Stuff that Sucks

Here’s my quick list of stuff that I’m still pissed for spending money on. I’m sure there’s plenty more out there, but here’s my start. Please jump in on the comments and let us know the items that stung you.

Red LED blinker Rear Blinky LED Bike Light

I should have known when I saw it was from Hong Kong Imports, but at under a $1 - I had to buy 12. I put one on each of my bikes, on by messenger bags, on my kids stroller. Why not? - it was only a buck. Turns out the thing sucks - mostly the mounting hardware. I’m sure it’s fine on a wooden velodrome, but any roads that have, say - a bump, they take off. I think I have 4 left on my messenger bags. The rest are strewn throughout the greater Seattle area - probably near a tree root or a pothole. Instead: Planet Bike Superflash

Illuminute Tights

Performance used to sell illuminite tights. Now it seems they’ve moved to leg warmers instead which probably aren’t as bad. The tights were the worst fitting, baggy in the crotch, unwearable clothing item I’ve ever used. I ride a Fizik Arione which has only a moderately pointy saddle, but whenever I’d try to sit back down from climbing my tights would catch. That sucks. Instead: Hincapie Leg Warmers

Polar Speed Sensor

The Polar Speed Sensor sucks. I give it credit for having user-replaceable batteries, but otherwise they are finicky at best. I have 3, and only 1 works with any consistency. The issue is - your HRM stops your riding when the speed sensor kicks off (whenever it wants it seems) and then I’m left with nothing. This is especially annoying during intervals! Instead: PowerTap!

Topeak White Light

I really liked this little guy for a while. It was quick and easy to take on and off a bike. I left them in my bags so I always had at least some light with me. Then it died. The problem with this thing is, when you turn it on - no matter how little juice it has it’ll show full power. When I check it I think I’m good, but then 4 minutes later it fades to a dim nothing and I’m flying blind out there. The light faces forward so you have no sense of your lights strength.
Instead: Sigma Sport Micro Light

Hurricane Micro Mini Pump

I probably don’t even need to say anything here. Micro pumps suck. The only thing they provide is the mojo to keep flats away since you are carrying a pump. If you have to actually use it - good luck. Instead: CO2

Bontrager Race Select Disc Wheelset

I LOVE my Trek Portland. I HATE the wheels. I’m constrained to a 130 OLD spacing for my rear wheel which leaves me with very few options for disc-compatible hub configurations. These ones are not good. To be fair - I brought them back to the shop and Trek sent me a brand new rim after mine started to crack, but wheels are not something you want to think of on your every-day commute bike. The spokes self-loosen every couple days. I probably average a wobbly finger-loose spoke a week. Ugh. Instead: I’ve yet to find an answer here! - Help!

Nashbar Cantilever Brakes

I went cheap parting together my Single Speed cross bike. I shouldn’t have on the brakes. The Nashbar brakes were some amazing deal, but the springs are so weak that the levers don’t even return. Adjusting them is a total pain, and the stopping power sucks. Instead: Tektro Oryx Brakes

Got anything that drives you nuts, or totally fails your expectations? Comment away.



12 Comments

WHOA! This comment thing works!

I hate it so when I catch my tights or shorts on the nose of my saddle.

The things I’ve regretted buying the most have both been pumps that are supposed to work on both Presta and Schraeder with a single head.  The first one I had was Performance brand so I thought that was the problem.  Then I got a Bontrager one.  From now on I’ll get a pump with just Presta and use the Schraeder head I ripped off another pump as an adapter.

if it makes you feel any better, I lost my superflash blinkie the other day.  25 bucks later, I’m on my second one in three months. 

Many disc hubs now come with axles that can be swapped.  Try looking for an XT hub or something that your local mechanic will swap to 130mm.

Arleigh - I asked about that with my shop and they told me there was too much “stuff” in there to go to a 130.  They could remove some stuff from the non-drive side, but that the location of the disc rotor would not longer fit the caliper mount.

PowerTap is now making a disc hub (also 135) and they also confirmed that it can’t be re-spaced to 130.  Not sure I want to spread a Aluminum frame.

I bought a Serfas tail light/headlight combo pack for both my and my girlfriend’s bikes, and on our first ride with them, we hit the same bump and they both popped off their mounting plate.  Neither one works now.

I hate external bearing bottom brackets on fixie bikes. My Gary Fisher (which came with a flip-flop hub, and thus was clearly intended to be ridden as a fixie) has one of those new-fanged bottom brackets, and the cranks self loosen any time you pedal backwards (ie braking). I had my left crank come entirely off on an early ride before I firmly tightened it down and applied purple lock-tite. I have to friggen tighten them every day. Stupid design.

My 1970s era fixie had some sort of funny french or swiss bottom bracket that included a lock ring that screwed down in the opposite direction as the bottom bracket. Very solid. RIP bike.

Dan - The SuperFlash has a little “click” that it needs to do in order to seat on the mount just right.  It takes a little extra push to get it on right.  I’ve never had an issue since figuring that out, and I put my bike on the front of the bus a lot.

Nate - I run a mtn external bearing FSA crank on my fixed gear without issue.  Then again - I have brakes so I don’t do a lot of braking with my legs (backpedalling).  I really like them, but I guess that’s more a use issue.

Oh - here’s one that I noticed tonight:

Old SockGuy socks.  When they are new, they are perfect.  Just thick enough, and tight, and slightly confining like it’s doing something for my foot.  After a couple (hundred) washes the top elastic goes limp and I’ve got this horrible gaping sock at my ankle.  I guess that’s just the indicator of when they should become shop rags.

Topeak Mini Morph pump. Bought it because of the flexible hose, figuring I wouldn’t break the valve stem while pumping it 500+ times to inflate a tire to a reasonable pressure. Also liked the little fold-out foot pad. That footpad broke the very first time I used the pump. Then the pump flew off it’s bracket on a bumpy road. A car ran over it before I had a chance to pick it up… Switched to CO2.

Planet Bike Beamer 3 LED Bicycle. Rainwater made its way into the switch and since then the light stays on all the time. Had to take it apart to turn it off and to reassemble to turn it on. Either the switch never dried out or got permament damage. I now use it as a paperweight.

Andrew - you’re in luck.  Bikhugger is getting a brand new shipment of custom bike hugger sockguy socks next week. The new colors will match the bike hugger jersey perfectly. Look for them on Amazon soon!

Thanks Pam - my “Old” socks are circa 2002, so old really is old and certainly should be tossed.  My BikeHugger socks have plenty of life - as modeled by my little hugger.

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