Posts in the category Reviews

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…


Review- VP Shoots for Value and Hits the Mark with the Aim Platform Pedal

VP Components Aim platform pedals, climbing shot

Earlier this summer we previewed VP Components’ Aim pedals, and after three solid months of thrashing them on British Columbia’s challenging terrain we’re ready to present the full ride review. The VP Aim is a price-conscious pedal with a large, supportive concave body and simple design aesthetic. It’s a solid pedal that does what it needs with a well executed no-frills approach.

They may not be the largest, thinnest, flashiest or lightest option on the market, but you simply don’t get ‘the best’ for the price of the Aims. They’ve proven themselves to be a product I’d happily recommend for budget-conscious riders (or otherwise), mainly due to how well they held up under my feet. Click past the break for the details…

Just In: Syntace 6-bolt Disc Brake Rotor Shim Kit


After grumpily complaining to myself about rotor alignment for the past couple weeks, a friend and the master wheel builder behind Light Wolf in Dresden reminded me that Syntace had my back, at least when it comes to 6-bolt hubs. Testing different cyclocross tires and wheelsets means a lot of swapping back and forth this season, and we’ve been reminded very quickly of the high tolerances required to keep disc brakes running smoothly and quietly, and of the wide variation from one hubset to the next. While there is a standard that defines where the rotor is supposed to sit in relation to the end of the axle, there is enough variation that almost every time we swap a wheelset I end up adjusting calipers. Conventional wisdom in cross has been to use the same hubs (and previously the same rims) on all wheels, but that is one luxury I don’t get while I am reviewing wheels for our readers. So to break down some of the hassle, hop past the break and see how Syntace’s shims can help center up braking across multiple wheelsets…


Review: Custom Rainbags from Scicon, with a couple up for grabs


While not yet an official product from bike bag specialist Scicon, we’d seen their rain bags featured in the Tour de France on Eurosport about the pro teams using them to keep gear organized and close at hand. We reached out to get some more info and learned that they are actually kind of available to consumers now for team/group orders, and will be more readily accessible with a bit of an update when Scicon introduces a new website and e-commerce platform later in the year. In the meantime, Scicon printed up a couple of custom bags for us to review and are offering another pair of customized bags to two of our readers as a part of an upcoming reward draw. Hop past the break for the details on the bags and to find out how you will be able to win a personalized one in a couple of weeks…


Review: Apidura’s Bikepacking Saddle and Handlebar Packs


At the beginning of last winter, we gave our first impressions on Apidura’s lightweight take on bags for bike touring. Since then, we’ve had a chance to take the bags out on several adventures on both road and trail, and have gotten a better sense for light bikepacking. Until we got ahold of these bags, most of our touring had been either the extremes of full racks and panniers, or  just lashing a stuff sack to the handlebar and under the saddle. But two of our testers have realized that since most of our trips are just overnighters, having a proper secure set of bags for these short trips has made packing and riding with them even easier. Come past the break to take a closer look at see what we’ve stuffed inside…


Review: Hutchinson Black Mamba CX tubeless-ready cyclocross tires rip through dry conditions

Hutchinson Mamba tubeless ready cyclocross tire review

Hutchinson has been a first mover in tubeless-ready tires for both road and cyclocross, and that experience shows through. On both the pavement and grass, we’ve seen them seat easily, sometimes even on rims that have been challenging with other tires.

We’re testing several of their cyclocross tires this season, the fastest of which is the barely-there treaded Mamba. It’s a dry conditions tire that’s lightweight, supple and very quick. Mostly, we really like it, putting two sets under two riders in two different locations. But, like everything, there are tradeoffs for making something so specific…


Review: Thule ProRide upright roof mounted bike carrier – Updated


With a wide range of bikes that come in and out of our European HQ to test, it can sometime be a bit tricky to keep track of how to get them to and from races and to destination trails. While we often rely on roof mounted trays for their stability and for not adding to the overall footprint of the car, now that so many bikes use different axle standards it has been a bit more difficult to deal with. Most fork-mount bike racks offer some versatility in the thru-axle department, but often with the compromise of losing the ability to lock the bike or just being fixed to one axle size. Our solution for the last year has been a ProRide 951 carrier from Thule. We’ve used it to head into the Alps on several occasions, as well as to get to all of our regional cross races. Have a closer look after the break to see how it has fared in our travels…


CX Review: SKS Airchecker Digital Pressure Gauge – Updated


With cyclocross season in full swing, the weather in Europe has been cycling back-and-forth, all over the place. One race weekend has been be warm and sunny, then the next was frosty and gray. That’s makes tire selection and tire pressure choices even more important as we try to squeeze out the last bit of grip from a wide range of tubulars and tubeless tires that we have on test. We already raced on everything from dry hardpack and grass, to slow and slick muds, to wet and frost covered grasses. To get tire testing right, we need accurate and repeatable tire pressure measurement, and for the last couple of seasons we have begun to rely on the Airchecker, a small handheld digital pressure gauge from SKS. Jump past the fold to get the details and our thoughts…


Review: Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20, from Roads and Commuting to Trail Riding


From our European base of operations in the Czech Republic we have a bit of an affinity for steel road and cross bikes, maybe even at times to a fault. But dealing with regular travel, rough European roads, mixed riding surfaces, and never being all that concerned whether we finish first or just off the podium, having a bike that can take a lot of abuse and still deliver a good ride quality takes precedent. So while riding the latest plastic wonder-bike is always nice, we love to spend long days in the saddle on more everyman’s bikes cruising quiet roads and wandering off onto dirt and gravel tracks.

And the Genesis Equilibrium Disc 20 is a perfect bike for that. It has a bit of back country roads in its genes (or rather its UK steel tubes.) We’ve spent the better part of a year with this bike in our test line-up, and while it was never the fastest or lightest bike we rode, it was very likely the most versatile, and definitely the one we devoted the least time to cleaning. As a result it probably got the most saddle time of any single test bike over the last year. Come past the break with us to see why…