Being a child of the early ’80s I remember the slap-bracelet fad well, and can’t help but see the similarity between them and the Plume recoiling fender. It easily snaps into fender mode and coils up when not in use, though I question if it will recoil over potholes or curbs. This Kickstarter project qucikly reached its funding goal, but there is still time to sign up at the $35 level for one of the first run if you like the idea.
Rubena may seem like a new name in tires to some North American consumers, but back in the Czech Republic they’ve been making tires since 1928. The V66 is their basic touring and commuter tire, available in 26″ and 700c versions, in 28 – 40 mm widths with flat proof and reflective options. The tested V66 has both the 3M reflective stripe on the sidewall and Rubena’s Stop Thorn flat protection system, a stiff 3.5 mm thick strip embedded in the tire. At 450 g each the tires aren’t light, and the Stop Thorn strip is anything but supple, but I’ve always found that heavy tires full of air roll faster and better than lightweight tires with a chunk of glass embedded in them. So far so good, after months of riding around carrying a pair of spare tubes and a pump I’ve yet to have had a flat tire. Stiff sidewalls didn’t make the V66 tires the easiest to put on the rim, but by the same token provide further pinch-flat protection and have bailed me out when not paying the closest attention to airing up before heading out. Perhaps not the best choice for performance riding, but for the everyday grind or a long tour the Rubena V66 with the Stop Thorn casing and reflective strip seems an appropriate choice. At $30 per tire, they’re an economical option in flat proof tires as well. See more about this and other Rubena tires at www.rubenatires.com
Traitor Cycles has been quietly working on a relaunch, with the $600 frame and fork Crusade Disc being particularly of interest. A fully butted chromoly tubset featuring rocker style dropouts to allow either single speed or geared drivetrains. The post mount brake on the fork is a sign of the changing times, and the internal top tube routing shows off the shouldering roots. It’s definitely more of a race bike than commuter, with but a single bottle mount and no provisions for racks or fenders. Available mid to late summer, see more at www.traitorcycles.com
Informal fast laps around town with friends are generally a good time. Wolfpack Hustle STL does a few on the mostly empty night time streets.
Betabrand started with their line of commuter pants, and has now introduced an office friendly commuter jacket. Kind of a cross between peacoat and blazer, the $250 Bike To Work jacket is a weather resistant soft shell jacket with pull out reflective accents much like their pants. Pit-zips keep you from overheating and it also features a detachable hood for bad weather. See more at www.betabrand.com