Nikon Charges Into the Action Camera Market with the 360-Degree KeyMission 360

As one who previously created 360 degree virtual tours, I am often annoyed by the chosen viewpoint of many POV cameras. If you’re like me this technology is a breath of fresh air. Nikon has good experience with 180 degree fisheye lenses so I can expect this to be pretty cool! Photo John has a great preview and some sample footage.

With the New KeyMission 360, Consumers Can Capture and Share an Exciting, Uniquely Immersive Perspective of Their Life and Passions

LAS VEGAS, NV – Today, Nikon Inc. announced its entry into the action camera market with the development of an exciting lineup of products that build on Nikon’s legendary excellence in optical technology and imaging innovation. The first in the lineup will be the Nikon KeyMission 360 a rugged camera capable of recording true 360-degree video in 4K UHD allowing users to share new perspectives and explore imagery like never before.

KeyMission360_front_right.lowThe Nikon KeyMission 360 features an image sensor and lens on opposite sides of the device, with images from each combining to create a single immersive, ultra-high-definition 360-degree video and still image. A terrific companion for a wide range of travel, sports or when an adventure takes a turn off the beaten path, the camera is designed be easy to use and withstand the elements. Waterproof (approx. 100 ft./30m), and ready to stand up to dust, shock and low temperatures, the KeyMission 360 also features electronic Vibration Reduction (VR), enabled through applications during playback, that reduces the effects of camera shake to help produce sharp and crisp video quality.

Nikon will exhibit reference models of the KeyMission 360 at the Nikon booth at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) from Wednesday, January 6 to Saturday, January 9, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The KeyMission 360, the first of Nikon’s lineup of action cameras, along with a variety of dedicated accessories, will officially be released in Spring 2016. For more information about the KeyMission 360 and other Nikon products, please visit

About Nikon

Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is a world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology; globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for an award-winning array of equipment that enables users to tell their stories through amazing photos and videos. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics as well as the Nikon 1 compact interchangeable lens camera system. Nikon Corporation, the parent company of Nikon Inc., recently announced the production of 95 million NIKKOR lenses in 2015, creating a new milestone in Nikon’s heritage of superior optics. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-US or visit, which links all levels of photographers to the Web’s most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities. Connect with Nikon and other photographers on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Vimeo and Flickr.

More Photos

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Specifications, design, product name and supplied accessories may differ by country or area. Specifications and equipment are subject to change without any notice or obligation in the part of the manufacturer.

29ers, not just for the big boys…

About a year ago, the engineers and women’s product development team embarked on production of a women’s specific full suspension 29er. Specialized engineers have a great track record of moving 26″ platform bikes into 29″ while maintaining the comfortable rider position of the smaller wheeled version.

Kimmi Fasani with the Specialized Rumor - Sterling Lorence Photo
Kimmi Fasani with the Specialized Rumor – Sterling Lorence Photo

The Rumor line-up of bikes is the latest release, and for smaller women who love their existing Specialized bicycles, an option for a new level of riding and enjoyment that comes with bigger wheels.

Hinting at the design and performance of the successful Camber line of bikes, the development team sculpted and formed the M5 frame into an the best combination of standover and function. With a minimum clearance of 27.8 inches on the small while allowing for a water bottle cage, to a maximum of 27.95 inches on the large, there are few drawbacks to this bike for those in the 5′ range.

“We built a full-suspension 29er because we have seen how much fit and 29-inch wheels enhance confidence and stability for women out on the trails,” said Erin Sprague, women’s product manager. “Our product testers are around five feet tall and their trail experiences have improved dramatically on this platform.”

2013 Specialized Rumor Expert
2013 Specialized Rumor Expert

Two models will be released shortly with a third later this year. The Rumor Expert provides

  • All-New M5 manipulated alloy, 110mm-travel frame with women’s XC Trail 29 geometry and tubesets, tapered head tube, sealed cartridge bearing pivots, and DMD derailleur mount makes this one tough and lightweight trail machine
  • FOX Float CTD Evolution shock with AUTOSAG with women’s tune features 3 compression settings: Climb, Trail and Descend, plus ProPedal
  • FOX Float CTD Performance Series 29 fork with CTD damper, rebound and compression adjust, lockout, tapered steerer tube and 110mm of travel smooths technical terrain
  • Roval Control Trail 29 142+ wheelset with butted DT Swiss spokes and a wider rim profile and 12mm thru-axle for lightweight toughness.
  • The 2.3″ Ground Control tire has a fast rolling and versatile tread for premium traction on technical trails
  • Custom Formula T1 S hydraulic disc brakes with reach adjustment, metallic pads and SRAM compatible MiXmaster shifter mounts provide dependable braking’
  • New SRAM Type 2 X0 mid cage 10-speed rear derailleur provides crisp and reliable gear changes
  • Women’s Body Geometry Jett saddle with hollow Cr-Mo rails features lightweight foam cushioning and an ergonomic cutout for pressure relief

Check your local Specialized Canada dealer for more info soon!

Sterling Lorence Photo
Sterling Lorence Photo

Enduro 29er – The argument to 650b?

Specialized has been an early adopter and staunch advocate of the 29″ wheel in most of their cross country mountain bike line. People thought 29″ hardtails were the only option. Then there were 29″ 100mm xc race weapons. This was pushed further to 120-130mm offerings by Specialized, Transition, Intense, Rocky Mountain and others.

Everyone figured that was the limit. There just wasn’t any room for more than 130mm of travel on a 29″ bike. Until now.



They said it couldn’t be done—a 155mm-travel 29er. The groundbreaking Enduro 29 is the ultimate All-Mountain machine for riders in search of the most-capable 29er in the sport. With dialed geo for navigating technical terrain, a tight wheelbase for agile handling, plus lightweight, yet strong, wheelsets and components, the Enduro 29 is a true All-Mountain game changer.

“I was wrong about this bike. It was nothing like I feared it would be and, no matter how much I look at the numbers, I still don’t really understand how Specialized have managed it. This bike, without question, pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a 29-inch bike. It also throws light back on the question of whether or not we need 650b bikes when 29ers can handle like this. This bike blew away any preconceptions of what i thought a 29er could or should be, and for that reason alone I love it.”

  • All-new, fully manipulated M5 alloy FSR 29 frame with ORE tubing is the centerpiece of this incredibly versatile 155mm-travel design; featuring sealed cartridge bearing pivots, 142mm + dropouts, ISCG ’05 mount, and replaceable derailleur hanger
  • Custom FOX Float CTD Evolution with proprietary Specialized AUTOSAG technology features 3 compression settings and rebound adjustment
  • FOX 34 Float CTD Evolution 29 fork features 150mm of travel, settings specifically for climbing and descending, and a 15mm thru-axle for precise handling
  • Roval 29 All-Mountain rims mated to Specialized Hi Lo hubs, 15mm thru-axle, and a 142+ rear hub spacing for durable, lightweight, and affordable package
  • 2Bliss ready Specialized Butcher Control 2.3″ dual-compound front tire for premium cornering; Purgatory Control 2.3″ rear tire for lightweight grip in intermediate conditions
  • Custom SRAM S-1250 AM double crankset with Taco Blade mounted front derailleur and Gamut shiftguide for high-performance chain retention


MTB Defroster Winter Shoe Review

We had our first frost this week so I thought it’s a great time to revisit a review I did this spring.

Staying warm and dry on BC trails has its challenges. Yes, I know we don’t have the cold weather of Ontario or Alberta, but you know what they say it’s not the cold, it’s the humidity! BC gets it’s fair share of damp wet days and if you’re going to ride through winter, a warm and waterproof shoe is extremely important.

Defroster MTB Shoe updated for 2012

Last year I tried neoprene booties, which caused issues clipping into my spd’s, and various different wool socks, which kept my feet warm for short rides. Both ways I left with cold feet that took hours to warm up.

The Shimano MW80 all weather shoes have been a popular choice locally, but I haven’t found Shimano a good fit for me. I’ve worn Specialized shoes for many years and on recommendation of our local dealer, ordered the new updated MTB Defrosters. Fit is very close to the Specialized standard, so I chose the same size as my older MTB Comp’s and my new MTB Pro’s.

Updated for 2012

Locations for threads but no inserts

Specialized went back to the drawing board this year. The Defroster benefits from more insulation, a new super adjustable Boa enclosure, full lace covering and a neoprene gusset around the ankle. Gone are the forefoot Velcro straps. Also missing are toe spike threads. Previous models had this extra traction, and there are molding impressions as if removing the threads was an afterthought. I hope they return these for future years.

The shoes arrived just in time, as the cool wet weather has arrived bringing snow to our upper trails. Fit was great and overall they were comfortable with just a single pair of wool socks.

I’ve worn the shoes for two rides so far, happy to report warm feet. Temps were approx 5 degrees Celsius on both rides so I actually found some sweating in my shoes. I hope cooler temps will be fine too. I haven’t throughly tested the waterproofness yet but I’m sure a rainy ride is just around the corner.

Update – I used these all winter and long into the spring. Dry and warm feet make for a much more enjoyable winter riding season! On a few really cold rides I added some toe warmer packets to the shoes which easily had enough room for this addition.

First Generation MTB Defrosters

Cleat engagement is standard with no booties to get caught. Traction on slippery ground was adequate, (not much works on slimy rock in BC). In comparison to my summer mtb shoes they do feel slightly more bulky, but much less than hiking boots and flat pedals. The Boa system is very easy to adjust and readjust on the go, even with the lace cover in place. The initial fit of the lace cover could be better but I’ll let the shoes stretch before I make final judgement.

Initial impressions are positive, and I look forward to extended rides and cooler weather. I would recommend trying a pair if you want to ride through wet and cold winter weather.

You can find the Defrosters at your local Specialized retailer for approx $239

MTB Defrosters in their element!



Warm and dry

Comfortable fit

Boa system offers easy adjustment


Lace cover may be tight for tall feet.

Loss of toe spike threads


  • Lightweight injection composite sole with sturdy co-molded lugs for traction in the nastiest conditions: 5.0 stiffness index
  • Performance-enhancing BG contours in the outsole and footbed
  • Waterproof and seam-sealed upper with low profile waterproof cover to lock out cold and moisture
  • Lightweight Boa® L4 rotary closure for dynamic fit and on-the-fly tunability
  • 400 gram full-shoe insulation for added warmth
  • Thermal fleece-lined BG footbed uses a reflective metallic barrier to trap heat around the foot
  • Reflective heel accent for visibility on dark training rides
  • Snug-fitting neoprene collar forms a gusset to lock out cold and moisture
  • Compatible with all major MTB pedals
  • Approximate weight: 400g (1/2 pair #42)

2013 Norco Range 650b – Tested

Words & Photos by Heather Makuch

2013 Norco Range Killer B

Norco just had their 2013 product launch and pics of the new products are starting to make their way around the web. One of their new exciting lines is the Range 650b series. I was lucky enough to receive a pre production prototype of this exciting new frame and have been spending a ton of time putting the new tech through it’s paces.

For most people the headline news on this new line is the 650b wheel size.  For those of you who may not be familiar with 650b, simply put it’s a 27.5 inch wheel.  A bit bigger than your standard 26″, but smaller than the wagon wheel 29ers.  Basically it’s the goldy locks of wheel sizes, not too big, not too small, just right.  Of course, the haters are gonna jump all over this crying out that we don’t need another wheel size, but one ride on a 650b wheel will have them changing tunes quicker than Usain Bolt’s 100m dash.

Beyond the “new” wheel size (650b has actually been around for quite a while, but has only recently made it’s way to the MTB world), the entire frame has been redesigned.  The tapered head tube, 142/12mm rear axle with Syntaces awesome derailleur hanger system, and A.R.T. suspension  (Advanced Ride Technology, but I prefer to call it Awesome Rear Suspension!) have all made their way to the new frame, but so has a bunch of other cool tech like the smooth welds (nicer looking and stronger), Gravity Tune (chainstay length increases/decreases proportionately to the size of the bike), and the clevis-less pivots (basially no welds for pivot points, the pivot is integrated directly into the tubing, making it stronger and lighter).  There’s a bunch of other stuff going on as well, but you can check out for more spec and tech.

At 5’0, I always have issues when it comes to the standover height of my bikes.  It turns out all the whining I did over the past few years has paid off, because the other big news with the new 2013 Range frame is the low standover height.  Despite the larger wheels,  my XS frame is almost 2″ lower than my 2012 Range.  For anyone under 5’7″, this is HUGE!  Most bikes I’ve had in the past fit once I got on them, but getting on and off was always a bit sketchy.  The guys at Norco took this into consideration with the new design, and the end result is a frame with the lowest standover height in the business.  On behalf of short people, thank you Norco.


I’m not gonna lie, I really like this bike.  Coming from a 2012 Range (using 26″ wheels), the improvements were immediately noticeable.  This is first bike I’ve ever owned that really fits.  Between the low standover and Gravity tune rear end, I finally have a bike that fits me in every way without losing suspension travel or other tradeoffs in geometry.  Right away I felt comfortable on the bike.


Having never ridden a 29er (they simply don’t make them small enough to fit someone my height) I can’t comment on how the 650b compares to full size wagon wheels.  What I can say, however, is that the 27.5″ wheels don’t really feel any larger than a 26″ wheel when maneuvering the bike, but seem to roll smoother over almost every type of terrain.  As a smaller rider, I often lack the muscle to be able to power through rough sections, but I was able to plow through sections that I would normally get hung up on.  Traction up climbs, corners, and when braking is also noticeably better, which makes sense given the larger contact area with the ground compared to 26″ wheels.  In fact, with the 650b wheels I was able to drop to a narrower tire and still feel just as comfortable while benefiting from the lower weight and decreased rolling resistance of the narrower tires.  I have to admit I was really skeptical going in, but it seems like the 27.5″ wheel hits the mark by delivering the benefits of extra rolling ability without a perceptible decrease in handling, and the bottom line is that after riding 650b wheels, I have ZERO desire to go back to 26″ wheels for all-mountain riding.
All in all the 2013 Norco Range is awesome.  The 650b wheels may be the latest trend, but the proof is in the ride and I’d be willing to wager this isn’t just another marketing ploy and they’re here to stay.  Throw in the fact that I finally have a frame that actually fits me properly, and without a doubt this is the best all-around/do-everything mountain bike I have ever ridden.
If you have any questions about the 2013 Norco Range series, 650b in general, or want to see the bike in real life please feel free to send me a note through Blacks Cycle at, or come on out to one of our Tuesday evening shop rides.

Nikon announces new rugged compact digital cameras

The first in Nikon’s new AW series of waterproof, shock-proof, cold-resistant compact digital cameras

You won't lose this one in the forest!

Equipped with a number of features, including GPS support, an electronic compass and map display, and action control convenient for outdoor shooting

TOKYO-Nikon Corporation is pleased to announce the release of the AW100/AW100s, the first model in Nikon’s new COOLPIX AW series of compact digital cameras suited not only to normal shooting situations, but also equipped with a number of features and functions that make them fun to use in a variety of outdoor situations.

Large screen and well laid out controls

The AW100/AW100s, Nikon’s first compact digital camera with waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant specifications, is a high-performance model with an effective pixel count of 16.0-million pixels. It offers not only basic camera features such as a backside illumination CMOS image sensor and functions for capturing still images with superior image quality and recording full-HD movies with the same superior picture quality, but is also equipped with a number of new features including GPS support, an electronic compass and a map display. Adoption of a lens utilizing new thin, right-angled optics makes the AW100/AW100s one of the slimmest truly waterproof compact digital cameras available. It offers not only a fashionable and elegant design that makes it perfect for everyday use, but also a tough body well suited to outdoor shooting.

To date, Nikon has offered three COOLPIX series of digital cameras: the L series, a line of cameras equipped with functions that make them fun and easy to use; the S series, a line of cameras offering advanced functions and refined design; and the P series, a line of high-performance cameras with a variety of functions that support more authentic photography. Now Nikon is pleased to add the AW series to its COOLPIX lineup. AW-series cameras are stylish models that offer superior image quality and support recording of more active scenes. The introduction of this new series allows Nikon to support a broader range of customers with cameras capable of recording special moments in a wider variety of situations. Nikon will continue to offer the enjoyment of capturing and viewing images by expanding its lineup of digital cameras to suit the needs and lifestyles of ever diversifying users.

COOLPIX AW100/AW100s Primary Features

  1. An effective pixel count of 16.0-million pixels and a 5x optical zoom NIKKOR lens with a zoom range beginning at the wide-angle 28 mm (equivalent in 35mm [135] format) for coverage of a broad range of angles of view
  2. Nikon’s first waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant cameraThe AW100/AW100s offers durable specifications for shooting in the severe conditions presented with outdoor activities such as swimming and diving, or while hiking or skiing. It is waterproof to approximately 10 meters, shock-proof with a fall of up to approximately 1.5 meters, and can withstand cold air temperatures as low as −10°C (14°F).
  3. Equipped with convenient functions of outdoor shooting
    Action Control
    This feature allows you to apply a variety of camera settings by simply pressing the large action button on the side of the camera and then shaking the camera. Action Control is convenient when gloves worn underwater or while skiing make operating the buttons on the multi selector difficult.
    Underwater scene mode
    When Underwater scene mode is enabled, either manually or automatically in Easy Auto mode, white balance is automatically adjusted using exclusive parameters to prevent unnatural green or blue cast in images captured underwater. In addition, adoption of a backside illumination CMOS image sensor that increases image quality with shooting at high sensitivities, less noise at high sensitivities all the way to the maximum ISO 3200, and a lens-shift + electronic vibration reduction (VR) function support capture of beautiful, blur-free images exhibiting very little noise under the low-light conditions experienced underwater.
    GPS (with A-GPS), electronic compass, map display, POI (point of interest) display, log function
    The high-performance GPS and electronic compass built into the camera acquire and record position information with shooting. This information can then be viewed on a world map1 displayed in the camera monitor. The A-GPS function2, adopted for the first time with a Nikon digital camera, makes using the GPS feature smoother and simpler.
    The AW100/AW100s also offers a log function that can be used to track and record movement with acquisition of position information even while the camera is off. Logs can then be saved and displayed in the camera monitor. POI settings for recording and displaying place names can also be specified.
    These features offer active users who enjoy sports or traveling new ways to enjoy their photos by allowing them to keep a record of their jogging route along with photos they have taken along the way, or to record their movement on an outing while on vacation as a file that can then be viewed using Google Earth™.
    In addition, when photos are uploaded to Nikon’s image storage and sharing site, my Picturetown, the photos can be displayed on a map using the application’s map view, and photos with position information attached can be shared with others. An update that will enable support for displaying heading information and logs with my Picturetown’s map view is planned.
    • 1Not available with the COOLPIX AW100s.
    • 2The A-GPS function built into the AW100/AW100s acquires satellite information data available from Nikon’s website, enabling faster positioning.
  4. Backside illumination CMOS sensor enables capture of images in which noise is suppressed, even with shooting of dimly lit scenes such as night landscapes and indoor scenesAdoption of a backside illumination (BSI) CMOS image sensor, which increases image quality with shooting at high sensitivities, has led to even further advances in Nikon technologies that enable the capture of beautiful nighttime shots. When the HDR (high dynamic range) option is enabled in Backlighting scene mode, images exhibiting rich expression of tones and noticeably less loss of detail in shadows and highlights can be captured by combining multiple shots taken in quick succession.
  5. An elegant design suited to both everyday and outdoor useAdoption of a lens utilizing new thin, right-angled optics has enabled one of the thinnest bodies (just 22.8 mm) among truly waterproof cameras. Despite being a very tough camera with waterproof, shock-proof and cold-resistant specifications that stand up to severe conditions, the AW100/AW100s retains an elegant form that is also suited to everyday shooting around town.
  6. A function for recording high-resolution full-HD movies with the press of a buttonImpressive full-HD movies with stereo sound and a frame size of 1920 x 1080 pixels can be recorded by simply pressing the movie-record button on the back of the camera. In addition, optical zoom can be used during movie recording. The camera also offers an HS Movie feature for recording movies that can be played back in slow motion (1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 normal playback speed) or fast motion (two times faster than normal playback speed). Naturally, movies can also be recorded underwater.

Other Features

  • EXPEED C2 image-processing engine for increased image quality and faster image processing
  • 3-inch, approx. 460k-dot (HVGA) TFT LCD monitor with wide viewing angle
  • Smart portrait mode for more certain capture of beautiful portraits
  • Easy auto mode with which the camera identifies the type of subject and automatically applies the optimum scene mode
  • 19 scene modes
  • A subject tracking function with which the camera automatically tracks the specified subject
  • The supplied filter adapter can be used to attach common 40.5-mm diameter filters

Nikon COOLPIX AW100/AW100s Specifications

Effective pixels 16.0million
Image sensor 1/2.3-in. type CMOS; total pixels: approx. 16.79 million
Lens 5x optical zoom, NIKKOR lens 5.0–25.0mm (angle of view equivalent to that of 28–140 mm lens in 35mm [135] format) f/3.9–4.8; Digital zoom Up to 4x (angle of view equivalent to that of approx. 560 mm lens in 35mm [135] format)
Focus range(from lens) [W]: Approx. 50 cm to ∞, [T]: Approx. 1 m to ∞, Macro mode: Approx. 1 cm to ∞ ( wide-angle zoom position beyond Δ )
Monitor 7.5 cm (3-in.), approx. 460k-dot, wide viewing angle TFT LCD monitor with anti-reflection coating and 5-level rightness adjustment
Storage media Internal memory (approx. 83 MB), SD/SDHC/SDXC memory card
ISO sensitivity ISO 125, 200, 400, 800, 1600, 3200
Auto (auto gain from ISO 125 to 800)
Fixed range auto (ISO 125 to 400)
Interface Hi-Speed USB
HDMI output Can be selected from Auto, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
Power sources One Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 (supplied)
AC Adapter EH-62F (available separately)
Battery life(EN-EL19) Still pictures*1: Approx. 250 shots Movies: Approx. 1 h 35 min (HD 1080pP (1920×1080)) (When recording a single movie, the maximum recording time is 29 minutes and file size is up to 4 GB even when there is enough free space on the memory card.)
Dimensions(WxHxD) Approx. 110.1 x 64.9 x 22.8 mm
Weight Approx. 178 g (including battery and SD memory card)
Supplied accessories*2 Camera Strap, Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12, Battery Charger MH-65, Filter Adapter, USB Cable UC-E6, Audio Video Cable EG-CP16, ViewNX 2 CD-ROM
  • Unless otherwise stated, all figures are for a camera with a fully-charged Rechargeable Li-ion Battery EN-EL12 operated at an ambient temperature of 25 °C (77 °F).
  • *1Based on Camera and Imaging Products Association (CIPA) standards for measuring the life of camera batteries.
  • *2Supplied accessories may differ by country or area.


Garmin Edge 200 Cycling GPS Lets You Review, Relive & Plan

It is an all too familiar situation when you get home from a bike ride and wonder aloud, “I am exhausted, exactly how far did I just go?” or: “I was flying down that hill, I swear I must have been going 30 mph!” Well, now we give you an affordable solution to know those answers during and after your ride.

Garmin Edge 200 Cycling GPS

Today we announced the Edge 200 GPS enabled cycling computer. Lightweight and stylish, the Edge 200 features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver, requires no calibration, can be switched quickly and easily between bikes and can be used in all types of weather.

“The Edge 200 was designed for those budget conscious cyclists looking for the basics — speed, distance, time and calories,” said Dan Bartel, Garmin’s vice president of worldwide sales. “With no set-up or sensors required, simply switch on, press start and go. The Edge 200 adds so much to your ride that no ride will ever be the same again.”

Whether you ride for fun, fitness or to feed your competitive edge, users will love seeing how far and how fast they rode — all without wires and sensors. Edge 200 stores up to 130 hours of ride data and sorts activities to quickly look up the fastest, longest or last ride – providing motivation and inspiration that’ll keep cyclists on track. With a 14 hour battery life, Edge 200 features a USB interface for easy charging and data transfer.

Weighing a mere 2 ounces, the Edge 200 is both lightweight and affordable. It features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver with HotFix® satellite prediction – meaning there’s less time spent waiting and more time spent riding. The Edge 200 also allows users to set alerts for distance, time or calories to make it easier and more fun to achieve their goals

The Edge 200 helps cyclists bring new life to old rides with Courses, a feature that lets riders challenge their times on previous rides. A digital cyclist shows their speed relative to past performance, along with an indication of how far ahead or behind they are. These can be taken from rides stored on the Edge or downloaded from the huge and expanding Garmin Connect™ community ( ). Here users can quickly and easily log their rides, track their totals, set goals, share rides with friends and family and participate in an online fitness community of more than 70 million activities around the world. Garmin Connect displays metrics such as time, distance, pace, and elevation. This information is shown through charts, illustrations, reports and a variety of map representations including street, photo, topographic, and elevation maps. Use Garmin Connect’s new Course Creator feature to plan new rides or convert a past activity into a Course.

The new Edge 200 is expected to be available in the third quarter of 2011 and have a suggested retail price of $149.99.

For more information check out the Garmin site.

Garmin Edge 200

Panasonic DMC-TS3 : A great camera for mountain bikers


Is this the ultimate mountain biking and outdoors digital camera?

My ever useful WR-90 Circa 1992

Some may remember a day when the electronics in film cameras were simple or even non-existent. We had lots of options for snorkel & beach disposable cameras, even a few waterproof models like the Pentax WR-90. For years my Pentax kept me going through skiing, biking, white water rafting and just plain using in the rain.

When digital cameras came out the only option was a waterproof housing such as offered by Canon and Olympus. The cameras were not cheap and the fully waterproof housings often cost between $250 and $500.

The cheap option is a ziplock bag, Pelican Case or keeping the camera in an inside backpack pocket, but getting the camera out in time can be a challenge.

Forward a few years and the market now offers numerous models by Fujifilm, Olympus, Canon, Pentax and Panasonic. We reviewed a number of these last year.

Recently the updated Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS3 came to my attention as probably the ultimate option for the do-it-all camera with a rugged design.

The Basics

The TS3 offers 12.1 megapixes of resolution, full HD 1920×1080 full-HD videos, GPS, Compass, Altimeter, Barometer, and video light. The rugged features of the camera are; waterproof to 40 ft*1, shockproof to 6.6 ft*2, freezeproof to -10c and dustproof.

A 28mm wide angle lens is reasonable for scenery, but a wider 25mm found in some competitors would be nice. Possible restrictions on this wide angle are from the solid rectangular ring that affords premium protection to the lens. The 4.6x optical zoom also has the benefit of working during video mode. Unlike some other competitors, there are no external moving parts for dirt to get embedded. The Lock and latch mechanism for the Battery & SD card door is very solid.

In the Hand

Panasonic has improved the design from previous models such as the TS1 & TS2 as it has a new rounded profile which felt stable in my hands. Tripod mount placement is middle of the base although the lens is offset to the left of the mount. buttons for shutter release and power are recessed flush with the body which should prevent errant shutter releases. A dedicated video mode button is also present which offers quick switching from video to still mode. This is more common of late with higher quality pocket digital cameras and a nice feature.

Previous Panasonic digital cameras I have owned had a manual switch to change from shooting to playback, creating a delay as you had to manually switch back before you could resume shooting. A dedicated button on the TS3 lets you just press the shutter release again to resume shooting. Great for not missing any of the action.

The Features

The  advanced Sonic Speed AF system and high speed CCD sensor provided almost instantaneous focus lock and shutter release, also great features for recording the action. Claimed shutter release lag time is as short as approximately .005 seconds and in the store this was very much the case.

A 2.7″ screen provides bright and clear viewing and the menus are simple and effective. Quick access menus let you quickly adjust most functions on the camera and the GPS records locations, time, altitude and more. Panasonic continues it’s iA mode which provides scene recognition and adjusts appropriately to the best settings. Additionally you can choose from numerous pre-defined scenes such as beach, snow, fireworks, portrait and more. One new feature is the 3D mode whcih provides for Panasonic 3D compatible TV ready images. This is an emerging market, but could be a lot of fun in the right locations.

“The LUMIX TS3 is Panasonic’s ‘take anywhere’ digital camera – whether it is for carefree, everyday shooting with its easy-to-use features, high-quality lens and video capabilities, or for the active user who will appreciate the rugged design in any season – for activities such as hiking, skiing, camping, diving, snorkeling,” said David Briganti, Senior Product Manager, Imaging, Panasonic Consumer Electronics Company. “Last year’s LUMIX TS2 was a highly-regarded rugged camera and with the TS3, we just built on its success with new features, like GPS, a compass, altimeter and barometer, making this the ultimate camera for the outdoor user.”

Current pricing for the Lumix TS3 is approximately $399 and is in stock at London Drugs and other authorized Panasonic dealers.


If you are in the market for a rugged do anything camera which you can stuff in your back pocket without worry about dirt, dust and a bit of abuse, this might be the perfect camera for you. From high def video to 12 megapixel resolutions, you’ll find everything you need in a nice compact package.

Pros: Snappy action, dedicated video button, playback button instead of switch, designed for use in all conditions
Cons: Battery life was good for a day if using GPS features, HD video editing needs a powerful home pc

Sample Photos

Some photos from a recent Island Cup Series mountain bike race in Powell River

Quick video from footage at the same race


powell river xc from Kookjai Media on Vimeo.


Find more on the Panasonic Canada website.


2.7″ LCD with 12.1 MP and 4.6x optical zoom

  • Waterproof up to 12 meters (40 feet)*1
  • Shockproof up to 2 meters (6.6 feet)*2
  • Freezeproof up to -10°C
  • Dustproof*1
  • 12.1 megapixel
  • 4.6x optical zoom
  • 6x intelligent zoom
  • Wide 28mm LEICA DC VARIO-ELMAR lens
  • 2.7″ Intelligent LCD (230K pixels) with wide-viewing angle
  • Still images (3D recording)
  • Intelligent auto mode
    – POWER O.I.S. (Optical image stabilizer)
    – Intelligent ISO control
    – Face detection
    – Face recognition
    – AF tracking
    – Intelligent scene selector
    – Intelligent exposure control
    – Digital red-eye correction
  • Venus engine FHD processor
  • AVCHD Movie mode with audio
  • Micro HDMI output
  • DMC-TS3D (orange)
  • DMC-TS3A (blue)
  • DMC-TS3R (red)

MSP: $399.99

*1 This camera is waterproof / dustproof and complies with IPX8 and IP6X ratings.
*2 This camera has passed a drop test from 2 meters (6.6 feet) in height in accordance with “MIL-STD 810F Method 516.5-Shock”.

Night riding: Quality pedal time during our west coast winters

It’s pretty easy to get depressed this time of year. The wet weather, the short days, and most importantly, the lack of riding time. Although there’s not much that can be done to the weather or the short days, but with a decent set of lights you can help satisfy your craving for more time on your mountain bike until daylight savings time returns in the spring.

One of the cool things about night riding is how different it is than riding in the day. Now that might sound kinda stupid, like I’m stating the obvious, but riding at night seems to change the trails and how you look at them. A trail you’ve ridding a million times in daylight will look and feel completely different at night.

The best option for lights is to run a helmet mount setup. The nice thing about a helmet light is that the beam shines in the direction your head is facing. Anyone who’s spent more than 2 minutes on a mountain bike will understand the importance of this, since you’re not always looking in the exact direction that your bike is heading. My first set of lights 12 years ago was a bar mount system. I think I rode with them twice before going to a helmet mount setup. Yes, it makes that much of difference.

My old BLT Blitz with it’s 15W halogen and sealed lead-acid battery was the cat’s meow in it’s day, but is literally like holding a candle next to a stadium light when compared to the lights these days. High power LEDs with 900 lumens and sealed lithium ion batteries have made trail riding at night a lot more enjoyable.

If you’ve never tried night riding it’s time to give it a go. We have a ton of great lights in stock, with trail worthy options starting at $135. Trust me, if you value time on your bike it’ll be the best money you spend all winter.

We’ll be starting up our weekly shop rides on Tuesday evenings soon. If you’re interested give us a shout or make sure you sign up to the Blacks Cycle Facebook group so you get the event invites.

For more from Black’s Cycle check out their blog at

2010 Lights Update

It’s that time of year again. Kids are heading back to school, the days are getting cooler and darkness is arriving sooner than any of us would like. 2010 is a great year for lights as our stronger Canadian Dollar, the evolution of LED light technology and a stronger market has brought new and updated lights into the playing field. Check out our report last year and see some of the changes for this season.

We had a look around the valley lately and here are some of the new lights to check out for 2010.

Light & Motion Seca 700

Redesigned for 2010 the Seca 700 boasts and improved beam pattern from its new bi-conic reflector which shoots a clean even beam down the trail. With its new low profile mount the 700 is equally at home on the bar or helmet and at a mere 341 grams with 3 hours of run time, the Seca 700 runs away from every other light in its class.

Replacement for HID

Cruise mode cycles through High, Medium, Low and Flash sequentially. When it’s time to get your speed on, switch to Race mode using a two-second push and hold (starting with the light powered off).

Race mode skips the Medium and Flash modes, allowing you to conserve battery power on the climbs while keeping the High setting just a click away for the descents.

Burn Times

  • 2.5 hrs at 700 lumen
  • 5 hrs at 350 lumen
  • 10 hrs at 175 lumen

Additionally look for the Stella series lights for long burn, helmet and bar compatbility and great light.

Night Rider

Not to rest with their Pro 600 LED light, they’ve upped the ante for 2010 with the Pro 700 and 1400 dual. If you want more lights than a tricked out 4×4 then you’ve found it.

MiNewt Mini 150 USB

Last year I  purchased the MiNewt 150. While it can be a bit weak for high speed decents, more mellow trail riding and road rides are much more enjoyable with this light. For 2010 they have upgraded the MiNewt with a low battery indicator, multiple brightness l

evels and maintained the USB Charger and helmet kit for $155. All in all a great package.


  • 150 Lumens
  • 3 Light Levels – High/Med/Low
  • Flash Mode
  • 3:00hr – 6:00hr Run Time
  • Lightweight – 175g
  • USB Rechargeable Battery
  • Low Battery Indicator

More light than a Baja Racer!

Additionlly for bar mounting they have created the 150 and 250 cordless models with battery included in the housing of the light. Quick handle bar mounts make this a great commuter or crossover trail light.

Tips and Tricks

Check out burn times – see how long your longest ride would be and then add 50% – emergencies happen and having some extra time for flat repair, walking or getting lost is a good idea.

Always bring a second light – a headlamp, led flashlight or commuter handle bar mount can keep you going if a quick dismount or low lying branch takes out your main headlight.

Stop by your local bike shops and see what they have in stock for Demo. With the new technology, you’ll be more than pleased with a great combination of brightness and burn time.