Posts in the category Feature

Need Winter Cycling Gloves? The Answer Sleestak 3 In 1 Mitts Are Severely Underrated

Answer Sleestak 3 in 1 winter mitt glove gloves cold weather (8)

I would assume that if you asked most cyclists why they don’t ride more in the winter, the answer would be two-fold. First, no one likes cold hands and feet and second? Quality winter gear is expensive. Given the fact that sometimes it feels like it takes longer to get dressed than the actual ride, it’s clear that cold weather cycling requires quite a bit more equipment.

When it comes to winter riding gloves, there is no shortage of options. However, if you need something seriously warm that is also affordable, the herd gets thin, quick. That’s why I am very happily surprised by the Answer Sleestak 3 in 1 mitts. Available for just $39.99, these might be the best winter gloves you’ve never heard of…


Startup Alto Velo’s R-Symmetric Design Promises Drastically Stiffer, Stronger Wheels

Alto Velo R-Symmetric road bike hubs with oversized flange

It’s a fun idiom to say someone has reinvented the wheel. It’s even more fun when someone actually does, and that’s what friends Bobby Sweeting and Shawn Gravois, who both happen to be pro road cyclists and engineers, are looking to do.

“It’s been a year in the making, but it really started in college,” says Sweeting. “Both Shawn and I were racing professionally and would finish rides and have bearings failing, wheels flexing and just generally underwhelming experiences with the options available.”

It was December 6th, 2013, which happens to be Shawn’s birthday, and the two agreed that if they were ever going to make a go of it, that was the time.

“I pitched it to him as becoming a product manufacturing company, not a wheel company,” he said. “We didn’t want to come to market using just a bunch of open mold products with no real point of differentiation. So we took a hard look at what part we could design that would have the biggest impact, and have improvements or designs that we could patent.”

Their viewpoint was informed by more than just racing and an unrelated job in engineering – Sweeting was in rigid frame engineering at Cannondale, having designed the CAAD8, Trail SL and others, plus helping on the brakes for the Slice RS. And they had proximity to another cycling brand in Florida, where they went for winter training, that let them use machinery for prototyping. That shared equipment is what made it possible for them to get started on a shoestring budget while using advanced testing and research…


Just In: Bontrager Jackalope Wheels and Hodag Tires Add Tubeless Fat Bike Options

Bontrager Hodag Jackalope fat bike tubeless wheel tire system  (3)

Just like your typical mountain bike, when it comes to fat bikes tubeless tires have a lot to offer. Eliminating (or close to) flats is a pretty big deal, especially given the fact that your typical fat bike inner tube will usually run at least double the cost of a standard tube. In many circumstances, dropping the tubes will also result in a significant weight loss – sometimes more than a pound. In our experience, the lack of an inner tube has also resulted in a better handling that will conform to the trail for improved traction.

In spite of all the advantages, going tubeless on a fattie still presents some challenges. Getting a large volume of sealant into a floppy tire and still being able to get that tire to seat on the rim can be tricky. That’s why products like Bontrager’s new fat bike TLR system get us excited. There are a number of tubeless systems available already from HED, Foundry/45NRTH, Turnagain, Sun Ringle, and more, but options are always good for the consumer. And while there are more than a few rims available, the choices for true tubeless fat bike tires are still fairly limited.

Like a lot of the big brands, Trek and Bontrager aren’t putting forth a huge product line for fat bikes, but what they do have looks promising. Get the details on the new Bontrager Jackalope wheels and Hodag fat bike tires next…


Home Workshop Series – Part 3: Basic Tools & Kits To Start Working On Your Bike


Now, we start to dig into tools. Probably the most needed item in your home workshop, and the most common first purchase, a good set of common tools are needed for about 75% of your bike repairs. There are a lot of starter kits out there which might work for your needs. Or you can create your own kit from the suggestions here.

There are a lot of great tool companies such as Park, Pedros, Lezyne, Birzman, plus some lesser known ones like Lifu, IceToolz and Spin Doctor. And tools don’t have to come from a bicycle-specific maker. There are also tools that are worth buying the top-end right away such as the Park professional chain tool above, and some where the basic tool works just fine.

Both Zach and I have been professional mechanics in the past, but do all of our work at home now. Take a look inside as we discuss what works for us in building the starter tool kit for your home workshop….


Specialized patents cobble gobbling suspension road, cyclocross fork

Specialized suspension fork for road and cyclocross bikes with compliant tip

After introducing the COBL GOBL-R (now simply referred to CG-R) micro-suspension seatpost on their 2013 Roubaix, Specialized could be testing the concept on their forks, too.

Simply called a “bicycle fork with compliant tip” in the patent filings, the visual and design similarities are tremendous. Which is good, as it’ll lend a cohesive look should this feature end up on a Roubaix, Crux or Diverge in the future. Like the CG-R, it uses a “resilient member” between two supporting arms, allowing the arms to flex under controlled conditions.

Intrigued? The suspension is only the half of it, wait’ll you see how they accommodate the front disc brake caliper…


Long Term Review: Trek Domane Classics Edition

Trek Domane Classics edition review (3)

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time I’ve ever been sent a bike for review that was originally purpose built for a pro race team. Right down to the frame sizing, the Trek Domane Classics edition is the same frame that was under the mighty Cancellara as he tackled the cobbles.

As it turns out, not that I needed any reminding, but I am not a pro. That was made clear during my time on the Domane but maybe not in the ways you would expect. Increasing my love of the Domane platform and at the same time making me think I should be on a different bike, the Classics edition is an amazing bike – if you have the legs….


Sony Goes 4K with New Full Featured X1000V Action Cam, Full HD with New AS200V


After reading about the new Action Cam Mini AZ1 from Sony, you weren’t alone in thinking their smallest camera was now their best. But as things typically go in the electronic world, the latest and greatest does last for long. Don’t get us wrong, the Action Cam Mini is still one of our favorites for its diminutive size and incredible ease of use. It’s just that thanks to Sony’s introductions at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, the mini is no longer top dog in terms of hardware.

That distinction now belongs to the all-new FDR-X1000V. Running a bit larger than Sony’s previous full size action camera, the X1000V is the first Sony Action Cam to film in 4K resolution. Fortunately, the X1000V is more than just better resolution. Instead it brings much of the usability found in the Mini that we loved so much and more. Better sound. Better control. Basically, a better camera in all regards.

Don’t care about filming in 4K? You may still be interested in the replacement for the AS100V – the new AS200V. Yes, it’s a lot of numbers and letters, but it also means full HD capability, better image stabilization, and more control…


2016 Axle Standards, Part 2: Mountain bikes get 15×110 – Road gets 12mm thru axles

2016 front axle standards for mountain bike will be 15x110

Alongside the changes coming to rear wheels with the new Boost 148 standard, two new options will be offered up front in 2016: 15×110 for mountain bikes and 12×100 for road and cyclocross.

Starting with the new MTB standard, the goal here is much simpler. Where Boost 148 allows for a wide array of geometry and suspension benefits on top of the stiffer wheel platform, the front has just two missions: : Stiffer wheels and better tire clearance.

The current hub standard for mountain bikes is 100mm wide, so going to 110mm is a bigger overall change than the 6mm change in the rear. Presumably, that’ll benefit front wheel stiffness even more.

“15×110 can be taken almost as a parallel to the 148, it’s like Boost Front,” says Mike Gann, Niner’s COO. “If people are paranoid about wheel deflection and wheel stiffness, it’s going to make a larger format wheel (read: 29ers) feel different. And it seems like it’s really going to be pursued by a good chunk of the industry.”

The change also opens up tire clearance by about 0.4 inches. That’s the difference between shoehorning a 2.5 or almost a full 3.0 tire in the fork. That 3.0 figure, coincidentally, seems to be the poster boy for the upcoming “plus” sized wave of bikes, made much more possible thanks to these new axle standards…


Just In: Battle the Cold with the Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (1)

Winter has officially started, the New Year is about to be rung in, and for a lot of us – it’s cold. For me, a good pair of winter boots has always been one of the most important pieces of Winter equipment. If your feet are cold, you’ll be cold. Not to mention that even when our trails are frozen, the stream crossings are often still wet. Keeping your feet dry and warm is critical for end of the ride comfort.

No stranger to winter boots, Lake has been making SPD compatible shoes to handle the cold for years. Stepping in at the latest and greatest, the MXZ303 is Lake’s true Winter boot. Rated to temperatures below zero (f), water resistant, and fitted with a chunky Vibram outsole, the MXZ303 looks ready for snow business.