Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gear Review Follow-ups

Last October, I gave some first impressions of my new Nashbar Premium Rain Jacket and Lightman Strobe.

And in December, I posted a Cyclist Christmas List with some suggestions, including rearview mirrors, gear bags, and a flashlight/headlight.

Here's an update on what I've really liked, and what I'm a little disappointed with.

Thumbs-UP to:

"Take a Look" helmet-mounted mirror. It is a REALLY nice little mirror. The construction quality is superb, and it is infinitely adjustable so you can dial it in just perfect. And - it holds the position! (Obviously if it gets bumped, you may need to readjust, but it doesn't vibrate out of adjustment.) Early on, I had some problems with it getting bumped loose off my helmet visor. But I drilled a tiny hole in the visor and attached it permanently with a tiny zip-tie. Since then it's been totally problem free... the best mirror I've ever had. (And once you use a mirror for a few days, riding in traffic, you'll NEVER want to ride without one!)

Planet Bike SuperFlash taillight. I'm still on my first set of batteries, using it in "blinky" mode. (Blinky uses up the batteries a lot slower than steady mode... and is much more visible, IMO.) It's small and light. It's sturdy. And it's incredibly bright.

Mixed Reviews to:

Nashbar Rain Jacket - in the first review, I said, "the zipper seems like the cheap/flimsy model." Yesterday the zipper broke. I'll send the jacket back for exchange, but I'm not expecting that the replacement zipper will be any better. Eventually I'll probably get a replacement jacket from J&G Cyclewear, out of Oregon. (Blog readers have recommended them. Their jackets are in "normal" bright yellow; I wish they made a hi-viz model, and I've emailed that request to them.)

Lightman Strobe - these are rather hard to find, but I s'pose I wouldn't bother, for use as a taillight. It's probably as bright as the "SuperFlash," but it's bigger and heavier, and it burns right through the batteries. (I'd guess my first set was used up after maybe 8 15-minute commute rides.)

Akoray Flashlight - this one is particularly disappointing, unfortunately. It's an amazingly-bright flashlight, and I'd recommend it wholeheartedly for regular flashlight-type use. But... the little clicky-switch, or something in the circuitry, is way too sensitive to being jostled. As I'm riding down the street, it will sometimes just go off if I go over a speed bump, or even a crack in the pavement. Or it will switch from one mode to another - strobe to bright, or bright to dim. Oddly, loosening the end cap by about 1 turn makes it behave a little better, but not reliably enough to count on it to keep you safe and alive. I bought two of those flashlights, and it's not just a problem with one of them - they both behave the same. (They make many models of flashlights, and it very well might be that this one is a little finicky. Clancy showed me his light from the same folks, a couple months back, and I think Stevie Wonder would be able to see Clancy comin' down the street!)


Clancy said...

Try wrapping the battery in some paper to shim it inside the tube. I have heard this may work.

I have ridden a full winter now in my J+G Cyclewear jacket. The waterproofing is good as well as the construction. On colder days, it can be a bit breezy and cold because of the ventilation design. The jacket had a zipper issue in the first week but they were very prompt in replacing the product(2 days).

bob t said...

I've had good luck with my flashlight, although it's not exactly the same model. It used to turn off by itself until I found out that it had a low voltage sensor which I could disable. After that I had no problems at all.

Maybe this troubleshooting guide will help.