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Help the Noob Vol II: Accesorizing

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Help the Noob Vol II: Accesorizing

Old 10-20-12, 12:21 PM
  #1  
jshorr
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Help the Noob Vol II: Accesorizing

This group, my new favorite message board, already helped me with a cargo rack. Now, between my Birthday and the holidays coming up and a little bit of spare cash to work with, I'm looking for some advice on other accessories.

I already purchased:
  • Cargo rack
  • Bag for the rack
  • Topeak Alien II bicycle tool to carry with me
  • A U lock (the Kryptonite New York)

Some other items I'm considering and would love some opinions/suggestions/advice on:
  • Floor pump (leaning towards the Lezyne Allow Floor-Drive Pump)
  • A cable lock to use in conjunction with the U lock
  • A very comfortable seat (Considering the Brooks B17 Saddle)


Less critical than the above, but considering:
  • Upgrading the grips on the handlebars eventually
  • An iPhone cradle
  • A "Dynamo" iPhone charger

I'd appreciate any input on the above as well as any recommendations for things that I'm forgetting. I'm going for comfort. I wouldn't say that price isn't an issue, but I can make these upgrades slowly and I'd rather pay a few extra bucks for something that will last than get something chincy. For reference, this is for a 2013 Giant Escape 0

Thank you!

J
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Old 10-20-12, 12:36 PM
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Originally Posted by jshorr View Post
Less critical than the above, but considering:
  • Upgrading the grips on the handlebars eventually
  • An iPhone cradle
  • A "Dynamo" iPhone charger

You may want you budget a new front wheel with a dynamo hub if you intend to use a dynamo charger, as they don't work with out one.

Not sure why you would need a charger, these are only really useful if you are doing long distance cycling / touring when you will be away from a charging point longer than the device will hold charge when in use, otherwise they are a lot of expense for something which will have very limited use. A portable battery pack / solar panel charger may make more sense if you are not travelling far, if it is even needed at all.

For the other things on your list, the saddle sticks out; saddles are an item which is not a one size fits all, don't assume that the Brooks B17 will be more comfortable that the stock saddle, you may need to try several different designs / brands before you find what works for you. The same goes for grips, for some people, the stock grips will be fine, others will want ergo types, like Ergon/Specialized/Bontrager and others make.
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Old 10-20-12, 12:47 PM
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Get the floor pump as soon as you can. You'll thank yourself.

Do you have a set of lights? A bell? A pump for fixing a flat on the road? You should have all of those before any other purchases.
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Old 10-20-12, 12:49 PM
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Jim: That all makes sense, thank you. I was considering that I would need a whole new front wheel (and thats why it is on the "maybe" list). The reason is simply that I've found that my iPhone 5, with GPS and music running, runs out very very quickly. There may be a better option, though, like a case with a built-in extra battery (as you suggested).

That definitely makes sense re: seats and and handlebar grips. The problem is finding different seats to ride on without buying them first!

Noglider: Pump is a definite, I just don't know what pump to get. So many choices! I do have a basic stock bell. No lights yet: Any recommendations on those or on a portable pump?
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Old 10-20-12, 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Get the floor pump as soon as you can. You'll thank yourself.

Do you have a set of lights? A bell? A pump for fixing a flat on the road? You should have all of those before any other purchases.
Good point with the pump for on the road, you may want to add some spare inner tubes / puncture repair kit as well to that.
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Old 10-20-12, 12:59 PM
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It sounds like you have a good start. Is your primary purpose bicycle commuting? Will you be riding in traffic or all on separated bike paths?

For me, acquiring accessories has been fun, but has been a continual effort to address needs, with reliability of equipment and safety as top priorities, since I ride 6 miles each way in light city street traffic.

You might consider hi-viz clothing and bike lights if you ride in traffic. Those two items are probably the majority of my accessory adds. Battery operated front and rear lights, padded bike shorts, and high-vis shirts and windbreaker, rain jacket, etc.

Of the list you provided, the floor pump (with attached pressure guage) is the one I would recommend first. You need to watch your tire pressure and know what you are rolling on. I check mine at minimum every other day. I don't have experience with the pump you listed, but I know there are a bunch of acceptable/good alternatives out there. I have two of these (I keep one at home and one at work, which is overkill for most people, but sometimes I bike in on a Monday morning, do a business trip, and don't ride back home until Thu or Fri evening, so it is nice to have one at the office to check/fill):
https://www.serfas.com/products/view/44/refererroducts%7Cindex%7Cpumps%7Cfloor-pumps

I have a portable air pump that I keep on my bike frame too, but I hate it - the one time I used it, I ripped the skin on my palm. It got the job done and is an emergency accessory, but that is reason #2 that I keep a nice floor pump at work too.

Good luck! You will get lots of great advice here....
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Old 10-20-12, 01:22 PM
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Bar ends can be a great inexpensive addition to a flat bar bike. They let you stretch out and get lower which helps going into the wind or up hills. I find they are also much easier on the wrists for longer rides. I think I paid about $12 for cheap aluminum ones at my LBS.

Some people love them, others hate them. If you find you love them, then you might consider getting a drop bar bike at some point.
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Old 10-20-12, 01:47 PM
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Any floor pump at a bike shop is of sufficient quality. The pumps at department stores are not. Get a pump with a gauge. The Topeak and Blackburn pumps are excellent, as are some others.

Lights are a confusing and bewildering issue. There's a good thread about them here in the commuting section now. You may want to read my article on how I put dynamo lights on my bike. Dynamo lights have some big advantages, reliability and low maintenance being chief among them. There's an entire electronics and lighting section on bikeforums, too.
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Old 10-20-12, 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Lights are a confusing and bewildering issue.
Having now read the thread, that is the understatement of the century!

i would love any input on a good tail light (under 100$, ideally under $50) that will mount (out of the box) on the Topeka super tourist dx. Similarly, I would love a rec on a headlight (ideally self contained and, again, under $100, ideally under $50).

The bulk of my riding will be around town and light commuting, rarely at night.
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Old 10-20-12, 10:50 PM
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A lot depends on how and where you are riding.

As others have said, I'm not sure the need for a dynamo charger. If you are planning on using your iphone with a bike computer app, then you can skip a bike computer. I'd second the idea of getting a floor pump, then lights. But with lights, you run into the same questions - how and when are you riding? A flashing strobe rear light is never a bad idea and relatively inexpensive. But what about the front? Is it to be seen? or to light your way? There are vast differences between the two. Or you could build one yourself rather inexpensively.

Someone mentioned a frame pump, but another alternative would be a CO2 inflater as well.
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Old 10-20-12, 11:27 PM
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If there was one light I would recommend for the back of your rack, I would go with a PDW Radbot 1000. I have a cheap rack, and it went on there great. It has screw holes for two screws horizontally or two vertically on the mount. Looking at the Topeak rack you have on the Internet, it looks like it should fit. If you can find one at an LBS, that would be even better, then you could put the mounting hardware that comes with the light up to the rack and know immediately whether it will fit well.

I like the Radbot 1000 for a few reasons:
- it is bright (1 watt LED)
- it has a steady mode and two flash patterns, and I really like the zZzPop flash pattern
- it has a square reflector on it as well, so even if your batteries die, you still have a reflector on the back of your rack
- opening the case is easy with a philips head screwdriver

The Radbot 1000 takes AAA batteries. I use rechargeables and rotate a couple sets of Eneloop batteries every couple of days so they never go dead on me.

I also have a PDW Danger Zone light that I use on my seatpost. I don't like it as much as the Radbot because it doesn't have the square reflector, and changing the batteries is more of a pain due to the snap case.

There are other good lights out there, too. Shop around, but definitely get one for the back of that rack and run it on some kinda flash pattern. It will make you so much more visible.
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Old 10-21-12, 04:07 AM
  #12  
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you should go for preventive measure rather than corrective measure.
It's better to avoid getting flat rather than repairing 10 flat

Mr tuffy liner inner and outer + puncture proof tires
rather than
pump + puncture repair kit + spare tires + etc..

For commuting i don't bring anything anymore as i don't have flat anymore.
So much more peace of mind

I have ergon grips. It works but doesn't do miracles

The locks:
kriptonite ulock + cable is a good solution
Don't forget to lock the saddle as well with a cable lock or a used chain in an old tire

There are clip pedals as well but it's not so fun if you have to stop every second

I would add reflective tape everywhere on the bike
this one is pretty efficient
http://www.amazon.com/3M-Scotchlite-...eflective+tape

Regarding the saddle as you're looking for comfort, if you don't mind taking your time (cruise style: vertical or nearly vertical position), you should try the pro hub x2 saddle.

There is a nob which allow you to set the saddle according to the size of your seatbones. So it adapts to your butt up to 250lb and it is a noseless medical saddle with a 100% perinea relieve.
All the infos about the science behind are available here and there
http://www.sq-lab.com/sqlabor/ergono...radsattel.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/28/sc...ewanted=1&_r=0


I'm currently on a more speedy saddle the charge spoon saddle supposed to be one of the most comfortable saddle in its category according some reviews (with brooks, selle anatomica). It's ok but not amazing.
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/catego...n-cro-mo-21369

The reason why i didn't go for brooks or selle anatomica it's because these are not designed for road bike riding position even tho some pretend it is and because of the price gap. The charge spoon is probably the cheapest noticeable road bike saddle on the market today. But as I said before I find it ok not amazing.

Anyway to find the ride saddle I would proceed this way.

-determine your needs (comfort, speed or touring, weight, price, leather or synthetics or whatever, medical level, padding thickness, chromoly or titanium or whatever, waterproof or not, care, offset, seatpost fixation, design, esthetics)
-determine your riding position (0-30°, 31-45°, 46-60°, 61-75°, 76-90°)
-determine your sitbones gap
-find the right saddles
-find the shop allowing you to test it
-compare then decide then buy

Last edited by erig007; 10-23-12 at 07:54 PM.
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Old 10-21-12, 05:05 AM
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im running serfas lights front and back plenty bright and didnt cost arm and a leg. for a seat i have a serfas e-gel which i love. i think everyone has their own favorite seat....its not a one size fits all thing.for a pump on board i carry a topeak mountain morph pump it is the best i have seen or used. for the whole phone music thing i scored a killer handlebar speaker bag on amazon for like 30 bucks.speakers run on 2 AA batteries and it is pretty loud and clear plus big enough to hold phone,ipod and keys.
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Old 10-21-12, 11:20 AM
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You got a secure lockup, indoors? I'd drop the Brooks, for something comfortable
but not, itself a theft magnet, that Brooks saddles have become.
+ they get damaged if ridden on, wet.
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Old 10-21-12, 11:27 AM
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I've been quite happy with my Planet Bike SuperFlash taillights. I can attach them to my seat bag or the frame or my body. But how do I really know how good it is? I can only guess. But I have seen one from a quarter mile away in the daylight, so that's pretty good. It's visible from the sides, too, which is important.

I've heard that the Cygolight taillight beats the pants off the SuperFlash, so if I were buying a taillight, that's what I'd buy. It's not even that much more.

Don't think that a taillight is more important than a headlight. It's not. A headlight prevents collisions more. The "left hook" is a maneuver that is one of the biggest of car/bike collisions of the type where the car driver is at fault. The driver is oncoming and then turns left in front of the cyclist. The headlight can mitigate this risk. Rear end collisions are actually pretty rare.

Even though you don't plan to ride at night, you should still think hard about whether you want good lights. But of course, you don't have to decide this right away.
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Old 10-21-12, 01:04 PM
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+1 on the Planet Bike SuperFlash units...had nothing but compliments from drivers on strobe brightness and keeping their awareness factor up...good quality products...have heard good things about the RadBots,too
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Old 10-21-12, 04:14 PM
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So a few responses/questions to/from the above:

*Yes, the bike will be indoors at night, rarely locked outdoors during the day, and never locked outside for extended periods of time. My place of business even has a secure, indoor area for storing bikes during the work day. Theft of the seat isn't my concern - just comfort and durability.

Thank you for all of the suggestions on tail lights. You've given me three or so highly-rated (on amazon) models for me to run by the folks at my LBS, which I truly appreciate.

Two new questions:
--Rechargeable seems to be the "in" thing, but I'm wondering if it isn't better to get one that takes standard batteries so that more could be bought on the road if necessary (if, for example, I forget to charge!) Any thoughts?

--I would love some recommendations for headlights as well, if anyone has any strong opinions.

Thank you all again!
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Old 10-21-12, 04:59 PM
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--I would love some recommendations for headlights as well, if anyone has any strong opinions.
I'd suggest the Hub dynamo , Wired head and tail light combination,
for the get on and ride lights
without regard for state of some battery charge amount,
even if you just bring the USB charge cable
to keep your Phone powered, plugging it in on the job .

My bikes have the German Schmidt hub, but shimano
has some lower cost hubs puts out the same 6v3w.

Last edited by fietsbob; 10-21-12 at 05:02 PM.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:12 PM
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Floor pump for sure.

On-One has a good deal on LX dynohubs right now. I ordered two for my wife and I but haven't built them up yet. They're centerlock disc rotor compatible if you ever want to do the disc brake thing later and significantly lighter than Shimano's Alfine dynohub.

For my own commuting situation an iPhone charger would be fairly useless and at best a distraction, but a light that never needs charging I can get behind.

My sole lighting is front and rear lights on a helmet right now, but that is not going to cut it for much longer.
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Old 10-23-12, 05:38 PM
  #20  
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+1 on pump as item #1
A multi tool is also an essential. If you don't already have one get one. (Unless you want to carry separate tools) A seat bag or some other form of holding device would be very high. (You need somewhere to store the extra tube(s) and/or patches as well)

For the tail light I just got the Radbot 1000 and it is awesome. I WILL BE NOTICED!!!
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Old 10-23-12, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by jshorr View Post
So a few responses/questions to/from the above:

*Yes, the bike will be indoors at night, rarely locked outdoors during the day, and never locked outside for extended periods of time. My place of business even has a secure, indoor area for storing bikes during the work day. Theft of the seat isn't my concern - just comfort and durability.

Thank you for all of the suggestions on tail lights. You've given me three or so highly-rated (on amazon) models for me to run by the folks at my LBS, which I truly appreciate.

Two new questions:
--Rechargeable seems to be the "in" thing, but I'm wondering if it isn't better to get one that takes standard batteries so that more could be bought on the road if necessary (if, for example, I forget to charge!) Any thoughts?

--I would love some recommendations for headlights as well, if anyone has any strong opinions.

Thank you all again!

There are a couple of kinds of rechargeable:
- some lights come with USB-compatible setups that you can charge via a computer
- others use AA or AAA batteries and can use either new batteries or rechargeable AA's and AAA's

I use lights that take AA and AAA batteries and choose to use rechargeable AA's and AAA's to save money and keep stuff out of landfills.

Good luck light shopping!
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Old 10-23-12, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by jshorr View Post
So a few responses/questions to/from the above:


Two new questions:
--Rechargeable seems to be the "in" thing, but I'm wondering if it isn't better to get one that takes standard batteries so that more could be bought on the road if necessary (if, for example, I forget to charge!) Any thoughts?

--I would love some recommendations for headlights as well, if anyone has any strong opinions.
I've posted this before, but I love my Cygolite 2W Hotshot taillight (I use two. One on my Topeak rack and the other on my helmet) and the Cygolight Expilion headlight. Both recharge via the included USB to a laptop or a wall outlet. I've had comments on how well I am seen. I ride in the dark a lot, so I keep them charged. No big deal.
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Old 10-23-12, 09:13 PM
  #23  
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A few other thoughts:

Carry whatever you need to change a tube. I have the Topeak Pocket Rocket (240 reviews on Amazon), a couple of Park tire levers and a tube. I recently had to change a tube in a dark parking lot early in the morning. I'm glad I had practiced doing this at home.

Since you are commuting with a bag, make a little room for basic first aid. Band-aids, hand sanitizer, etc.

Get some fenders. All cool bikes have them.
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Old 10-24-12, 08:53 AM
  #24  
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Here's my list:

PB Superflash rear light.
PB Big Buddy saddle bag with tire levers (integral patch kit in the levers).
Extra inner tube.
REI Novara Traditional Patch Kit (with tube of glue). I keep $5 and some change in the same little kit box (nice to have it it as a boot or in case you just really need to buy some snack or drink).
Multi-tool (Topeak Hexus II).
Pair of vinyl disposable gloves (wonderful to have if you have to repair a flat on the rear tire).
Topeak Road Morph G pump attached the the optional bottle cage side-mount.
PB Blaze 2 watt headlight (I don't ride after dark, so this is bright enough for me and the flash feature keeps me visible when in traffic).
RackTime Rear Rack with spring-loaded clamp. I often have a bungee cord wrapped around the frame of the rack just in case.
I have a trunk bag from REI that I got on sale for under $20 that attaches with velcro (it's on the bike only when I think I'll need it).
I have an Axiom Power Bag 2 to hold snacks and phone, but it's on the bike only when I need it.
Oh, and a set of SKS P45 fenders, since I don't mind riding when roads are wet.

I'm a bit "fredly" riding around, but it works for me.
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Old 10-24-12, 09:16 AM
  #25  
noglider 
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In response to erig007, I would suggest not taking any big steps to prevent flats until you start having frequent problems. Your terrain and riding style and circumstances will dictate how vulnerable you are to flats. Also, if you're facile at fixing them, you won't mind getting them occasionally.
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