Hard to believe it's October already and things have been busy around here. We had our fourth annual kid's cooking class campout and organic pumpkin sale. We had some trees come down in the yard and were able to get some good fire wood for the campout from one of the dead trees. Puppy is now four years and is nice to have him behaving with the kids. Had a chance to work on the workshop and get it ready for some more bike repair and build projects and am excited at the possibilities with some of the old fixer uppers I've been able to find for converting to bikes for touring and commuting. Have a fund and safe Happy Halloween.
As mentioned in a previous post regarding the Top Four Bike Trailers here is the review of the Aosom Single Wheel Bike Trailer. First of all I want to say I like it and for the price of less than a hundred bucks including shipping it's excellent. Secondly it's the perfect trailer for anyone who has some aptitude for working on their own bike maintenance and repairs and this review explains why that is.
The trailer shipped incredibly fast and arrived within a couple days of having ordered it which barely gave me enough time to complete my top four bike trailer review. I worked late amidst a bit of a mess in my workshop to assemble and assess the overall quality of the packaging and contents. Every part was nicely wrapped securely with tape and bubble wrap but the dropouts were protruding out the end of the box, in photo above they are sticking through the cardboard on the right side. No big deal everything looked to be in order for a quick assembly of the product. Despite the sloppy english translation of the included instruction manual the photos are descriptively accurate.
In summary I would recommend this trailer for anyone who is either an avid DIY person or take the trailer to your local bike shop for assembly including upgrading rim tape, tire and coating axle with grease. Any other repair needs that might occur during shipping can easily be repaired at a local bike shop. For less than a hundred bucks this trailer is a winner. We have had fun test riding this little trailer with our own dry bag and cargo net that I used with my nashbar trailer. The Aosom Bike Trailer's rather basic suspension has proven to work good enough in absorbing small bumps through pot holes and handled very well at the local bike and skate park where we took it for a good test ride.
Links related to this article:
Top Four Bike Trailers for Touring and Commuting
Nashbar Cargo Trailer Review
Panniers VS Trailer for Bike Touring
Aosom Single Wheel Bike trailer, One Year Update
Photo at left shows the Aosom Bike Trailer being used for food deliveries on a fairly bumpy gravel road. Average weight of twenty five to thirty five pounds and the trailer has performed solidly including the jicky looking suspension.
After using this trailer for several deliveries over the past year over varying terrain I have no complaints as the trailer has more than paid for itself and continues to earn a few bucks as a reliable means when using a bike to deliver food for our organic country store.
When loaded to twenty pounds the trailer's suspension works just fine, much more than than begins to flatten the suspension out. Even with fifty pounds or more the trailer has proven to be very capable.
Selle Anatomica, New Designs and Options for Touring and Commuting
Selle Anatomica could be producing the best saddle for a touring bike. Since 2007 when the Selle Anatomica introduced their Titanico saddles with patented slot design there has been praise for the absolute comfort and quality of craftsmanship in a simple effective design which appeared to be made to last. If you're one of the many bike touring folks who has been following the company's products including production and design changes you probably understand why.
Fortunately for me I have not experienced any of the common complaints regarding the original Selle Anatomica Titanico which consisted mostly of premature stretching resulting in a "hammock" like shape after the tensioning bolt had been used to stretch the leather for tautness until there were simply no more threads remaining to adjust the slack out of the saddle. A second criticism has been the saddle rails being a bit weak or flimsy with customers complaining how their saddle rails bent or broke. And the third criticism has been that the saddle is squeaky, creaky and noisy while riding.
This photo is of my original 2007 Selle Anatomica Titanico Watershed shows the current condition of my saddle after seven years of ownership and I have no complaints about it whatsoever. Part of my success with owning this saddle has been that first of all I only used it for intended use which is on a road touring bike where I ride with drop bars and do not place all or the majority of my body weight directly over the saddle. Secondly, I have weighed less than 160 lbs. during the time I have owned this saddle and I have plenty of miles on this saddle most all of which have been road riding. Reviewers of this saddle who put it on a mountain bike or went off to do some heavy duty rough riding of any sort would surely find themselves disappointed as this particular saddle wasn't designed for that type of riding. Which probably explains why Selle Anatomica developed the NSX Series for both mountain biking and heavier riders as it does not have the patented slot design (NS means "no slot"). Though the slotted design undoubtedly contributes to the saddle's reputation for comfort it has most definitely contributed to the "hammock effect" of being mashed out over time.
The good news is that Selle Anatomica will replace the leather on the saddle for approximately a hundred bucks last I checked. And they will replace it with the newer Titanico X Series which as I understand is of a thicker leather and laminate technology. Photo of my current touring bike saddle is the Mahogany color with copper rivets which are showing some nice aging which is natural after seven years of being exposed to normal all season riding conditions. Photo at left shows the few threads remaining for adjusting my saddle. Over the past seven years most if not all customer complaints regarding the original saddle designs have been resolved. There were a lot of new changes for 2014 including introduction of the T series for riders who weigh less than 160 pounds. Information for Selle Anatomica's three series of saddles which consist of the T Series, X Series and NSX Series are shared below. All saddles have the following new improvements for 2014:
New Hex Key Tension System
For folks interested in purchasing a new Selle Anatomica Saddle it can be a bit confusing and hope this information helps to inform and inspire confidence in considering a new saddle purchase.
Links related to this article:
Selle Anatomica Titanico NSX Mountain Bike Saddle Review
Selle Anatomica X Series Saddle Review
Selle Anatomica Classic Leather Comfort
Brooks B17 S Women's Saddle Review
Some bike accessories are so simple they seem boring and thereby potentially taken for granted. Such is the case with my pair of Delta Compact Panniers. I own other higher quality more expensive panniers with locking attachment mechanisms that are excellent for the rigors of bike touring. However when I want to conveniently toss on a pair of bike bags for some commuting errands on short notice I don't want to mess around by having to fiddle with some gadget mechanism no matter how wonderful the products' claims. I also appreciate the fact that these bags are not too big nor too small for items I like to have stored in my commuting panniers while at the same time having extra space to pick up some miscellaneous items such as (but not limited to) groceries, small hardware store items and such.
These bags are not waterproof as I haven't felt the necessity of a waterproof pannier due to the convenient use of adding dry bags of various sizes. Roll top dry bags are nice to have for backpacking as well and not only help to protect items from getting wet in water resistant panniers it also helps to organize stuff
Versatile Single Wheel Bike Trailers Reviewed
Of all the various bicycle cargo trailers including those offering two wheel designs for bike commuting and touring we prefer a single wheel bike trailer for its' versatile maneuverability. Riding narrow bike lanes, multi use pathways and casual trail riding a quality steel frame trailer is both fun and practical for carrying gear or groceries with a single wheel design. Another advantage to the two wheel design is the tire is less likely to get a flat.
One and only complaint I have ever heard from fellow bike folks is "it's a pain to load the trailer and connect it to the bike" due to the single wheel design where a two wheel trailer doesn't flop around. An easy fix is to install an Pletscher Kickstand which provides sturdy balance for the bike while connecting the trailer and loading it with gear. Photos above and left show the now discontinued Nashbar Trailer connected to my Touring Bike with the Pletscher Kickstand. Despite the mixed reviews of that old trailer I never had any problems with it other than it was a bit limiting as the attachment system made it difficult to switch the trailer between different bikes.
When Nashbar decided to discontinue their uniquely simple but at the same time kinda funky attachment system I started looking for a replacement. I have always appreciated the Bob Trailer knowing of their proven quality and reputation for having set the standard of single wheel bike trailer design. Consequently a lot of bike folks refer to all other single wheel bike trailers as "knock offs" of the original Bob Yak Trailer.
Photos above display some very nice bike trailers all of which are of good quality and thoughtful designs for both bike commuters and touring bikes. First photo of the Maya Bicycle Cargo Trailer features an integrated kickstand design at the front of the trailer which consists of two legs which fold down designed to help the cyclist attach their bike with less hassle. There is also a fold out set of handles above that which enables the bike trailer to be used in a wheel barrow like fashion and has a cargo weight capacity rating of sixty six pounds, pretty cool. Next is the Bob Ibex Suspension Trailer which is essentially the original Bob Trailer with three inch adjustable suspension added at the rear of the trailer to eliminate road shock and is very thoughtful for use with a mountain bike on trails and a suggested max cargo weight of seventy pounds. Then Topeak entered the bike trailer niche market with the Topek Journey Trailer which is designed to be lighter weight than its' competitors with an aluminum frame, improved attachment system and keeping up with cargo capacity rating of seventy pounds. Prices for the trailers listed above start at approximately $225 for the Maya Cycles Trailer and up to $500 bucks for the Topeak Journey Trailer. All of these bike trailers have their place in offering different features within the same basic design of a single wheel bike trailer.
The fourth bike trailer reviewed here is based on finding a replacement for the budget friendly nashbar cargo bike trailer. At one time nashbar was selling their trailer for less than one hundred dollars and I wasn't so sure we would be able to find a suitable replacement until I came upon the Aosom Solo Single Wheel Bicycle Cargo Trailer also referred to as the Frugah Bike Trailer. As I have noticed this bike trailer sells online for less than one hundred dollars and some times approximately seventy bucks I have decided to order one despite the mixed reviews at amazon. Due to the fact that the attachment system seems to be very simple with included quick release skewer option this could allow me to use the trailer with my different bikes. I have been looking for a trailer like this where I can easily swap out the attachment for use on my commuter bike or touring bike as needed. As an avid bike mechanic I feel confident that because the trailer is made of steel I can easily resolve any of the issues discussed in the reviews including replacing bolts or hardware as necessary. One reviewer claims to have used this trailer for bike touring and has completed a 500 mile tour without issue other than one flat tire. He used this trailer with the original wheel and tire and is very satisfied with the trailer's performance hauling weight of fifty pounds easily. Manufacturer suggested maximum cargo weight is eighty eight pounds when compared to my old nashbar trailer that's more than twice the cargo weight capacity. I am also very interested in determining if the suspension system located on the stays of the trailer's wheel is of any benefit. I have ordered the Aosom Bike Trailer and paid a bit more than $70 which included the dry bag shown in photo and standard shipping. I'm excited to see overall quality of this bike trailer and will add a link here to my review of the trailer once I have had an opportunity to check it out. Ok, after a year of using this trailer I have included the link below for more information regarding the Aosom Bike Trailer.
Links Related to this Topic:
Affordable Quality Bike Trailer
One of the joys of owning a bike is personalizing it with practical accessories and since most all accessories for bike commuting are designed with some form of practical advantage it's easy to do. With new technological advancements and efforts to make folks app happy there are still some things that an app would have a very difficult time replacing for example a bike bell.
Accessories and gear for bikes often seem to be excessive and expensive. Here is one item that can be purchased very inexpensively of good quality and is both fun and practical. Ever heard of a bike bell? Sure, most have and might think of them as silly, kinda like putting streamers on the handlebars. However, bike bells are a very practical accessory especially for bicycle commuting on shared use paths and to alert fellow bike travelers of your presence.
Bike bells are fun, they come in a variety of shapes and sizes with different simple mechanical methods of creating the renowned sound which everyone recognizes as the presence of a bike. It's a friendly sound, not at all like a car horn, though air horns are available but are prone to wearing out and are not as dependable as the simplicity of a bike bell. Of the top five bike commuting bells there are three designs consisting of lever strike bell, ratcheting type bell and spring arm action
Here's some information on the Symbolism of bells: "Bells are also ancient symbols of protection and ringing them have long been considered a way to ward off negativity". And that is precisely the intention of using a bell on one's bike.
Some of today's bike bells are a bit more sophisticated with "ratcheting" type of action used by pulling the tab or lever with index finger. Bells pictured at right though they use this same type of mechanism sound very different with some being louder than others due to the shape and size of the bell and the washers which roll around inside the metal casing and strike upon a small ridge in the bell housing's casing. There are also methods for making these types of bells louder if necessary. I won't get into all that, our friend has already looked into that at Majster Kowo site.
Here's a quote from "how to make a bike bell louder" article.
"I can’t imagine getting around the city on a bike without a bell.
I tried using a rather loud bike horn for almost a year, but it didn’t quite work out, unfortunately. Yes, it was much louder than any bell, but pedestrians wouldn’t move away upon hearing it, instead choosing to stop and look back to check what all the noise was about. ;) The bell sound is indeed rooted deeply in peoples’ minds, and there doesn’t seem to be a better warning signal around for a cyclist to use. Moreover, the bell sound is relatively high-pitched, so it’s much better heard amidst the city buzz than the horn, the sound of which gets lost within the noise of passing cars".
Click on any of the following photos for information or purchase of any of these quality bike bells for commuting.
Bike Tourings' Blog
Product Review Blog for Bike Touring and Commuting Accessories, Components, Equipment and Gear. With many how to and repair tips. Go to my Photography Blog. Or use the search box provided below to search this blog.