Posts in the category Reviews

Long-term EU CX Test: Vittoria Cross EVO XM and XM Pro, Plus XL Pro tires

Vittoria_Cross-EVO-XM_33_handmade_cyclocross_tubular-tire_sand Vittoria_Cross-XM-Pro_33_cyclocross_clincher_tire_damp Vittoria_Cross-XL-Pro_TNT_33_cyclocross_tubeless_clincher_tire_damp

We’ve ridden Vittoria tires on the road for a long time, and had pretty good luck with some of their Geax line of mountain tires (recently rolled back under the Vittoria name), but hadn’t really had a chance to spend much time on their cyclocross tires. In talking with Vittoria about our season of European Cyclocross testing, they suggested we try a set of their tubulars, plus a tubeless set.  After racing the EVO XM tubulars for a bit, one of our testers threw a set on the Pro version clinchers that he had bought into our pool, so we could do some back-to-back testing of them, on and off the cross course. We ran into a few hiccups setting the XL Pros up tubeless earlier in the season (to no fault of Vittoria, really) so didn’t really get to ride them tubeless until after most of the races had passed. But we had plenty of wet and muddy cross riding to do, so got a pretty good sense of both of these wet weather treads.

Slide on past the break to see what we thought and see where each of these tires really excels….


Project: World’s Funnest Bike – Cockpit parts from 3T, Rivet & Zipp

Van Dessel WTF project bike with 3T Team cockpit and Rivet Saddle review

As good as a frame may be, it’s nothing without a comfortable cockpit from which to pedal. Part one of Project: World’s Funnest Bike showed off the Van Dessel WTF, a steel do-it-all frame that is the platform for this build. Now it’s time to show all the contact points chosen, explain why I chose those parts and, of course, weigh them.

To be completely honest, the 3T handlebar, stem and seatpost were originally planned for an all-Italian steel road bike that’ll be another project later this spring. But when it arrived, the red stripes of their Team level parts matched up so well with other red bits on the bike that the decision to steal them for this build was all too easy. Add in red bar tape and it made for a striking visage…


Review: BBinfinite’s amazingly smooth one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

BBinfinite one-piece pressfit bottom bracket

BBinfinite debuted last May with a unique, one-piece pressfit bottom bracket design intended to remedy any intolerances in your frame, ensuring smooth, quiet cranks. Shortly thereafter, we received a test unit and combined it with our SRAM CX1 build and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.

The BBinfinite bottom bracket sets itself apart by putting both bearings in a single shell, allowing them to control the placement of each in relation to the other without regard for any differences in frame design. As they told us, even an offset as small as 1/1000th of an inch can cause drag and premature bearing wear. From our own experiences, we believe them. With their system, you have perfect alignment between the bearings. You also end up with a much broader contact patch between the shell and the frame, which eliminates play and, thus, creaking.

That’s the promise, here’s how it held up…


Review: Funkier winter microfleece bib tights, jersey get warmier and cozier

Funkier micro fleece winter cycling bib tight pants and long sleeve jersey review

Winter’s chill has been pretty rough this past month, yet Funkier’s micro fleece bib tight pants and long sleeve jersey held their own, keeping me plenty warm on rides dipping below freezing.

Nick reviewed similar pieces a couple years ago, but the styles and features have been updated, warranting a fresh look. I also tested their wind- and waterproof under helmet shell, which trapped any body heat trying to escape between my helmet’s vents, leading to a toasty, protected barrier complemented by my own winter gloves and shoes.

Both main pieces are deceptively normal in their thickness, but surprisingly capable at temps where I’d normally reach for a de-chamoised pair of shorts as an outer layer and a thicker base layer up top. With these, I could confidently head out with the mercury pointing at freezing with just a simple wool long-sleeve crew underneath…


Review: Icebreaker’s excellent merino wool baselayers & wind-proof commuter jacket

Icebreaker Blast merino wool commuter jacket review

Although the ice on our deck suggests otherwise, the fact that the sunshine is now peeking through our windows when it’s time to get up means the harshest part of winter is just about past, leading to the cool, wet early days of spring. For that, Icebreaker has some fantastic New Zealand merino wool pieces ready to tackle the rides and commutes. And, really, just about any other outdoor activity.

Over the past couple months I tested the Blast zip jacket, the Relay and Spring long-sleeve baselayer tees and the Flexi Chute, a soft, scarf-like neck gaiter that pulls up over the chin or nose as the weather dictates. All of them have lived up to the comfort and durability I’ve found in other Icebreaker items I’ve tested. If you’re looking for technical yet simple gear that’s versatile, check out the details below…


Long-term Test: Rapha Pro Team Jacket, Pro Team Thermal Bibs

Rapha_Pro-Team_Jacket_softshell-roubaix_Brdy_forest Rapha_Pro-Team_Thermal_bib_shorts_muddy_Klicany

We met with Rapha’s European press officer last fall to go through their new Pro Team line and cyclocross-specific kit updates, and came away with this jacket and bibs for an extended Pro Team test. Looking through the line we were searching for a few core items that could be flexible enough to take us through winter cyclocross training and racing, as well as general riding in transition fall and spring seasons. The first two items that jumped out at us were the straight-forward Pro Team Jacket and the fleece Pro Team Thermal Bib Shorts. We know that for many of our readers, Rapha can be perceived as a high-priced brand, so our goal was to seek out products where it looked like great value and functionality would be found.

Join us after the jump for the key details on these two items, and our thoughts after riding with them for the past several months…


Reviewed: BKool Trainer Pro + Simulator

BKool out of the box

Most of us have a real love-hate relationship with our trainers. They are an exercise in futility: who wants to pedal his hardest for an hour just to go nowhere, alone, dripping in sweat, with this annoying droning in your ears? Yet they make us so strong.

Fortunately, more and more brands are finding ways of making it more entertaining, and BKool’s latest attempt at keeping you motivated is a definite upgrade from the first generation we tried. Here’s where they succeeded and where they’re still improving.

The BKool Pro Trainer retails around $700 and comes with the trainer, power adapter, riser block and compact ANT+ USB adapter.  You can add ANT+ cadence and heart rate monitors as well. You then download their indoor riding simulator, pick your workout, add ghosts or bots to ride against and you’re off… READ MORE ->

Long-term test: Flexible FABike Carbon Road and Trail Bike

Eva Fišerová photography

It’s been more than half a year since we introduced you to our test of the multi-surface FABike road bike. During that time we had the chance to spend a few months with the bike, but also had a couple of separate occasions to meet up with the bike’s designer and sales director to do a bit of riding with the FABike team. This let us talk a bit more about what we though of the bike, to really get a good hands-on experience of the bike in several of its different setup iterations, and to discuss how the company is going forward with the bike. One topic that might interest our readers is the good discount on their current stock through the month of March.

Follow me across the break, and find more details and see our overall thoughts of the bike…


Review: Louis Garneau WINDTEX Eco-Flex II cold weather gloves

Louis Garneau Windtex Eco-Flex 2 gloves

Back when I was a BMXing teen in Ontario, I decided a good pair of cold weather gloves would be worth buying. A car was still a few years off, and the weather wasn’t going to keep me from hanging out with my friends in June, October or January. I bought a pair of Louis Garneau winter gloves and instantly loved them for being thin but surprisingly warm.

Unfortunately, I lost one of those gloves and missed them dearly for several years. After finding a new home in Pemberton, B.C. and diving into the MTB scene, I finally decided to get another pair for last fall’s final trail rides. I found the updated gloves, now known as the WINDTEX Eco Flex 2 and reunited myself with an old friend. As suggested by the above photo, I’m quite happy with them.

Find out why the Eco-Flex 2 deserves two thumbs up after the jump…