Get Your Bike Gear Dialed In Before Summer 2017
More often than not, cyclists learn about the latest gear and gadgets from friends in the greater biking community, which include local bike shops selling stuff that caters to the local market and online biking forums, which connect cyclists around the world in one space. Nobody loves input from friends and our LBS more than Rokform, but a recent conversation left us wondering whether the products we’re crushing on at our local bike shops are the same ones people around the map love, too.
To find out, we wanted to go beyond our typical cycle circle. We reached out across some of the most popular online bike forums as well as random bike shops around the world to find the coolest products for the summertime cruises and treks that are just around the corner.
Maybe you’re actually looking for the latest cool gadget to bring along on your ride. Or maybe you already know what it is and where to get it (your LBS, duh!), and just need some confirmation that your favorite bike shop really is THE best one around. Read on to see what cyclists from California to Canada had to say.
Bottle Openers by WiseCracker
Who says you have to wait ‘til ride’s end to enjoy the cool brew(s) stored away in your backpack? Treat yo-self! Now it’s a heck of a lot easier with the bottle openers by WiseCracker, which were recommended by Bob, an active cyclist from PNW who responded to one of our forum posts.
Mike Ahrens, passionate cyclist and co-founder of WiseCracker, realized he could use his professional engineering background to bring sport and beer together with a simple, well-crafted invention.
After a long mountain bike ride, our group of riders enjoyed sharing beers and talking about our adventures on the trails. For me the camaraderie was a really important aspect of the sport and beer is a natural bridge for socializing.
The original WiseCracker opener was born out of the need to open post-ride beers without using pedals, keychains, car bumpers, branches, lighters or trailer hitches. Mounting an opener to your bike means it's always with you -- and of course it will open soft drinks if beer isn't your favorite post-ride beverage!
In less than ten minutes, you too can have your WiseCracker bottle opener installed onto your headset and be opening beers for your entire bike squad. We love the products WiseCracker is offering which, like Rokform, focus on quality materials.
With a bottle opener on your bike, you’ll definitely get some attention from all of your friends, if nothing else so you can kindly open up a bottle or two. This tool is perfect for the summer!
The WC LITE, WiseCracker’s most popular model, starts at a cool $15. Cheers!
MT-1 Multi-Tool by Park Tool
Multi-tool sets are absolutely essential to any tool kit and there are so many on the market that it can be hard to decide which one is right for you. Tom Reingold, a cyclist who blogs about Bicycle Riding, Repair, and Advocacy, recommends the multi-tool by Park Tool. For Tom, the MT-1 stands out against the competition, which he says are too expensive and not that easy to use.
It’s a solid tool at a low price point that features all the essential tools you’ll need: 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, and 8mm hex wrenches, 8mm, 9mm, and 10mm socket wrenches, and a straight blade screwdriver. When designing the MT-1, Park Tool paid careful attention to the positioning of each part, so it is uncomplicated and effective. The multi-tool is made of investment cast steel and electroless nickel plated for durability and retails for only $11.95.
As a company Park Tool has been around for over fifty years, so you know they’re doing something right.
Power Meter by Stages Cycling
We’ve all used simple navigation apps to track rides, but have you ever measured your power? Enter the power meter product line by Stages Cycling. The name kind of gives away what they do but describing how they work is a bit much for me, so here’s a summary from their website:
“Power is a measurement of the work you do on the bike, and the most accurate way to measure your effort. Unlike your heart rate, which can be widely affected by physiological influences, including: stress, lack of sleep, caffeine, temperature, time of day, dehydration and other factors, power shows exactly how much work you are doing and exactly what you are getting out of your training. Power is the perfect tool to understand how you are progressing and the best indicator of fitness gained and fatigue level. Simply put, if you want to know how you’re doing, check your power.”
Stéphane, a touring cyclist hailing from the Canadian province of Quebec, shared how he uses the XT to track his own performance: “I use it in the context of touring, to get a feel for how much energy was required on a leg, how/whether I produce more Watts over the course of the summer, how/whether I produce fewer Watts as I get older, and maybe learn to pace myself -- pedaling harder increases speed as well as aerodynamic drag, so there must be an optimal output that a miser will want to aim for.”
The XT-M800 is compatible with all ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart Ready Devices, has an accuracy level of +/- 2%, and 200+ hours of battery life per coin cell. This isn’t necessarily a bike tool but it’s definitely a device that can help you up your performance this summer.
YC-100BH Bicycle Repair Stand by Bikehand Pro
"Once you have a basic set of tools, a stand is IMO the next most important tool," said another forum contributor. We couldn't agree more. He recommended the YC-100BH bicycle repair stand from Bikehand Pro.
The Bikehand Pro repair stand is made of full alloy aluminum with adjustable height and 360 degree rotating head. It also includes a tool tray so you everything is one easy to find place. No more wasting time looking for screws and other parts on the floor!
One key reason Bikehand Pro's repair stand stands out from the competition is its great price point--it's currently available for $89.99 on Amazon. After doing some light research, there were no other bike stands at a similar price point that offer the quality, convenience (it folds up for easy storage!), and durability.
CO2 Mount by Eclypse
Walking around your LBS, it can be difficult not to grab every cool looking gadget off the shelves and make a mad dash for the cashier. A mountain biker from Latham, New York recommended the mount via BikeForums.net. He gave into his impulses when he purchased the CO2 mount by Eclypse and never looked back. “I tried to talk myself out of it but ended up throwing the money down for a new shiny bit for my new shiny bike. I already had room in my seat bag for these items but still had to buy this thing.” The mount discreetly mounts onto your seatpost and stores 2 cartridges, opening up room in your saddle bag for more goods. Yay!
Eclypse offers a full collection of bikes, components, and accessories.
PRO-LITE Bike Mount Kit by Rokform
Have you ever tried to navigate your ride without a proper phone mount? Don’t do it. Not only is it quite challenging, it’s also extremely dangerous. Look no further. No summer bike kit is complete without a Rokform bike mount.
Many riders are very passionate about the look and feel of their bike. Unfortunately, most Bike Mounts on the market are bulky and obstruct your handlebars, or can be cheaply made with zip ties and rubber bands, which can take away from the overall aesthetic of your bike. Luckily for cyclists, Rokform bike mounts' slim and sleek design fits nicely to the stem of your bike, so youll never have to compromise in quality or looks.Lightweight and Strong
Rokform's mounts were built to withstand daily use and abuse, while looking great and performing well. The mounts are CNC Machined from 6061 T-6 aircraft grade aluminum so they are feather-light, weighing in at less than 1 ounce. Not only will it never weigh your bike down, you will always ride assured that you have a trustworthy product, made of only the highest quality and toughest materials, holding your device in place.Beyond Protection
The Rokform Pro Series Bike Mount features a dual retention lock system which includes their proprietary quarter-turn RokLock mounting technology, as well as guaranteed RokSafe magnet mountability. Maybe the best part about the bike mount isn't the bike mount itself, but the Rokform Rugged case that is included in the bike mount kit. While it does an amazing job protecting your phone during rides, it's durability and functionality work off the bike, too.
Spread the word to your local bike shop
Not sure if the gear we mentioned is available at your local shop? No worries. Now’s the perfect time to call your shop and let them know about these awesome products you've just discovered. Trust us, they want to be just as in the know as you do. If they don’t carry a specific brand, maybe your call will encourage them to check it out. If your local bike shop is as awesome as ours, they might even go out of their way to help you find another place with just the thing you’re looking for.
There you have it--the top gadgets recommended by bike shops and cycling aficionados around the world. What’d you think? Are you already in the know and in possession of everything on the list? Do you have any other favorites to add?
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