If you’re not familiar, Club Ride specializes in high performance cycle wear that can often pass for casual clothing. The Vibe jersey represents their second generation of western styled bike jerseys. I reviewed their Go West jersey a while back, and I can definitely say that that I appreciate the improvements.
By and large, Club Ride has simplified things on the Vibe. It’s noticeably lighter and cooler than the previous generation. Gone are the full zipper and twin buttoned breast pockets. The Vibe still features low-profile snaps down the front, and the single breast pocket and lone rear pocket feature zippered closures. Both pockets are lined with mesh fabric which also makes an appearance under the arms to provide superior ventilation.
In my humble opinion, this is a great looking casual shirt, and it’s been my number one choice when I’m biking to a bar or restaurant. I can commute to work in it and then wear it all day on reasonably cool summer days. I’ve enjoyed wearing it on hot and sweaty mountain bike rides, and it performs every bit as well as my logo-emblazoned Lycra jerseys, and maybe better.
My only real nit to pick is that the fabric tends to look a bit more wrinkled than a classic cotton button down shirt. Since it’s 59% polyester and 41% nylon, you can’t really take an iron to it.
The Vibe is available in S-XL and retails for $95. Color choices are Indigo Devo (pictured) and Raven Devo. Check out www.clubrideapparel.com
The Club Ride Pin’It shorts are the best looking shorts in my wardrobe at the moment. They’re navy blue with pin stripes, how cool is that? They’re definitely comfortable and good-looking enough to wear casually, and I have done so on numerous occasions already. But they’re made for cycling, specifically urban cycling, so let’s focus on their on-the-bike performance…
The shell’s main fabric is absolutely ideal for the application. It’s breathable, stretches just a bit, and dries quickly. They’ve got front and rear pockets like you might expect, as well as a zippered pocket on the left thigh that’s perfect for a cell phone. My only qualm with the pockets is that with such light material, I always fear that anything I carry is going to fall out. To that end, I took the liberty of sewing in a Velcro closure on the right rear pocket to make my wallet feel more secure, but I wish the front pockets were a bit more secure for carrying keys and cash.
The cut is slightly tapered and reasonably long—they sport a 13″ inseam. There’s an internal waistband adjustment, as well as good old fashioned belt loops. This is fortunate, because I feel that the shorts run a little big in the waste, so a belt was rather necessary. Club Ride refers to their high waistband in the back as their NoCrackBack™. And of course they have a seamless crotch gusset to help reduce friction.
The Pin’It shorts retail for $80. www.clubrideapparel.com
This review is a bit unfortunate in that just about as soon as I received the Mamba Shift, Booq discontinued the model. So while there will be a few floating around in the retail world for a while, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to find one. And it’s a shame, because this is one cool backpack.
Made from 1680-denier ballistic nylon with water-repellant coating, thie Mamba Shift survived some torrential downpours without letting my valuables get wet. But water-resistance is not the main feature of this bag—if you want real waterproofing, I would opt for a bag with a vinyl liner (which the Mamba Shift does not have) or a rolltop bag.
Being a non-cycling-specific bag, the Mamba Shift’s design focuses on comfort, organization, and storage. Among the more unique pockets are the ones built in to the shoulder straps. Though not very good for protecting against the elements, they provide super quick access to your mobile phone or mp3 player.
Inside, the bag offers a host of pockets, some are zippered, some feature Velcro closures, some are simply flaps of sail cloth material for further organization. The separate padded laptop compartment is lined with soft fleece-like material, as is the external zippered pocket on the top of the bag. The latter is sized about right for most tablets, though it’s not padded.
I was pretty excited about the Terralinq feature at first, as it promises to help retrieve lost and stolen bags, but upon further examination I’m rather doubtful of its effectiveness. You can be the judge for yourself.
Another thing that could be better is the water resistance of the zippers. Considering how well the fabric performs, it’s a shame that the laptop compartment leaked, even if just a little bit.
Back to the bright side, the bag is super comfortable on and off the bike. The formed and padded back panel works as well as any design I’ve encountered as far as letting air get to your back. The carrying handle on the top of the bag is well-placed and features a cylindrical insert that makes it feel “just right”.
I suppose I’ll stop there since, as I mentioned earlier, the bag has been discontinued. Perhaps we’ll review another Booq product in the future. In the meantime, check out www.booqbags.com
Yakima is arguably the most popular name in automobile bike racks. They’ve been making roof racks since 1980, and hitch racks like the StickUp since 1996. While many people will forever be fans of roof racks, I’m short and thus I’m not. Plus, I don’t like the idea of one of my bikes getting crushed overhead in a low clearance situation.
Almost anyone who’s used a hitch rack swears by them. The only real disadvantages are that it can get in the way of accessing your trunk, tailgate hatch, or rear door. And it can be a hassle to install and remove it regularly. Meanwhile a hitch rack is easy to load and unload, keeps the bikes relatively out of harm’s way, and just “feels” like a more secure bike transport system. For those who are conscious of their automobile’s appearance, a hitch rack doesn’t really come into contact with the vehicle, save for the hitch mount interface, so you’re apt to do less damage than with a roof rack or a trunk rack. Granted, most vehicles don’t come standard with a hitch mount, but places like U-Haul can fit one to most vehicles, and prices seem to hover around $250 installed.
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