Posts in the category Reviews

Long Term Review: Zipp SL Sprint & SL Aero handlebar, stem and seatpost

Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar and SL Speed carbon stem and seatpost review with actual weights

Over the past couple of years, Zipp has reworked their handlebar shapes to accommodate just about any preference you may have, and their stem and seatpost line runs the gamut from oversized carbon to minimalist alloy. If you’re the type that likes to match their wheels to the rest of the bits on their bike, there are few other brands that offer the complete assortment as Zipp. While I don’t have their wheels yet, I do like having a matched cockpit. I’ve also become a fan of aero parts, so I pieced together the Zipp SL 70 Aero handlebar with their carbon SL Sprint stem and SL Speed seatpost.

Sure, the shape of a handlebar is a highly personal choice. But design quality, performance and easy of use are traits we can all appreciate. And once a properly stiff stem is in place, the weak spots in others becomes much more apparent. As for the seatpost, well, there were some limitations as to what I could feel with that one, but the technical pros and cons were readily apparent…

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Review: Wholedration all-natural, high electrolyte coconut water based sports drink mix

Wholedration organic all natural non-GMO sports drink with coconut sugar review

Last winter, Kleen Nutrition launched their first product, an all-natural, organic, non-GMO sports drink called Wholedration. It’s based on coconut sugar and coconut water with a two flavor system tailored to sweat rates. Their December launch wasn’t exactly timed with the hot temps that make us sweat a ton, so we waited a while to put it through a proper test.

I used it as my sole hydration source during a solo effort at 6 Hours of Warrior Creek in April and throughout the summer on short, long, hot and normal rides and haven’t come close to cramping a single time. Equally as impressive is that even on four to six hour rides, I didn’t tire of the flavor and it never built up a sticky sweet tongue coating.

The carb count is low, just 7-9g per 8oz serving, which falls in line with modern thinking about using the drink to hydrate and food to fuel, so I did rely on nuts, bars and Clif’s surprisingly tasty organic food purée squeezes to keep me riding strong. The drink’s two flavors are mild, not too acidic, and they’re definitely not sweet, which is the right combo for long term use. Pour into the details below…

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Trail Thrashing Review with Sweet Protection Bushwacker MIPS Helmet, Bearsuit Kneepads & more…

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With a couple months of hot and dry weather across Europe, we’ve spent the better part of this summer getting as much trail riding in as we could. It was something of an idea to stay in the forests out of the sun a bit, but also a chance to get back to my personal technical mountain biking roots. With a few extended lift-assisted trips in some proper mountains, it also has been a chance to do some product testing on some more Enduro-leaning products. One kit we reached to a lot has been a 2016 preview that found its way to us from Norway by Sweet Protection. With a basic protection setup including a MIPS helmet, knee pads, and a pair of new lightweight gloves, I’ve done my best to put them to the test without going so far as to smacking my head on the ground or into any trees (at least not very hard, although it came close a few times.) Matched up with a lightweight long sleeve jersey and an over-the-knee pair of shorts the Sweet Protection gear has been a solid pick whenever the trail gets rough and the descents long.

Hop past the break for the low-down on each piece and our thoughts after a couple of months of riding up, over, and down a few mountains…

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Trailcraft kids mountain bike – unboxed, weighed & first impressions

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After experimenting with kids bikes from Specialized (20″) and Raleigh (24″) for my son, I wanted to get my daughter on something better and lighter. It’s not that those other bikes were bad, they certainly got him out on the trail and are worlds better than what’s sold at big box stores, but they’re heavy. And with retail pricing around $200 to $500, the component spec included a lot of imprecise stamped steel parts.

Then Trailcraft came on the scene and saved Cameron from another hand me down.

Built around a premium 7005-series alloy frame and custom 24″ Stan’s NoTubes Crest wheels and Schwalbe tires, Trailcraft’s Pineridge 24 starts off with a killer foundation for a legitimate mountain bike to get your kiddies off to a rippin’ good start…

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Long-term Test: 3T Team Cockpit – ARX stem, Ionic post, Ergoterra Bar

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We’ve passed the summer solstice and with each passing week the earlier sunsets are reminding us that cyclocross season is on the way once again. With that in mind, we are going to start to wrap up some long-term tests that have been in the works to get ready for a new cross season. We’ve got a few things that trickled in at the end of the last race season and others that spread to spring gravel and dirt riding and are helping us get back in shape for upcoming racing. One such kit that ticks all of those boxes is the mostly carbon Team cockpit from 3T that promises to stand up to the rigors of cross. We’ve put a bit different kit to the test on one of our project bikes, although that is more of a road setup.

The carbon Ergoterra handlebar, carbon Ionic seatpost, and aluminum ARX stem have seen some more aggressive testing on a couple of cross bikes and made it through their share of muddy and snowy crashes without being worse for the wear. Follow us past the jump to see what we thought of each piece, to get some real weights, and to think about this season’s cross builds…

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One Ride Review: Rose’s New Team DX Cross Multi-use Cyclocross Bike

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Rose bikes introduced an all new bike in their cyclocross family last week called the Team DX Cross. We had a chance to point the bike up and over some Alpine dirt and gravel roads, to go where only ski lifts should go, to find some wet mud along the way, and to bomb back down to the valley again. We’re not so sure about the team moniker for a cross bike, as it is still aluminum, not exceptionally lightweight, and has a host of multi-purpose features, but one of their pro team mountain bikers is getting some cross training in racing it, so maybe.

Read on for the full details on the new bike and to see where we feel it might best find its place…

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Take the Hassle Out of Tubeless, with the Tubeless Tower Pro Workstation

Tubeless Solutions Tubeless Tower tire station (27)

Believe it or not, there are still those out there that don’t embrace tubeless technology. More surprising, is that at least according to Tubeless Solutions there are even shops out there who are uncomfortable with performing tubeless conversions. Their reasoning? Mostly the potential mess, the amount of time it takes, and the uncertainty of ensuring a complete seal before the tire walks out the door.

Like many stories behind intriguing products, the Tubeless Tower started with the thought that there had to be a better way to install tubeless tires. Roughly three years ago, Tim Voegeli and his brother Phil starting kicking around the idea and wanted to figure out a way to make the process easier. At the time Tim was riding tubeless on every one of his bikes – Phil on the other hand who is admittedly an “anal retentive electrical engineer” was still happily riding with tubes. Eventually Tim convinced Phil to give tubeless a try and after an entire year on his commuter without flats (25 miles round trip), he says he was sold.

After the first prototypes were drawn up, the design has been tweaked, put through design panels at Pitt State University, redesigned with design work and CAD modeling from their friend Byron Loibl, patented, and is finally nearing production form. Almost every step of the way, all of those involved say they were instantly sold after seeing Tim install a tire on the stand. That’s not really surprising. Even we were a bit skeptical, but once you see everything the stand does, you really will wonder why no one has thought of this before…

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Project XC Race Rocket: Coming to a stop with Magura MT8 Next disc brakes

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Other than a new short-reach brake lever option for Magura’s updated MT-series brakes, they are mostly unchanged from their launch last year. Zach offered up first impressions from the camp and has since complemented the quad-piston MT7 brakes’ power in his review. Meanwhile, I’ve been testing the two-piston MT8 brakes, which are a decidedly more cross country oriented set of stoppers.

At first, these brakes were on my Niner JET9 full suspension bike, where they received their first six months of testing. Then, I moved them to Project XC Race Rocket, which was a much better fit…

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Interview: Advocate Cycles Founder Tim Krueger Talks Advocacy, Business Model, and Bikes, Plus Hands on with Hayduke 27.5+ Frame

Advocate Cycles hayduke 27 plus 650b+ steel hardtail tim kreuger interview review  (2)

We get pitched a lot of new products, but it isn’t often that the company’s business model is unique as the product. When Tim Krueger told us he had something in the works that he was really excited about, we didn’t quite know what to expect. As the former Product Manager for Salsa Cycles, Tim is pretty much a bike industry lifer so there was little surprise that he couldn’t stay away from the little world of bikes for long.

What was a bit surprising was the business model that the aptly named Advocate Cycles would use. Taking advantage of a specific set of rules valid in his home state of Minnesota, Tim and his wife and business partner Odia started a Special Benefits Corporation. The goal? To donate 100% of their after-tax profits to bicycling related advocacy non-profit organizations. Sound far fetched? That’s exactly why we spoke to Tim to pull back the curtains and try and figure out how Advocate plans to make this a reality, and what they have planned for the future…

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