Review: Bicycle Commuter Gear From Serfas, Zoic & DZR
Since winter arrived, aside from hitting the trainers we’ve had time to gather thoughts on commuter gear ranging from clothing to lights. A couple weeks back Tyler reviewed clothing from Levis, Outlier, and Mission Workshop, some fantastic gear suited perfectly for use both on and off the bike. This week we have three more items that we’ve given the go on the commuter bikes – Serfas Thunderbolt Lights, the Torrid Fleece Hoodie from Zoic, and DZR’s new slip-on Jetlag Nero footwear.
No stranger to bike lights, Serfas released their new gooey usb-rechargeable Thunderbolt lights in July. The set looked pretty nice when we first announced them, and when they arrived at the office we couldn’t resist giving them a spin. Click through for more and reviews of Zoic and DZR…
Both are encased in a highly water resistant silicone body.The rear light packs 35 lumens, the headlight 90. That’s a significant amount of light for urban use. Pretty standard to lights nowadays, each has four settings – high beam, low beam, and two blinkies, one of those being conservative on the battery and a lower light option, yet still bright enough to attract the attention of any pedestrian or motorist.
Though the Serfas lights don’t completely illuminate the road like many higher-end commuter lights, 90 lumens on the front and 35 on the rear emits plenty of light for safety. The lithium-ion recharegeable batteries pack enough juice for virtually any night ride or commute.
Run time is 1.5 hours with high beam, 6.5 with low beam, 3.5 on the high blink and 9 hours on low blink. Weight is 50 grams. A micro 15 led strip emits a non directional beam that’s pretty darn impressive for the price of the lights.
Silicone straps are super adjustable, seem very durable, can be crisscrossed and wrapped in different ways on different parts of the bike. They’re easy to remove from the body of the light, which is convenient but consequently comes with the hazard that they can fall out of pockets easily or be misplaced. Good thing is, if you lose them or they break over time, Serfas sells replacement straps for $2.50 on their website.
The Serfas Thunderbolt set has attracted decent attention on both the commuter bikes and road rides from fellow cyclists. The low light setting drops the rear just enough to be suitable for group road rides in the evening, so as not to blind the cyclist behind you. On high it’ll keep you seen and get you home even if you’re alone. Battery life has tested to the full quoted life and these seem a viable competitor to those other gooey lights on the market. Plus they come in rockin’ multicolors to match your bike – black, white, red, blue, pink, green, and yellow in front and rear.
Zoic Torrid Fleece Hoodie
Bicycle commuting in winter boils down to planning and preparation around the weather. This mentality spans from the tires on a bicycle to the clothes on your back. When it comes to winter commuter outerwear, hoodies are generally my go-to. If the jacket doesn’t have a hood, it always feels somewhat lacking. Especially when there’s a sudden temperature drop.
We received Zoic’s Torrid fleece hoodie January of this year. A pre-production model, it’s a tad bit different aesthetically than what’s offered now but still packs the same fit and features. The rear pocket is a full zip and measures 9″, plenty big enough to fit a book/nook, or a small grocery run. A tiny media pocket on the breast features a headphone jack that’ll hold small mp3 players and is just large enough for an iPhone (though a very tight fit).
A micro-windowpane pattern channels moisture away from skin while offering a stylish design. The soft fabric is just heavy enough to hold its own in chilly weather and lightweight enough to provide a great base layer and hood for shell jackets. Zippers throughout the jacket are low profile and lightweight with grippy silicone pulls.
Though they didn’t cut the rear lower than the front, as is standard in many bike-centric uppers, they cut the entire hoodie long enough to provide coverage while hunched over the bike.
This is my first long sleeve piece from Zoic and I found it fit perfectly. In size large it was a tad small for Tyler who generally wears a large and was the model for our summer gear roundup if you’re looking for size comparison. It fit me great, though at 6’1″ my upper is relatively slim for my height. When the weather became too cold to wear the Torrid by itself, the sweat-wicking fabric proved helpful under heavy jackets and the lightweight Endura Urban Shell. With very heavy use it’s held up with virtually no wear for almost a year. The only part of the jacket that did show wear was the shoestring-like drawstring on the hood due to too many dryer cycles and it proved an easy fix.
Zoic offers the Torrid in size S-XL in Castle Grey, Blue, and Black for $75. In addition to the Torrid, Zoic has a ton of fresh new gear for 2013, something we’ll be previewing in January.
DZR’s Jetlag Nero
This year at Interbike DZR’s new shoes caught our eye for what seemed to be a seamless blend of function and fashion. When DZR officially released the Jetlag Nero last month, we received a test pair. As DZR claims these are the first mass produced slip-on SPD shoes. With a recessed cleat and gum sole they’re designed for a hybrid of off/on bike use. A co-molded nylon powerplate reinforced with metal transgresses the sole to provide adequate stiffness while riding. Off the bike, it’s flexy enough to allow the foot to bend.
Despite looking stylish, I was initially skeptical of how comfortable and viable they’d be for riding considering the single strap retention system. Essentially, the retention system is a seatbelt sewn with velcro. The strap conceals an elastic band and binds the shoe together. To my surprise, when I actually got out on the bike, the Jetlag Nero felt phenomenal and never left me craving more foot retention. The strap could be stretched to limit side-to-side foot movement entirely, very similar to triathlon shoes. Granted, I wouldn’t take them on a competitive road or mountain ride, but they’re great at what they’re meant for.
I rigged them with Crankbrothers Eggbeaters cleats and haven’t had the slightest issue clipping in or out. While walking the cleats are recessed enough into the sole to avoid clicking the floor while walking.
A word on sizing: While discussing sizing with DZR, they convinced me to drop down a size as their shoes run a bit big. I’m sized 46 in most cycling shoes minus the Louis Garneau Team Carbon in which I’m 47. In the Jetlag Nero, I’m a 45 and I completely agree with DZR. Size down. A size down they’re snug enough to be comfortable with casual socks made with medium to thick fabric. Though with super thin cycling socks they leave me craving a tighter fit in the toes.
I’ve worn this pair for a month and they’re shaping up to be my favorite commuter cycling shoe. Designed for a casual rider, they’re not for everyone, but what they do offer is a comfy low-profile shoe for use on and off the bike. They retail for $95 in EU sizes 37-47 at DZR’s website.