Product, Race and Event Reviews

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Word of mouth is one of the best ways to make a decision about a product or event.  I fully believe in promoting the things I use and using the things I promote.  With that in mind, here is a collection of various product, race and event reviews with my honest opinions contained within them.

Solos Smart Cycling Glasses Review

Imagine riding in a tight pack, shoulder to shoulder with the rider next to you.  The group rides under the 1K to go banner at high speed, nervously shuffling as the finish line beckons.  You take a split second to look down at your power meter display to set yourself up for the sprint.  In that moment, the rider in front of you taps his brakes and you hit his rear wheel, crashing hard.

Next, imagine flying down a sinewy descent, carving sweeping turns with aplomb.  You glance down at your computer to get a speed check and miss the small pothole in the road in front of you.  Your front wheel hits the square edge and flats the tire, you lose control and crash.

The Solos Smart glasses aim to make those two scenarios a thing of the past.  By creating a pair of cycling glasses with an integrated heads-up display, Solos has put your most critical information right in front of your eyes.  You never have to look away from the road to check your power or speed.  Keeping your eyes on the road keeps you safer.

Do these $500 cycling glasses stack up to their price tag?  Click through the jump and I'll go in depth on the newly released Solos Cycling glasses.

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Solos Smart Cycling Glasses

$500
Solos Smart Cycling Glasses
7.4

Price

8/10

    Sensor compatibility

    3/10

      Construction quality

      9/10

        App simplicity and ease of use

        10/10

          Value of displayed metrics

          9/10

            Pros

            • Easy to read, adjustable pupil display
            • Comfortable shape, good anti-fog coating
            • Large number of display metrics
            • App integrations such as Strava and Navigation options
            • Solid battery life for a wearable

            Cons

            • Can't connect to ANT+ sensors at time of review
            • Bulky arms that can block peripheral view
            • No option for power smoothing (3 sec, 10 sec)
            • No interchangeable lenses on the market yet
            • No BTLE Power/cadence doesn't work properly
            By |April 28th, 2017|Categories: Component and event reviews|Tags: , , |Comments Off on Solos Smart Cycling Glasses Review

            Vittoria Corsa G+ Review

            Vittoria has a reputation for producing some of the best tires on the market.  Their Corsa, with its corespun cotton casing and super gummy rubber is a favorite race day tire.  It's too fragile for training, though.  The sticky tread can wear in a matter of a thousand miles, meaning you may have to replace your tires 4 or 5 times per season!

            That can get expensive, so Vittoria made a few changes.  The revised tread compound and added durability led to the creation of the G+ series of tires.  Click through the jump to read my Vittoria Corsa G+ review and find out if this is the perfect training tire for you.

            Vittoria Corsa G+ Review

            As with all of my reviews, I've run these tires through the ringer.  I've got around 1800 miles of smooth tarmac, dirt roads, busted up asphalt and post winter salt under them.  I'll include my opinions on Vittoria's technology, tire mounting, actual size, performance and durability below.

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            Vittoria Corsa G+ Graphene Open Tubular Tire

            Vittoria Corsa G+ Graphene Open Tubular Tire
            8.625

            Road Feel

            10/10

              Cornering

              9/10

                Price (MSRP)

                8/10

                  Durability

                  9/10

                    Pros

                    • Improved durability
                    • Excellent ride feel
                    • Plenty of options to buy cheaply
                    • True sizing should fit most frames

                    Cons

                    • Weak sidewalls
                    • Grooves can trap debris
                    • Expensive if purchased at MSRP
                    By |March 23rd, 2017|Categories: Component and event reviews, components and wrenching|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Vittoria Corsa G+ Review

                    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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                    Donkey Label Bike Tool Roll

                    $40
                    Donkey Label Bike Tool Roll
                    9.8333333333333

                    Construction Quality

                    10/10

                      Price

                      10/10

                        Coolness Factor

                        10/10

                          Pros

                          • Pump/CO2 pocket on the outside
                          • Ultra durable denim fabric design
                          • Included heavy duty elastic band

                          Cons

                          • Pricey for a tool roll
                          • Limited options for stuffing larger things like multiple tubes or tubulars
                          By |February 23rd, 2017|Categories: Component and event reviews, Wrenching and bike maintenance|Tags: , |Comments Off on Donkey Label Bike Tool Roll Review

                          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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                          Stages Dura Ace 7710 Track Power Meter

                          $649.99
                          Stages Dura Ace 7710 Track Power Meter
                          9.4

                          Construction Quality

                          10/10

                            Accuracy

                            10/10

                              Ease of Installation

                              9/10

                                Maintenance

                                10/10

                                  Reliability

                                  10/10

                                    Pros

                                    • Easy to install
                                    • Easy to swap batteries
                                    • Allows any pedal selection you wan

                                    Cons

                                    • Single sided
                                    • Can only use Shimano track Bottom Bracket
                                    By |May 10th, 2016|Categories: Component and event reviews, components and wrenching, Wrenching and bike maintenance|Tags: , , , |Comments Off on Dura Ace Track Stages Power Meter Install

                                    Lezyne Road Drive Pump Review

                                    Lezyne has made a name for themselves with beautifully crafted, exceptionally functional aluminum cycling gear and their Road Drive pump is no exception.  And that's really saying something: you wouldn't think a pump could elicit such praise (you wouldn't expect their valve extenders to either, yet they do) but when you're sitting on the road with a flat tire, you'll be thankful you have this stuffed in your jersey pocket.  The Lezyne Road Drive looks to be a simple enough pump, but that's part of it's charm.  When it comes to pumps, the Road Drive sits near the top of the pile.

                                    Road Drive: Keeps Rides Alive!

                                    Fully aluminum construction hides the technological aspects of this little package.  Instead of a fixed right angle head, the road drive pump hides a little secret in its barrel: something called an ABS flex hose with built in air bleed.  Simply pop the cap off the pump, unscrew the ABS flex hose, flip it over and screw it into the end of the pump.  Now you're ready to go.

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                                    Lezyne Road Drive Pump

                                    $44.99
                                    Lezyne Road Drive Pump
                                    9.3333333333333

                                    Construction Quality

                                    10/10

                                      Ease of pumping a tire to 90PSI

                                      8/10

                                        Durability

                                        10/10

                                          Pros

                                          • ABS hose with bleed valve
                                          • All aluminum construction
                                          • Compact design

                                          Cons

                                          • Small pressure barrel
                                          • Heats up as you pump
                                          By |January 21st, 2016|Categories: Component and event reviews|Tags: |Comments Off on Lezyne Road Drive Pump Review