Gadgets s2

Published on March 9th, 2010 | by Greg


On The Road: Biking With Kryptonite and Mace Gear

Yesterday, we took a look at a neat cell phone signal booster to kick off our week featuring products that make life better while traveling. For many of us, our primary means of getting around is a car. But in the Bay Area and many other cities, biking is a great, inexpensive, and eco-friendly way to commute. No matter what bicycle you own or use, it’s safe to say that there are a few basic concerns- theft, comfort, and safety among them. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at some of the latest bike helmets later this month, but tackling the other two issues today.

Kryptonite is the biggest name in bike locks, so it seemed only fitting to try out one of their highest-security looks, made especially for expensive bikes or use in areas where bike theft is common. On their security rating scale of 1-12, this look rings up at 12, and offers anti-theft protection of up to $3750 in the USA. In other words, the Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit 1415 is a serious piece of equipment.

We tested the lock throughout San Francisco, using the lock on our electric bicycle, and can happily report that it was never stolen. Less happily, our backs are a bit strained due to sheer load of the lock, which weighs in at a whopping 12 pounds. That’s a lot of lock, featuring a nicely-sheathed chain made from triple heat-treated boron manganese steel, with giant links that defy any of the usual attempts to pry or cut. But a chain is only as good as it’s lock, and this lock is also pretty secure- keys instead of a combination, and a hardened disc-style cylinder, with reinforcement to prevent drill attacks as well. We liked the inclusion of 3 keys, one of which offers a neat LED light built-in, and the fairly simple lifetime key replacement service (with easy online registration). We would’ve appreciated a simpler process for registering for the anti-theft protection as well though, as there are a few hoops (15 day limit post-purchase, the need for a copy of your lock AND bike purchase receipt, mail-in only). At $100, and available widely online, this may be more bike lock than most people need- but it’s great for those who love their bikes.

Regardless of your ride, you should look good while biking. More than that, you should simply not be wearing street clothes for your longer rides- sweat and mud ensure that a change of clothes is a good idea at the very minimum. Mace Gear makes a range of apparel, including helmets and gloves, elbow and knee pads. If it’s good enough for BMX and professional mountain bikers, it’s definitely good enough for your country strolls (or city rides).

We tried out the Mirage Jersey (new for 2010) and Gloves, as well as the Drogue Shorts (also new this year), all in black. Part of their Urban collection, all three items offer a few color/style choices. All of their gear is available directly from their US distributor online, or from any of their dealers internationally.

Our favorite of the three was the gloves ($35)- nice snug fit, patent rubber and synthetic leather are strong enough to hold up to a fair bit of friction and weather, and the fingertips were well-lined with sweat-absorbing material that allowed us to keep our grip easily. They are also lightweight, so your hands won’t be hindered. The shirt is similar- similar to a sports jersey, it’s made from 100% polyester, antimicrobial, and dries extremely quickly. The fit is close to that of a normal T-shirt, though a bit tighter around the neck. Ours had a large logo in the middle that we didn’t love, but the other versions do not and offer decent artwork instead. We could have used some customization options and a slightly lower price, but as a nice base layer, the Mirage Top gets the job done. $60.

Last up are the Drogue shorts, and quite distinctive- plaid, and fairly casual, they are also quite long… and the sizing is way off, a medium is gigantic (perhaps a 36 waist) and unfortunately no size guide is available. These feature a water repellent coating, which worked pretty well even in the rainstorms and wet weather that San Francisco has been facing recently. We liked the lightweight feel and nifty rivets, although there is one odd one at the bottom of the zipper that both looks and feels strange. A slightly more elastic waist and cuffs would have been appreciated, but they do a decent job of combining an attractive cut and pattern with highly functional materials. $80.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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