Light & Motion Urban 500

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Confession: I’m a flashaholic. Yes, that’s right – I am really into high-performance portable lighting devices. That’s why I am really surprised at the technology gap between enthusiast models and what’s available to the mainstream consumer. The problem may be even more pronounced in bike lighting but the one company that has always impressed me is Light & Motion (known as LM here on out). LM is a small company located in Monterey, California that prides itself on excellent lighting solutions, particularly for the diving segment. They have won many awards for being a Green company, which I admire. I first heard about the Urban bike series around Summer 2011 and was excited because I felt a light like this was long overdue. I have experience with LM’s previous bike products, having tested the Seca 700 and Stella 300 but neither were designed for the commuter in mind. For example, the Seca 700 puts out a blinding amount of light which is great for 24 hour mountain bike races, but really overkill for a short ride to the office or the store.

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Nau + Snow Peak Motil Kit

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If you’re anything like me, you are bookmarking every holiday gift idea and guide that comes across your RSS reader. I was tipped off to this awesome collaboration between two of my favorite brands and I wanted to share it with you. Nau and Snow Peak have teamed up to create a package for the on-the-go traveler who also isn’t too keen on disposable cutlery and dinnerware. I think it’d be perfect for a student or professional that packs their own lunch.

The set contains  the Nau Motil Pedal bag, Nau branded Snow Peak sport, chopsticks and a large cup. It’s limited to just 50 sets and retails for $180, saving you $50 when you buy the kit. It’s available on the Nau site starting today, December 5th.

Icebreaker LS Commute Zip Thru

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Today, at a birthday party, a friend of mine joked that all the women were wearing boots because the temperature’s finally dropped below 65F degrees. I live in a pretty temperate climate, with 70F being the norm around here. However, we do get our cold spouts and around this time of year, I start turning to my favorite fabric to keep me warm. Icebreaker, the New Zealand company obsessed with wool, has not been in the cycling game long. At first, they limited themselves to the running and hiking crowds. I suppose I never wondered why they never made cycling apparel. After all, it’s all Lyrca these days and the only mention of wool is the nostalgic kind reminiscing of scratchy jersies long past. So, imagine everyone’s surprise when Icebreaker’s Circuit and Cadence series came out and they proved once again that wool does work on a bike.

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Nau x Klean Kanteen

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Over a year ago, I caught wind that Civia Cycles was coming out with a more affordable version of their Bryan belt-drive commuter bike. It was to be called the Kingfield and they removed some features like disc brakes and switched to a cheaper internal gear hub (IGH) to drop the price a few hundred dollars. I spoke to my local bike shop (LBS), Wheelhouse, and promised I’d have them build the bike as soon as it became available. Fast forward to a few months ago and I was able to piece together my dream bike. It has a sort of modern yet classy look and I was careful with each component and accessory, making sure they fit the theme. I often chose leather over nylon, brass over plastic.

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At first, I decided to keep a water cage and bottle off the bike altogether. I wasn’t planning on taking long trips with it anyway and I couldn’t imagine any sort of bottle & cage setup that would be aesthetically pleasing. After looking at some commuter builds online and perusing the Velo Orange website, I saw some nice looking steel wire cages. I picked one up and installed it right away. I still had the issue of the bottle, though. Luckily, around this same time, Nau collaborated with Klean Kanteen on a water bottle and I was asked if I’d like to take a look. I really thought it was just a regular Klean Kanteen bottle with some Nau branding. I was about to pass but at the last minute, I saw what looked like wood on the cap. I asked if it was actually bamboo and I was told it was.  I had to see for myself.

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The bottle is a beauty. It’s the same stainless steel bottle Klean bottle you are familiar with but some some fun refinements. Like I said, the screw lid utilizes sustainably harvested bamboo. Food-grade silicone lines the threads for a water-tight seal and in keeping with the no paint, no plastic, and no rubber mantra, the logo is laser-etched. I’ve been bringing the bottle to work on my commute and it holds enough water for multiple days (I have a very short ride). The one thing I didn’t like about the bottle is the strong smell from the factory when you first open it. It smells like a mix of plastic and metal. It’s not bad, per se, but I think like with any new bottle, it would benefit from a few thorough washes with warm and slightly soapy water.

The bottle holds 27 oz (that’s over 3 cups!) and fits in a standard bottle cage just fine. Luckily for me, I don’t have any of the rattling issues I’ve read so much about. As far as I am concerned, this bottle has a permanent place on my bike.

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