Wrenching and bike maintenance

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Donkey Label Bike Tool Roll Review

Anyone who knows me will tell you I hate cluttering up my saddle with a saddle bag.  I'm a stickler for keeping things in my pockets.  If you want to get technical, it's in the rules.  Because of that, my pockets often look like an overstuffed lunch bag.  Or, you might think I've got half of a Home Depot shoved into my jersey.  Either way, it's not a flattering look.

For years, I used a variety of solutions to corral the various tools and gear in my pockets.  I switched back and forth from a pump to a CO2 inflator.  I tried different multi tools.  Tubes went into a separate pocket with a band around them.  Sometimes I just rubber banded everything together and stuck it in a pocket.  For a while, I tried using a small camera case to hold everything together.

The bottom line is if you like keeping stuff in your pockets, it's going to get messy at some point.

That all changed when my wife bought me a bike tool roll.  A Donkey Label bike tool roll to be exact.

Click through to see my review of the Donkey Label bike tool roll and learn how to purchase one yourself.

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Dura Ace Track Stages Power Meter Install

Power meter options for track bikes are very limited, and the Dura Ace Stages power meter is one of the most reasonably priced and simple to use on the market.  Based on the Dura Ace 7710 Octalink platform, the Stages power meter offers a simple, elegant power measuring solution for fixed gear bikes.  Painstaking refinement has gone into the algorithm used to calculate power to meet the unique demands of a fixed gear bike, improving performance and reliability in data recording.

Check out the video of the installation, re-posted from Periscope.  Throughout the installation, there's a little bit of Q&A about power meters based on questions from live viewers.  Click through the jump to watch the video and check out the video show notes:

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Holiday Gifts For Cyclists

It can be difficult finding holiday gifts for cyclists on your list.  Hunting through the Black Friday deals, searching for the perfect item to put a smile on their face can be fraught with peril when you don't have much of an idea of what this cycling thing is all about.  How can you expect to get the perfect gift when you don't know the difference between a cassette and a headset, but you don't want to lame out and get them a Visa gift card with the directive “go buy what you want?”

That's why I'm here to help you out.

In this holiday gift roundup, I'm including a little of everything from the low cost to the lavish.  There's something for everyone from the beginner to the lifelong rider.  So check through the list and check out the links.  In many cases, you'll find something that you hadn't thought of before, or maybe you'll not only find something for that special cyclist, you'll find something for yourself too.

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Wrenching: Sizing a New Chain

We can all appreciate a slick shifting drivetrain, and we all hate it when our drivetrain turns on us.  One of the easiest ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure your chain is sized correctly.  When too long, it can cause premature derailleur wear, shift poorly and bounce around with the potential of derailing.  When too short, it can jam the drivetrain or cause the derailleur to actually snap. But you don't have to worry about this unless you have to put on a new chain, right?

Not necessarily.  Quite often, this issue starts at the LBS: many chains are not properly sized from the factory and some shops don't necessarily check this on every bike.  If you should try to “match the length” of the current chain when putting on a new one, this can often result in a chain that is too long or too short, depending on the condition (and length) of the previous one.  But how do you become a pro at sizing your chain to the correct length?  It's as simple as doing the one thing you never should:  crosschaining.

You can read more about it after the jump:

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Zipp Tangente Tubular Tire Review

Tubular tires seem to be going out of style these days, but there is still a very loyal following of people who love the supple feel and unmatched ride quality of a tubular tire.  As I noted back in my Vittoria Rubino Pro III review, there's a huge spectrum of tires, from the “lightweight and supple for racing on smooth roads, durable, high volume and puncture resistent for riding gravel grinders, or somewhere in between for everyday training tires.”  In the case of Zipp's Tangente Tubulars, we're talking not about a high durability training tire, but a lighter weight racing tubular.  And after a season of riding (and racing) Tangentes, here are my thoughts on these “aerodynamic wonders.”

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