With this weekend's time change on the horizon, it's time for many of us to acknowledge that we'll be doing more riding in the dark.
Training in the dark is a ritual for many cyclocrossers. The key is being able to do it safely. Today we're kicking off a small series of pieces that will help you ride safely and comfortably at night, and we're starting off with some new items that caught our attention even if not specifically related to cyclocross. These lights, reflective products, outer layers and other products will help make your night time training (and commuting) easier, safer, with maybe even with less flats.
Serfas E-Lume 1500
Serfas is a small family owned company in Arizona, whose name admittedly was intended to mean nothing to anyone, now has a presence in the industry twenty four years after offering a single product. Its product offerings currently include saddles, tires and tire products, lights, saddle bags, and clothing accessories.
This year, Serfas offers the E-Lume headlight series to bring "more lumens for less money" with 5 lights from 200 to 1500 lumens. What night rider wouldn’t like that? The E-Lume 1500 sits as the flagship of that line with a 1500 lumen dual beam maximum output for up to 1.5 hours. There is a power indicator and side lighting in the self-contained unit for $140 USD. The dual beam E-Lume 1100 is $30 less and like all the E-Lume series, holds an IPX6 water resistance rating. The next in line is E-Lume 850 single beam for $85, which in our experience is more than adequate for a lot of open course night cyclocross training, and for less than a bill is an excellent value. We have an E-Lume sample coming and will report on its performance.
If you light the front, you’ll need to light the back, so using the success and micro-LED technology of the Serfas Thunderbolt lights, there is the Thunderbolt 2.0 with a new casing and mounting bracket. To top that, the micro-LED technology is applied to the Scorpius 100 taillight, part of their feature rich True series of lights. The Scorpius 100 pumps out up to 50 lumens in various steady and flashing modes, has a safe mode that gives an extra 45 minutes to get you home if the battery is out and even has an auto-on feature. It is remote switch compatible and has a clamp that is adaptable to seatstays and aero seatposts amongst the usual configurations. We thought this easily bright enough for daytime safety use as well.
More info: Serfas.com
Albedo 100 is a company you might not have heard of, but produced the much hyped reflective spray for the automaker Volvo in 2015. At Interbike 2016, Albedo 100 presented its washable and permanent reflective spray products available in 4.6 ounce spray cans. The product has particles that are designed to reflect light back towards the source like a reflector and is quite demonstrably effective. The washable product is said to be somewhat waterproof as long as it's sprayed on a dry surface and allowed to dry, as it takes detergent to wash the product out.
The permanent product is a spray paint with reflective particles in it and leaves a matte silver/grey finish to whatever it is applied. The finish has a bit of hardness to it just as spray paint does. The washable product does not impart any color to the fabric it is sprayed on and it leaves the fabric relatively unchanged. Though no color is added to the surface, there is a bit of sheen, like a dusting of powder depending on how heavily the product is applied. With a light application the reflective appearance is almost sparkly; with a heavier application it gives the appearance of the reflective fabric illumiNITE. We see this as a great product for your safety, but also if you get your photo captured in the night races.
More info: Albedo100us.com
When you ride, there are times you want to stop, get food, coffee or a beer, or even use the toilet. You cannot always bring your bike in with you. Most bikes are stolen because they are not locked at all. In situations like this, you want a lock that is light and easy to carry, yet durable and somewhat secure. Current cable type locks that fit this criteria can easily be cut with simple wire cutters. A U-lock is too large and heavy, as is a chain lock.
Enter the Ottolock from Otto Design Works, a 'cinch lock' originally a Kickstarter project that surpassed its funding goal. At 115 grams for the 18" pro model, it is less than half the weight of a thin cable but provides significantly more security with its zip tie style design. The Ottolock can cinch tightly, and its multi-layer steel and kevlar band is difficult to cut with bolt or wire cutters, and leverage tools are ineffective with its flexible design. At their booth, there was a section of the Ottolock and various cutters to try. Indeed we were not able to make much more than a dent in the outer layer. The 18" Ottolock coils to 3", so it easily fits in your jersey pocket or in your seat bag. The 18" Pro version comes with a rubber strap to secure it to you bike if you choose. It is also available in 30" and 60" versions.
The Kickstarter funding is over and Otto Design Works is working on fulfillment to its backers by early 2017. The company is now taking pre-orders online. For $55 USD, it may be worth much more if it saves your steed from a rustler.
More info: ottodesignworks.com
Though not new, the Timber Mountain Bike Bell caught our attention in the 'Made in America' section of Interbike 2016. We all ride the trails on and off season, and mostly we share those trails with other users. In an effort to foster better relations with equestrians and hikers, many bike trail advocacy groups have encouraged the use of a small cowbell to alert other users of your presence on a bike, leading to more friendly encounters rather than more aggressive seeming ones that a shout or clapper style bell might implicate, as gentle as the intentions might be. We have tried it and it works. Non-cycling trail users appreciate knowing our proximity and seem to (mostly) happily yield if they are forewarned of our presence.
The problem with a cowbell on less crowded trails, the constant ringing may be unnecessary or just plain annoying. Liz and Chris Lacy from Encinitas, California created the patented Timber Mountain Bike Bell with a lever to control the internal clapper of the brass bell. The lever is detented so that you can choose how active the bell is, from completely inactive to constant gentle ringing. The Timber bell is small and has a quick-release mount that fits handlebars from 22mm diameter to 35mm. New for 2016 is a bolt-on mounted version. For $20 this is about advocacy, community, stewardship and preserving trail access. Available now at your LBS or direct from Timber.
More info: mtbbell.com
See our still-growing collection of new product news from Interbike 2016 here.