Review: 3West’s inflatable, adjustable & surprisingly light Reprieve bike saddle

3West Reprieve inflatable air adjustable bicycle saddle review and actual weights

The 3 West Reprieve saddle debuted in April, and I’ve been running it on my ‘cross bike for the past four months of training and racing. For cyclocross, I like something with a kicked-up tail. It allows me to push against the saddle when pedaling hard, but it can’t be so high that dismounts are impeded. The Reprieve meets these requirements and adds an interesting take on pressure relief.

The saddle is designed with a 3/4″ drop immediately in front of the wider sit bone support section. In front of that is an inflatable balloon along the nose that lets you adjust the height and firmness to suit your preferences. Amazingly, all of the additional shaping, construction and internal parts come together in a package that’s not any heavier than a typical performance saddle…

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The 3 West Reprieve saddle debuted in April, and I’ve been running it on my ‘cross bike for the past four months of training and racing. For cyclocross, I like something with a kicked-up tail. It allows me to push against the saddle when pedaling hard, but it can’t be so high that dismounts are […]

Posted in Components, Cyclocross, Reviews, Road Bike9 Comments

First Impressions: Putting the 45NRTH Naughtvind Clothing system to the test in Cuyuna

45nrth-naughtvind-winter-fat-bike-clothing-system-sturmfist-gloves-wolvhammer-boots-socks-head-wear-2017-reviewe13-e-thirteen-trs-cassette-9-46-wide-range-xd-actual-weight-50

You’re going where? It’s going to be how cold? That was the reaction I got from most people when I mentioned that I was headed up north to do some riding. Specifically, I was on my way to Crosby – a tiny town in northern Minnesota that built up around the mining industry, only to nearly collapse as the iron ore pits were abandoned in 1984. After a bleak 34 years, something amazing happened. Someone had a vision. Seeing potential for the 400 foot deep pits that were turned into lakes and the surrounding hills created from the dirt removed from those same pits, John Schaubach started the Cuyuna Lakes Trail Association in 1998 which started with a single paved trail to connect people with the three lakes. That led to MORC (Minnesota Off Road Cyclists) to come in with the help of IMBA and create a 25 mile trail network. But for the Cuyuna Lakes Trail System, that was just the beginning.

Three months before the first phase of trails opened, a visionary by the name of Aaron got involved. With a background in economic development and advertising, Aaron had the unique talent of rallying an economically depressed town around the potential of a mountain biking and fat biking destination. When the trails opened in 2011, the 25 mile footprint included mostly machine built trails that took advantage of the man-made topography. Part of a master plan that includes 75 miles of trail with a projected economic impact of $21 million injected to the local economy, Cuyuna is currently up to 30 miles of trail with another 3 miles to be added next year, and 12 more to be added after that.

The Cuyuna Lakes Trail system is also home to the True North Basecamp which would be our home for the short trip. In addition to six nicely appointed cabins that are heated during the winter, the Basecamp also includes 33 campsites, all of which are positioned in ride-out locations with incredible lake views. The property also includes a bath house with heated floors and warm showers which is an important consideration based on the fact that during the winter, all of the 30+ miles of trail are groomed for fat bike use.

Which made it a perfect spot to test out the new 45NRTH Naughtvind clothing system…

Continue reading “First Impressions: Putting the 45NRTH Naughtvind Clothing system to the test in Cuyuna”



You’re going where? It’s going to be how cold? That was the reaction I got from most people when I mentioned that I was headed up north to do some riding. Specifically, I was on my way to Crosby – a tiny town in northern Minnesota that built up around the mining industry, only to […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Fatbike, Feature, Mountain Bike, Reviews16 Comments

Review: Jet Roll XX – Premium Handmade Bicycle Tool Roll

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Jet Roll is a fresh take on the classic cyclist’s tool roll. But rather than an old sock stuffed with the essentials and lashed to one’s saddle, the Jet Roll is designed to be a convenient and stylish way of carrying the essentials on your ride; spare tube, tire levers, multi-tool, Co2 inflator, etc. JET – as in Just Enough Tools – offer a variety of tool rolls in different sizes, materials and colors, catering to road, MTB, gravel, tubular tires and large folding tires.

Hand made in the USA by avid cyclist, Stephen Cruz, the idea of Jet Roll came to fruition when Stephen desired a simple method of carrying just enough stuff to fix a flat, or make a minor mechanical adjustment during his rides. The aesthetics of a saddle bag didn’t sit well with Stephen, and the idea of stuffing tools and spare tubes into his jersey pockets was less than ideal. Click on through to read our review of the heavy-duty Jet Roll XX…

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Jet Roll is a fresh take on the classic cyclist’s tool roll. But rather than an old sock stuffed with the essentials and lashed to one’s saddle, the Jet Roll is designed to be a convenient and stylish way of carrying the essentials on your ride; spare tube, tire levers, multi-tool, Co2 inflator, etc. JET […]

Posted in Gravel Bikes, Miscellaneous, Mountain Bike, Road Bike12 Comments

Review: Easton EC90 SL carbon cranks are ultra light, plenty stiff

Easton EC90 SL carbon fiber crankset review

This summer, we put the brand new Easton EC90 SL carbon cranks on the scale and on the bike to bring you true first impressions as they were officially announced. Then, we followed up with a tech interview on their design and features. Now, after plenty of riding and moving them onto my ‘cross bike, I have some solid impressions to write about.

The EC90 SL cranks bring Easton back into the crank business after a long hiatus by borrowing sister brand Race Face’s lightweight carbon fiber crank technology. The same methods that make the Next SL some of the lightest and strongest cranks on the market delivers the goods here, too…

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This summer, we put the brand new Easton EC90 SL carbon cranks on the scale and on the bike to bring you true first impressions as they were officially announced. Then, we followed up with a tech interview on their design and features. Now, after plenty of riding and moving them onto my ‘cross bike, […]

Posted in Components, Cyclocross, Reviews12 Comments

Just In: Atomik Phatty 85 carbon fat bike wheels with Onyx Racing hubs

atomik-phatty-85-carbon-rims-onyx-hubs-freehub-replacement-3

Maybe more than any other bike, fat bikes put a lot of demands on a rim. It has to be wide enough to provide flotation for the monster tires, strong enough to withstand impacts that will inevitably occur at low pressures, secure enough to hold the tire in place at those low pressures, tubeless compatible, and yeah, it should be light as well. That leaves a lot of riders going back and forth between aluminum and carbon rims. Aluminum rims seem more durable on the surface since they can’t really crack like carbon, but they’re pretty easy to dent badly enough to lose your tubeless seal. Carbon on the other hand has the potential to be lighter and stronger, but there’s always the fear of breaking your pricey rims.

That’s where the Atomik Phatty 85s come in. Using their HDP (High Density Performance) foam core system and Solowall design, Atomik claims that their fat bike rims offer unmatched durability at a still impressive weight. As someone who has cracked a carbon fat bike rim, I’m excited to put that to the test…

Continue reading “Just In: Atomik Phatty 85 carbon fat bike wheels with Onyx Racing hubs”



Maybe more than any other bike, fat bikes put a lot of demands on a rim. It has to be wide enough to provide flotation for the monster tires, strong enough to withstand impacts that will inevitably occur at low pressures, secure enough to hold the tire in place at those low pressures, tubeless compatible, […]

Posted in Components, Fatbike, Feature, Reviews10 Comments

Review: Pro-level Rapha Souplesse bib shorts and jersey for women

rapha_souplesse_womens-bib-shorts_pro-team-level_rapha-prestige-dolomites_fronts

Over the past couple of years, a few of our European women road and cross testers were introduced to the benefits of proper premium bibs through Rapha’s Women’s Classic Bib Short. While Rapha clearly isn’t the only one making top-level shorts for women, until surprisingly recently premium bibs on par with what men had to choose from were not so readily available. Of course the growth of online retailing has greatly improved accessibility, but frontline women’s development with pro teams like Canyon//SRAM has certainly helped. So to see what the pro-level kit had to offer we put a couple of women in Rapha’s pro Souplesse bibs and jerseys to ride through the seasons and report back both on how they performed and how they’ve held up…

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Over the past couple of years, a few of our European women road and cross testers were introduced to the benefits of proper premium bibs through Rapha’s Women’s Classic Bib Short. While Rapha clearly isn’t the only one making top-level shorts for women, until surprisingly recently premium bibs on par with what men had to choose from were not […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Reviews, Women's4 Comments

Winter Maintenance: Cleaning, protecting & lubing the most neglected bikes along w/ some semi-pro tips

muc-off-park-winter-mtnc-2

If you’re reading this right now, your bike is dirty. Let’s face it, except for those of you that make your bed every morning, wash the dishes after a light healthy breakfast and disinfect your chain after each ride (truth… best friend and former roommate), you probably owe your bike a really good, deep cleaning. When I received the Ultimate Bike Care Kit from Muc-Off, and what has to be the most robust chain cleaning device ever created from Park Tool, I said… “it’s time”.

Knowing I might be judged, I decided anyway that this would be a good time to delve a little into some winter maintenance tips while tending to an embarrassingly overdue cleaning of my bike. Check out the before and after pics as a result of the Muc-Off and Park Tool’s help as well as some handy semi-pro tips and items I threw in for good measure. I’d love to learn more so be sure to add your maintenance tricks and tips in the comments…

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If you’re reading this right now, your bike is dirty. Let’s face it, except for those of you that make your bed every morning, wash the dishes after a light healthy breakfast and disinfect your chain after each ride (truth… best friend and former roommate), you probably owe your bike a really good, deep cleaning. When […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Commuter, Feature, How To, Miscellaneous, Reviews12 Comments

5 awesome carbon fiber water bottle cages (starting at 17 grams!)

laguna bicycles 17g carbon fiber water bottle cage

Sure, a metal bottle cage gets the job done, but to get really light and maintain your carbon bike’s aesthetic, you gotta go carbon. Some of the cages here have been on my test bikes for years, others joined the party this spring. All have been ridden extensively and proven over varied terrain. Here are five of the best carbon cages I’ve ever used.

Leading in the weight department is Laguna Bicycles. At just 17g claimed, it’s almost non-existent with a beautiful barely-there aesthetic sure to please minimalists. Fortunately, it also does a decent job holding water bottles, too. The upper edge is flared outward just slightly to ease blind bottle entry, helping you keep your eyes on the road.

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Sure, a metal bottle cage gets the job done, but to get really light and maintain your carbon bike’s aesthetic, you gotta go carbon. Some of the cages here have been on my test bikes for years, others joined the party this spring. All have been ridden extensively and proven over varied terrain. Here are five […]

Posted in Clothing-Gear-Tools, Components, Feature, Reviews30 Comments

Review: Suplest Edge3 Pro road shoes

suplest-edge3-pro_carbon-sole-road-shoes_slightly-dirty

I’ve always been a bit reluctant to wear white cycling shoes (see photo above as to why), but I finally gave in and said “why not?!” for a pair of reflective road slippers from Swiss outfit Suplest. I figured road riding was my most reasonable shot at keeping white looking good, and even though I’ve ended up giving these my worst through rain, mud & sand, they still shine once I wipe them down, even if they are showing some wear.

We first saw the revamped Edge3 shoes in person at Eurobike last year and got a chance to dive into the details of how they had been updated. After having ridden off-road in the stiff uppers of the previous generation of mountain bike shoes, I was looking forward to spending time in these more supple road kicks. See how they stood up to my rather abusive road riding below the fold…

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I’ve always been a bit reluctant to wear white cycling shoes (see photo above as to why), but I finally gave in and said “why not?!” for a pair of reflective road slippers from Swiss outfit Suplest. I figured road riding was my most reasonable shot at keeping white looking good, and even though I’ve […]

Posted in Clothes-Gear, Clothing-Gear-Tools, Gravel Bikes, Reviews, Road Bike6 Comments