Gear & Reviews

January 18, 2012

Cycling ‘Threads’

Following up on, and in response to Ken’s most recent post, ‘Ode to the Parka‘, or something like that, I thought it’d be cool to do some looking around to see where the best cycling threads are coming from these days.

Obviously, Rapha, from the UK, is going to sit at the top of my list. Rapha offers a unique blend of cycling performance capability and modern urban style I haven’t found anywhere else… It’s an undeniably attractive combination, providing cycling wear that can also often be worn ‘off the bike’ (Ken, this stuff was made for you). Collared shirts, jeans, trousers, have never really been considered performance cycling wear, but now, thanks to Rapha they kinda are. I wear my Rapha shirts at the office no problem. Rapha’s success has been driven even further through clever collaborations with designer Paul Smith. Need I say, it’s nice stuff. Maybe not cheap, but very, very nice. Coles Notes: Highest quality, artistic detail, spendy, incredible fit and performance, distinct yet understated, and very hip.

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November 11, 2010

2011 Sintesi 609 Review

Fall is my favourite time of year to ride. It’s nice and cool as the leaves turn and then disappear, improving sightlines in the valley’s fast, hard-packed singletrack trails. Having the pleasure of testing a totally new to North America, 2011 Italian-made Sintesi 609 Race Disc XC bike doesn’t hurt either.

I’ve ridden some nice bikes in my time, and this Sintesi 609 ranks right up there. It’s a beautifully designed full-carbon, full-suspension bike – maybe the nicest looking bike I’ve ever seen with my own eyes, with aesthetically pleasing lines, hidden cable routing and a racy, but not over-the-top paint job.

Enough about how much I like the way this bike looks, and let’s get into how this 2011 Euro offering performs. I took it out 4 times over the last two weeks, all for extended rides. It was good being able to stretch the testing out because I had the opportunity to get used to the bike and ride it in some varied terrain and conditions. Sintesi spared little expense, offering full XX components, and when I say this is a full-carbon bike, I really mean it, including the seat post, stem, and even the hubs. I weighed the bike (19” frame), with pedals (Shimano XT) and it came in at just over 22 lbs. Needless to say, I found it extremely agile, light as hell and yes, very, very fast!

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January 8, 2010

The Tab

The Tab” is something I ran across over on VeloDramatic which both intrigued and frightened me all at the same time.

I think we can all agree that generically speaking we probably all spend a slightly embarrassing amount on bikes and gear (at least to non-bike-geeks), but it’s a little intimidating seeing it all added up on one page.

I’m not sure I’d be willing to do the same (especially publicly)… I know I’ve made some pretty smart decisions, and I’ve managed to cash in on some pretty smokin’ deals, but I’d think I’d shudder seeing all of my purchases added up all on one page. – Read More –

December 11, 2009

Christmas Wish List of a Bike-o-holoic

Ho! Ho! Ho! With Christmas fast approaching, and I do mean fast, I figured it was time to start thinking about it. I don’t know what my deal was this year; maybe it was the fact we had no snow until last week, but Christmas just seems to have come out of nowhere. That said, now I’m super excited. Christmas has to be my favourite season, only next to riding season, maybe :-)

So, with just two weeks to go, I thought although it’d be cliché, it’d still be fun to run down my 2010 Smart pics/‘personal Christmas wish list’.  Amaze, thrill, and astound your naughty, or nice, bike-addicted loved ones with any of these. – Read More –

November 25, 2009

The winter cycling kit

Despite very much enjoying the prolonged absence of snow, I know it’s comin’. Since I’ve already highlighted what gear I use as the mercury drops, I thought I would give you a run down of the gear itself.

Though it hasn’t gotten cold enough to fully enrobe myself in every winter item I have, I’ve had more than enough opportunity to fully stress test some of my new gear (as well as my old), and thought I would share my thoughts with you. When I see everything I wear all in a list it looks like a lot – I guess when you layer things, that’s what happens.

The added bonus, is if you have a winter cyclist on your xmas list, you might think of one of these items… Since this type of gear, as with any quality gear, don’t come cheap – but it’s worth it! – Read More –

October 30, 2009

Gearing up for a stage race

If our recent experience with stage racing has taught me anything, it’s the importance of being prepared.

It’s not to say that Sheldon and I weren’t prepared for regular mountain-adventure circumstances (ie. rain, sun, wind, etc.), we just weren’t prepared to have almost the worst of them shoveled to us repeatedly for several days. Warm weather poses it’s own challenges, but gear isn’t usually one of them (unless you count hydration and sunscreen ;-), bad weather, especially day after day, will truly test what you and your gear is made of.

I can’t speak for Sheldon, but I know that I mulled over my packing list for quite some time as the Transrockies approached. I was rushed pulling everything together (as usual), but at least I had planned things out in my head ahead of time.

Simon Parker (who we had the pleasure of riding with later in the race), has pulled together a great 10-part series of articles about ‘What to expect on your first Transrockies’, and although he does a great job at outlining a gear list, I thought I would share mine with you in a slightly more condensed manner.

One thing that I will mention is that being properly prepared for stage racing requires a sincere amount of gear, and outside of your regular gear you’re going to want to stock up on some replacement parts, and be prepared for things to break and/or wear out. With that said, it’s worthwhile developing a relationship with your local bike shop – Explain to them the race you’re planning and oftentimes they’ll let you buy the additional parts you need and return whatever you don’t use (so long as they don’t have to special order parts). Even though it’s a chunk of cash out of your pocket up front, at least you’ll be able to recoup some costs after the race (assuming you don’t use all the extra parts ;-).

So without further ado, here’s most of what found it’s way into my gear bag: – Read More –

June 16, 2009

Spandex Bibs vs. Shorts

When I first stated looking into bib shorts I found myself generally ridiculed, both by my wife and more significantly my friends – One of which referred to my set up as a “onesie”. As I spoke to more and more cyclists however, the bib short consistently rose up as as the “pro” choice. As such, I decided that bibs deserved at least a chance to earn a spot in my closet.

Generally speaking, I’ve never really been adverse to spandex, I’ve worn it for a quite a long time – albeit previously under “cooler” baggy riding shorts. As my training regime became more structured and I began adding road rides to my schedule I eventually lost the baggy shorts and just went with spandex, though for a shorter, more recreational ride I’ll still pull out the ‘baggies’. Many non-cyclists may think spandex is ridiculous, but when it comes to cycling, it’s standard gear, less cumbersome than other materials, keeps you cooler, and here to stay so learn to love it!

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January 14, 2009

iBike Power Measurement

iBikeFor the uninitiated, power meters have become increasingly popular by serious cyclist for effectively and efficiently tracking performance. They usually take the form of a swappable hub or crankset installed on your bike which transmits information to an on-bike computer. Though I’ve only used them in a very limited capacity, they’re a ridiculously great way to track your performance. The only real downside to this type of solution is that they can cost an arm and a leg (~$800 – $2,000) and are therefore a little inaccessible to average blokes like me. – Read More –

January 9, 2009

Transparent Duct Tape!

How could I not blog this? Transparent Duct Tape?! Does it get any awesomer? Is awesomer a word? Who cares! Transparent Duct Tape deserves a word unto itself, just like it deserves title case capitalization! In all seriousness though, it looks to be some pretty rockin’ stuff. With this in our pack, quick jerry-rigs will be – Read More –

January 4, 2009

Diversity – The Spice of Life

I’m sure that I can state with relative accuracy that both Sheldon and I love cycling. For myself, I’m not really too concerned with where I’m going, I just like being on the bike. That’s not to say that halfway through some races I haven’t wanted to throw my bike of the side of a cliff, but generally speaking I just like getting in the saddle and taking off. Happily, it would seem that more and more people are joining our ranks. 

One of the main things I attribute the increasing interest to (in addition to environmental-consciousness) is the breadth of bikes available to people these days… There is truly a bike for everybody. Looking at the consumer landscape, it seems that there are endless options for most things, electronics, breakfast cereal, vehicles, etc. – but only recently have I noticed a real broadening of products when it comes to cycling. – Read More –

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