The Bikes and Accessories

S-Works Tarmac SL4 Di2

Little can be said about the S-Works Tarmac SL4 Di2 that has not been said before. The bike is simply a superb all-around, high-speed road bike. This bike has taken me on more than 30,000 exhilarating miles–over the Alps several times, across hundreds of miles in Western Europe, and through thousands of miles of NYC streets and parks– and still rides like it’s brand new. It climbs, descends, accelerates and decelerates flawlessly. The Di2 shifting is perfect. I’ve had to replace multiple components, and the CLX40 wheel rims needed a rebuild, but the bike has held up very well for more miles than many people have on their cars. I love my Tarmac.

 

Focus Izalco Max Etap Disc

The Focus Izalco Max Etap Disc is my rainy/snowy day disc-brake equipped bike. There is no comparison between hydraulic disc and rim brakes. Even during the nastiest snowy weather, the Sram disc brakes are powerful and instantly responsive. Braking is constrained only by the traction of the tires on the road. This bike rides differently than the Tarmac – it absorbs more road input and generally feels smoother, though it is about 1 lb heavier (still very light for a disc brake bike). The deep Enve 6.7 wheels are excellent on flats and downhills.  The bike is very fast and maintains speed extremely well. The bike and wheels really excel at speeds greater than 35 mph, feels very secure and comfortable. The Etap wireless electronic shifting has worked perfectly.

 

 

 

Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow SaddleThe Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow Saddle is a very comfortable yet stiff saddle. The saddle rails are strong enough to easily support the Revelate Pika bag. This is the fourth saddle I tried using and it works very well for me. The flow section in the middle seems to help with cooling and pressure relief. The saddle has just enough flex to be comfortable under variable riding conditions. I have spent multiple 150+ mile, 9+hour days on it without discomfort.

Garmin Edge 1000 with HR monitor

The Garmin Edge 1000 is a reliable bike computer with multiple features and functions. I like it primarily because it can display 10 data fields per screen. The Edge is connected to the Di2’s D-Fly system, allowing the Garmin to display gearing information and allowing toggling between screens using the hidden buttons beneath the brake hoods. The Edge can be difficult to use for actual navigation in unfamiliar areas, but I use my iPhone for navigation and the Edge as a backup.  Paired with an iPhone it can also display incoming callers and text messaging.  It has good battery life, and is very reliable. I use the outfront mount so I can align the Garmin with an iPhone (see Quad Lock next) in front of my handlebars.

Power Meter

The S-Works SpeedZone ANT+ Power Spider by Quark replaces the bike’s spider with a spider containing a built-in power meter. I have this power meter on both of my bikes. I am very happy with the reliability and responsiveness of the meter – I have had no problems with it over thousands of miles. It syncs with the Garmin Edge and calibrates quickly  before each ride.  I use it most to compare efforts in real-time on similar routes such as my commute and the Jamaica Bay Loop.  

Quadlock Mount for I-Phone

The Quadlock Mount is a lightweight, secure handlebar smartphone mounting system. The mount connects to the phone via a purpose-designed, well-built case that remains on the phone. The phone/case is easy to connect and disconnect from the mount.  I like having the iPhone outfront on the handlebars next to the Edge – I use it to play music through the phone speakers, for navigation if needed, and it’s easy to access and allows for quick removal for a photo, even while riding. (I use the same mount for my phone in the car.)

Oi Bell

The Oi Bell is marketed as the bell that doesn’t look like a bell. I like the friendly chime this bell makes, though it could be louder. The bell fits well on road bike handlebars and is most useful to alert pedestrians or when overtaking another cyclist. This is a fun accessory, very useful for urban cycling.

Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 Wireless Speaker

The Outdoor Tech Buckshot 2.0 Wireless Speaker is the lightest, smallest, waterproof speaker I could find that attaches well to a road bike. It weighs 3.8 ounces (107 grams), and has very good sound quality. The bluetooth connection to a phone is consistent, and the control buttons on top are easy to use to skip songs and for volume adjustments.  

 

Moon Mask 5 Front LED Light

The Moon Mask 5 Front LEDLight is a reliable bright front light meant mostly for being visible but not really bright enough to light up a path at nighttime. I keep it on flashing mode when riding in urban areas to improve my visibility. The rubber attachment makes the light easy to mount and remove for charging via a convenient USB charging port.  This light has continued to work even through torrential downpours.

Blackburn 2’Fer Front/Rear Light

The Blackburn 2’Fer Front/Rear Light is a good light with four modes, white and red solid, and white and red flashing. I keep this on the seatpost of my bike and use the red flashing mode whenever I am riding on the road. This light charges via USB and is fairly easy to mount and remove.  But the light is not very-well protected from water. While it has continued to work after multiple rides in the rain, I have had to replace the light several times when it stopped working after getting wet. I still recommend this light for its general reliability, long battery life, and for the outstanding customer support provided by Blackburn which truly stands behind its products.

Italian Road Bike Mirror

The Italian Road Bike Mirror can significantly improve your comfort level riding on the side of a busy road or in traffic. It is mounted on the bottom of the drop handlebars and its convex mirror design provides a great field of vision for its small size. This was my father’s first suggestion for an accessory for my bike. I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Lezyne Carbon Road Drive Mini Pump

The Lezyne Carbon Road Drive Mini Pump is an extremely lightweight, high-pressure mini-pump (rated to 160 psi) that is an excellent tool for roadside tire inflation. The pump screws onto a Presta valve, providing a leak-proof connection, and can easily pump a tire to 100 psi. I carry CO2 cartridges as a primary inflation tool, but always keep this on my bike as a backup and I’ve had to use it several times. It’s pricey but highly recommended.

Lezyne Trigger Drive CO2 Inflator

The Lezyne Trigger Drive CO2 Inflator is an  ultra-compact CO2 inflator. The inflator  doesn’t release until you press down on head, making it easier to control the flow of C02. The head threads directly onto a Presta valve for a secure connection. It is compatible with threaded CO2 cartridges and weighs 26 grams. This inflator has worked flawlessly for me on the roadside numerous times.

SKS S-Board Front Fender

The SKS S-Board Front Fender attaches securely to the bike’s fork and provides excellent protection in wet and muddy riding conditions. This is a fairly new addition to my bike for rainy riding conditions, and I am very pleased with it. It completely catches all spray coming off the front tire, allowing the rider to remain dryer and the bike’s bottom bracket to receive less road grime.

SKS S-Blade Rear Fender

The SKS S-Blade Rear Fender attaches to the seatpost, and is a must-have accessory for riding in the rain. The long extension catches all road grime, sand, and spray that would otherwise end up on the back of the rider and under the saddle. The connection to the seatpost could be more secure, and occasionally the fender moves off center, but this can be mitigated by tight tensioning of the connection point.

Speedplay Zero Pedals

The Speedplay Zero Pedals come in a variety of materials: alloy, stainless steel, and titanium. Having tried several other brands, I found the Speedplays to be the highest-performing, most reliable pedal system. Clipping in and out is easy as these are never upside down (just step and go) and flawless.

Continental Grand Prix 4000S II

The Continental Grand Prix 4000S II is the most popular road bike tire for good reason. These are excellent, high-performing, relatively long-lasting tires, with exceptional flat protection.  I have ridden these tires over all kinds of road conditions, over piles of glass, sharp rocks, and bumpy gravel trails.  I have been repeatedly amazed that these tires did not flat given how thin they are. The tires have very low rolling resistance. For almost any road cycling use, I don’t believe you can find a better tire.

Revelate Designs Tangle Frame Bag

The Revelate Designs Tangle Frame Bag is a great frame bag for long-distance touring or carrying a lot of gear on your bike. The bag is constructed from tough, long-lasting fabric, and is very water resistant. The zippers are strong and made well. The bag is relatively lightweight, and does not affect the bike’s aerodynamics like panniers. A wider main compartment accessed by the right-side zipper and narrower compartment accessed by the left-side zipper are great for organizing items carried along.

Revelate Designs Pika Seat Bag

The Revelate Designs Pika Seat Bag attaches to the bike under the saddle and connects to the seatpost. The connection is strong and if packed properly (heavier items deeper inside) and tightly the back remains very sturdy on the bike. The bag holds a significant amount of items, and can be rolled up to keep it from swinging when not full. I have been very happy using this bag on multiple long-distance tours.

Revelate Designs Gas Tank Top Tube Bag

The Revelate Designs Gas Tank Top Tube Bag is stored on the top tube with an attachment to the stem for securing. It is very good for accessing items on the bike. I have also used a similar bag manufactured by Topeak which is very good too.