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Dual Power Eyewear Dual SL2 Sunglasses

My final article for this year is going to be a list of the top five cycling products that I’ve reviewed in 2011. At the moment I do not know which five products will be on the list, but without any question the new Dual Eyewear Dual SL2 Sunglasses will definitely be there!

Dual Power Eyewear Dual SL2 Sunglasses

Dual Power Eyewear Dual SL2 Sunglasses

The simplest way to explain the Dual SL2 Sunglasses is to tell you that they are a great pair of sunglasses with a pair of reading glasses built-in. The reading glasses portion is available in three powers (1.5, 2.0, and 2.5). These sunglasses are incredibly lightweight (only 20 grams) and the shatterproof lenses are made of scratch-resistant polycarbonate. The glasses provide 100% UVA, UVB, and UVC protection. The rubber nose pieces on these glasses are perfect for cyclists—I’ve not had them slip a bit even on off-road trails. The lenses are available in two colors (smoke and brown). In addition to the SL2 Dual Eyewear offers two other models of sunglasses (V6, S4). Every pair comes with a nice storage bag/cleaning cloth.

My distance vision is a perfect 20/20, but I do need a bit of help reading fine print (8 point type or smaller), and in low light conditions. I can make out the words of a text-message on my iPhone, but I have trouble reading the very small type found in the maps application. The Dual SL2 Sunglasses look like regular sunglasses, but they have a barely noticeable magnification area built into the lower part of the lenses. What this means is that now you can read even the smallest print on your GPS, bike computer or cell phone without having to switch glasses!

The Dual SL2 Sunglasses (and the other two models) retail for $50 online, and I would highly recommend that you buy at least two pair. Once you have tried these on your bike you are going to want another pair for your car. After my first bike ride with these glasses I ordered my another pair the same day.

The highest bit of praise for these sunglasses came from a U.S. Marine (my youngest son). I had these glasses sitting on my desk when my son came in and picked them up. He doesn’t need the magnification area on the lenses, but when he tried them on he said, “These look and fit better than my Oakleys.” If you know anything about Marines, you know how much they love their expensive Oakley sunglasses!

Dual Power Eyewear is based on Boulder, Colorado. They offer a generous 30-day 100% satisfaction guarantee, but I doubt if you will ever need it—once you try these out you are going to love them!

 
 

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CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer (CC-VT100W)

The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer is a five-function entry-level bicycle computer (cyclocomputer) that does exactly what is it intended to do.

CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer (CC-VT100W)

CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer

Before I review this product I need to explain a few things first. I use Abvio Cyclemeter, an iPhone app, to record every ride I take and I keep my iPhone in my back jersey pocket during the entire ride. There are products you can buy that allow you to mount an iPhone on your handlebars, but if you keep your iPhone display turned on during a five-hour ride your battery will run dry long before you get home. I also don’t like that thought of having a rather expensive iPhone sitting on the handlebars—it seems like it would be in the perfect spot for total disaster if I crash.

In addition to the Abvio Cyclemeter I use a Garmin Edge 205 GPS on three of my bikes. My fourth bike has a CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer mounted on it. Can you guess why I don’t just get another Garmin mounting bracket for my fourth bike? Well, I ride all year-long, even when the temperatures drop to around zero. I’ve had three different Garmin GPS units and they have all stopped working during winter rides—their batteries just lose power in cold weather (sometimes in less than 45 minutes). Once the GPS unit warms up again everything is fine, but I just can’t use a GPS unit on my handlebars during the winter.

Last winter I got tired of having my GPS die during a ride, so I bought my first CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer, and I am sure that when my current Garmin GPS dies I will replace it with a CatEye Vectra. Since all the data about my ride is being recorded on my iPhone I just need the basic information displayed on a handlebar unit. Not only that, but I think Garmin products are seriously overpriced and their customer support is horrible. Their GPS units are not bad, but the software they use is an abomination.

The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer only has five basic functions (Speed, Maximum Speed, Distance, Odometer, and Clock). These functions are all displayed (or changed) by touching one rather large button. The unit comes with one standard mount that will work with either a stem and handlebar set-up. The two most common complaints about this unit are that it lacks an average speed reading and it does not give the elapsed time. These complaints are valid, but then again, this is a basic unit—it was never intended to do everything!

I was able to install this unit in about eight minutes, but I’ve installed several products like this before. I think a total novice could install it in under 15 minutes because the instructions are very easy to follow. True to its name, this unit is wireless. A small magnet is placed on your spokes and it communicates with a sensor you place on the front fork, and then the sensor relays the information to your Vectra Computer. This past winter I rode with this unit for over 400 miles on my snow bike, and the Vectra held up well though all the mud, snow, ice and road salt I took it through.

The CatEye Vectra Wireless Bike Computer (CC-VT100W) retails for around $45, but you can purchase it from Amazon.com for $39 and that price includes free shipping.

 
 

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Abvio Cyclemeter iPhone App

Abvio Cyclemeter iPhone App

Abvio Cyclemeter iPhone App

Last year I bought five or six GPS apps for my iPhone and was constantly disappointed—until I got Cyclemeter by Abvio. It’s not that Cyclemeter is just better than the other GPS apps, but it is so far advanced than the other apps that it doesn’t even belong in the same class.

Cyclemeter is the most user-friendly app you will find and it is easy to customize to suit your needs. I have mine set to “talk” to me every mile—a female voice interrupts my music to tell me my current average speed and elapsed time. You can have a lot of other information spoken to you, but this is all I need while I’m on the road. I ride with an Apple headphone so I can listen to music, but I cut off one of the earbuds (and wrapped the end with electrical tape) so I can still hear approaching cars (and dogs).

As soon as I finish my ride I click the stop button and Cyclemeter automatically sends an email to my wife and best friend to tell them all about my ride (miles, average speed, and a link to a map of my route). Again, there are many other options available, but this is I need. Cyclemeter also sends this information to my calendar application (iCal) so I can view the data on any of my desktop computers (all synced with Apple’s MobileMe, soon to be iCloud). You can also have your information published directly to Facebook or Twitter.

How accurate is Cyclemeter? As far as distance is concerned, it is incredibly accurate. Over the course of a 50 mile ride Cyclemeter will differ from my Garmin Edge 205 by less than a quarter of a mile. Part of this difference is due to the way I have my Garmin set up—any time I am traveling under 5 MPH the Garmin considers me to be stopped (this is a user controlled option). Accuracy for fastest speed is a different matter—the Cyclemeter app is never even close. This is the fault of Apple’s location services, not the Cyclemeter app. If you are really concerned about recording your fastest speed for each ride I would buy a cheap wireless bike computer (like the Cateye Vectra Wireless). If Apple ever fixes their location services for the iPhone this problem would be solved.

I have owned three different Garmin GPS units for my bikes and am certain I will never purchase a Garmin product again. It’s not just that Garmin units are overpriced, but their software stinks. Garmin has always treated Macintosh users (like me) as second class citizens and their customer support is miserable. By way of contrast, customer support at Abvio is among the best I have ever seen at any software company. A few months ago had a problem with Cyclemeter because of a conflict with iOS 4.3 for iPhone (the problem is now resolved). When I wrote to Abvio about the problem one of their tech guys, Kevin Wallace, spent a LOT of time with me getting the problem taken care of. The service was first-class and a lot more than anyone could have reasonably expected.

Cyclemeter requires an iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, or an iPhone 4. The app is only $4.99 and is available for immediate download via iTunes. Folks, if this app sold for $50 it would still be worth every penny. At $4.99 it is a steal!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2011 in Product Reviews

 

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