Posts in the category Reviews

Review: Fuji’s Elite XC Racer – The SLM 29 1.1

Fuji SLM 29 1.1 Drive Side

Photo Credit: Mitch Lomacz

Since the 1970’s, Fuji has been a mainstay brand in the US cycling scene.  The American owned, Japanese brand has impressed us with their Altamira SL.  The release of their well designed Transonic aero road frame and Tri  / TT  Norcom Straight have shown the company is forging  ahead with innovation and good design on the road.

Enough about the road though, we are here to talk about their latest endeavor on the dirt.  The Fuji SLM 29 1.1 aims to be a podium topping XC race bike out of the box.  The bike is adorn with XTR, a claimed 1000g carbon frame, tubeless ready wheels, carbon cockpit, and a Fox 32 Float 100mm fork.  It sounds like a solid recipe, but you’ll have to make the jump to find out.


Trail LED: World’s Brightest Lights Get Brighter, Last Longer


Trail LED, makers of the industry leading 6000 lumen Halo light, has upgraded their entire line with a new generation of LEDs, promising an increase in brightness, better clarity, and longer run times. Handmade in Plano, Texas, Trail LED’s unique design and cutting edge technology promises commuters and solo 24-hour racers alike better visibility and more comfort than their competitors. We are going to put their claims to the test, but first we have a quick look at the ten-lamp Halo, five-lamp DS, and three-lamp XXX models, as well as a sneak peak of their soon to be released bar mount.

Get blinded by the light after the break.


Review: Litespeed Li2 Green Machine

Litespeed Li2 review

It’s been nearly 12 years since Litespeed started working with carbon fiber, and even though the brand is currently selling more carbon frames than titanium domestically, they still seem to be known as the Ti company. Since the beginning, Litespeed has always set out to make the best bike possible no matter the material. With titanium, the challenge was to take aerospace grade ti tubing and to turn it into bike specific tubesets to create high end bikes. Eventually, the cold worked shaped tubes became Litespeed’s calling card and the company still sells more titanium bikes than carbon internationally.

Looking for the next evolution in design, in 2002 Litespeed started experimenting with carbon fiber seatstays for the Sienna and the Ultimate. This would eventually lead to their first full carbon model, the C-Series aero road bike. Successful tweaking over the years led to a highly manipulated aero road bike, so the next logical step was what Litespeed refers to as a good “all-rounder.”

Right around that point Litespeed’s current CEO Peter Hurley stepped into the leadership role, and helped to improve the development process in a way that allowed product designer Brad DeVaney to create the bike he envisioned – the L Series.

We’ve been on the Litespeed Li2 for quite a few miles now, get our take on the bike after the break…


Review: The Ride Pouch from Eleven Velo and Waterfield Designs

Eleven Velo Ride Pouch Front

For those that follow The Rules, you know #29. For those that do not:

“Rule #29 – No European Posterior Man-Satchel. Saddle bags have no place on a road bike, and are only acceptable on mountain bikes in extreme cases.”

Eleven Velo and Waterfield Designs joined forces and come to the rescue with their new Ride Pouch. This beautiful leather case is designed to hold all of your goodies and fit nicely in a jersey pocket, freeing your bike of that eye sore that is the saddle bag.

Join us on the other side for the details.


Reviewed: Rapha’s Lightest Summer Bibs, Jersey, and Socks; Currently On Sale

Rapha_lighweight_kit_Super_Lightweight_jersey_Lightweight_Bib_shorts_testing01 Rapha_lighweight_kit_Super_Lightweight_jersey_Lightweight_Bib_shorts_testing04

Earlier this summer, just as the mercury first started peaking in central Europe, we had a chat at Rapha’s new HQ on the continent in Munich, and they decided to send us a set of their lightest weight cycling kit to test through the long hot days. I got to test it through a whirl wind of weather we had here from 35°C (95°F) and sunny back down to about 13°C (55°F) and wet in the span of a couple days. Needless to say I preferred the former, but I was happy throughout with the shorts and downright impressed with the jersey once I figure out how it performed best.

Now, if you move quickly as cooler days loom, you have the opportunity to pick up these pieces at reduced Rapha Summer Sale prices which make them more attainable. There should still be several good weeks of warm weather left to take advantage of some good summer riding.

Join me after the break for detailed thoughts, pics, pricing, and the current discount…


One Ride Review: 2015 Felt Compulsion 160mm Travel 650B Mountain Bike


Following Felt’s 2015 bike introduction, where we saw the new goodies for road, triathlon, cyclocross, mountain and e-bikes, they offered the chance to go ride. Curiously, I was the only one to take them up on it (right?!?), so designer Scott Sharples and I headed for the hills.

While he was riding a modified long travel 29er prototype that may or may not ever see the light of day now that everyone’s giddy for 650B, I sized up the new Compulsion 160mm travel trail bike.

Introduced at Sea Otter earlier this year, the 2015 Compulsion line switched from 26″ wheels to 27.5″ and slackened the frame. By the time you can buy it early next year, it’ll have three build options on the new alloy frame spec’d to hit the dirt hard without breaking the bank. The top end Compulsion 10 (tested) retails for $4,499 with a very respectable Race Face/X01 drivetrain, Rockshox suspension and KS LEV dropper post. From there, two models below come in at $3,299 and $2,699. Hit the MTB link above for full details.

Our 2.5 hour ride had us racing the setting sun back to the car, capping off a lot of climbing and some fast, fun, technical descending. Here’s how the bike performed…


Review: Recon’s 120g Cassette is Light, But Maybe Not Right

ultra lightweight Recon 11-speed aluminum road bike cassette

This past spring, I installed the alloy Recon 11-28 cassette despite it’s warnings that weight savings come at the expense of durability. But at just 120g, it was worth a shot, so I tested it for a couple hundred miles split evenly between a Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 and SRAM Red 22 group. Check actual weights in the original post here.

It started on the Shimano group, and first impressions were good. Shift quality was close to Shimano, albeit a bit noisier with just a fraction of a second hesitation before shifting. The biggest caveat with the Recon “Race Day” cassettes was that shifting should be done gingerly to avoid snapping teeth off. So, my shift efforts were a bit softer, which could have explained the every so slightly slower chain movement. Honestly, its performance in getting the chain from one cog to the other is just fine.

Despite that, I still managed to break a tooth on the 14-tooth cog, followed shortly thereafter by the tooth right next to it…


Review: Birzman Zacoo Tiny Tanker Floor Pump

Birzman Zacoo Tini Tanker review  (10)

Size doesn’t matter, right? Well in the world of bicycle pumps, it just might. Meet Birzman’s Zacoo Tiny Tanker, a tiny floor pump that acts like it’s full sized. As the smallest member of Birzman’s Zacoo floor pump range, the Tiny Tanker promises impressive performance in a compact package that will still fit in your bag, car, or luggage.

What’s it like to live (pump) with? Find out next…


Review: WTB’s Traction Enforcing Vigilante Tire

WTB Vigilante 650B Tire Tread (2)
No matter how nice the build kit, a bike’s performance can be undermined by tire selection. Too little tread and you’ll push in corners, too much and you’ll push uphill, so finding that happy medium is essential.

We’ve learned this lesson time and time again unboxing review bikes. Consumers want light, so many manufacturers skimp on grip, in order to claim a weight on their website.

In order to get accurate impressions of these bikes, I frequently swap out at least the front tire for something more aggressive, and recently the tire I’ve been reaching for has been the WTB Vigilante. Find out why after the break.