladder compartment as part of the Sportback, there is practically nothing you cannot do with this bag.

As compared to other bags out on the market right now, you should expect to see sales of this bag grow once the word spreads.

And as a bit of trivia, the latitude/longitude coordinates on the Sportback tag are as follows:


Plot those and you'll learn a little about the company.

Update: Professional posts his own review of the Symbiot Sportback.

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Friday, December 22, 2006
  Product review: 2007 Princeton Tec Switchback LED bicycle light
By Yokota Fritz 

Princeton Tec Switchback 2 Summary

Good for: Casual trail riding, epic five hour treks into the backcountry (and back), long training rides on dark roads, any kind of city riding. If you bike commute and actually need the 5+ hours of burn time, I salute you. Except you probably don't have time to read this review.

Probably not for: Competitive singletrack at night. The Switchback 2 provides enough light to illuminate the branch just as it thwacks you in the head. Get something brighter, like the Switchback 3.

What about the Switchback 1? Princeton Tec markets the Switchback 1 as "the perfect secondary light," but at $199 it's a bit spendy for that. A good LED backup is a good investment for those relying on high power HID systems, some of which are prone to sudden failure. The Switchback 1 is certainly brighter than the dim blinkies that most night cyclists use. If you need a primary light, I'd spring for the extra $70 and get the Switchback 2.

Princeton Tec has been selling lights for outdoor enthusiasts for 30 years. In 2005, Princeton Tec began marketing a couple of their existing headlamps to cyclists by modifying straps to make them helmet-mountable. Lights designed for 1 mph hikes, however, don't provide much visibility for cyclists.

For 2007, Princeton Tec has introduced several good bike-specific designs, including three versions of the "Switchback" LED light. The Switchback is a reincarnation of a now-discontinued incandescent headlamp; I happen to own one that I used for backpacking before the advent of LED headlamps.

Princeton Tec has designed the Switchback with endurance racers and commuters in mind. I don't ride singletrack in the middle of the night, so I'll give my views from my perspective as a year-round bike commuter.

Switchback bike light specs

Princeton Tec Switchback bicycle light comes in three models: Switchback 1 with one 3 watt LED, Switchback 2 with two 3 watt LEDs, and the Switchback 3 with (wait for it) three 3 watt LEDs. Each of these lamps features a quick smart charger with universal plug adapters, hours of burn time, lightweight lithium-ion battery, voltage regulated to ensure constant brightness, 12 volt car charger, helmet and handlebar mounts, and extension cords and cable straps. Here are the specifics of each model.

Model Burn Time Weight MSRP
Switchback 1 5.5H Flash, 4.5H High, 6H Medium, 10H Low 436 grams $199
Switchback 2 6H Flash, 5.5H High, 7H Medium, 16H Low 586 grams $269
Switchback 3 6.5H Flash, 6H High, 12H Medium, 50H Low 826 grams $389

Using the Switchback 2

Click on photos to see large.
Princeton Tec Switchback 2 bicycle light mounted on handlebar
The Princeton Tec Switchback 2 bicycle light mounted on my handlebar. Two 3 Watt LEDs provide illumination that can be seen even in light.

Battery pack for Princeton Tec Switchback 2 bicycle light
The battery pack mounted on the top tube of my bike frame. The battery can also be mounted on the handlebar or placed in a hydration pack or jersey pocket.

Princeton Tec Switchback 2 bicycle light
Battery and light connected. Instead of one annoyingly long cable, the headlight has a short cable. If you need the battery further away, use the included extension cable.

I've tried the two LED Switchback 2. I don't have any way to scientifically measure the lumen output of this light, but the two 3W "Maxbright" LEDs are comparable in brightness to 10W+20W halogen systems that many of us are familiar with. The lens focuses a fairly tight and round beam, easily illuminating obstacles and debris several yards ahead. I can comfortably ride about 20 mph on a dark road with this light at high power.

The flash mode is interesting and useful in my opinion. Most LED lights have a "blink" mode to preserve battery life and enhance visibility by motorists, but it can be difficult to navigate when the front light constantly strobes. The Switchback's blink mode blinks rapidly twice then stays steady for a second before cycling back to blinking. I haven't tried this yet in real conditions, but this seems to provide the "be seen" benefit of a blink with the "see" benefit of a steady bright light.

The battery has a built-in battery life indicator -- red and green LEDs shine through the transluscent case to show the level of charge. I've lost my lights in the middle of a ride from a yanked cable, so I appreciate the locking cable connectors.

Quite a bit of thought has apparently been put into the design of the Switchback bicycle light. The light itself has a sleek, low profile that I like much better than the bulky headlights I usually see from other vendors. The handlebar mount is a little large, but I like the design, it works on good range of handlebar sizes (unlike some mounts I've tried), and the quick-release works very well. If you need to change the direction the light points because, for example, you mount the light on a curving part of the handlebar, a small allen key is required to loosen a bolt to allow adjustment.

Velcro straps to mount the light to a bicycle helmet are straightforward. A unique rubber case with wide velcro straps allow the battery to be mounted on the frame or handlebar or even the saddle rails. A provided extension cord provides additional flexibity in battery location.

The Switchback 2 bike lamp probably isn't quite enough for singletrack racing at night, but it provides plenty of light for night time training rides and the evening commute home.

Buying the Princeton Tec Switchback LED bike light

Because Princeton Tec traditionally hasn't sold bicycle products, they do not have a presence in the specialty bike store channel. They say they're working to change that with an expanded sales force dedicated specifically to local bike shops, but right now Princeton Tec products are mostly available in sporting goods and outdoor shops such as REI. Currently, the only bike retailer selling the Switchback is ColoradoCyclist.com.

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Saturday, November 19, 2005
  Socks: SmartWool vs Bridgedale
By Yokota Fritz 
Comparison of three hiking socks

Smartwool socks

Smartwool socks seem to be universally endorsed among experienced winter cyclists. The New Zealand merino wool used in Smartwool socks is extremely comfy, the socks are reasonably priced and the company is based here in Colorado.

I own several pairs of Smartwool socks and I also recommended Smartwool socks enthusiastically. In the summer, I hike and climb mountains wearing these socks. In the winter, I hike, snowshoe, and ride my bike in these Smartwool hiking socks.

The two bottom photos to the left shows two pairs of my Smartwool hiking socks after two years of this use.

Bridgedale socks

Eventually, I asked the local hiking shop for socks that won't fall apart on me. They recommended Bridgedale Socks. I bought the Trekker from them, a midweight sock similar to my Smartwool socks made of merino wool designed for trail running, hiking and backpacking. After two years of use, my Bridgedale socks have held up significantly better than my Smartwool socks. There is no hint of sagging in the cuffs. The socks fit my feet better, meaning there don't blister like I do with the Smartwool socks on my peak bagging runs (the discolored areas on the Smartwool socks are blood stains).

Fall Clearance 7/22-8/22/05

Buy Bridgedale Trekker Socks from Altrec.

Because they're made of the same Merino wool as Smartwools, the fabric is just as comfortable. The Bridgedale's are a little bit pricier but the construction and quality are significantly better.

The top photo shows a Bridgedale Trekker sock after two years of use similar to what I've done with the Smartwool socks. There's absolutely no thinning and the sock fits just as perfectly as when I first bought them.

I currently own two pair of Bridgedale Trekker socks and I'll buy more in the near future. I now enthusiastically recommend Bridgedales to anyone who asks.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2005
By Yokota Fritz 
I have a few accessories from Serfas: a bike helmet, a couple of front lights, and a tail light. Here's the short of it: The products look nice, but they're all cheap junk and I'll never buy another Serfas product again.

Here's the longer detailed version.

Helmet: It's a nice looking, comfortable, well fitting helmet. I especially like the knob on the back by which the helmet is adjusted. Unfortunately, the knob fell off and the adjusting strap is free to slide around. This helmet is a $50 piece of styrofoam junk, now.

Front light: I have the Serfas WhiteLED front light on one of my bikes and my son has one on his bike. I really like the fast flash mode and the five LEDs seems to work well to get the attention of motorists in front of me. It's small and unobtrusive on the handlebar and, frankly, I think it's the nicest looking light out there. Unfortunately, these lights are also cheap junk. My son's light has never really worked properly -- it has a tendency to just switch off spontaneously for no apparent reason. Hitting any reasonable bumps results in the cover popping off and spitting out the AAA batteries.

Rear light: I have the Serfas RedLED attached to a seatstay of my fixed gear bike. Like the other Serfas products I have, it looks sexy. The lack of a prism lens is a minor shortcoming, and the light is significantly less bright than any other rear LED light I own. No matter how much I tighten the bracket screw, the light won't stay in position -- it continually droops down so the light is pointing at the ground instead of toward the rear. It also has the spontaneous turn-off problem that my son's front light has. On a positive note, I've never lost any batteries with this light.

I also own Vistalight and Cateye lights. They're ugly but they've been rock-solid dependable for me.

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