Posts in the category Reviews

Review: Effetto Mariposa Carogna Cyclocross Tubular Tape – First Impressions


A big part of getting in the spirit of cyclocross for me each fall for the last decade has been the smell and mess of gluing up tubulars. Even with the advent of more tubeless tire options for cross, and wider clincher rims that perform better than ever, nothing really competes with the performance and ability to run ultra low tire pressures for maximum grip like a set of good, supple tubulars.

So as each season approaches, it has been time to inspect last year’s tires and get ahold of a couple pairs of new tubulars to fill in whatever gaps in tread patterns I found the previous season, or to try out something new. This year, part of that something new has been new ways to stick the tubulars to the rim. While Vittoria’s Mastik1 had been the go-to glue for a reliable and secure bond for many years, this year we’ve taken to experimenting with some alternatives so our readers don’t need to go blindly into these sticky waters. We were cautiously interested to hear that  Effetto Mariposa had a new adhesive tape option that eliminated the gluing mess. Their Carogna tape has been specifically developed to overcome the limitations (and failures) of past tubular tape. And as it is rated specifically for the low-pressure, high-leverage conditions of cyclocross and mountain biking, we knew we had to give it a try. We’ve been racing on Carogna tape since the beginning of this season in both Europe and the US, so join us after the jump to see how it has treated us so far…


Review: Panaracer Comet Hard Pack 38mm Tire


With the growing popularity of gravel cycling, the number of tire manufacturers clambering aboard with their take on a gravel tire continues – which is a good thing. Panaracer released the Gravel King – first in 32mm and now in 40mm tubeless ready. The Gravel King tire with its small tread blocks differs markedly from the tread pattern of the company’s 700c x 38mm Comet Hard Pack tire. Originally spotted at Interbike 2014, how do the Comet Hard Pack tires fare? Click on through to find out… READ MORE ->

Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto! Livall adds another full featured “smart helmet” to the lineup

Livall Bling Bh60 2

We covered Livall’s Bling smart helmet a while back and it looks as though they have a new model with the same smart features. Crash detection, communication & ride tracking via Bluetooth, turn signals, and a freaking walkie talkie! What’s your handle?

Head past the break to see what the future might hold….


Review: Scott Solace endurance road bike rolls comfort into affordable performance

scott solace 30 endurance road bike review and actual weights

In some respects, the road bike category is getting more diversified, what with gravel and adventure bike joining the endurance, fondo, crit and racing road bikes on the showroom floor lately. In others, it’s consolidating with the clever use of design and materials to produce bikes like the Scott Solace that excel across a wide range of uses.

Designed as their performance endurance bike, the Solace’s frame blends thin, bump absorbing seatstays with oversized head tube, down tube and chainstays to direct all of your pedaling effort to the cassette. And geometry that favors longer distance riding without wandering. The result is a bike that’s as fast as you are, stable and comfortable, which seems to be the right mix for most pavement pounders.

Even better, it’s very affordable…


Long-term Review: Thule’s Chasm Water-Resistant Duffel Taken to the Races & into the Air


Just over a year ago I was looking to replace a worn out gear bag to haul around all of the cycling kit, helmets, and shoes that get thrashed and muddied each weekend racing cyclocross, and I happened across the water resistant duffels from rack-maker Thule. The Chasm bag offered a big opening to make loading and unpacking easy, flexibility of how to carry it, and five different size options from 27-130 liters. I opted for a bright Zinnia yellow bag in the middle Medium size, and have stuffed it and drug it through a season of cross racing, then packed it back up as both checked and carry-on luggage for spring and summer air travels. In that time, I’ve also needed to steal it back from my wife on a number of occasions, as its flexibility and hauling capacity has made it a go-to in our household for pretty much any weekend travel. Get the full details and see how it has fared after the break…


Review: HideMyBell – The Bell That Stays Out Of Sight


If you’re a cyclist who appreciates the functionality of a bell aboard one’s bicycle, there are many options to choose from. However, many bell designs contribute to the already busy handlebar / cockpit area, especially when combined with a modern cycling computer such as a Garmin Edge device. The HideMyBell Garmin Edge compatible mount does just as its name implies – it integrates a bell and out-front Garmin mount into one unit. Ring through for more…


Just In: Brooks Cambium C13 Carbon-railed racing saddle


At the end of the summer, just before and during Eurobike, we previewed a carbon-railed saddle from Brooks, a pretty dramatic move for them. The new Cambium C13 builds on the other vulcanized rubber and cotton topped saddles in their Cambium range, but ditches the aluminum structure and steel rails to shave off more than 100g from their next lightest saddle. We’ve apparently been added to the pool of early testers, so one of the new narrow saddles showed up on our doorstep this week. I’ve thrown it on a cross bike that I’m getting around town on this week and already have some thoughts on the new perch…


Review: 3T Discus C35 Team Carbon clincher Road and Cyclocross wheels – First Impressions & Actual Weights


We chatted with some of the Tech team behind 3T at Eurobike a couple of months back and they were keen to introduce us to their all new Discus disc-brake road line-up. To address the leap over the last year or two in the number of disc brake bikes in the road, gravel, and cyclocross markets, 3T wanted to develop some wheel solutions that would combine the better stability of wider rims and a bit of an aero boost from mid depth profiles. With five wheelsets on offer ranging from the 32mm deep, 575€ aluminum C35 Pro to the 58mm deep, 2600€ carbon C60 LTD, we settled on the mid range C35 Team carbon wheelset that we could put to the test as a set of cross clinchers with some autumn training and a bit of racing, and then throw on some fat slicks for gravel and endurance riding come spring. Roll past the break with us to see our first ride impressions and get the details like actual weights, and compatibility…


Review: Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes are light, fast & perfect for cyclocross

Northwave Extreme XC mountain bike shoes review and actual weights

A few years back, I tested the Northwave Extreme road bike shoes and liked them…still ride ’em, in fact. So when the chance to test their lightweight, racy Extreme XC shoes came up, I stepped up. Like the road shoes, the 2014 model (tested…long term review, here) came in a really bright color alongside the standard black. For 2015, the green carries over and they added a sweet angular gray urban camo with bright orange highlights. The Extreme XC model also gained a Velcro strap near the toe and a partnership with Michelin to develop grippier outsole traction pads. Otherwise, the shoes are similar in materials and design, enough so that this review bodes well for the current version, too…