Winter Roundup: Looking cool without being cold with new duds from PAS, Bontrager, & Endura

Bontrager Starvos 180 Softshell jacket

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Just because winter is here doesn’t mean you have to hide yourself inside on the trainer. Trainer time is an important tool for keeping your fitness, but nothing compares to actually getting out on the bike. To do so, a bit of the right gear will go a long way to keeping you comfortable and motivated. Inside you’ll find gear that is as functional as it is stylish from Pas Normal Studios, Bontrager and Endura…

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Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Feature, Reviews6 Comments

Review: Cozy cool weather kit from Morvelo, Showers Pass & Defeet

Review: Cozy cool weather kit from Morvelo, Showers Pass & Defeet

morvelo classic thermoactive LS jersey and storm shield water resistant bib knickers for cold weather cycling protection

As Mother Nature makes up her mind whether it’s going to be cold or not this winter (for us in North Carolina, anyway), I’ve found a few pieces that work well in a range of temps. That includes a dip down to 40ºF and below, depending on how they’re layered.

Tested here are Showers Pass’ Body-Mapped Baselayer, Defeet’s new Dickadee neck gaiter and Morvelo’s ThermoActive jersey and Stormshield bib knickers. The latter pair has been on test for a while and are last season’s colorways, but the pieces remain in the line with the same features, just new patterns…

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Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Reviews2 Comments

Review: Wahoo KICKR SNAP- A Top Notch Training Tool For Tight Spaces (or Budgets)

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I’ve always chalked my lack of enthusiasm for folding/wheel-on trainers up to the general unpleasantness of indoor winter training and seasonal affective disorder. It’s not fair to the genre of trainer because, frankly, there are so many reasons why this type is ideal for some users. When I was younger, short on space, and moving every few months, having a trainer that I could stow under my bed or easily throw in the back of my car was critical to my success and sanity. Also, when you are short on bikes, nothing beats having a trainer you can easily throw your bike on in poor weather for a quick workout, and just as easily pull it off for a longer ride without too much fiddling. But it’s seemed like the development dollars for trainers have been reserved for people who could invest in dedicated space, and dedicated training bikes.

I first had the opportunity to sample the KICKR SNAP this past summer and I was blown away by the ride quality. Could it be that the folding, wheel-on trainer finally got the treatment it deserves?
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Posted in Clothing-Gear-Tools, Feature, Reviews, Training10 Comments

First Impressions: Stevens Arena carbon track racer, plus actual weights

First Impressions: Stevens Arena carbon track racer, plus actual weights

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It isn’t so often that we cover proper track racing bikes here, but out of our European office we do have great access to a pair of velodromes in the city of Prague. Afternoon track sessions in the winter are a good way to fight off the cold, dark days. One of our home velodromes is a 153.8m/505′ long indoor wooden oval, that opens its doors to us once a week to test gear and get in some much-needed training. We first saw the Stevens Arena as it was being piloted to a Track Worlds Scratch win by Marianne Vos several years ago, all the way back in 2011. But as a stiff and aero contender that we still see popping up on the track, we thought we would take a closer look. So far we’ve only had a few weeks with the bike, but we’ve built up some solid first impressions on the boards, and are looking forward to doing some proper indoor riding to add onto the tail of our cross season…

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Posted in Bicycles, Reviews, Training11 Comments

First Ride! Parlee Chebacco carbon gravel grinder hits our dirt roads w/ all-new cockpit

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Parlee’s Chebacco gravel road bike debuted at Eurobike last fall as the everyman’s version of their full custom Z Zero XD. Its name is no homage to Star Wars’ revival, it’s for the home area of Parlee’s HQ before Massachusetts ever became a state.

As bigger tires and more capable road bikes have grown in popularity, they opted to make something just for the dirt and gravel roads near their manufacturing plant/office they use to test bikes and components. This is that bike, and it’s made a great first impression on the dirt paths and access roads in Tomoka State Park near Flagler Beach, Florida. It also powered along the shoulder of U.S.1 and Old Dixie Highway’s choppy asphalt, using all of Parlee’s high end road bike experience to make it fast regardless of substrate.

Our test bike also came equipped with all new house brand cockpit parts, including carbon stem, handlebar and seatpost, plus the new Mavic Ksyrium Pro All-Road wheels and tires!

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Posted in Bicycles, Feature, Gravel Bikes, Reviews, Road Bike19 Comments

Review: Ergon GE1 Slim enduro mountain bike grip

ergon ge1 slim enduro mountain bike grip review

ergon ge1 slim enduro mountain bike grip review

I’ve been running Ergon grips ever since they first introduced the winged GX1 and its curvier predecessor. I’ve also run the rounder, thicker GA1 and GA2, which provide a solid grip but feel a bit too firm for all-day adventures.

Most recently, the standard GE1 enduro grips have been my hand rests of choice. I’ve been riding the same pair for more than a year, but for kicks, I slapped on the newer Slim version before a recent ride.

Here’s how they compare, along with a run down of why the GE1 is my favorite mountain bike grip…

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Posted in Components, Mountain Bike, Reviews8 Comments

Review: Bryton Rider 310 affordable GPS tracking cycle computer

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Bryton Rider 310, budget GPS cycling computer, on Bryton o-ring mount

Just two weeks ago we introduced you to the two new simple, powerful, and low-cost GPS computers from Bryton, but we have actually been testing out the more advanced Rider 310 since the end of November 2015. The 310 is Bryton’s take on the most simple, budget GPS data collection possible to track your rides, but backed up with enough sensors and communication capability to track more advanced metrics like cadence, heartrate, altitude, and power via Bluetooth and ANT+, 70 in total. (Update: The Brytons do have Bluetooth LE Smart, but only for pairing a mobile phone to share data, not for attaching sensors.) For about a month and a half we’ve put aside a more complex map-based computer to see what we thought of a simpler interface…

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Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Gadgets & Hacks, Reviews18 Comments

CX Review: 4ZA carbon Cirrus Pro T30 Disc disc brake tubular cyclocross wheelset

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As the season starts to wind down, we’ve squeezed in a lot of good cross racing from our Central European base, and have had the chance to test a few new bikes and several wheel and tire combos. While tubeless setups have made progress in the last year or two for cyclocross, we still haven’t found a setup that can beat the performance and reliability of a good set of tubulars. This year we made the full switch to disc brakes for cyclocross, after converting a couple of steel bikes and only adding in disc bikes in for test. So we had a pretty big need to outfit several bikes with proper cyclocross-ready disc brake tubulars to glue up a range of treads. And 4ZA was able to step up and lend us a set of their new Cirrus Pro T30 Disc carbon wheels to test.

We’ve spent the better part of our cross season railing wet, grassy corners and sliding through muddy turns on these Cirrus Pros. Now with just a few more races remaining in our season on what is forecast to be either snow & ice or heavy mud, it seems like a good chance to take a look back on these all-conditions wheels that have carried us this far…

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Posted in Actual Weights, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Components, Cyclocross, Feature, Gravel Bikes, Reviews, Road Bike4 Comments

Review: Ceepo Mamba May Fill the Void between Road and Tri

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One of the first real gear purchases many aspiring triathletes make is a set of clip on aero bars. Provided that they are set up correctly to fit the bike, clip ons transform your average road bike to your average road bike with an aero position. However the geometry doesn’t change along with them creating a less than ideal set up before getting into replacement seatposts and saddles.

Along those lines, something like the Ceepo Mamba could be considered the next step to Tri-dom. Finishing up the review on the 2014/2015 Mamba, it turns out to be an interesting bike that may or may not take you to your next transition…

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Posted in Actual Weights, Bicycles, Reviews, Road Bike, Triathlon5 Comments