Last year, most of the bigger LED lights used 3 LEDs. This year, it seems, the magic number is four--unless you are Light and Motion, then the magic number is six.
The magic word is still "please" though.
Case in point, the new Vision 4 from Hope, on the right.
While it shares the number of LEDs with its neighbors--the Lupine Wilma and DiNotte 800L--it's not exactly the same. For one thing, as you can see, the lens is frosted. This is to spread out the light better, in theory. We'll see how well it works. In size, it splits the difference between the 800L and the Wilma.
The 960 lumen (claimed) light comes with handlebar and helmet mounts, as well as a headband in case you want to go caving and need some serious light.
As soon as the weather clears--forecast for the next few days calls for rain--we'll get some beam shots.
Hopefully, the lights from Exposure--another 4 LED light... see a trend?--and Princeton Tec will be here by then. We're also expecting another round with Ay-Up. Stay tuned, we're just getting started.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Last year, most of the bigger LED lights used 3 LEDs. This year, it seems, the magic number is four--unless you are Light and Motion, then the magic number is six.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
In addition to the other Bell Sports products we've just received, They also sent along their top-of-the-line EC90 crankset. With I might add, their ceramic bearing bottom bracket. As the name denotes, the crankset is full carbon.
The spindle is attached to the drive side. Eschewing the traditional single bolt non-drive attachment method, Easton went with a dual pinch bolt setup that is akin to Shimano's aluminum crank arm.
While not as tidy, I actually prefer this method. Unlike Shimano, though, they have a recess on the back for the external bottom bracket bearing for a cleaner look.
As soon as I get these mounted up, I'll be able to give you my first impressions. They do boast--claim, anyway--better stiffness to weight than their competitors, so I'll be interested to see how they feel.
For now, they are only available in standard road format (53/39 teeth arrangement) and as a die-hard compact double user I hope they introduce a compact version. Those hills are going to be a bit rougher until then.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Because, as I mentioned, I was out of town last week (and because Ritchey striped me of the my means of taking cycling with me on my trips by asking for the Break Away back) I didn't ride. I was in sunny (and muggy) Orlando, FL but I didn't even see a bike. Here I am, back at home with a garage full of bikes and I still am having a hard time getting out on one. Sure, I'm busy. Sure, the sun isn't cooperating by rising so late. But the real problem is me.
Always at this time of year I get cranky. I want to ride, but I don't want to ride right now. That is, I don't feel like braving the cold. Or, maybe it isn't very cold, but I don't want to deal with lights. (Although, riding with lights is fun, sometimes it seems like a pain to get everything together and mounted.) Above all, I certainly don't want to start the roller season just yet.
This morning, I was going to ride but my snooze didn't seem to work. That is, it probably went off again, but it didn't get me up after the initial ring. Besides, it was 28 degrees. Ouch. That's a little cold still.
The funny thing is that once I get past this not-ready-for-winter bad mood, and get used to riding in the cold, it doesn't bother me. I'm confident if I can get in a week of riding I'll no longer be bothered by the cold, nor by the dark. And I know if I don't get over that hurdle, I'll lose even more hard-fought fitness.
Getting over that hurdle is hard, though. And besides, I'm pretty short.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The weather gods--Thor?--was smiling down upon me this last weekend and while the skys are gray and soggy now, I had clear skies and no fog over the weekend. What does that mean? Beam Shots, that's what.
Let me start with the Flea. Keep in mind that this is a tiny, tiny light and it uses four 5mm Nichea LEDs.
I actually used this light on a mountain bike ride the other night. It worked well on slow, non-technical climbs like fireroads. It's a good backup light if you are riding alone, since you can ride out with it.
Now, the heavy hitters. Once again, here is the 600L for reference--notice the new location, I'm further away from the trees, so you get a better feel for how far the beams throw. The camera settings are the same as before, only the distance to the trees has changed.
Now lets look at the Seca 700:
Here is the 800L:
Now, I know you've seen those ones before, in other beam shots, but this one is new. Here is the new Wilma:
You'll notice that it's beam pattern is similar to the 800L. This shouldn't be very surprising since they are both round beams emitted from 4 LEDs which are arranged in a "+" formation.
So, these four lights--Seca 700, 600L, 800L and Wilma--total about 3000 lumens. It used to take more lights to do that. All of them on look like this:
It sort of overpowers the camera.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Last week, I was out of town and, although I planned to take/have time to post, I didn't. However, in my absence, packages were arriving fast and furious. All of them came from Blackburn/Easton/Bell Sports. (Also known collectively as Blackstonell Sports.)
As a result, we'll be busy around the GearReview/Lactic Acid Threshold offices installing, tweaking, admiring, fondling, and testing these products for months to come. Let's do a quick run-down:
There's the Blackstonell (Easton) EC90 SLX carbon road fork. As we mentioned before (here), this fork uses Blackstonell's (Easton's) IIT (Internal Thread Technology) for clamping things together. Instead of using an expanding plug or a star-fangled-nut to clamp the top-cap down on the steer tube (and thus holding the headset/fork/frame together), Blackstonell (Easton) threads the inside of the steer tube and provides a nice threaded nut for the top cap to cinch against.
Installation was super easy and the whole setup is solid. This is a well-thought-out design on Blackstonell's (Easton's) part.
The Blackstonell (Blackburn) Air Stik 2 Stage mini pump is a tiny aluminum mini pump. Besides having a great finish and being, as I said, tiny, the best part of the Air Stik 2 Stage is the two stages. There's a high and a low pressure setting allowing you to pump, presumably, up to 160 PSI. Or, at least, to get your road tires up to a nice rideable 100 PSI. In theory. This has been done before--and done well--by Crank Brothers, but their mini pump could only handle about 90 PSI.
The Blackstonell (Blackburn) Neuro 5 cycle computer. The chief draw to this computer is the 2.4 GHz wireless frequency that it uses for everything (including the HR chest strap). The Neuro 5 has wireless cadence, speed, and a bunch of HR features that I haven't been able to figure out yet.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
As some of you might have guessed from my Twitter on Tuesday, a package from Lupine arrived. In it was the new Wilma. More specifically, the Wilma 5. Here's a quick rundown on the specs:
The run time is 3 hrs on high.The biggest difference, other than the output, from the old Wilma is the button location. Gone--thankfully--is the remote switch. Now it is incorporated into the light head itself. The switch itself is still the same, which is a good thing, but it's location has changed. Here are some images of the light next to the older Wilma.
The beam angle is 15 degrees.
The output is claimed to be 920 lumens.
It weighs 355g (claimed).
The 5 Amp-Hour battery charges in 5 hours.
The other change is that the Wilma picks up the silver bezel of the Betty.
Overall, it's a nice refinement of a very high end light. Beam shots will be coming as the weather cooperates.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Before I jump into today's post I want to update a post I had a little bit ago. Remember RunKeeper? As our astute commentors pointed out, something similar has been available for free for Nokia phones. Now, you iPhone 3G users can gt RunKeeper for free as well. If it's not listed as free in the App Store, it will be shortly. No more excuses, go grab the program and start logging!
Due to a variety of reasons, the last time we took a look at the 800L, I could not provide beam shots. That's all changed now. I've paired it up with the 600L, so you can better see the evolution that the light has made. Also, in response to the comments, I did take the images in the normal, undisclosed, location, and then backed up a bit and retook the images. However, unknowingly, I messed up the angle the lights were pointing. So, the shots aren't as nice as I'd like them to be. I'll have to retake them when I look at another set of lights--which ones?!?--that just arrived.
So, here is the 600L that we all know and love:
And here is the 800L, same spot, same settings:
As you can see, the 800L punches a bigger hole in the night.
I'll be back on Thursday with a preview of the light Brown brought me. Heck, I might even throw something up on Twitter about it... you never know.
Thursday, October 09, 2008
I have a lot of bicycle tires in my garage. We recently did some remodeling in said garage and the task fell to my wife to sort of organize the mess while I was at Interbike.
I'm horrible, I know... but this isn't about me, it's about Dirt. And for the record, I didn't ask her to, she just did it. Ok? I mean, it's not like I can find anything now...
Where was I? Oh yeah, tires. The truly wonderful thing about all of those tires, is that no pair is like another pair. Some are better than others at all around off roading--or, road riding, since I have those, too--but usually, there is a type of dirt--a mixture of rock and soil and decomposing plant matter--that a particular tire will like best. That's the beauty of having the variety I do. I can pick the right tire for the type of dirt I happen to be riding.
I change tires often.
However, sometimes, due to time, I leave whatever tires I happen to be running on the bike. Case in point, last night's night ride. There were 5 of us. 3 on 'cross bikes and 2 on mountain bikes. I was on a 'cross bike. It's been raining a bit and that's the bike with full fenders. I also commute on this bike. I did not swap out the tires. I left them on. They were the Continental TravelContacts. I have, literally, put thousands of miles on this particular model of tire. No kidding, thousands. I know this tire.
This tire was exactly wrong for the ride. Oh sure, it was fine on climb--gravel road--but when we hit the singletrack, I had not one iota of traction. The dirt... well the dirt was that special type. The top layer is fairly dry, but just underneath it's muddy. You'll notice, if you had clicked the link to the tire, that there is no center tread on the TravelContacts. Couple that with the dry dirt sliding on the mud underneath and it was a miracle that I stayed on the trail and upright.
And you know what? I had a blast. I went slower than normal, and with less control, but, boy, was it fun!
Sometimes you have ride what you've got. Hang on, it can be one heck of a ride, though next time I think I'll swap tires.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
I've come to accept noise on a mountain bike (though, only if I know where it's coming from--which I usually do). On my road bike, the only sound should be a nice firm click when I shift and my heavy breathing. However, lately, I can't seem to get my new Red cassette to ... "Hey, pipe down back there!" Anyway, I'm awful at adjusting things, but the shifting is so perfect I'm baffled. I hate it.
I've been meaning to get my hometrainer tires mounted on my spare wheels so I can be ready for hopping on the rollers if the weather turns bad. So far, I just can't bring myself to do it. It's kind of like right when you're standing on the edge of a cold mountain lake. You hate to take the plunge because you know how cold it will be and how cold you'll be until you dry off and change.
Or, maybe a better analogy would be a bridge. When I was just learning to drive, there was a bridge near where I grew up--the Winchester Bridge, I think it was called. Anyway, I think it must have originally been built for a train track because it seemed like both lanes together only added up to about the same width as 1 set of train tracks. Super narrow. Also, instead of a shoulder, there was just a slowly decaying concrete barrier--meaning: there's no wiggle room like a shoulder would provide. I always hesitated just before getting on because I knew that once on, there was nothing I could do. For me as a new driver, it was grip the steering wheel like grim death and hope that no one clips your mirrors.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I hate to commit to winter like that--or admit it's coming--by mounting my hometrainer tires.
It's supposed to snow this weekend. Yes, really. Yes, snow.
I will be riding my noisy bike on the rollers this weekend.
Or, I could take the Pugsley out. (Now, where did I put that bike?)
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Whew... We've finally wrapped up enough of Interbike that I feel I can move on. Sure, it might show up again but I've got other things to talk about.
First, let me draw your attention back to a pre-Interbike post, What You Want. Take a look at Radirpok's comment, as it's a good one and a segue into today's post. He states, among other things:
1. The 400L is the new 600LWell, close, but not quite. I'd say that the Seca is the new Arc, the 400L is the new 200L* and the 600L has grown another LED and is now the 800L.
2. The Seca is the new Trinewt
*The 200L isn't going away, as far as I know, though, so don't read this as the one is replacing the other. They are just evolutionary steps.
Out of necessity, DiNotte had to modify the housing, since 4 LEDs don't fit in the space of three.
This is what the 800L looks like compared to the 600L. From the side:
From the front:
and from the back:
As you can see, they retained the two button scheme. I, for one, am glad. Also, while the lens portion is larger, the body as a whole is shorter. The battery is the same, as is the handlebar mount. The beam pattern can best be described as--other than BRIGHT--a mix between the standard spot 600L and the wider flood 600L. Our weather has been lousy of late, so I don't have beam shots. I'll try and get some as soon as there is a break in the weather.
And radirpok, I'll take them from further away from the trees.
Monday, October 06, 2008
In addition to what we saw of the the new electric Dura Ace, we also got a good look at the new Campagnolo 11-speed groups. I'd have to say that, although Super Record is incredible, I'm most impressed with Chorus 11. The finish is beautiful. One of the more interesting things I found out about '11' is that Campagnolo's main goal wasn't to get another speed in. What they wanted was smoother shifting and they came up with cogs spaced closer together as the answer. Frankly, I'm more impressed with this suggestion than just the drive to "more is better". (Of course, can you really trust marketing guys?)
Unfortunately, I was salivating too heavily to hold my camera still. In addition, the Campagnolo guys kept pushing me away so I wouldn't get any drool on the displays. The result is poor photos. So, if you want to see some cool photos of Campy 11, you'll have to look elsewhere.
However, after kicking us out of the main component booth, we also got to see their new '11' clothing line. What impresses me about this isn't how they've decided to capitalize on this whole 'taking it to 11' theme, but actually the amount of reflective material. Every logo is reflective. The big script 'Campagnolo' is also reflective. There are reflective stripes and reflective piping. And all the reflective material is gold. Very nice looking and it provides super visibility. I'm of the opinion that you can't have too much reflective material on cycling clothes--as long as the style is tasteful--so this kit fits the bill nicely.
I've often been bothered by carbon steer tubes on forks. Not that I think they won't be as strong as aluminum ones, but only because of the installation methods. You see, one shouldn't use a 'star-fangled nut' in a carbon steer tube because it could lead to stress risers as it digs into the tube. Stress risers lead to failure. The consequences of a fork failure are messy. Just ask George Hincapie.
To solve this problem, Easton is, in essence, threading the inside of all their 09 EC90 forks. The tube can be cut to length as usual and with their small 5g insert, you've got a solid anchor for your top-cap bolt. How solid, according to their display, you'd crush your headset bearings before pulling out their insert. Nice.
Friday, October 03, 2008
Giant TRC Advanced SL
Besides the beautiful new Anthem X, Giant had a lot going on in their road line-up, as well. Most notable (and eye-catching) was the new TCR Advanced SL. Giant has done a ton of tweaking with this frame and has, what they think, a wonderful superbike here. It's light, stiff, and oh so beautiful. While many companies are stealing design cues from each other--such as the bold graphics on the TCR Advanced SL here--I happen to like the looks of them so it doesn't bother me. Here are some shots.
Of course, they've revamped the rest of the line, also, but for some strange reason, my camera kept taking pictures of the Advanced SL. I need to get that thing fixed.
eecycle Works eebrake
While perusing the wonder bikes in and around the Edge booth, I found this brake from eecycle Works adorning a few ultra-light road bikes. As usual, I assumed they would be light, but worthless. Once I grabbed the brake lever, I was surprised by the solid feel. Here's a link to the site for more information.
Mysterious Mavic carbon-spoked wheels
Okay, this caught me off guard. We were passing through the Clif booth for the 1000th time and I stopped to take a look at a couple of the Team Luna bikes they had on display. "What in the world?" I said, as I noticed these wheels:
In case you can't tell by the photos, those spokes are much larger (in diameter) than those on Mavic's R-Sys. Also, although Mavic elected not to use the carbon spokes in the 2x drive side of the R-Sys, these use carbon spokes in a cross pattern. Although they were labeled with Mavic's SSC logo, that's the only label I could find on them.
Mavic, if you stumble upon this page, please give us more information about these wheels!
Thursday, October 02, 2008
While at Interbike we were checking out lights--OK, I was checking out lights, Jon was being indulgent and waiting for me with minimal grumbling--and we wandering into the Blackburn booth. You may recall their System X lights from a bit ago. I wanted to see if they had updated them--not yet--and to see what else they might have. Lo and behold, they had Fleas.
The Flea is a tiny light--front and rear--that uses super bright 5mm LEDs. In the front light, these four LEDs put out an astounding 40 lumens. I'm not being sarcastic here, I am truely amazed that these little guys put out that much light. Remember, the original 1 watt LEDs were only that bright.
This is the front light:
This is the rear:
The batteries are not user replaceable. They are Li-Ion and they charge off of any 1.5V source--AAA, AA, C or D disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries are 1.2V, nominally, so they will not fully charge the Flea's internal battery.
The charger looks like this:
The black thing at the top is the case for the charger. The ends of the leads are magnetized as is the charger proper. This allows the leads to stick to the battery--red is positive and black is negative, naturally--and attach to the light.
This is what it looks like on the battery:
This is one cool set up. It's tiny, and easily charged. Is it bright enough? I don't know, I haven't ridden with it yet. But, it should work for all you "I use a light to be seen, not to see" crowd.