Posts in the category Reviews

SRAM RED eTAP Wireless – First Rides, testing protocols & predictions for the future

SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting group first ride review

To celebrate the SRAM RED eTAP wireless shifting launch, they brought us to their drivetrain development office in Schweinfurt, Germany, for technical presentations and the very first public test rides anywhere.

We’ve covered the product tech, weights & setup here, now we’ll cover the lengthy testing procedure they underwent to ensure that the most anticipated launch in the company’s history is bombproof. And we’ll share thoughts after riding 145 miles (233km) over three days through the rolling hills surrounding their office.

The testing process started in the lab, progressed to employee and “super testers”, then smaller and regional teams, then finally to AG2R in the Tour Down Under and Tour de France. Here’s how it went…

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SRAM’s New X-Sync 1X Chain Rings Prove Steel is Real… Affordable

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Due to the impressive amount of CNC machining time, most narrow wide rings have a price that reflects the production costs. Sram wanted to create a replacement 1x ring for the cost conscious which meant they needed look to a different material – steel. Utilizing their stamping and manufacturing wizardry, the new steel rings are not only more affordable but they should be more durable as well.

Available in three select sizes, SRAM is offering a direct mount, plus an interesting looking 94 BCD ring as well…

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Review: Paul Component Engineering SRAM Shifter Adapter

Soma Wolverine with Paul Component SRAM Shifter Adapter

Every now and then, a relatively simple product comes along and solves a massive headache. In my case, being able to fit gears onto my singlespeed Soma Wolverine was providing harder than first anticipated. That was, until I came across a neat little item from Californian-based manufacturer Paul Component Engineering.

Late last year, we reported on the new trigger shifter adapter which would allow one to fit a SRAM trigger shifter to their drop bars. After receiving and installing Paul’s SRAM shifter adapter earlier this year, I’ve found it to be the perfect solution for my woes. Head on through for the full scoop!

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Review: Suplest SupZero Entry-level Cross Country Bike Shoes

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Having seen some of the high-end carbon-soled road and XC shoes from Suplest last year, we wanted to look a bit deeper into their line-up. The young Swiss-designed shoe company spreads most of the features of their top shoes all the way down, with differentiation primarily an issue of different sole constructions (and a bit with upper materials.) With a lot of cyclocross racing here in Europe, we wanted to look at something with a bit more flex for all of the running; so we passed on the full carbon soles, for a pair of good old fashioned reinforced nylon soles. Suplest does a pretty solid job with even this mid-level SupZero mountain bike shoe, and I was never really left wanting for a stiffer shoe during a wide mix of cross, road, and mountain riding and racing.

Follow me past the break for a look at how the shoes help up to 4-season riding, some of their details, and pricing…

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Detailed Off-road Mapping with TwoNav Anima+ and Ultra GPS Units: First Looks

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A few weeks back at a bike company’s product launch we had the chance to look at a new GPS cycling computer from a Spanish company that we’d never seen before. The bigger electronics company CompeGPS has a product range the appeals to cyclists under the TwoNav brand. We first got to try out the Anima+, a 3” touchscreen GPS (with a similar form factor to the Edge 800/810). We’ve since gotten a few rides in with the smaller 2” touchscreen Ultra, which offers the same excellent mapping in a unit somewhere between the Edge 500 & 510. The biggest standout features so far have been great detailed topo mapping and surprising visibility in bright sunlight. With a base map catalogue that exceeds every other cycling computer we’ve seen, the TwoNav units have really stood out, especially for off-road riding.

Join us after the break for our first impressions and some first look details about these two computers…

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Review: Airy Catlike Mixino Helmet, plus Snap-on Aero and Rain Shells

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We had been eyeing the perforated helmets of Catlike for some time, and after we had a chance to see the latest version of the Mixino road helmet last fall with its removable aero shells we thought it was worth a closer look. As companies moved to introduce aero helmets for road racing, like one or two other companies, Catlike took an interim step and molded two different polycarbonate shells that can be attached to the helmet. The Aero and Rain shells give this helmet a couple extra personalities and a lot more versatility than an aero helmet, or even a typically vented one. We’ve been riding in this helmet for winter through summer now and have been very happy with how it performs in almost all conditions in our long-term test.

Join us after the break for more of our thoughts, actual weights, and pricing…

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Fuji drops a 10.9 pound featherweight with new SL Road Bike *updated with pricing and additional models

Fuji SL-10

Fuji has been very busy the last two years developing their newest road bike, the Fuji SL, and according to the specs, the results are astounding. The bike will be shown to the public for the first time this weekend at the 2015 Vuelta a España, but we were given an early preview and interview with Fuji’s longtime Road Project Manager Steven Fairchild to get the low down on how they accomplished such a feat.

Fuji knew how much everyone loved the ride and stiffness of their Altamira line, and that they needed to set the stakes high.  The result is a frame that came in at a jaw dropping 695 grams without sacrificing anything that the Altamira offered. Click on through to see the detailed pictures and technology that went into Fuji’s new flagship road bike and a couple of hints of more things coming down the pipeline…

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Review: Revisiting Praxis Road and Cyclocross Chainrings, Long-Term

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It’s been more than four and a half years since we last did a proper review of a set of chainrings from Praxis. While they do get pretty rave reviews from everyone who rides them, we thought it was time to revisit a few sets that we have put several thousand kms on to let you know how they have worked out and how they’ve held up over the long haul. The sets we’ll talk about in detail are the Standard Road 53/39 Clover rings, the all black Compact Road 50/34 rings, and the Cyclocross 46/36 rings.

Come past the break for our thoughts, detailed wear photos, and actual weights…

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Gaining Some Speed and Longevity with VCRC Bike’s Ceramic Components

VCRC Bike-2

In every form of racing that requires any sort of equipment, the top competitors are very close to being at the same level of performance. That means the little details can add up to make a pretty big difference. Ceramic bearings have made their way and established themselves as a pretty valid item not only because they potentially perform better, but because they also can last longer than standard steel bearings in the right circumstances. Matt Speer at VCRC Bike has made a name for himself by being highly focused on the details of the products he makes, not to mention being a stickler for details.

VCRC (originally Velo Carbon Racing Componets) was started by Matt Speer back in 2002 out of his garage simply to fund his racing and travel by selling a few products locally.  Things seemed to take off better than expected and he became one of the early manufactures to bring ceramic bearings to the bicycle.  They also produce carbon stems, (his first product), seat posts, and bottle cages.

VCRC Bike’s new “threaded” Press Fit bottom bracket was designed to prevent creaking by creating an additional secure point of contact with the left and right BB cups making sure they are not only more secure, but most importantly, perfectly aligned. This helps increase the bottom bracket’s bond to the frame to eliminate potential wear and seal harming movement as well as solve any slight misalignment in the frame’s BB shell. All VCRC bottom brackets come with their “made in house” ceramic bearings which are available as is with their standard seal and VCRC Speed Cream, or with an upgraded seal for added protection (CROSS IS COMING!), or even their VCRC “Racing Cream” super fast lubricant.  Retail on the press fit bottom bracket is $150

Click below to see how else VCRC can speed things up plus some of their nicely done components…

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