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The Coolest Tool You Own?

Prot%20Tool%2004.jpg Having worked on bikes for years, I am used to handling tools. I always find those 50-something-function folding multi-tools to be disappointing, having a lot features that are just not practical to use. Give me something simple, but beautifully made. I have a 3-piece set of headset/BB/pedal wrenches made by Shimano that surpass even Campagnolo. However, the set is just about obsolete when dealing with today’s bikes. But I just got the coolest tool out there.

It’s called the Pro Tool Super and it’s marketed in the United States by Euro-Asia Imports. But the back story is that it was originally marketed in Japan years ago by legendary keirin builder San Rensho. Nowadays, it’s made by their successor Makino.

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What’s so great about it? It’s a track bike specific tool that tightens 15mm axle-fixing nuts, removes/install track hub lockrings AND cogs, as well as adjust MKS-style axle tugs. The coolest part is the cog removal without a chain whip. The lockring end has a slot that allows you to hook it over the teeth of the cog, though you are limited to cogs about 14-16 tooth. The Pro Tool Super is solid chunk of chromed steel satisfaction. It is the track racers dream, eliminating all other tools from the racer’s kit other than a couple odd Allen wrenches. But at nearly $150, it also be a source of concern. While I’m circling the banking, I hope that no one forgets to put my Pro Tool Super back in my kit if they borrow it.

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So what’s the coolest tool you own?

And just for kicks, what the crappiest?



Cyclocross and cycling culture video from Barton Park

Dan Kaufman from CrankMyChain, a unique tricycle powered video blogger from Portland captured this video of some of the hot cyclocross action out at Barton Park this last weekend.

Not exactly comprehensive coverage, but Dan’s site is great for its video driven take on cycling culture. For example check out his next post on the badass challenge results – winner gets a purse (literally) for riding out to the races, racing, and riding back home. Give Dan’s site a good once over, there’s some great stuff there.



Batavus Intermezzo

We asked Tom a daily commuter and reader to ride the Intermezzo and blog about it for us. Below is his review.

How to get more people using bikes for transportation? Convenience. And what could be more convenient than a Dutch designed city style bike? I reached a stopping point in my work and decided to take the Intermezzo out for a spin. Let’s see: I’ll need to put on some shorts and a cycling jersey and change into my cycling shoes. Wait, this isn’t that kind of bike. It’s a come-as-you-are kind of bike. OK. So out to the garage, grab a Velcro band to keep my pants cuff out of the chain. Hey, look at that: full chain guard. So all I need to grab is a U-lock and my keys. What’s that? Built in lock? And the key is captive until you lock it? So all I need is my helmet (yes, it’s the law here).

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Down the big hill to the beach. Yikes! I hope the roller brakes hold. At the bottom of the hill I need to cross a busy boulevard and I’m in the wrong gear. Ah, no problem for the NuVinci. At the park I stop to show the Intermezzo to a few friends. Check that out one says; it’s even got a Batavus branded tire pump. Good thing too as the valve stems are like nothing I ever seen before. They are not presta and they’re not schrader. Maybe it’s some new European standard that has yet to make it big here. How about this: you can adjust the handle bar and headset angle without tools. There is simple cam release on the headset. Think “tilt-steering”. I’m not sure it was such a good idea to try this out while I was riding.

I took a ride along the sea wall as the sun was setting. The hub dynamo powered headlight came on automatically as the daylight faded. Interestingly it shut off as soon as I came to a stop. Isn’t there supposed to be some sort of capacitor that keeps it lit when I stop at an intersection?

Heading home meant going back up the big hill. Twist the shifter to drop down to the lowest range. Wow, more than a full turn to go from highest to lowest range. That’s nice when I want to fine tune it to find just the right ratio. When I need to down shift for a hill climb it’s kind of annoying. As for that low range: it worked just fine for the climb up the short ramp from the sea wall to the street. For climbing the big hill it just wasn’t low enough.

Summary: This bike is convenient; just jump on and go. This bike would be great as a rental in a relatively flat seaside town. Here in hilly Seattle I need lower gearing and more substantial brakes.

The Intermezzo is available from your local Independent Bike Dealer and the MSRP is $1699.00



34 Seconds of Bike Lane

Texas style bike lanes are featured in the fifteenth episode of the Huggacast. I think this is a token bike lane painted to get federal funding. It’s about 34 seconds long.

What’s the most ridiculous bike lane you’ve ridden?

Bike Hugger was in San Antonio test riding the Modal, a travel bike concept that folds and toggles between single, fixed, and geared modes. Besides this ridiculously short lane, San Antonio did have a good system of paths and roads on the Mission to Mission ride.

Update

Google Videos ongoing sketchiness results in sometimes the 34 second bike lane is available and sometimes not. You can download and view it from directly from our servers.



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