Review, Review, Review

Having a little unaccustomed free time this past week, I wrote three reviews for products I purchased from Bike Tires Direct, the Portland, Oregon based online retailer that’s become my go-to source of bike stuff.  This, in large measure, is due the fact that Lovely Stepford is located at least 45 minutes from the nearest bike shop.  Informing my choice of online retailer, however, is the stellar customer service provided by Bike Tires Direct in addition to their bonus points accrual system that renders many items enticingly affordable to the budget-minded cyclist.  Some motivation for writing the reviews was provided by Bike Tires Direct in the form of a chance to win a $50 gift certificate for writing reviews of products purchased through their website.

Catlike Kompact’O Helmet

The Catlike Kompact’O helmet was the first product I reviewed as it is the one I’ve had the longest (besides the 27” Continental Gatorskins I’ve got on the Miyata 610).  I had previously reviewed the Kompact’O on this blog twice – here and a follow up review here.  The first Catlike helmet, in matte black finish, failed within a couple of months of purchase (read about that failure at the second of the links above), and Bike Tires Direct shipped me a replacement the day I contacted their customer service department.  The replacement helmet, in blinding white, had served me very well since.  The review I wrote for Bike Tires Direct can be found in the reviews tab on their Catlike Kompact’O page

Until yesterday, that review written earlier this week was my final word on the subject.  That was until I’d fitted panniers to the Miyata 610, strapped on the Kompact’O and found the adjustment wheel, although it made ratcheting sounds when turned, failed completely to tighten the helmet’s retention system at occiput.  Color me irked. I cursed twice – once when removing the helmet, and once when removing the bike’s panniers and tossing them onto the grass beside the garage.  I should have better control of my anger, but the thought of several days without a riding for exercise in addition to having to drive the green ‘98 to the store irked my arse.  Not a very good excuse, but there it is.

Feeling a little like an idiot (after having so recently posted a review of the product on their website), I phoned up Bike Tires Direct customer service.  I spoke with Dennis requesting that the company send out a replacement retention system, but while talking about it, noticed that retention system is listed as compatible only with Catlike’s more expensive helmet models.  Dennis asked if it would be okay if he checked into the matter and called me back.  No problem.  I drove to the store and on my return, Dennis called back informing me that he and another BTD employee had determined that the Kompact’O retention system cannot be replaced and that they would ship me another helmet.  In his confirmation email, Dennis told me they’d send me a new helmet before day’s end and email me a prepaid return shipping label.  The new helmet will be here next Tuesday, 12 May. 

I wish I had a spare helmet, but free replacement is good.

Continental Tour Ride Tires

The second review I wrote and posted this week at Bike Tires Direct was for the Continental Tour Ride (look under the Reviews tab) tires I bought last Fall for my Craigslist Jamis Supernova – my compromise bike bridging the gap between upright freezer and Orbea Starship superbike.  I’ve written about the Continental Tour Ride tires on this blog here with a  follow up review here.  In addition to these two Tour Ride specific posts, a number of others also refer to the tires and may be found using the search feature on this blog or by simply googling “christov10” and “continental tour ride”.  They’re such a good, all around tire, that I’m having a hard time working up an expense justification for their replacement with a set of Clement X’plor USH tires for Spring, Summer, and Fall rides.

Magellan Cyclo 505

The third of the reviews I completed and posted to Bike Tires Direct’s product pages this week was for the Magellan Cyclo 505 GPS (look under the Reviews tab) navigation and cycling computer I bought back in March.  I must have used too many words making a detailed report of what I liked, disliked, and what didn’t matter to me about the unit before concluding that the unit is overkill for my approach to incorporating cycling as an exercise and recreational activity into my every day life.  The Bike Tires Direct review cuts me off in the middle of Dislike No. 3:

“3. The Magellan Cyclo operating system is, in the manner in which it organizes and repor”

Sadly, I didn’t keep a copy of the review before submitting it, and don’t remember the rest of my sentence.  Trust me, though, it was worth reading.  Now, you’ll have to buy a Magellan Cyclo and decide for yourself what you dislike about it and which features don’t matter to you.  If you can get a deal on one, as I said in my initial review on this blog, that’s more than a hundred dollars off usual retail, get it.

Happy Friday to you all

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