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Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts

I normally ride around 6,500 miles a year and most of those miles are on the road—which means most of the time I wear Lycra cycling shorts. However, about 20% of my mileage is on off-road trails and I wear mountain biking shorts on those rides (the “when in Rome do as the Romans” thing). The MTB shorts I bought when I started cycling about twelve years ago were heavy and held water like a sponge. Fortunately, in the past few years several manufacturers have developed MTB shorts that are lightweight, durable and don’t hold moisture. A few weeks ago the folks at Serfas sent me a pair of their new Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts to review these shorts should appeal avid mountain bikers, recreational cyclists and commuters alike.

Serfas Men's Ripcord Cargo Shorts

Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts

The Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts consist of an outer shell and an inner liner. The outer shell is made of lightweight 100% Polyester and has a snap front closure with a zippered fly and an adjustable Velcro waistband. The outer shell has four pockets. There are two large pockets on the front of the pants—one on each side just like every other pair of pants you own. However, these pockets have mesh on one side so water or dust won’t build up in your pockets. These are what I call “walking around” pockets—they are great for holding small items when you are off your bike, but since they do not close I wouldn’t use then while riding.

Serfas Men's Ripcord Cargo Shorts

Zippered Pocket On The Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts

On the lower right-hand side of the pants there is a roomy zippered pocket (7″ wide x 8″ deep). The zipper appears to be made of a high-quality nylon and is very smooth to open or close. Since this is the most secure pocket I keep my car keys and billfold in here (I sometimes have to drive my Jeep to the off-road trails).

Serfas Men's Ripcord Cargo Shorts

Pocket With Velcro Closure

On the lower left-hand side of the pants there is another roomy pocket (7″ wide x 8″ deep). This pocket closes with a piece of Velcro and you can easily open or close it as you are riding (I keep extra carb gels in this pocket).

Serfas Men's Ripcord Cargo Shorts

The Inner And Outer Layers Snap Together

The detachable inner liner of these shorts is made of 90% Polyester and 10% Spandex. If you are used to riding in Lycra road shorts then you will find one of the biggest downsides to most MTB shorts with a detachable liner is that they tend to hold in heat and moisture (mainly because they have two layers). However, these shorts don’t seem to hold moisture like most of the other MTB shorts I own (and for the post month I had to ride on many days when the humidity was well over 80%). This liner attaches to the outer shell with a pair of snaps of both sides of the pants.

Serfas Men's Ripcord Cargo Shorts

Chamois On The Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts

Last, but not least, the Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts has a high quality chamois (Serfas calls it their “Launch Pad Compression Foam Chamois”). If you are looking for a solid inch of gel then this chamois is not for you! This chamois is fairly thin, but  extremely comfortable. As with every other chamois on the market, I would strongly suggest you use a chamois cream before you go out for a ride (put some cream on the chamois itself and on your skin in the area of your sit bones).

The Serfas Men’s Ripcord Cargo Shorts are available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, and XL). In my opinion these shorts run a bit small—so if you are on the border between two sizes I’d go with the larger size. By the way, since these shorts have an adjustable Velcro waistband if your pants are a couple of inches too big you can quickly adjust them to have a perfect fit.

These shorts retail for $60 and are available from the Serfas website and from authorized Serfas dealers (most bike shops). These pants are also available on Amazon.com, but they appear to have an older version of these pants in the photos and description.

 

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Serfas RX Short Finger Cycling Gloves

I always suggest that cyclists buy their gloves one size larger than what feels comfortable when they are trying them on at the bike shop. In the winter you need a larger glove because the extra air space in a full-finger glove provides a micro-climate of warm air that will keep your hands warm (tight gloves in winter will also reduce the circulation in your hands and make them very cold). On hot and humid days you need larger gloves because after a few hours on the bike your hands will swell and the fabric in the gloves will be soaked with sweat and the gloves will be very difficult to get off your hands. Fortunately, Serfas has the RX Short Finger Gloves that are not only easy to remove (even when totally saturated with sweat), but also provide a very comfortable grip! While I’ve bought at least six pairs of these gloves in the past five or six years, the folks at Serfas were kind enough to send me a new pair for review (I needed a new pair for the photographs—no one wants to see my well-worn gloves).

Serfas RX Short Finger Cycling Gloves

Serfas RX Short Finger Cycling Gloves

Serfas RX Short Finger Gloves were designed by physicians to reduce the pressure on the nerves and arteries in the hands and they succeeded in their goal! As far as I am concerned the gel padding in these gloves is perfect. I know a few cyclists who prefer gloves with little or no padding, but I ride over a lot of rough roads and without gel padding my hands will start to cramp after a few hours on the bike.

Serfas RX Short Finger Cycling Gloves

“Easy Off Loops” on the Serfas RX Gloves

One of the coolest things about these gloves is the “Easy Off Loop” that allows you to slide the gloves off easily, even when they are soaking wet from a long ride in the rain. The Serfas RX Short Finger Gloves are machine washable and I have been able to get nearly 2,000 miles of use with every pair. These gloves also have two pieces of reflective piping on the fingers—if you are riding at night and use hand signals for your turns the headlights of cars behind you will reflect off of this piping and make it easier for motorists to see you.

Serfas RX Short Finger Cycling Gloves

Note The Reflective Piping On The Fingers

I’ve gone riding with these gloves when the temperature was over 100 degrees (with a heat index of over 115 degrees Fahrenheit) and these gloves never made me feel like they were heating up my hands. In fact, my hands are cooler with these gloves than just about any other glove I’ve tried. I use these gloves with both road and mountain bikes, and in sunny weather or rain.

Serfas Men’s RX Short Finger Gloves are available in five sizes (S, M, L, XL, XXL) and come in four colors (Black, White, Blue or Red). Serfas Women’s RX Short Finger Gloves are available in four sizes (S, M, L, XS) and come in either Black or White. These gloves retail for $29 and I buy mine from the local bike shop, but they are also available from the Serfas website and from Amazon.com.

One last thought: If you live in an area with high humidity you really need at least two pairs of cycling gloves so you can wear one pair while the other is drying out.

 

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Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 (Product Review and Giveaway)

Even if you don’t have a clue about how to repair a flat tire or make minor adjustments to your bike, you really need to carry a tire repair kit, tire pump and mini-tool with you on every ride. You might not know what to do with the tools, but usually someone with offer to help you—but without the right tools you might have a long walk home. The folks at Serfas recently sent me one of their basic repair kits, the Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1, to review. This kit includes the items needed to repair about 90% of the problems you are likely to have on a normal bike ride. If you would like a chance to win this kit just keep reading!

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1

The tire pump in this kit is the Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump and it normally retails for $18. This pump is 11″ long (17″ with the handle extended) and works with both Presta and Schrader valves. The pump should be able to inflate your tires up to 110 psi, but, like most air pumps, anything over 100 psi requires a bit of work. This pump weights just a little over 7 ounces (205 grams) and will easily attach to your seat tube with the included mounting bracket. The handle on this pump folds out and makes it very easy to grip.

Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump

Serfas BS-1D Big Stick Pump

This kit includes a small mini-tool that includes seven Allen keys (2mm, 2.5mm, 3mm, 4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm), a Phillips screwdriver and a Torx wrench (mainly used for disc brakes). If you are in need of mini-tool with a with a wider selection of tools I would strongly suggest the Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool (the best all-round mini-tool I’ve ever seen).

Bicycle Mini-Tool

Bicycle Mini-Tool

The tire repair kit is rather generic—a lot of companies sell nearly identical kits. This one includes two tire levers, four patches and a small tube of patch glue. There is also a small piece of sandpaper that is used to scruff up the area around the puncture before you apply the glue. The only thing missing here is a small piece of chalk (I don’t know of company that includes it with their tire repair kits, but they should). When you are trying to find the puncture in a deflated tire you first need to partially inflate the tube and then feel your way around the tube until you find the leak—and once you find it a piece of chalk makes it real easy to mark the location (if you don’t mark it well when the tube is inflated it will be very difficult to find once you let the air out).

Bicycle Tie Repair Kit

Bicycle Tie Repair Kit

Also included in this kit is a medium-sized saddle bag (6″ long x 4″ wide x 4.5″ tall). This bag is also expandable—just unzip the bottom zipper and the bag becomes a whopping 6″ tall! Even with the expandable bottom closed there is enough room for the tire repair kit, mini-tool, one MTB tire (or two road tires), your ID and a bit of cash with room to spare. This bag also has a key ring holder inside so won’t risk loosing your car keys every time you open the bag. The bag attaches to your bike with two Velcro straps—one strap goes around the seat post and the other around the rails of your saddle. One more thing: there is a piece of 3M Scotchbrite Reflective Trim all the way around the saddle (something I wish all saddles had).

Serfas Medium Saddle Bag

Serfas Medium Saddle Bag (Note The Key Ring Holder)

Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 retails for $40 and is available from the Serfas website or from an authorized Serfas retailer (most bike shops and REI stores).

Regular readers know that I seldom keep the products that are sent to me for review. If you would like a chance  to win this Serfas CK-1 Combo Kit 1 then leave a comment below telling me why you need it. The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, July 5, 2013. After the contest closes I will read through the comments and choose a winner based solely on my subjective mood at the time. I won’t respond to the comments left below, but I promise to read and consider every one of them. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense. Good luck!

 

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Serfas Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump (Product Review and Giveaway)

During the course of the year I ride with several different cyclists, both male and female, and I always like to hear their opinions about bicycle products. I am a MAMIL (middle-aged man in Lycra) and it seems like nearly all bike products were made with men like me in mind. Last year one of the ladies I was riding with gave me a 30-minute lecture on how most companies don’t understand the needs of female cyclists. To be quite honest, it was a subject I had never given much thought to before. However, when the folks at Serfas sent me one of their Women’s Bicycle Floor Pumps to review I realized that some companies do understand female cyclists after all.

Serfas Women's Bicycle Floor Pump

Serfas Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump

While there are some very tall women in the world, the bottom line is that, on average, men are taller than women. A bicycle floor pump designed for the average man is going to be too tall for the average female. The Serfas WFP-200 Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump is 22″ tall, which is eight inches shorter than the standard floor pump I have in my garage. This lower stand over height allows for people of short stature to use the pump with ease—the shortened barrel provides greater leverage.

An easy to read dial sits at the top of the pump

An easy to read dial sits at the top of the pump

Another nice feature of this pump is the easy to read dial—it sits up at the top of the pump instead of near the floor (the older you get the more you will appreciate this). This pump is rated to go up to 160 psi, but since I don’t have any bike tires that need that high of a pressure I only tried the pump out to 120 psi. This pump has an alloy barrel with sturdy alloy base and weighs 3.35 pounds (1460 grams).

The pump head handles both Presta and Schrader valves

The pump head handles both Presta and Schrader valves

In addition to the pump head that adjusts to both Presta and Schrader valves, this floor pump also includes a needle so you can also use it inflate volleyballs and basketballs, along with an adapter so you can inflate a beach ball. The ergonomic handle on this pump makes it very comfortable to use. Ladies, even if you don’t like the pink color and floral design of this floor pump, you will have to appreciate the fact that your husband or boyfriend won’t be borrowing it!

Needle and adapter so you can inflate beach balls or basketballs

Needle and adapter so you can inflate beach balls or basketballs

The Serfas Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump retails for $45 and is available from the Serfas Website and most bike shops in America. You can also find this floor pump at a few places you might have expect, like Sears and Camping World (catalog and Internet sales only). This product comes with a limited lifetime warranty against manufacturer’s defects in material and workmanship.

While this product functions flawlessly, I don’t exactly need a pink floor pump in the Man Cave (my garage). So, I have one Serfas Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump in perfect condition that I am going to give away to some lucky reader. To enter the contest for the floor pump pictured above all you have to do is pick a number between 1,000 and 1,250 and enter it in the comment section below (you don’t actually have to make a comment). The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, March 8, 2013. After the contest closes I will use a random number generator to pick the winning number. If no one has the exact number the person with the number closest to, but not over, the winning number will get this Serfas Women’s Bicycle Floor Pump. In case two or more people chose the same number the first person to pick the number will be the winner. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. When the contest is over I will publish the results in the comments section of this article. I will send this product to the winner via U.S. Mail at my expense.

 

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Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool (Product Review and Giveaway)

I’ve never kept count, but I imagine that in the past 10 years I’ve purchased at least 20 different compact multi-tools for my bikes. Like the Cynic philosopher Diogenes who spent his time looking for an honest man, I spend my time looking for great bicycle products. A few weeks ago the folks at Serfas sent me one of their new products for review, the Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool, and it has a few features that ought to be of interest to any cyclist. As an added bonus, I’ve not seen this product reviewed anywhere else yet—and I am always delighted when I can share new products with my readers.

Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool

Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool

Here is a breakdown of the seventeen tools in the Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool: Eight Allen keys (8, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2.5, 2, and 1.5mm), one 10m open wrench, four spoke wrenches (3.23, 3.3, 3.45, 3.96mm), a chain break tool with two chain retainers, two Torx drivers (T25, T30), CO² Inflator head, and both a Philips and flat head screwdriver. This tool has a full metal body and is 2.75″ long, 1.5″ wide, and .75″ tall. This products weighs an even 4.0 ounces (114g).

Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool

Spoke Wrench and Chain Break Handle

The Torx drivers are mainly needed to tighten the bolts on disc brakes (usually found on mountain bikes). In case you are wondering—Torx bolt heads resist slipping better than Philips head bolts, and there is less chance of stripping a Torx head bolt.

Chain Break Tool on the Serfas ST-17

Chain Break Tool on the Serfas ST-17

The chain tool on the Serfas ST-17i is one of the best I’ve ever seen on a cycling multi-tool. I never throw my old bicycle chains away—I keep them so I can test chain break tools! When I put a short length of chain on the Serfas ST-17i I was surprised to find out it had a self-centering head since it’s not mentioned on the package. The self-centering head means that your chain will not slip as you are working on it. Even if you keep your bicycle chain clean and well lubricated it is going to wear out. While it is always best to replace your chain before it wears out, some cyclists (maybe most) just don’t check very often to see how much their chain has stretched. If your chain should snap when you are out on a ride you will need this tool to remove the damaged link and put the chain back together. If you are not sure how to use a chain tool there are several good videos on YouTube.com that can show you how they work (most of these tools work the same way).

CO² inflator Head on the Serfas ST-17i

CO² inflator Head on the Serfas ST-17i

The biggest selling point for the Serfas ST-17i is the CO² inflator head (Presta valve only) that is built into the mini-tool. It seems like nearly every time I get a flat tire it is during a rain storm (this past Saturday it was during a snow, sleet and slush storm). The small CO² inflator heads that most cyclists carry are easy to drop (especially when wet), but since the CO² inflator head is built into the body of the Serfas ST-17i it is very easy to handle and even easier to use.

There are two items lacking from this tool: a tire lever and a carrying case. You always need to have a pair of tire levers with you when riding, so make sure you pick up a set before you head out. The lack of a carrying case is no big deal since most of the ones that come with cycling multi-tools just take up space in your saddlebag anyway. However, loose items in a saddlebag will make enough noise to drive you crazy on a long ride. A great way to prevent the noise is to put loose items in a short length of on old inner tube and seal up one end with the glue from your tire patch kit. By the way, I also keep my spare CO² cartridges in shorts lengths of inner tubes as well.

The Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool retails for $45 and can be ordered from the Serfas Website or from almost any bike shop in America. If you like this tool but have no need of the chain break or Torx wrenches you should check out the Serfas ST-13i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool (it retails for $36). One step above the Serfas ST-13i is the Serfas ST-15i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool. The Serfas ST-15i comes with two tire levers and glueless patches (it retails for $40).

As some of my regular readers know, I seldom keep the products that are sent to me for review—most of the time I give the products to random visitors who comment on this blog. However, I’ve decided to hold a contest for this beautiful Serfas ST-17i CO² Inflator / Mini-tool. To enter the contest all you have to do is pick a number between 200 and 500 and enter it in the comment section below (you don’t actually have to make a comment). The contest ends at midnight (CST) on Friday, January 11, 2013. After the contest closes I will use a random number generator to pick the winning number. If no one has the exact number the person with the number closest to, but not over, the winning number will get the Serfas ST-17i I reviewed today. In case two or more people chose the same number the first person to pick the number will be the winner. This contest is for U.S. residents only and only one entry per household allowed. When the contest is over I will publish the results in the comments section of this article. I will mail this product to the winner via Priority Mail at my expense.

 
 

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Serfas Thunderbolt Headlight and Taillight

If you have not shopped for new bicycle lights in a while you will be surprised at how much things have changed in the past few years. Modern bicycle headlights are far brighter and lot less expensive than the were just five years ago. Not only are the lights brighter, but they also weigh less—and most lights now have rechargeable batteries as well. A few weeks ago the folks at Serfas sent me a pair of their new Thunderbolt USB rechargeable lights to review and if you are a commuter these lights will be of special interest to you. Thunderbolt is the name given to both the headlight and the taillight, but they are sold separately.

Serfas Thunderbolt Headlight

Serfas Thunderbolt Headlight

The Serfas Thunderbolt headlight is very compact (3.5″ long, 1″ tall, and 1.5″ wide) and provides 90 lumens of light. The light pattern is non-directional, i.e., the beam covers a wide area (just the opposite of a spotlight). The Thunderbolt headlight has a silicone body and is highly water-resistant, as well as being extremely lightweight (just 50 grams). There are four light settings available: high beam, low beam, high blink and low blink. You should be able to get about 90 minutes of use in the high beam with a fully charged battery. However, cold weather negatively impacts all batteries—when the temperature drops below freezing don’t expect a full 90 minutes of use. The high blink mode is what I used the most and was able to consistently get almost four hours of use per charge (Serfas only claims 3.5 hours). The headlight can be seen from a mile away, but at 90-lumens it is intended for commuters, not mountain bikers.

Both the headlight and taillight attach to your bike with a pair of silicon mounting straps (included) and should fit most bikes. These lights attach quickly—a trained monkey could do it in under five seconds. If you use the lights to get to work you are going to love this feature!

The best part about these lights is that they are USB rechargeable. Using the included USB cord you can charge these lights by plugging them into your computer (I used the wall charger for my iPhone instead). If you buy both a headlight and a taillight you will have two USB cords—you could leave one at your office and the other at your house so you can recharge the lights at either place.

Serfas Thunderbolt Taillight

Serfas Thunderbolt Taillight

The Serfas Thunderbolt taillight quickly became one of my favorite taillights! At 35 lumens it outshines most of the taillights you will find at your local bike shop, and since it is USB rechargeable you will never have to buy batteries for it. The taillight is primarily designed to attach to your seatpost (3″ of exposed post required), but you could also mount it on your seat stays. Like the headlight, the taillight has four operating modes (high beam, low beam, high blink and low blink). I never run taillights in the high beam setting—I believe the blinking mode makes it a lot easier for motorists to see you. In the high blink mode this light runs for three hours on a full charge.

As I mentioned earlier, the Thunderbolt lights are not designed for mountain bikers. However, Serfas has a wide selection of other lights available, including their brand new TSL-1500+ (1500 lumens of light with a three hour run time).

The Serfas Thunderbolt headlight and taillight retail for $45 each and are available in seven different body colors (Black, White, Red, Blue, Pink, Green, Yellow). You should be able to buy this light at any bike shop—if they don’t have it in stock they can order it for you. These lights are also available from Amazon.com and many other online retailers.

 

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