Vaping Diaries #315: Bay City Vapor Nami RDA & E-Liquid Interview

One of my favorite mod makers in the world, Bay City Vapor’s James Livingston had a lot going on at Vape Summit III. James launched a new line of vaping e-liquids at the show and unveiled the Nami RDA. Since I last chatted with James on camera, Bay City Vapor released the Assassin Mod. In the Vape Summit III interview below, James spoke about all three products.

Getting the oldest out of the way, the Assassin Mod is an inexpensive mechanical with an MSRP of $49.99. Don’t let the low price fool you, as the Assassin has many features found in mods costing more than twice the price. James detailed the Assassin’s features during our chat.

Perhaps the most exciting product Bay City Vapor had at Vape Summit III, the Nami RDA is a unique atomizer that offers a crazy amount of versatility. The cool thing about the Nami RDA is that it allows users to manipulate the airflow going into and out of the atomizer. As a flavor fiend, I was particularly enamored by the potential of creating dense vapor for some fantastic flavor. The four-post deck, which I unfortunately wasn’t allowed to film at this time, allows for a wide variety of builds too. The Nami RDA is ready for bottom-feeding mods and doesn’t require a separate post for squonking. Simply removing a screw from the center post allows the atomizer to work with bottom-feeding mods. Honestly, I’m too dumb to properly explain the Nami RDAs numerous features and recommend listening to James explain it below.

Last, but certainly not least is Bay City Vapor’s new juice line. Named after various surf spots, the line is launching with five dessert flavors. 56th Street is a strawberry cake. James was quick to point out that it’s not a strawberry cheesecake e-liquid (a common flavor in Southern California), but a moist yellow cake flavor with strawberry. Black’s Beach is a cheesecake that allows you to taste the graham cracker crust and some caramel in the background. Mavericks is a triple-C — a creamy caramel custard. Scripps is a sugar cookie and praline blend. Finally, Trestles taste just like Rice Krispies Treats. I vaped at least a milliliter of each of these flavors and, as a dessert vape fan, am digging all of them. I haven’t vaped enough to pick a favorite, but I have a feeling that it’s going to be tough to choose one from this delicious line of e-liquids.

Anyway, that’s enough from me. Check out my chat with James to learn more about the Nami RDA, the new e-liquids, and the Assassin Mod.

Vaping Diaries #207: Bay City Vapor James Livingston Interview II

Last week at Evaporate LA, I caught up with Bay City Vapor founder James Livingston. He gave update on the company’s move from direct sales to retail, as well as an update on the SurfRider and XXIX mods. Fans of Bay City Vapor are already aware of the company’s next mod, the BFM, but just in case this surprisingly small 26650 mod is new to you, James covers it on our chat too. Moving away from product, James chatted about Bay City Vapor’s customer service philosophy, why his company uses high-quality metals, China clones, the recent FDA ruling, and more. James is a great guy that runs a great company. If you watch the clip above then I’m certain that you’ll walk away a Bay City Vapor fan.

Bay City Vapor James Livingston interview

Special thanks to Evaporate LA for letting us film there and to The Vape Summit for the t-shirt!

Vaping Diaries #205: Bay City Vapor XXIX Review

In a very short period of time, Bay City Vapor has become one of my favorite mod makers. The company’s SurfRider mod was one of my favorite vaping devices of 2013. A couple of months ago, I received the Bay City Vapor XXIX. It features everything that I loved about the SurfRider, one minor change, and beautiful C101 copper. Best of all, it’s made right here in the USA. Let’s take a closer look at killer copper mod.

Build Quality and Construction: The Bay City Vapor XXIX features excellent build quality and materials. As I mentioned in the intro, it’s made from C101 copper. This is an important distinction, as many copper mods are made from lower grades of copper. Using top-quality copper helps the Bay City Vapor XXIX hit harder and last longer than many of its competitors.

Many vaping enthusiasts are aware that performance isn’t based on materials alone. Craftsmanship is an important performance factor and it’s another area where the Bay City Vapor XXIX excels. The threads are well made and engineered wonderfully; you’ll notice the smoothness when you unscrew the mod and appreciate the tight tolerances when you feel its power.

Design and Ergonomics: Fans of minimalistic mods will love the Bay City Vapor XXIX. Physically, it’s a very compact device. The 18650 model I’ve been using is nearly an inch shorter than many of my other 18650 mods.

Aesthetically, the Bay City Vapor XXIX is subtle. It has a small XXIX logo at the bottom of the tube and the Bay City Vapor logo on the bottom cap. If you like flashy mods with lots of knurling or plenty of intricate engravings then this device isn’t for you. If you lean towards subtle and classily understated designs then you’ll dig the looks of the Bay City Vapor XXIX.

The most unique feature of this mod is its hybrid-style top-cap. It’s a smart design that helps keep the mod compact and gives it awesome performance. There’s no 510 connection, as with the vast majority of mods on the market. Instead, the top cap screws directly onto the atomizer, allowing the atty to connect directly to the battery. It’s just a clever design that works well on several levels.

The original SurfRider and XXIX mods had some tricky fits with certain battery and atomizer combinations. One difference between the SurfRider I reviewed and the XXIX I reviewed is an updated switch. The bottom button and firing pad have been updated to accommodate a wider variety of atomizer and battery combos. For my part, I didn’t experience any incompatibilities using Samsung INR 18650 20-R and Sony VTC3 batteries with The Russian, Kayfun 3.1, Aqua, and several dripping atomizers.

The only aspect of the Bay City Vapor XXIX I didn’t love was its button feel, which is a totally subjective area. I prefer buttons with a short throw and light feel. While the firing button definitely has a short throw, the spring is a little stiff for my liking. It loosens up over time, but I still wanted something a bit lighter. Thankfully, the company will be offering magnet upgrades for people that want to go that route. I’m hoping that the magnets will address the one facet of the mod that I merely liked.

Performance: The highly conductive C101 copper body, excellent construction, and hybrid-style top-cap add up for stellar performance. I used the Bay City Vapor XXIX with atomizers built from 0.5-ohms to 1.2-ohms and experience zero voltage drop. That’s not a typo — zero voltage drop. If high performance matters to you then you should definitely consider this mod. It’s one of the best performing devices you can buy.

Bay City Vapor XXIX Review

Verdict: The Bay City Vapor XXIX is simply one of the finest copper mods on the market. It hits hard, is extremely well made, and has beautifully understated looks. While design is subjective, performance and workmanship are not. As far as those two categories go, Bay City Vapor has knocked it out of the park.

The single-tube version of the Bay City Vapor XXIX was originally available for a direct-from-manufacturer price of $160. The company is moving to a retail model, so expect to pay a little more at brick-and-mortar and online stores. While I don’t expect the mod to cost too much more, I’m certain that the Bay City Vapor XXIX will be a superior value to competing mods that cost $200 or more. My recommendation: if you see one, snatch it up quickly!

Vaping Diaries #168: Bay City Vapor SurfRider Review

Bay City Vapor is a relatively new mod maker out of Seal Beach, CA. The company started getting attention in Fall 2013 for its then upcoming SurfRider and XXIX mods. Both are relatively inexpensive and have innovative features. The SurfRider is available in C464 naval brass and 316 stainless steel. It costs $140 for the single-tube version, $190 for all three stainless steel tubes (18350, 18490, 18650), and $200 for all three brass tubes. For the last few weeks, I’ve been vaping on a SurfRider and been quite pleased with its quality and performance — especially for the price.

Build Quality and Construction: The Bay City Vapor SurfRider I have for review is the naval brass (C464) 18650 model. The metal is high quality and more resistant to corrosion than other types of brass alloys. The main tube is simple, with smooth threading. The tube threads use the common 20×1 threading, allowing for compatibility many popular top caps, bottom caps, and hybrid kits on the market.

The top cap, which I’ll focus more on in the next section, is a simple piece of brass with a cross cut. The bottom cap has a delrin insulator and a zinc-plated spring. The threads on both caps are smooth.

Overall, the Bay City Vapor SurfRider is a very well-made mechanical mod that uses quality materials. The craftsmanship is as good as or surpasses that of many mods that cost more.

Design and Ergonomics: The Bay City Vapor SurfRider uses subtle design language. There’s nothing obnoxiously flashy about this mod. The bottom cap has the “BCV” logo and the main tube has a set of waves. In 18650 mode, the mod is shorter than most other 18650 mods, which is nice for people that want maximum battery life in a relatively small package.

The most outstanding feature of the Bay City Vapor SurfRider is its top cap. It uses a hybrid-style design. You screw the cap onto your atomizer and then screw it onto the mod. Aesthetically, this allows for a flush appearance and clean lines. It also allows for outstanding performance, which I’ll touch on in the next section.

The Bay City Vapor SurfRider’s button was a mixed bag for me. I loved the 1mm throw, but wasn’t happy with the heavy feel. Naturally, button feel is completely subjective; my preference is for a short throw and light feel. Initially, the spring was way too stiff for my liking. It loosened up after a few weeks of use, but was still stiffer than what I prefer. With the firing mechanisms flush design and meaty spring, you can place the mod down without having to worry about it firing.

The downside to the Bay City Vapor SurfRider’s unique top cap is that it can be tricky with certain atomizer and battery combinations. Using Samsung INR 18650 20-R and Sony VTC3 batteries, I had no issues with the Aqua, Russian, and numerous dripping atomizers. However, I have read reports of other battery and atomizer combos being difficult (i.e. not firing all the time). The good news is that Bay City Vapor is updating the firing mechanism to allow for broader compatibility. The really good news is that the company’s customer service is outstanding; current SurfRider owners will be sent the updated parts free of charge. That level or customer service is fantastic.

Performance: Since the novel top cap allows the atomizer to make direct contact to the battery, the Bay City Vapor SurfRider’s performance is stellar. The brass model has no voltage loss and hits amazingly hard. So in addition to hybrid-like looks, you also get hybrid-like performance.

On paper, the hybrid-style top cap seems like an obvious and simple thing to do. Why not remove a junction to achieve excellent performance? Yet Bay City Vapor is the first mod maker that I know of to offer this type of top cap as a standard feature, and the performance results are phenomenal.

Bay City Vapor SurfRider review

Verdict: For the money, the Bay City Vapor SurfRider is an outstanding value. You get a mechanical mod with excellent workmanship, a beautifully understated appearance, and some of the best performance on the market for a relatively low price. I especially love that the SurfRider is available in a single-tube configuration. Many (but not all) vapers I know only use one type of battery, making additional tubes a waste of money and materials. As a somewhat frugal and somewhat environmentally concerned vaper, I applaud Bay City Vapor offering the SurfRider in single-tube form.

Even though I’m not a fan of its stiff spring (looking for magnets to replace it), I highly recommend the Bay City Vapor SurfRider. It’s beautiful and well made, with extraordinary performance.

Vaping Diaries #134: Bay City Vapor Interview (Vapetoberfest 2013)

At Vapetoberfest 2013, I had the pleasure of meeting Bay City Vapor founder James Livingston. He told me about the company’s upcoming mechanical mods, which are designed and made right here in California. James’ background is in manufacturing, so he’s particular about craftsmanship and conductivity. Bay City Vapor mods aim to offer high performance and an elegantly understated style. I was particularly enamored with the XXIX, which is a gorgeous copper mech. If copper isn’t your thing, Bay City Vapor has the SurfRider series, which is available in brass and steel. These mods feature a unique pinless design, which is one of the more novel features I’ve seen in a mechanical mod this year.

Be sure to check out the video above to see prototypes of the first round of Bay City Vapor mechanical mods, as well as to learn more about the company’s pinless design and the upcoming 26650 model. Also, Bay City Vapor has no affiliation with the Bay City Rollers.

Bay City Vapor XXIX