Sinewave Cycles Beacon: First Look

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Sinewave Cycles Beacon mounted on my Salsa Cycles Fargo Ti for testing

Hi, my name is Sam, and I’m a Dynoholic.  (group: Hi, Sam) Today I’m here to tell my story of Dynoholism to help some of you out there who may be struggling with this sickness (or wanting to develop it) too.  I’ve spent many years searching out the perfect light to pair with both my hub of choice (always Schmidt SON28, fyi), and intended use.  I’ve used Supernova E3 Triples, B&M units, the Luxos lights with built in USB charging and remote switching (great units for touring/commuting, not great for off road riding), and most recently the K-Lite system, which is my favorite light/USB system for off road/long distance use, although it had one big drawback – two external boxes that require finding a home on your bike (newer units have a smaller usb conversion unit, made by Sinewave)  I’ve also used the Top Cap USB unit and Sinewave Revolution in conjunction with non-usb capable light systems to give extra hours to my electronics (I will be reviewing that here soon, also).  All in all, my Dynoholism has led me to where I am currently: testing the Sinewave Beacon.

Sinewave Cycles is a company based out of Cambridge, MA (also home to places you may have heard of like Harvard and MIT), that designs USB Dyno-power conversion products which are manufactured in the USA.  Somewhere along the line these fine folks decided that they would skip to the chase and incorporate their proven products/tech into an all-weather light unit of their own.  My first impression is that they pretty much nailed it.

 

The “Need To Get On My Bike So Here’s Some Quick Bullet Points” List:

  • The Beacon is an all-in-one, completely waterproof unit sporting 3 led bulbs creating a symmetrical beam rated at 750 lumens.  The innards are epoxy potted and the external connectors have gold contacts for corrosion free performance in the worst of conditions.
  • The USB out on the light, and coaxial input that, when run with the supplied coax to USB cable, allow you to power the light with the same battery you are charging.  This is perhaps the most impressive piece of new tech for dyno lights since the advent of USB charging.  This means that when you are riding, you can either select to “charge only” or “shared power” (splits power between the lighting and USB charging) and your external battery will charge.  If you stop or get into some heavy technical trails/steep climbs that would normally relegate you to relying on the stand light (if available on your unit), the battery that you are charging will act as a power source and kick the Beacon back up into full on light mode.  WHAT WHAT? Yes, you no longer need to worry about the light situation when you slow down.
  • Did I mention that it is all-in-one, so no external units to find homes for.  Makes for very clean mounting, and if you add quick connects and use a mount like the Supernova handlebar mount, it’s very easy to switch between bikes.  One unit can be used for all of your Dyno-hub equipped rides!
  • Not only is it potentially easy to switch between dyno bikes, but with the Battery Input you can throw it on a standard hub bike and use an external battery to power the light! You can replace your battery powered or rechargeable lights with the Beacon. It’s essentially a do-all light.  I will be testing the light on battery-only run time with both a 10,000 and 16,500 mA battery in the near future.
  • The Beacon DOES NOT come with a mount.  It’s compatible with all standard 10mm dyno light mounts from Supernova, B&M, etc, which you need to source yourself.  This was initially a strike against it in my book, but after choosing my own mount (Supernova Handlebar Mount), it became apparent that this is a very smart way to do things.  Sinewave need not anticipate users’ mounting needs and carry or manufacturer a wide range of solutions when they already exist in the real world.  Smart.
  • Comes in multiple colors or custom combinations.
  • Two-ish week lead time, as they are built to order. My unit arrived in about 8 days.
  • The list price of the Beacon is $350, which may seem a little pricey for some.  After my first few weeks of use, the value of this unit has proven more than its cost.  The Beacon is a super-versatile unit

This Dynoholic has high hopes and heady plans for the Beacon. More on that later…

CNB

ESI RCT Wrap: First Blood

ESI RCT Wrap: First Blood

9146g8ituul-_sy550_I recently decided to bring my Salsa Fargo out of retirement, the poor babe has been hanging on the basement wall for over a year with no rides.  It needed a tune, some cleaning, was getting some new-to-it wheels from the Warbird (which was getting sold), and it definitely needed new bar tape.  I had been running the same orange Lizard Skinz 2.5 tape on the Ragley Luxy bars since the bike was built up brand new, and it was pretty ratty looking after a lot of gravel miles logged back in the day.  I run Lizard Skins on all of my drop bar bikes, it’s has a lot of strengths, but it is time for a change.

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ESI’s RCT comes in an array of colors to match most builds/tastes.

When building up the Mukluk last year, there was a bit of a grip conundrum.  What grips would work best on Jones H-bars while running a Rohloff Grip Shift setup?  After some intense research the ESI Super Chunky silicone grips seemed to be the best for the application at hand.  After a few hundred fat biking miles, they have proven to be tough, comfortable, and look just a good as they did on day one.  They also come in crazy colors, and ESI will even put together custom color combinations.  Did I mention that all of their grips are also made in the USA?  Big bonus.

So… when it came time to choose new bar wraps for the Fargo, taking into consideration the needs of a rough-service bike packing setup, I thought it was time to give ESI’s RCT (Road, Cyclocross, Triathlon) bar wraps a try.  They are 100% silicone, reversible, and are available in the same selection of colors as ESI’s MTB grips.  I have high hopes for the RCT.

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ESI RCT wrap on the Fargo, Silicone Tape on the Aero Bars. 

Wrapping the bars with RCT is a breeze, since they are reversible there is no “tape side” paper to test your sanity (my messy shop floor is also thankful for this), and you can stretch or not stretch the wrap to fit the thickness needed at each hand position/bar bend (LS advises against stretching their tape, regular cork can slide around when not stretched enough).  The bevel in the tape gives you a close-to-exact guide for wrapping also, so it’s even easier to get a nice, even look.

The kit comes with two strips of ESI’s self sealing Silicone Tape (seen here also being used as wrap for the aero bars) to finish off the wrap job. It’s a nice touch, as most companies give you that weak ass branded adhesive strip that usually ends up on my shop floor in favor of the old classic electrical tape. I’ve used this silicone tape to secure dyno hub wiring, wrap parts of frames to guard against chipping/damage, shimming light mounts, I would strongly recommend keeping a roll or two around your home shop, it’s as invaluable as electrical tape without all the tape residue.

 

First Impressions Bullet Point List of TL,DR:

  • RCT has a slightly thicker, more comfortable feel than other wrap.  After the first 200 miles of mixed surface use, it has kept my hands happier than before.
  • It retains all of its grip in rain.  Last week I purposely rode through torrential downpour conditions to test, and RCT more than passed the…uh…test.  Part of the rain test was over some very sketch paved trail to dirt construction zone to trail to dirt, and maintaining control through these abrupt and wet/muddy changes was no problem at all.
  • I personally dig the matte finish of the wrap. It blends in more readily to the hoods of the shifters.  It’s also real stealthy, which is extremely important.
  • RCT is reversible, so you can conceivably cause wear to one side (or dirty up the brighter colors in the line), then rewrap the bars leaving them looking fresh AF.
  • Silicone Tape instead of usual crappy strip of branded tape to finish off the bar wrap job. A very nice touch.
  • Price is in line with other premium brands.
  • The supplied bar end plugs actually stay in the bar ends. Mind blown, really.
  • EASY TO INSTALL
  • MADE IN THE USA
  • Did I mention that it’s comfortable? Settling in to the bars for the first time was like a true “baby bear’s bed” moment.  I didn’t expect the comfort level to be that high.

 

I’m looking forward to tearing these up for many hundreds of miles to come, I’ll let you know how things go!

 

CNB

Disclaimer: CNB purchased this product for personal use and testing, and has in no way been compensated for any writing regarding this product*.

*Disclaimer Disclaimer: The preceding disclaimer was in no way CNB fishing for free stuff, or any other type of compensation. Wink.