19 July 2010

bikefix Initial Review: Stem CAPtain thermometer & clock

While we're not 'unboxing' or 'first look' types here at bikefix, seeing as the Stem CAPtain is one of the most commented-on accessories I've installed in a long time, I figured that we'd do a quick post. The Stem CAPtain idea is a simple one. Replace headset top cap with a clock. Or thermometer. Or compass. Even a picture frame. It's a bit of a why didn't I think of that kind of thing- It's not like there's anything else that needs to go there.

We first heard about Stem CAPtain from a regular bikefix reader. A small Boulder-based company, Stem CAPtain are built around a distaste for bike computers and watches and one slick idea. The reader put Stem CAPtain in touch and they soon sent out a couple of CAPtains for us to check out.

The Stem CAPtains make the best use of those little prize eggs we've seen in ages (well, beyond prizes). Seeing as I already had a clock in my bike computer, I wasted no time mounting the thermometer to my most-used mountain bike. Installation was simple- the thermometer pops right out of its base, which replaces the stem cap. Plan on 5 minutes- with breaks.

This is one of the most commented-on addition that I've made to my bike in ages. In just a couple of weeks, the Stem CAPtain attracted as much interest and as many compliments as a $995 Crank Brothers wheelset. People love it.

The thermometer itself seems to work just fine. Being black (white-faced thermometers are available), it does seem susceptible to solar gain and can read a bit high here in the desert- but in the woods it seems accurate to me. Maybe it's not the most useful information to have on hand, but it does lend some credibility to fish stories about hot summer days, cold snaps in the mountains, and below-freezing late night 24-hour race laps. The analog clock is a bit harder for me to read than a digital bike computer, but is undeniably classier and would be perfect on a single speed or fixed gear. It's on the bike of a computer-averse tester and we'll be back with his comments in a bit. The compass seems as though it would be the most valuable version in the backcountry, and Stem CAPtain are working on a new model, which we're excited to try.

At $25, the Stem CAPtain is a clean, unobtrusive way to bring time, temperature, or directional information along. It's a slick idea and (this has to be the first time I've said this about anything) would make a great gift for a riding buddy or chronically late cycling spouse. We'll let you know how they hold up!

marc

www.stemcaptain.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

note - compass is nicely made but will not work unless level (which no headtubes are). They are in the process of designing a spherical compass to work at all angles.

Chris