Posts in the category Reviews

Review: Gamut Cillos 50mm Stem

Gamut Cillos Stem (5)

Gamut is synonymous with chain retention devices tuned for race performance, but the new Cillos stem marks a departure from the small company’s standard fair. Sleek, light, and jet black, it represents just one of the many new products Gamut has in development.

To put the stem through it’s paces, we’ve had it  mounted up on everything from trail bikes to dirt jumpers over the past few months. Head past the break to see how it faired.

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EU CX Test: Campagnolo Shamal Ultra tubular wheels – Weighed & First Impressions

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Our season long cyclocross test got underway a few weeks ago with a mix of bikes, components, and clothes. Over the next few weeks we will introduce the items that came in from the start with our first impressions from the first few races and last minute bits of preseason training.  As wheels and tires seem to have one of the biggest impacts on cross and offer great bang for your upgrade buck, we thought we would start there.

We wanted to build up a steel project bike with a lower cost groupset that our readers could actually afford, so we agreed with Campagnolo to test their Athena 11 speed gruppo. With that Campy sent us a set of Shamal Ultra aluminum tubular wheels to glue up some cyclocross tires. They were so nice and shiny looking when we pulled them out off the box, that even before we had the chance to build the bike up we quickly glued some of Tufo’s new Flexus Primus tubulars on and put the wheels to dirt on a couple of 10 speed Campagnolo-equipped bikes.

Roll on past the break for some more detail pics, specs, actual weights, and our first thoughts on the wheels…

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First Impressions & Actual Weights: Recon’s 161g Titanium 11-Speed Road Cassette

Recon Titanium road bike cassette actual weight and early review

After testing the 120g alloy Recon race day cassette, we sent the link to Fair Wheel Bikes, not quite sure how they’d take it. After all, I snapped more than one tooth off that one and relegated it to use on the trainer. Fortunately, they appreciated the honesty and said it sounded about right, then offered up the more durable titanium version for review.

And here we are. Also made by Recon, the 6AL/4V titanium model uses two 3-cog clusters on the big end of the cassette -the largest of which sits on an alloy carrier- followed by individual cogs and spacer rings for the remainder. The 11-tooth cog is made from steel. It’s available in silver and gold, and the price is a whopping $320.

Here’s how that compares to SRAM, Shimano and Campy…

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Sweathawg Doubles Up, New Helmet Liner X2 Soaks up the Sweat

 

sweathawg 2x helmet liner sweat control (4)

We’re big fans of the SweatHawg helmet liners. Thanks to the ultra absorbent material stitched into the front of each liner, the small pieces of fabric are great for keeping the sweat out of your eyes while riding. Thanks to evaporative cooling the liners never get too hot, and with the originals they worked very well – except in super humid locations.

The combination of a lot of sweat plus high humidity meant the liners were only good for an hour or so before they started dripping or needed wringing out. Still better than nothing, but SweatHawg thought they could improve on the original. That improvement comes in the form of the new Helmet Liner X2. Using the same design as the original, the X2 doubles up on the absorbent layer increasing the sweat soaking abilities by two fold.

Details next…

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First Impressions: SRAM Force CX1 Cyclocross Group

2015 SRAM Force CX1 first impressions ride review

After weighing and installing the SRAM Force CX1 group, I put it through a couple “get to know ya” rides before heading to Asheville for the final race in the AVLCX series at Pisgah Brewing.

With a good bit of rain the day before and a little sprinkling during the race, the course went from a little damp to downright slip-n-slide like during our 45 minute race. Fortunately, the CX1 group held up to the mud, grass and a few slips and spills with zero problems. The bike even sat outside, unwashed and unloved for a few days after the race before getting a bath, but things still worked just fine.

Here’s how things worked out during my first race week with CX1 and the Force Hydro-RD disc brakes…

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Unboxed, Weighed & Installed: SRAM Force CX1 Cyclocross Group & Hydraulic Disc Brakes

2015 SRAM CX1 1x11 cyclocross component group with hydraulic disc brakes install notes and actual weights

SRAM’s Force CX1 group with hydraulic disc brakes had no sooner showed up then we threw it on the scale, installed and took it to a very muddy race at Pisgah Brewing near Asheville, NC.

Introduced in March, the group just started aftermarket shipping en masse around August, with hydraulic brake versions following in September. For those upgrading their current rig, it meant a nick-of-time delivery before the season gets too far underway. Fortunately, installation is pretty straightforward, even if you have to run hydraulic disc brakes through a frame. Heck, even if you don’t, they ship with very long hoses, so chances are high you’ll need to at least trim the length and re-bleed them.

Here’s the run down of individual component weights, including a comparison to the mechanical brake counterparts, and install notes…

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Hands On with the Fezzari Forè Cyx Cyclocross Bike

Fezzari Fore Cyx cyclocross cross bike carbon disc (2)

To Fezzari, Forè means the best. Out in front. Top of the line. In the case of the Forè Cyx (siKs) it means cross. Technically, Cyx is the model name while Forè is being introduced as Fezzari’s top tier brand. Think of Forè as Fezzari’s S-Works if you will. Along with their Forè Cyx cross bikes Fezzari currently has a number of Forè road bikes as well with more on the way.

Based out of Utah, Fezzari is a consumer direct company that specializes in high end bikes with the service to match. As for the name? After founding the company the owner asked his son to come up with the craziest name he could think of, something unique that would stick. The name Fezzari also plays on Utah’s penchant for double Zs for their sports team with the Jazz, Grizzlies, Starzz and many other now retired names.

Representing one of the newest models for 2015, the Forè Cyx was introduced just in time for the start of cyclocross season and brings with it the latest in equipment and frame technology. If you’re looking for a cross bike with disc brakes and thru axles, the Forè Cyx is worth a look…

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Just In: Bontrager Affinity Elite TLR Road/CX Disc Wheels & CX0 and CX3 Tubeless Tires

Bontrager Affinity TLR cx 0 3 tires tubeless cyclocross cross  (4)

Bontrager’s Affinity Elite TLR wheel set is listed as Road disc, but this time of year for us that means they double as a cyclocross wheelset. Bontrager seems to think so to as the wheels were shipped with their new tubeless CX0 and CX3 cyclocross tires.

A lot has changed in the world of cyclocross technology recently which means buying a new wheel set can be a tricky proposition if you want them to have any chance of being future proof. Fortunately the Affinity wheels are a versatile design that are equally at home on your bike or in the pits…

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Warm, Bright, Reflective, the Pactimo Fall Collection Has it All

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As both the season and day light wind down, there is a lot of talk about lights. Indeed, lights are very important both to allow you to see and get you noticed by drivers, but clothing can also play an important role in visibility. Brightly colored threads help you stand out in the day while reflective panels make you pop against a car’s headlights.

Even though many riders acknowledge the need for visible clothing, for many cyclists style comes first for better or for worse. When Pactimo set out to create their Fall line for 2014 their goal was simple -  create a collection of clothes with attention grabbing colors and smart reflective panels that don’t look like you’re wearing a safety jacket.

Combined with Pactimo’s value for the money and fit that we love, and you have some very interesting, very attention grabbing Fall cycling gear. See what makes the new gear shine next…

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