May 06

Haibike Electric Mountain Bike Review

Haibike xduro electric mountain bike

Electric E-bike

Haibike XDuro Electric Mountain Bike

Recently I had the pleasure of test riding a Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike. I was thoroughly impressed by its innovative engineering and functional versatility. Haibike has been around for awhile and they are one of the pioneers of the electric mountain bike. But they aren’t satisfied with creating a “decent product” then resting on their laurels. Their engineering team has continued to make groundbreaking improvements  on what was already an award-winning product.

ePerformance Biking

When you visit the Haibike website, you’ll notice a phrase you’ve probably never seen before: ePerformance Biking. The Xduro bicycle series is the pioneer of ePerformance biking world. Each component on the Xduro bicycle series is top-of-the-line. The list of unique or high-end bike components on a Haibike Xduro is extensive but to paraphrase Julie Andrews, “these are a few of my favorite things:”

monitor display for electric bicycle

Intuvia E-bike Display

  • Bosch Drive System: Haibike Xduros come standard with one of the best e-bike motors in the business. The Bosch electric motor provides ample and reliable power to this well-designed electric bicycle.
  • Bosch Onboard Computer/Display: I loved how easy it was to view and use the Bosch Intuvia Multifunctional Display and the accompanying “remote” (separate) control pad. The display pad is easy to read in all lighting conditions and the control pad is easy to use without the need to release the handlebar. The display shows the four electric motor speeds: eco, tour, sport & turbo.
  • Battery: The battery is an integral part of the any electric bicycle, and the Xduro ebike is no exception. The Bosch Li-ion 36 volt, 400@h capacity battery can last up to 109 miles in Eco mode under ideal conditions. Of course, I have seldom encountered “ideal conditions” while biking, but I was able to ride over 55 miles on the US 36 Bikeway into Denver and back for a quick “city trip.” I noticed, on the Haibike website, that the newer Xduros feature the Locked Powerpack which blends and attaches nicely to the bicycle down tube for a sleek and functional system that works as well as it looks. In addition, the battery weighs only 5.5 lbs and can be fully charged in 3.5 hours.
  • Pedal Assist – As with most European designed electric bikes, the Xduro comes with a pedal-assist system. Basically this means “no pedal – no power.”The Haibike pedal assist system blends smoothly with the Bosch motor to provide the added boost needed to power up tough hills and through persistent headwinds. But the pedal-assist means that riders will still get at least a minimum of exercise and can choose to ride without the motor at all, when wanted or needed. This system also makes the bike legal on certain trails that require functional pedals on ebikes.
  • Full Suspension – Going electric doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice mountain bike suspension. The Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike comes with a high quality front and rear suspension. This provides a comfortable and stable ride on multi-use bike paths as well as single track mountain bike trails.

    Haibike electric mountain bike

    Xduro by Haibike

Haibike Electric Mountain Bikes on Trails

The ebike by Haibike is a great choice for riding on trails of all types. Although the beefy suspension makes it a natural choice for single track mountain biking, it’s also a great choice for many other trail types and trail surfaces. I tested it on single track dirt trails, cement bikeways, packed gravel community trails and multi-use asphalt paths.The Haibike worked equally well and was equally comfortable on all the above mentioned trail types. Keep in mind that, unfortunately, the rules for electric bikes on trails vary greatly, and you may want to check into the rules on your local trails. It would be nice if I could say that the rules will be prominently posted or sensibly administered, but that is not always the case.

Electric Bike Suggestions

As with all Trailsnet product reviews, I like to end with suggestions for improvements or future product development. Since the Haibike Xduro electric mountain bike is such a well built and nicely designed ebike, the following suggestions are geared more toward the electric bicycle industry in general rather than just the folks at Haibike:

  1. Include lights, kickstands & USB outlet as standard equipment on most ebikes including electric mountain bikes: Since weight is slightly less of a factor when it comes to ebike accessories, the added ounces are less consequential. Plus, ebikes have a built-in power supply making them ideal for lights & device charging outlets. And since ebikes can be fairly heavy and prone to tipping over easier than regular bikes, kickstands are needed more than on non-electric bikes.
  2. Haibike and other ebike manufacturers should begin working together to standardize certain components such as batteries. Such a system would make it much easier to implement some sort of battery trade-in program that would promote long-distance ebiking for touring and commuting.
  3. Electric bike companies should also work together to promote standardized and inclusive rules regarding the use of Personal Transportation Vehicles (PTVs) on trails in the United States and worldwide. (Most European countries already have sensible rules regarding the use of electric bicycles.)

If you are one of the many electric bike critics out there, I encourage you to take another look at both the products and the people using those products. Electric bikes provide for a much more inclusive biking experience. I believe that everyone should try e-bikes, but they are especially useful for bicycle touring, bicycle commuting & leveling the biking field for those who may not be able to join in the fun of bicycling in general and/or trail biking in particular.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/05/06/haibike-xduro-electric-mountain-bike-review/

Apr 15

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Pannier on E-bike

Pannier Backpack Convertible by Two Wheel Gear

The folks at Two Wheel Gear have made my job easy. After spending a half hour with their Pannier Backpack Convertible I was blown away by all its amazing features. This awesome product speaks for itself. It is incredibly useful and incredibly well built. I wish I had a pannier like this back when I commuted to work. On the other hand, now that I don’t have to commute to work, I have even more time for bicycle touring, and the Pannier Backpack Convertible is also a great bike touring solution. Although the Pannier Backpack could be used for many different purposes (bike camping, shopping, mountain biking, picnics, etc.) I would say the two best uses for it are:

Bicycle Commuting and Bike Touring

Pannier Backpack Convertible by Two Wheel Gear

Pannier Backpack

During your commute or tour, the pannier easily attaches to a bike rack. Once you arrive at your destination it readily converts (thus the name Convertible) to a handy daypack thus allowing you to easily schlepp your stuff from bike to office or hotel. (or wherever) And the folks at Two Wheel Gear obviously spent some time at the drawing board making sure that both the backpack and pannier were well equipped with all the conveniences of the best portable cargo systems. Here are some of the best features of the Pannier Backpack Convertible:

 

Pannier Features

easy install mounting hooks

center lock hook anti bounce

bottom rack strap

Backpack Features

padded straps

chest strap

adjustable strap

Common Features

rain cover/fly

laptop sleeve w/ Velcro strap

two bottle holders

Pannier Backpack on Trails

Pannier Backpack Convertible

Happy Trails

The Center Look Hook mentioned in the first column above is a simple yet ingenious device. It serves to hold the pannier in place, even on slightly bumpy terrain. For this reason, the Two Wheel Gear Pannier is one of the few panniers out there that might actually work in some mountain biking conditions. However, this pannier (and most others on the market) is more suited to the following types of trails:

  • urban trails
  • multi-use paths
  • rail trails
  • canal trails
  • river trails
  • asphalt trails
  • cement trails

Active Travel Tips

If you are planning to rent a bike or use a tour company bike on your next active travel tour, you may want to contact the touring company or bicycle rental shop and ask if their bikes have rear-mounted racks that would support a pannier. If so, it is likely that the Two Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible will fit nicely. I tried the pannier on numerous different bike racks, and it snapped nicely in place on each one of them and held firmly. And it is likely a much more sturdy, attractive and versatile pannier than the one that may or may not be included with your rental or tour bike.

2 Wheel Gear Pannier Backpack Convertible

Multi-Purpose Pannier

Suggestions for Two Wheel Gear & Their Customers

For the first time ever, I’m at a loss for improvements that could be made on the actual Pannier Backpack Convertible. They’ve done a wonderful job of anticipating the needs of bike commuters and bicycle tourists. Obviously the folks at Two Wheel Gear have done their homework. But I do have some general suggestions for Two Wheel Gear and their customers:

  1. Two Wheel Gear may want to consider marketing this to bicycle tour companies and bike rental shops. This would allow them to sell the Pannier Backpack in larger quantities and would expose the rental/tour customers to their great product.
  2. For those of you who commute to work, you may also want to check out their flagship product, the Garment Pannier.
  3. If you have a business needing exposure (especially in the outdoor clothing or recreation industry) or employees you’d like to reward, you can cobrand with Two Wheel Gear to have your company name added to your Pannier.

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a Pannier Backpack Convertible for free from Two Wheel Gear as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/04/15/pannier-backpack-convertible/

Apr 02

Group Bike Ride Etiquette on Trails

Group Rides on Trails

We’ve all seen the group rides on roads. It seems like there’s no rhyme, no reason & no rules. Cyclists riding double, triple & quadruple file spilling out into the road & completely ignoring the bike lane. But on trails, it’s essential that bicyclists heed the rules, both written & unwritten. So what are those rules?

  1. Watch Your Speed on Trails

    Trail etiquette for group rides

    Trail Ride

Save your racing for the race tracks, not the bike paths. Remember that you’re sharing the trail with walkers, strollers, wheelchairs, runners & other bikers. You should not be racing or speeding on the trail. It’s dangerous, & it’s rude.

2. Ride Single File…

… whenever you’re in the presence of other trail users. Yield to hikers, bikers, baby-strollers and… well pretty much all other trail users. Most people enjoy trails for scenery, relaxation & a slow pace. Don’t spoil that by riding in large packs that take up the majority of the trail. And, whatever you do, don’t expect others to step off the trail so your group can go by. There’s usually plenty of room if you stay single file.

3. Be Polite

Sometimes it’s easy, when you’re in a group, to forget the other trail users or to assume they know you’re in a group. It’s kind of a pack mentality. There’s nothing wrong with riding in groups, but it’s a good idea to try and be extra polite to other trail users. As you’re passing other trail users, be sure to signal your presence and then let them know that others will be following. So say something along the lines of, “On your left. There are five more behind me.”

4. Don’t Hog or Clog the Trail When Regrouping

It’s pretty typical for groups to stop every now and then to get organized or wait for others to catch up. Whatever you do, don’t clog the trail when you do this. EVERY member of the group should get as close to the edge of the trail as possible, in a single file line rather than in a big cluster. This is important and should be done each time you stop. Make sure to share this rule with your group at the very beginning of the ride and remind them as frequently as necessary so they don’t block the trail

If you keep these four simple trail etiquette rules in mind, your group ride should be pleasant for both your fellow riders and for other trail users. We all deserve to enjoy the trail as individuals and as groups, but it takes a little effort and cooperation.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/04/02/group-bike-ride-etiquette-on-trails/

Mar 23

Homemade Backpacking Food & Trail Snacks

Budget Trail Snacks & Outdoor Food

trail workers on the Colorado Trail

Trailside Snacks

We all love our trail snacks and it’s nice to splurge on pre-packaged freeze dried backpacking meals every now and then. Nothing’s better, at the end of a hard day on the trail, than a quick & easy meal of turkey tetrazzini or beef stroganoff. But it can get kind of expensive trying to purchase three meals per day of name-brand freeze dried camping food. Not to worry, though. It’s easy & inexpensive to supplement your store-bought trail meals with homemade backpacking food. You just have to know where to look for trail food recipes & backpacking meal suggestions.

Benefits of Homemade Backpacking Food

  • Less expensive
  • More trail snack & backpacking food options
  • Better portion control
  • Control for dietary restrictions & food allergies

Where to Find Trail Food Ideas

Here are some good websites to help you prepare lightweight meals and snacks for this upcoming backpacking season:

Benefits of Prepackaged Freeze-Dried Foods

  • They’re easy.
  • They’re quick.
  • They usually tastes pretty good.
  • Fairly wide variety of options

Trail Snacks & Backpacking Meal Ideas & Trail Food Reviews

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/23/homemade-backpacking-food-trail-snacks/

Mar 20

C2 Performance Tights Product Review

Stay Warm on the Trail This Spring

leg warmers for active lifestyle

Activewear C2 Tights

It’s that time of year. At the beginning of your ride, hike or run, it’s freezing cold, and you want to bundle up to stay warm. But half-way into your activity, you’re becoming overheated and uncomfortable. Should you wear shorts and a t-shirt or full-length pants and a sweatshirt? I’ve recently found a way to have the best of both worlds. Of course I’ve long known about the benefits of layering. And that works fine on my top half. I don a light t-shirt covered by a warm long-sleeved shirt. Then when the weather gets warmer, I shed the outer layer. But it’s always been a little trickier on the bottom. Full-length pants don’t fit well over a pair of shorts, so I was always left deciding whether to wear shorts and freeze for half my workout or wear sweats/pants and bake for half the workout. Then I discovered C2 Performance Tights.

C2 Performance Tights

I recently discovered the warmth & convenience of Performance Tights by C2. Performance tights fit snugly so they don’t have that awkward bagging appearance of most full-length bottoms. So they’re ideal for hiking, biking, climbing and running. Yet they’re also incredibly comfortable and snug. They keep you warm when there’s a chill in the air, yet they don’t bog you down like other pants products. Worn under a pair of shorts, they’re easy to shed when/if it starts getting warm outside. And they’re easy to store in a pannier, daypack or backpack. I find them especially handy for spring bike rides. They fit just tightly enough so that I don’t have to worry about getting them caught in my bicycle chain.

C2 Performance Tights Helpful Tips

Performance Tights are a great clothing product to add to your trail supplies. As with most Trailsnet reviews, I have enclosed a couple of easy-to-follow lists of reasons why I like this particular outdoor product and ways to fully benefit from your C2 Performance Tights.

These are a few of my favorite C2 Performance Tights qualities:

  • warmth
  • comfort
  • versatility
  • looks
  • made in USA
  • high quality
  • moisture wicking (comfortable in light rain showers or snow flurries)
  • great for active lifestyle or lounging around the house/tent/trailhead

 

C2 Performance Tights are good for:

  • running
  • Stand-Up PTV activities
  • camping
  • kayaking
  • après ski or après any activity

C2 Performance Tights not recommended for:

  • strenuous activity over 50°F
  • moderate-to-light activities over 60°F
  • swimming
For Performance Tights and other outdoor clothing products, visit the C2 website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Performance Tights for free from C2 as coordinated by Outdoor PR in consideration for review publication.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/20/c2-performance-tights-product-review/

Mar 10

Find Destination Trail Accommodations

Trail Lodging Now Available on Trailsnet.com

screenshot of Trailsnet trail page

Trailsnet Trail Page

Trailsnet is one of the leading websites for finding destination trails and active travel vacation destinations. Now, in addition to pointing you to the best long-distance trails in the world, Trailsnet can also help you find trailside accommodations. We have partnered with Booking.com to provide hotel, guest house and bed/breakfast opportunities near each of the trails and trailheads on our website. This will make it much easier for trail travelers to find lodging near trailheads or in convenient locations along longer trails. So when you visit any of the trails featured on Trailsnet, you will see a banner just like this:

 


   
    Booking.com

Book Your Next Active Travel Accommodations With Trailsnet & Booking.com

Booking.com offers the lowest prices on lodging worldwide and, if you book your next accommodations from the Trailsnet website, you’ll get that same low price and be helping support Trailsnet and our goal of being the best trail website on the Internet. So you get a great price on your hotel, and Trailsnet gets a small affiliate marketing fee for each room booked. So whether you are going on a trail trip, a business trip or any other travel situation, please visit Trailsnet and start your lodging search right here using our new Booking.com link.

Permanent link to this article: http://trailsnet.com/2016/03/10/find-accommodations-near-destination-trail/

Page 4 of 110« First...23456...102030...Last »