Sometimes common problems require uncommon solutions. Many road bikes otherwise perfectly suited for all-weather riding or commuter duty don’t have clearance for fenders thanks to tight caliper brakes and/or seatstay bridge arrangements. Clip-on fenders work, but never provide the same coverage as full length versions. I’ve seen a few DIY installs where people split the fender at the rear brake and create a custom bracket to hold the two fender halves together, and there are even a few split fender sets on the market. River City Bicycles out of Portland knows a thing or two about riding in the rain and has split the difference between full on DIY and a split fender set with the $15 Reacharound Fender Brackets. Each set has three brackets, two for the rear and one for the front, that can help to make a full coverage fender fit on that many more road bikes. It will take some massaging of the fender into place, it will not fit every bike configuration, and you’ll have to cut a perfectly good fender in two, but for the right project it’s a practical option at a great price.
The FBM has been talking about and tooling around with a polo-specific frame for just about ever, it seems. Well now it’s finally available, and, as predicted, it’s just a hair above the Sword in price, at $750 for the frame and fork. FBM took their time with this one and put it in the hands of some of the beastliest polo players around, including Koyo Maeda and Evan George of the Assassins, who placed 3rd at the World Hardcourt Bike Polo Championships this year.
The outcome is a tig-welded 4130 chromoly frameset with an increased head tube height and decreased seat tube height for a more upright riding position, and a bulge-butted seat tube designed to increased strength in the joint between the top tube and rear triangle of the frame. Disc and cantilever brake mounts are both available on this steed.
FBM is taking pre-orders now; with frames set to ship in February. Specs and more information at fbmbike.co.
Levi’s is sticking with and expanding their Commuter line of cycling clothing, with the pictured Type 2 Commuter Parka being a recent introduction. The most technical (and most expensive) piece in the line, the Commuter Parka promises windproof and waterproof performance without sacrificing breathability through independent fabric membranes that help to regulate heat and moisture. The full hood and extended tail are solid touches for when the rain is falling, with rear pockets and side vents for on-the-bike functionality. The sleeves are cut longer than usual to make sure they partially cover your hands while riding, and almost as a matter of course this black jacket has reflective tape on the pockets, hood and back. On paper it’s a serious riding jacket, and it should be for the $350 price. The initial Levi’s Commuter line has seen rave reviews from all of my contacts that have opted for them (and found the fit to their liking), and I’d expect the same from this jacket.
Check out the rest of the Commuter line, including the original 511 jeans and Trucker Jacket. I finally got my hands on a few Commuter items, excited to get some time in on the bike.
Boombotix recently released an updated version of their original handlebar mount . The Handlebar Mount Kit 2.0 fits virtually any bar, with vibration damping pads to help fit smaller gauge bars. The new mount still works with the original Boombot 1 and Boombot 2 designs, as well as the newer Boombot Rex.
The Handlebar Mount 2.0 retails for $40. Check out www.boombotix.com
Pecker Design is an Austrian firm that makes bike grips from local wood. Their products are aimed at being stylish and socially/environmentally conscious. In keeping with that goal, the grips are made in a workshop that employes people with disabilities. So as much as I want to make childish jokes about the name Pecker and their use of wood (including nut wood) I’ll refrain because they’re trying to do something good. Which is hard. No pun intended.
Check out www.peckerdesign.at