Posts in the category Reviews

Review: TrainerRoad online subscription training boosts fitness with tech!

TrainerRoad online cycling training software with real time sensor integration

In a nutshell, TrainerRoad is an online cycling training software that works by pulling all of the data from the peripherals on your bike and body to adjust the workout to improve results. It also has the magical ability of making indoor trainer sessions less miserable thanks to the real-time feedback displayed on screen, helping you stay on target and actually get the desired work from your workout.

What sets TrainerRoad apart is that it syncs with your Bluetooth and ANT+ speed, cadence, power and heart rate sensors and uses their data to graph your effort overtop the prescribed training plan. And there are a ton of plans and individual workouts available, with more being added quite frequently…or you can create your own. Even more impressive is that if you have a “smart” trainer like the Wahoo KICKR, it’ll adjust the resistance automatically to keep your output synced with the workout.

But, the whole thing works just fine with a basic trainer, too. Looking for a new training partner this winter? TrainerRoad could be it…

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First Impressions: Absolute Black 28-to-40 tooth cassette cluster adapter

AbsoluteBlack 28-40 tooth cassette adapter cluster first impressions and actual weights

If you’re looking to put together an expanded range 1×10 system from your current setup, this provides a good alternative to single cog adapters that make a big jump at the top of the cassette. This one provides a smoother transition onto the larger cogs and a more subtle change between the top four cogs, too.

And, it’s a fairly reasonably priced way to do it. The SRAM 1050 cassette retails for $85 and the AbsoluteBlack adapter for $122, putting you all in at $207. Your alternatives for bumping up to a 40T or 42T cassette are either Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1/X01/X1. With Shimano, the cassette is about $300, and it’s 11-speed only, which requires new chain and chainrings, too. SRAM’s is also 11-speed only and requires a new freehub body, chain and chainrings. Either way, it’s going to cost you a lot more.

As for the range only being 40T and not 42T, you could just opt for a slightly smaller single chainring to compensate, which makes even more sense if you’re dropping the 11T cog off the bottom of the cassette as I did. I found the new range to be very good for our local trails, keeping me mostly in the middle of the cassette.

Another benefit? It can add up to a lighter system than the stock cassette…

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Long-term EU CX Test: Stevens cyclocross Super Prestige Disc – weighed, ridden & raced

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As we lead into the upcoming UCI Cyclocross World Championships this coming weekend here in the Czech Republic we want to give a complete rundown on one of the bikes we’ve been race testing all season as a part of our EU CX test series, that will see some elite-level international racing under some of the world’s best athletes.  The updated 2015 Stevens Super Prestige Disc, which we introduced back at Eurobike, is billed as an all-out race bike so we’ve been doing our best to shake it out in our national series of Masters cross races, coincidentally co-sponsored by Stevens Bikes along with Czech clothing producer Lawi.  Besides our amateur level racing and their support of grassroots racing programs throughout Europe, the Super Prestige has recently been ridden to a lot of great results under professional racers.

At the start of 2015 Stevens expanded their pro team sponsorships to include the Stevens Racing Team, Corendon-KwadrO, and now cyclocross powerhouse BKCP-Powerplus. With the new team sponsorships in place for all of the 2015 national championship races a couple of weeks back, riders on the Super Prestige and Super Prestige Disc took home 7 national titles including: German women’s elite,  German men’s junior, German men’s elite, Belgian men’s U23, Swiss men’s elite, Czech men’s elite, and Dutch men’s elite. Clearly the bike can handle the top level of racing, and we look forward to seeing if one of these Stevens-sponsored riders will stand on the top step of the podiums at Worlds in Tábor. Until then, join us after the jump for our full breakdown on how the bike performed under us, both on and off the cross course.

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Review: Continental Mountain King Protection MTB Tires & Revo Tubeless Sealant

Continental Mountain King 2 tubeless ready protection mountain bike tires review and actual weights

After a bit of a confusing kick off to their tubeless ready offerings in 2012, Continental’s been steadily expanding the options across their entire range. That’s not to say the naming scheme is any better, unfortunately. Tires are offered in a variety of casing options, including a proper UST, the tubeless ready “Protection” versions, and everything else that’s not officially tubeless. That includes their “Protection Apex” models, which will see more options later in 2015. But that’s getting ahead of ourselves.

Considering the performance of the Mountain King, though, those naming issues can be forgiven. When the leaves became too much for the lower profile X-King or Race King tires (or similarly hardpacked summery tires from other brands), I mounted the Mountain King Revolution tires last fall. Yes, that’s fall of 2013. They immediately provided the grip needed on our autumn leaf covered trails and carried themselves well all through the winter, too. They were so good, I kept them on all summer and have been spending more time on them again now that we’re in the midst of another winter.

But grip is only part of the story. There’s some interesting character traits worth considering…

UPDATED: Widths measurements added.

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Just In: Rocky Mountain’s Blizzard Busting Fat Bike

Rocky Mountain blizzard fat bike review (3)

To get an idea of how quickly the RockShox Bluto has been adopted by the fat bike scene, the launch of the Rocky Mountain Blizzard was a pretty good indication. At the time, it was one of just two bikes announced that would use the fork which were launched the very same day. Introduced right before the Sea Otter Classic, it was like Rocky Mountain was waiting for the perfect bike to give new life to the Blizzard name – and what better bike than a fat bike?

For their very first attempt at a fat bike, Rocky took the approach of many larger companies with cautious optimism. Instead of going all out with high end carbon rigs, the Blizzard would be a simple yet well thought out aluminum bike with a solid spec and an affordable price. Because of that, the Blizzard is extremely intriguing. On paper, the Blizzard seems to have just about everything you would want in a trail oriented fat bike with enough money left over to buy some Winter riding gear.

Even though we aren’t dealing with the same blizzard on the East coast, our own Blizzard just blew in for a first look…

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SKS Helps Fatter 29″ Tires Cover up with New X-Tra Dry XL and Shockboard XL Fenders

SKS X-tra dry xl shockboard mtb mountain bike fender (5)

If you’re lucky enough to have somewhere to ride your mountain bike when it rains, decent fenders can be a helpful addition to your bike. But since no one really likes to ride around with fenders when it’s dry out, it helps if the fenders can be quickly removed and installed – otherwise they’re going to sit in your garage unused. As tires continue to get bigger, so must the fenders which is why SKS has introduced the new X-Tra Dry XL rear and Shockboard XL front fenders. Designed to provide more coverage, the X-Tra DRy XL measures in at 80mm longer and 10mm wider than the original, while the Shockboard XL adds 60mm in length as well.

Still just as easy to put on and take off, the pair is worth a look for anyone riding 29ers or fat 700c tires…

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Ride Review: Vee Tire’s H-Billie Fat Bike Tire Brings Tubeless Tech Below $100

H-Billie-outside

Vee Tire rolled into the market a few years ago with some of the first “affordable” fat bike tires. They have grown rapidly, with 9 different fat bike tire models (including the plus-sized Trax Fatty), and their growth was primarily fueled by consumers being able to get fat bike tires without a home refinance loan.

The H-Billie is folding bead, tubeless ready, and claimed at 26×4.25″, aiming for the lighter fat bikes with 4″ tires that still make up the vast majority of the market.

We took a ride on the H-Billies, and found them to be pretty good, especially for the price. Take a look inside to see how a tire at half the price stacks up…

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First Impressions: Laché London’s New Season Kit with a Splash of Color - Preorder Open

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courtesy Gunnar Eist 8122.tumblr.com

We’d had spotted some interesting looking designs from small upstart Laché London last fall and reached out to them for a bit more detail. Their designs seem to balance the fine line between a sensible solid-color kit and something a bit more flashy. Around the same time, we had been talking with Czech clothing maker Kalas Wear about their new fabrics and what they had planned for 2015. Since the Laché kit is made by Kalas, this was a unique chance to get ahold of some of the new unreleased pieces, with the bonus of getting to ride in a more unique kit. Plus, it lets us give a little exposure to a small European company which is always nice.

Some advance samples arrived back in November and we’ve been giving them a run through during cross season and winter training to let you know our thoughts now that the new line has just opened up for preorder this past Monday. Come past the break to see some more photos and what we think.

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Review: Yakima Fullswing 4 Bike Hitch Mast Rack

Yakima Full Swing review bikerumor (8)

When Yakima offered up the chance to review their new Fullswing rack, admittedly a lot of my motivation was due to my desire to find a rack that could easily carry fat bikes. Sure, now there are a number of racks meant to carry the monster tires, but at the time my options were pretty limited. Tired of my fat bikes wiggling their way out of home-brewed solutions, the secure mounts of the Hitch Mast style rack were intriguing. Hoping to carry a few fat bikes and my wife’s beach cruiser to our ocean destination, the Fullswing capability of the rack made it seem like a done deal.

After a year’s worth of use, I’ve learned quite a bit from the use of the Fullswing. In certain situations it can be amazing. Yet, in other circumstances depending on the bike there are certainly better options. As it turns out, the Fullswing is a pretty impressive rack – just maybe not for the user you would expect…

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