Feb 16

How my Marmot Precip and Membrain waterproof breathable jackets failed

I’ve been a loyal customer of Marmot’s waterpoof, breathable rain jackets for several years. I’m on my third (or fourth?) Marmot rain jacket currently and my wife and daughter have them as well. Everything wears out eventually. Here’s what happened to our most recent ones.

Here’s a photo of the wife’s Precip jacket that’s a few years old (4 years?). There’s significant waterproofing failure around the collar. The waterproof backing is starting to back off elsewhere on the jacket as well.
Marmot Precip jacket failing at the collar

My first Marmot Precip jacket started failing in a similar way, while the exterior jacket would otherwise have plenty of life in it.

So, I tried stepping up to a jacket with the “Marmot Membrain” material, but after a few years, the waterproofing on it stated to failure in the way around the collar, as you see in the next photo. It’s also started to leak a bit the elbows some at this point as well. This jacket is also maybe 4 years old.

How my Marmot Membrain jacket started to fail.

How my Marmot Membrain jacket started to fail.

About a year ago I bought my current rain jacket, the “Marmot Artemis”. It uses the “NanoPro Membrain”. So far there are no significant signs of wear. Also notice that it’s a simpler design that removes the failure-prone collar design.

Inside of Marmot Artemis jacket, about 1 year old

    No collar seen here, no visible wear.

Here’s what I’ve learned about buying a waterproof breathable jacket from my experience:

  • Paying more for a waterproof breathable jacket may be a better value in the end, by providing a product that not only performs better, but is also more durable.
  • It’s just the waterproof/breathable material that determines durability, but also the design.
  • Simpler designs  may end up being worth paying more, as the simplicity may contribute to durability.

I’m tired of the waterproofing layer wearing out well in advance of the rest of the jacket. If I’m not happy with the durability of NanoPro Membrain, I may try a Gore-Tex jacket next, based on it’s reputation for durability. The added cost up front would be offset by the life of the jacket.

I’m also changing my approach to extend the life of these jackets. First, I’m wearing them less frequently when I primarily need a wind-blocking layer. For heavier wind-blocking, I’ll wear my old Marmot Membrain jacket, since the failed waterproofing doesn’t matter for this use. For lighter wind-blocking and light rain I now wear a Patagonia Houdini pullover.  At just 3 oz in weight, it’s surprisingly effective as an outer layer for bike commuting. It also packs so small in its own pocket that is easy to bring along in a handlebar bag as a “bail out jacket” if the weather changes.

Jan 15

Review of Extreme Bar Mitts versus original Bar Mitts

New for this winter bike commuting season are Extreme Bar Mitts. Like the original Bar Mitts the Extreme Bar Mitts are like mittens for your handlebars that stay on the bike. You operate the controls inside of them, possibly with additional gloves or mittens on.

dropping child off at day care by bakfiets, 35F and raining

I have long, thin fingers and tried many pairs of gloves and mittens looking for something that would keep my fingers warm for cycling. When I finally found Bar Mitts they made a huge difference for me, allowing me to ride at colder temperatures or with greater comfort than anything before. In typical winter conditions I could use lighter gloves– and sometimes no gloves– inside the Bar Mitts, allowing me to more easily and safely operate the shifters and brakes. I’ve been using the original Bar Mitts about four years.

Recently Bar Mitts sent me their new Extreme Bar Mitts model to try and it has finally been cold enough to put them to the test. I was concerned that Extreme Bar Mitts would be too warm, since I already found the regular Bar Mitts sufficient for me down to about 0F when paired with fleece-lined wool mittens.

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Dec 14

Review: 2013 Yuba Mundo vs 2014 Xtracycle EdgeRunner 27D

By: Don Galligher

This review compares the 2013 Yuba Mundo cargo bike with the 2014 Xtracycle 27D EdgeRunner. My daughters have named our matte black Yuba “Black Pearl”. The Xtracycle is named “Baliwick” after a butler
in the Princess Sofia cartoon.

Xtracycle EdgeRunner

Xtracycle EdgeRunner

Don with a load of bikes to recycle

Yuba Mundo


Prior to this review, the Yuba has been ridden 2,000 miles over 12 months in all types of terrain (family riding, touring and urban transportation as a car replacement). I live about 5 miles outside of town, making my minimum travel distance about 10 miles for most trips.

Our Mundo is equipped with Monkey bars, two Go Getter bags, two Soft Spots, running boards, and wheel skirts. I modified the stock bike with a 9 speed drivetrain, SRM power meter, TRP’s hydraulic cable pull brakes, Schwalbe Big Apple 2.3″ tires, some Ergon grips, and bar stem seat post. After upgrades the bicycle would cost approximately $3300.00.

The EdgeRunner was ridden 2 months approximately 700 miles on all types of terrain. This included family riding, touring and urban transportation as a car replacement. Accessories including the Hooptie, U-tube, and Kickback center stand, X2 bags, two Mini Magic Carpets, and Xtracycle fenders. The 27D Lux is equipped with a BioLogic generator front hub, which runs the front and rear light, and has a handle bar remote switch which can charge a USB compatible device such as your phone while riding. The EdgeRunner comes equipped with a 27 speed drivetrain by Shimano and Deore hydraulic disc brakes. I upgraded it with a Raceface narrow wide 40t chainring and a DuraAce SRM power meter. Estimated cost would be about $3,700.

It’s worth noting that one of the fundamental design differences between these two bikes are that the EdgeRunner has a 20” rear wheel and 26” front wheel while the Mundo has 2×26” wheels. The 20” rear wheel allowed me to convert the bike to the simpler 1×9 drivetrain and for my needs allowed a light weight, simple shifting system.

During the test period I carried my two daughters (ages 3 and 5) for most of the miles up and down mountains, on rail trails, some off-road and paved surfaces. I carried my daughters 20” Specialized Hotrock bike, as well as towing adult bikes. I also tested each bike with some heavy loads ranging from 100-300lbs.

Enjoying the ride

Yuba Mundo with two girls and 20″ bike onboard

Xtracycle EdgeRunner towing a 20" bike.

Xtracycle EdgeRunner towing a 20″ bike

I should preface all my opinions here with the fact I put more stress on my bikes than the average user, and my expectations are pretty high of what I expect the bike to do.

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Jun 14

How to attach a Burley Piccolo to an Xtracycle

Xtracycle cargo bikes and Burley Piccolo Trailercycles are both great for family biking. Unfortunately, there’s currently no ready-made way to attach a Burley Piccolo to an Xtracycle.

This post describes the 4 known designs I’ve seen to connect a Piccolo to an Xtracycle.

Greg’s Xtracycle-Piccolo connector v1

Greg from Beehive Bicycles published photos online of a custom solution he developed. I found and mimicked an early solution that I created for this.

It worked like this: I started with the provided Moose rack, and use a hack saw to cut it down to just the essential part that was needed to connect to the Piccolo.

Here you can see a finished photo of Greg’s design that I followed:


I made the remaining “feet” of the hacked rack as short as possible so that the Piccolo bolt could go all the way through, without interference from the Flightdeck.

Then, two more holes were drilled into the Continue reading →

Jun 13

How to attach a Burley Piccolo to a Yuba Mundo

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