Posts in the category Reviews

Long Term Review: Breezer Repack 650B Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Breezer Repack Glamour Shot

With a bold two tone paint job, clean lines, and an innovative new suspension, the all new Breezer Repack is an interesting entrant in the 650B all mountain segment. With over two years of development behind it and geometry input from legendary frame builder Joe Breeze, we couldn’t say no when we were offered a long term review unit after our first ride experience in Bootleg Canyon.

We’ve had several test riders shredding on the Breezer for almost three months, so hop past the break to see how it fared…
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Review: Downhill Supreme 2 – The Game You’ve Mostly Been Waiting For

Downhill Supreme 2 Title ScreenMountain bike games are few and far between, but last years Downhill Supreme breathed new life into a genre that had been stagnant since the legendary PS2 release Downhill Domination.

This week the long anticipated sequel to the original game launched, so we dropped a dollar in the app store and said goodbye to a weeks worth of productivity in the name of science. READ MORE ->

Hands On: Pioneer Cycling Power Meter Tech Overview & First Impressions

Pioneer Cycling Power Meter and Cyclosphere tech overview and first impressions

The first question I had when invited to Pioneer’s launch camp for their 2nd generation power meter crankset was Why cycling? Without prompting, that’s the first question they answered.

Many of their California-based employees are cyclists. Across the Pacific pond, Fujita-San and Shioda-San, two employees in their Japan office, are both cyclists, one with a son that’s turning pro. Pioneer has all the core technology in house, and those two had access to all of the different departments to pull resources together to create both the hardware and software. It’s been their pet project for almost 2.5 years. About 20 engineers worked on this second generation iteration, which fixed a lot of the issues with the first version.

What were those issues? After testing it with the Belkin pro team for two seasons and working with shops during installation, they found that it needed to be simpler. Gone are the zip ties, BB magnet ring and full shop installation. The original relied on shop employees to bond the strain gauges to the crank arms, not just bolt it on the bike. The zip ties simply weren’t elegant enough for a high end system. The magnetic ring required to determine rotational position was overkill and required modifications to the bottom bracket. And the in-shop install proved to be too much work when considering mechanic turnover and retraining, and there was always the chance for error.

My test unit is among the first 11 off their assembly line in Long Beach, CA. The parts are made in Japan, then the units and cranksets come arrive in CA and the cranksets are disassembled and prepped. They’re placed in a jig where the strain gauges are glued into place, then cured in an oven for three hours. After that, the transmitters and chainrings are installed and everything’s repackaged. Then it’s off to the shop…

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Midweek Mini Reviews: Cool Weather Gear from Defeet, X-Wool, Castelli x Polartec & Earth Wind Rider

Earth-Wind-Rider-longsleeve-wool-cycling-jersey-review

With Winter slowly, begrudgingly turning into Spring, it’s time to bust out the cool weather pieces that help us transition from the 30º days to the 60º days. Some of the items here work better for the lower part of the thermometer, some for the upper parts, but all have proven themselves on the trail and/or road.

Above, the Earth, Wind & Rider long sleeve wool cycling jersey is as comfortable as they come. At 6’2″, I’m testing the XL on everything here unless noted (and Kristi tested a women’s version of one item). The EWR jersey’s sleeves and body are plenty long enough, and the cut is perfect for mountain biking or casual riding.

Roll on for pricing and details for this, plus goods from Castelli, Defeet and Wool-X…

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Long Term Review: ELEVEN vélo Merino Wool Team Jersey, Bibs & Arm Warmers

Eleven Velo Wool Kit

The Sydney, Australian based company, ELEVEN vélo , is a purveyor of fine merino wool cycling clothing. We featured their brand here. Since then, I have had the luxury of riding in their team jersey, 3/4 length bibs, and arm warmers. One can think of ELEVEN vélo as being akin to a custom frame builder. Each product that goes out the door is specifically crafted for the customer that ordered it. The goods sold are made from ethically sourced materials, and manufactured in Sydney to strict guidelines. A lot of thought has gone into the design of the clothing, ensuring it looks good and performs great.

Head past the break for a full breakdown of the items.

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Review: Veloheld IconX, a Modern Steel Disc-brake Cyclocross Frameset

Veloheld's IconX disc-brake steel cyclocross frame is well suited to sand, mud, and snow

The IconX is the newest bike coming out of Dresden-based veloheld over this past fall/winter cyclocross season. Although it is a cross bike and its racing season has finished for the year, we see its potential as more of a multi-purpose bike than just a race bike. It is definitely the kind of bike one can pull out for year round adventure.

Read on for a detailed look at the bike…

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Review: Wahoo Fitness Kickr Trainer – The Nearly Perfect Training Tool (UPDATED)

Wahoo Fitness Kickr Trainer review with power measurement and iPhone app controlled settings

The Wahoo Fitness Kickr Trainer introduced the concept of iPhone-controlled indoor training at Eurobike 2012, packing in a power meter with a ton of control over resistance. The result, after testing it through the winter for ourselves, adds up to an amazing tool for improving fitness on the bike, letting you train on your terms.

High quality fluid and wind trainers do a perfectly adequate job of increasing resistance as your cadence or gearing increases. And if you have a power meter already on your bike, it’s reasonably easy to adjust your cadence and gearing to stay within a desired output range. Where the Kickr improves is by doing all that with simple on screen adjustments (on your iPhone, naturally. Or current-gen iPad, Bluetooth LE Mac or ANT+ enabled PC). The biggest benefit comes with the Ergometer mode – just set the power output you want to maintain, and it’ll adjust the resistance in real time to maintain a steady effort regardless of cadence or gear selection.

Yes, it can force you to work harder…

UPDATE: Thru axle adapter now available ($29.99), older iDevices compatible with Wahoo’s ANT+ Key ($59.99).

UPDATE 2: Answers about max wattage and new product updates added at bottom of post.

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Frostbike First Look: TRP’s New Spyke Mountain Dual Piston Mechanical Disc Brake

Frostbike First Look: TRP's New Spyke Mountain Mechanical Disc Brake

After TRP introduced their Spyre dual piston mechanical disc brake for road and cross bikes, an interesting thing happened – they started getting a lot of requests to make a mountain bike model. Even with a number of excellent hydraulic brakes on the market, apparently fatbike riders especially were looking for a mechanical brake that was better than the current options and not susceptible to cold like many hydraulic brakes can be. In spite of the bumpy roll out of the Spyre, the performance of the brake is impressive and now after the recall new models are shipping to satisfied consumers. Enter the new TRP Spyke, a mechanical dual piston mountain bike disc brake.  Currently still in the prototype phase, it shouldn’t be long before these hit the shelves.

Thanks to TRP we got our hands on a prototype set after the break!

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Long Term Review: Fox’s Ultra Smooth D.O.S.S. Dropper Post

Fox Doss Droper PostPurchasing a dropper post is arguably the biggest single upgrade you can make to your mountain bike. The ability to drop and raise your saddle on the fly has had a bigger impact on our riding style than any pair of carbon wheels we’ve had the pleasure of testing.

Unfortunately, like all new technology, there have been growing pains. The early dropper posts we tested were sometimes rife with issues ranging from excessive side-to-side play or the need for frequent service intervals. So when Fox set about developing the D.O.S.S. (Drop On Steep Sh!t) Dropper Post, they wanted to address these failures. Their post has now been on the market for nearly two years and we’ve been hammering on two different posts for about that half time.

Have they succeed in building a maintenance free post? Drop past the break to find out….

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