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.
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.
The Stages Power Meter burst onto the scene in 2013 with the promise of an affordable power meter option attached to the crank arm. How does it compare? Is it as good as it claims to be? Compared to similar offerings of the time the Stages meter was a novel, if not brilliant idea. It cut the cost in half by placing the measurement device on the left crank arm only. It was easily transferable between bikes and easy to remove and replace if it needed service. The super light weight of only 11 grams also made for an attractive marketing point. So did the user replaceable, easy to source coin cell battery.
Yet not everyone was on board.
From the get-go, many complained about the left sided only power measurement. It was claimed to be prone to inaccuracies due to the “doubling of the left leg” power calculation. Many claimed the accelerometer principle wouldn't provide sufficiently accurate cadence to properly report power.
Here we are more than two years later and Stages power meters can be found on every manner of bikes from weekend warrior up through Tour de France winners.
I've got about 2 years on Stages power meters now. How does it stack up against other power measuring devices I've used like Quarq and Powertap? You can read my thoughts on the Stages power meter after the jump:
Stages Power Meter$529
Ease of Installation10/10
- Easy to install
- Easy to swap batteries
- Can use any pedal system you want
- Can be moved to other bikes easily
- No external sensors needed
- Single sided
- Battery door can wear and break over time
There's an old saying that “shoes make the man” and the Bont Vaypor shoes are no exception. The speed skating shoe turned cycling shoe company based in Australia may not have the history that some other companies do, but they've found their way onto the feed of numerous professionals, including Bradley Wiggins, Johan Van Summern and the recently retired Thor Hushovd. But just because the pros use them does that mean they are good for everyone else out there?
I've put a season and a half on these shoes, using them for everything from training to racing to gravel grinding, and my impressions are after the jump:
Bont Vaypor Shoes$329
- Great anatomical support
- Stiff carbon sole
- Heat moldable (over and over)
- Narrow range of cleat adjustment
- Shiny material finish
- Cost may be prohibitive (especially when needing additional insoles)
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.”
It's been well advertised that the SRAM Red Yaw front derailleur has revolutionized mechanical front shifting. Tom Boonen won a pair of monuments on it last year. One could arguably claim that the simple concept of an uneven parallelogram that pivots about the seat tube, negating the need for a trim function and packaged into a lightweight and (importantly) stiff front dérailleur is the crown jewel of the new Red group. But does this seemingly unsung piece of metal really live up to the hype?
After the jump I'll examine my experience with the Yaw unit over the past eight months and figure out if it lives up to the hype.