Gear Guide: Spring 2011 Commuter Gear

Navigator Bike

Commuting is a great way to help save money, gas and the environment. It can also be a great way to add a workout to your daily grind. In this gear guide we are going to be covering products that will make commuting a little more enjoyable and a lot more functional. Now that the weather is getting a little warmer, we challenge you to get out a little more and try to ride to work once or twice.

folding bike1. The Bike: The bike is an essential part of commuting to work and can make it easier or a lot harder. We have chosen the Navigator from Montague as a great option. This is a 27-speed folding bike that is built for the daily commute.  It is a full size bike with 700c tires. It has the Octagon height-adjustable stem that makes adjusting the handlebar height a breeze. This unique design allows for handlebar height to be changed while preserving the way the folding bike handles and rides. Also, with the octagonal shape of the post, steering remains engaged while raising or lowering the stem. This bike comes standard with fenders and a rear rack, prepared for the commute to work in rain or shine.  It folds in under 20 seconds without the use of tools, offering flexibility in today’s multi-tasking world.

“In practice, the Montague Navigator addresses many of the major hassles of commuting to work” explains David Montague. “Many people’s commute to work is farther than they feel comfortable riding a bike. In this case, you simply put a Navigator in the trunk of your car, drive part way to work, park, and pull out your Navigator for the rest of the ride. And if the day is not nice, or you don’t have the energy, simply leave the bike safe and dry in the trunk until another day. We call it Drive and Cycle commuting. It’s easy, it’s good for you, and it’s a manageable step for most people.”

The Essentials:

  • Speeds: 27
  • Wheel Size: 700c
  • Folding Time: 20 sec.
  • Folded Size: 36"x28"x12"
  • Weight: 27.5lbs
  • Bike Sizing: 19in Frame: 5'3" - 5'10" Standover height 28" -- 21in Frame: 5'11" - 6'4" Standover height 29"
  • M.S.R.P: $989.00


2. The Shoe: We picked a shoe that is designed for biking, but one could wear it at the office as well. The Men's Earthkeepers City Biking Leather Oxfords from Timberland are specifically for eco-conscious people who spend a lot of time riding their bike instead of driving and don't want to bother changing shoes once they've arrived at their destination. The shoe has what Timberland calls bike plate technology which includes a pedal flex plate that allows your foot to flex normally while walking but keeps stiff during pedaling for stability while you're on your bike.

The Essentials:

  • Premium full-grain leather upper for rugged durability
  • Timberland's ground-breaking trouser strap keeps pants safely out of bike chains
  • Reflective detail for enhanced safety
  • Leather-covered footbed for superior comfort
  • Timberland's uniflex bike plate promotes efficient energy transfer to bike pedals, but remains flexible for comfortable walking
  • Exclusive anti-fatigue comfort architecture provides all-day comfort and support
  • Timberland's exclusive Gripstick rubber compound gives you the confidence to travel anywhere, anytime.
  • MSRP $100 USD

pants3. The Pants: With comfort stretch construction and reflective details to keep you safe, the Commuter Pants from Columbia makes a great option for your commuting collection. This lightweight pant features cuff-security tabs to keep your pant legs away from the bike chain. Strap 'em tight for the ride, and then let them loose when you get to your destination. Omni-Shield advanced repellency protects you from mud-puddle overspray, while an inside wicking waistband keeps you dry and comfortable where it counts.

The Essentials:
  • Fabric: 48% cotton/48% polyester/4% elastane
  • Omni-Shield advanced repellency
  • Omni-Shade® UPF 50 sun protection
  • Inside wicking waistband
  • Comfort stretch
  • Reflective detail
  • Inseam length: 30”, 32”, 34”
  • MSRP:  $65

Jacket4. The Jacket: Comfortable and lightweight, the Primal Wind Jacket provides wind and water protection to the entire upper body. Made from breathable polyester with a brushed microfiber collar, this garment can be worn in sub 40˚ temperatures when used with a baselayer or arm warmers. The WindShell also features a gripper tail system to prevent the jacket from riding up, a drawstring fit system and EasyStow pocket.

The Essentials:

  • Wind & Water Resistant Breathable Polyester
  • Brushed Microfiber Collar
  • Gripper Tail
  • Drawstring Fit System with EasyStow pocket.
  • MSRP:  $79.95

5. The Bag: Eagle Creek has always been known for great travel bags and the Cicada 28L is not a disappointment. This bag is secure and weatherproof with the split-wing cover and a ratchet lock buckle system. This comes in handy when spring rains are a problem. This bag doesn't feel all that big, but it can hold a lot. It has a padded laptop compartment that holds up to a 17" laptop abagnd a zippered top/panel load main compartment. It has several different pockets for whatever you need to store. Another feature that comes in handy are the over-sized zipper pulls that make it easy to open with gloves. Check back soon for the full gear review on this bag.

The Essentials:

  • Smart Travel Security™ organization
  • Front zippered document pocket
  • Dual-access padded fleece-lined pocket for sunglasses or electronics
  • Two exterior stretch side pockets
  • Exterior compression straps for managing the load
  • Sturdy, molded top grab handle
  • Molded foam back panel with contoured shoulder straps
  • Tuck-away waist strap
  • Water and abrasion resistant Bi-Tech™ material on bottom
  • HDPE frame sheet with pre-curved aluminum stay
  • Capacity:     1700 cu in / 28 L
  • Dimensions:     12 x 20.5 x 7 in / 30 x 52 x 18 cm
  • Weight:     2 lbs 15 oz / 1.33 kg
  • Fabric:  210D TPU Diamond Ripstop, 210D Helix™ Ripstop, 900D Bi-Tech™
  • Color: Strobe Green and Black
  • MSRP: $150

tool6. The Tool: The MAKO Bike Tool from PocketToolX is made of Aerospace Titanium, which makes it extremely light weight; only 19 grams.  It is compact but can be fully customized to best suit your bike.  Using the neoprene inserts, it will hold four 1/4" driver bits of your choice.  Why lug a bike tool around that is weighted with tools and functions that don’t even fit your bike? Boasting a bottle opener for the occasional “road soda,” 5 metric box wrench sizes, and 2 spoke wrench sizes, this is the perfect commuting tool.

The Essentials:

  • Aerospace Titanium 0.125" Thick
  • Overall Size: 3.5" X 1.2"
  • Frame Weight: 19 grams (0.7 oz.)
  • Weight w/ bits: 45 grams (1.6 oz.)
  • Smooth stone-washed finish
  • Neoprene Bit Holders
  • Included 1/4 Hex Bits: Torx T25, Phillips, 5mm Allen & 6mm Allen
  • Box Wrenches: 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 15mm, & 16mm
  • Bottle Opener
  • 14G & 15G Spoke Wrenches
  • High-visibility reflective lanyard
  • MSRP: $69

bike bag7. The Saddlebag: Krieg saddlebags are the perfect size to carry just the few items needed on a morning or evening commute. Their bags are colorful and unique. As you can see in the picture the bag fits a tube, a C02, multitool and a few other small essentials. If you can’t fit it in the Benny, you probably don’t need it.

The Essentials:

micro flare

8. The Lights: Micro Flare is the latest addition to the Fibre Flare range. Ultra slim design allows for greater mounting options with no compromise on safety. Mount on seatposts, chainstays, headtubes, bags or clothing. Super-bright fibre-optics provide outstanding visibility in a Dual LED fully omni-directional bike light. Perfect as a front side or tail light. Includes steady and blinking functions. One down side to these lights are their availability in the United States. You can buy them online, but they are hard to come by in local stores. Definitely check them out.

The Essentials:

  • Visible over 250 metres
  • 75 hrs burntime (flashing mode) using 2 x CR2032 Lithium batteries (included)
  • Silicone slings for frame attachment included
  • Lanyard Anchor
  • Length: 156mm
  • Weight: 45g
  • MSRP: White-$24.99

lube9. The Cleaner and Lube: Last but not least are the cleaners and the lubes that are used to keep the bike up and running smoothly. The Motorex company makes some great products that work great as well as are safe for the environment.

Easy Clean:

Easy Clean is a chain and parts degreaser that is aggressive on grease and dirt, yet safe on components and finishes.  It is available as an aerosol spray or a liquid.  It effectively cleans the chain, cogs, and components. A unique feature is that its solvent base is compatible with the MOTOREX lubes -- so you can lube the chain right after degreasing.

Wet Lube:

Designed for wet/muddy conditions and when a long lasting/durable lube is desired.  The unique synthetic formula has a strong hold to the chain and is waterproof.  It will guard the chain against water and mud entering into the internal surfaces and prevent chain wear.

The Essentials:

We hope with these products, you will be able to get out a little more often. We would love to hear your comments on these products and others that you have found helpful in your daily commutes.