gadget review


  1. You may recall that a few months back, I bought a Gerber Recoil multi-tool to replace my Leatherman Wave and found the Gerber to be sorely lacking. Well, the new fall line is out now, and I just picked up a Leatherman Charge Ti, and it is the Best Tool Evar. It's very much like the Wave, except that all the interior tools lock, and it has a replacable-bit socket set. The scissors seem better too. It is truly a thing of beauty.
  2. I also picked up a Hobson bike seat, which has independent ass-cheek suspension. It's very comfortable! I've had other split-seats before, but they've always still been closed at the front; this is a lot better. Your package gets to just dangle in the breeze.

  3. Please STFU about the open-a-Kryptonite-lock-with-a-bic-pen thing. I know. I know. I know. I've been sent that like fifty times already. I'm getting more mail about that than I got about the fucking casino spammer. Knock it off already. (And no, I doubt that's how.)

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24 Responses:

  1. gfish says:

    I'm pretty happy with my new Charge XTi. Now I just need to make an adapter for the socket sets, so it can take normal bits -- it would be a shame not to be able to use my security bit set with it. The nice thing about the sockets is that you can finally add tools without too much trouble. It would be nice to make a replacement for the missing awl, and I've often wanted a little two-prong fork.

    • jwz says:

      I decided on the Ti instead of the XTi because I use the scissors a lot. Though the crimper on the XTi was tempting.

      It is ironic that the socket set doesn't come with a bit that can un-do the hinge bolts on the tool itself. Where's the introspection!

  2. brad says:

    Neat bike seat!

  3. detritus says:

    I still have my Wave so I don't know if i *need* one of the new Charge models, but I am curious about them..

    How much smoother is the action on the exterior knives?

    I usually carry a micra too so I'm OK on the scissors front, and I kind of like the gut hook on the XTi.

    • jwz says:

      It's easy to open the Ti knives one-handed, but I can't do that with my old Wave (maybe the Wave is all gunked up, though.)

  4. carraway54 says:

    I have resolved to use the phrase "independent ass-cheek suspension" as often as humanly possible.

  5. macguyver says:

    The SOG Multitools are also worth a look:

    http://www.sogknives.com/para.htm for one

  6. That bike seat disturbs me -- I can far too easily imagine an accident that would rip your junk right off.

  7. movingfinger says:

    From Three Men on the Bummel:

    He [Harris] said: "It has been an idea of mine that the right saddle is to be found."

    I said: "You give up that idea; this is an imperfect world of joy
    and sorrow mingled. There may be a better land where bicycle
    saddles are made out of rainbow, stuffed with cloud; in this world
    the simplest thing is to get used to something hard. There was
    that saddle you bought in Birmingham; it was divided in the middle,
    and looked like a pair of kidneys."

    He said: "You mean that one constructed on anatomical principles."

    "Very likely," I replied. "The box you bought it in had a picture
    on the cover, representing a sitting skeleton--or rather that part
    of a skeleton which does sit."

    He said: "It was quite correct; it showed you the true position of
    the--"

    I said: "We will not go into details; the picture always seemed to
    me indelicate."

    He said: "Medically speaking, it was right."

    "Possibly," I said, "for a man who rode in nothing but his bones.
    I only know that I tried it myself, and that to a man who wore
    flesh it was agony. Every time you went over a stone or a rut it
    nipped you; it was like riding on an irritable lobster. You rode
    that for a month."

    "I thought it only right to give it a fair trial," he answered.

  8. ivorjawa says:

    You don't do hardcore distance, do you?

    That kind of saddle is going to be more comfortable for trips of up to five miles or so, probably. But for anything longer, you'll find that it cuts circulation in your hamstrings, you cramp up, and you can't ride any more. I can't imagine trying to do even 20 miles on that thing.

    The way a bicycle saddle is supposed to work is, your weight rests on your 'sit-bones'
    (ischial tuberosities) -- the little loops on the bottom of your pelvis bone. That way, you're not compressing any muscles.

    You might want to check out the Terry Liberator (men's).

    Wider bike saddles are bunk. I find the narrow saddle on my road bike much more comfortable than the wider one (not a "wide saddle" by any means, but wider than the road bike's) on my mountain bike for any real distance.

    • jwz says:

      I've had a seat with an almost identical shape to that "Liberator", and I found it no more comfortable than the normal came-with-the-bike seat; it was still a nad tormentor. The Hobson isn't as wide as it looks; most of the pressure is on the inside edge under the pelvis bones.

      I also have a stationary bike (it's my "watching tv" accessory) and it has a super wide seat, which I absolutely hate. I've just ordered an adapter so that I can put a regular bike seat on it (the wide seat it came with doesn't have a normal post-mount.)

      • ivorjawa says:

        Hmm. The Terrys are supposed to be the be-all end-all for comfort, but if you've had bad experiences with a cut-out-center seat, I suppose the Hobson will at least be a worthwhile experiment.

        The best choice might be something that looks like the liberator, but without the horn, so it'd look like two narrow-ish triangles flying in close formation.

        What kind of stationary do you have? I looked at a Schwinn IC Pro, a Giant spinner, and a couple of trainers today, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to buy the IC Pro. It uses a normal saddle mount and normal cranks, so you can put a real saddle and clipless pedals on it.

        I shall also be using it while watching TV -- because it's getting dark out now and there's no time to ride after work.
        (Of course, you live in California, where it's always dark at 6 PM, so you probably have no sympathy for us northerners at all. BUT OUR DARK IS COLD, DAMNIT.)

        • jwz says:

          See, I think that "two narrow-ish triangles flying in close formation" kinda describes the Hobson, except that each side of the triangle is also independently sprung.

          I've got a Vision E3600HRT. It's self-powered and really quiet.

  9. romulusnr says:

    I guess you need to get on the BikeTraq list.

  10. krick says:

    Here's a gadget that you just HAVE to own. I have one and it rocks.
    I use it when I'm camping and everybody that sees it wants it.

    Ka-Bar Hobo Knife/Fork/Spoon 3-in-1 Utensil Kit

    http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jhtml?id=0003841513857a


    https://www.kabar.com/product_detail.jsp?productNumber=1300

  11. belgand says:

    So how are the bits handled? Do they sit in some small holder inside the Leatherman or are they seperate and thus easily lost and hard to find when you need them?

    My Victorinox Cybertool fell out of my pocket a few months back and I've been thinking about getting a replacement for a while now.

    • ggerrietts says:

      Timely post. I had been just earlier yesterday looking through the various and sundry Gerber and Leatherman offerings, looking to replace my Swiss Army Cybertool. I had tentatively settled on the Ti and was moved to purchase by your glowing words. So far I'm pretty pleased.

      My first couple hours tell me that I'll have much better use out of the blades on the Leatherman -- they lock, and they open a lot easier, two things I really had issues with on the Cybertool. Naturally, the pliers are considerably superior to the craptacular set in the cybertool. The Cybertool's fold-out bitdriver arm was very nice, though, and I can see that the bitdriver in the leatherman won't reach into quite so many tight spaces as the Cybertool did. The bit holster that comes with the Leatherman is external, which has up and down sides compared with the self-contained Cybertool: upside, it fits a lot more, downside it hasta be kept in the sheath. Also, I used the hell out of the bitdriver in the Cybertool, a fact which was made easier for my gnawed-down fingernails by the ease with which the bar could be grasped and pulled out. The bitdriver in the Leatherman requires a fingernail or some other prying implement to retrieve. Last but not least, the Leatherman lacks a corkscrew. That was a hard one for me to let go, but I am pretty rarely

      So, there's up and there's down. I liked my cybertool, but found the tools to be too lightweight for a variety of tasks, and the blades challenging to operate (which may or may not be the fault of the knife itself). The Leatherman gives better pliers, better blades, and better selection of bits. The Cybertool is a little easier to carry around, and the bitdriver's got some bonuses to it.

      Personally, I'll stick with the Leatherman. It implements more of my use cases.

  12. kyronfive says:

    Do you lock your bike with multiple locks? I have a Schwinn "Wannabe Kryptonite" and a regular chain lock. Both could be broken with enough effort but in tandem i suspect no thief wants to spend the time to get through both. Also, i rarely park my bike in public out of sight for more than 10-20 minutes at a time, which helps.

  13. jakichan says:

    From their site it looks like they updated the Wave as well and now all of it's blades lock. But the Charge, of course, rules because anything with Ti in it rules.

    • travisd says:

      Possibly the operative word there is "blades" - the Wave's 4 exterior devices - two cutting blades, the saw, and the file - have alway positively locked. The interior devices though - screwdrivers, scissors - don't positively lock. They just hit a medium-strength detent and rely on you closing the handle of the tool to prevent a collapsing tool from doing hand damage.

      Yu might be right, but I doubt if they would update an existing tool like that.