Category Archives: Cycling Gear Reviews

Reviews on cycling gear, old and new.

Pro Mechanic Teaches Bicycle Repairs, Upgrades, Maintenance and More…

Don’t you hate it when your shifts start stuttering? You shift but the chain just won’t comply. It’s annoying! It sure doesn’t enhance the ride, and it doesn’t do your cassette or chain rings any good either!

As frustrating as they are, those little things are easy to fix when you know how.

Complete Pro Bicycle Mechanic and Repair CourseIf you want step-by-step guidance on setting up your shifting perfectly, and other jobs, from big to small… and want to know how to keep your bike running silky smooth… there’s no better resource than pro bike mechanic Dave Delgado’s Easy Bike Repair Course.

Use it to save money… or to learn the trade

Whether you want to dip in now and then and fix annoying issues, perform major upgrades, or go through it systematically and learn the insider secrets and in-depth know-how to become a pro bike mechanic yourself, this thorough and in depth bike repair course has you covered.

Possibly the fastest way for anyone to learn bike repair. And you can do it all from the privacy of your home.”
– Bicycling Magazine

Stuck? Get free one-on-one support. For a limited time, Dave is offering one-on-one support with the course. He will answer your questions if you get stuck or need help in any way. It’s like being on a pro team with your own mechanic on call.

Never out of date. You pay once but get free access to all future updates to the course… for life.

No risk, money-back guarantee. If you’re not happy for any reason, Dave will insist on giving you your money back.

Save money while you learn the insiders tricks to keeping your bike singing like a pro’s bike… what’s not to like?

Learn more about the DIY Bike Repair Course

P.S. I don’t know about you, but I have tried repair books, and videos blow them away for this kind of instruction. Even Googling videos is hit and miss, you get the mumblers, the guy who rambles and takes 20 min to do a 2 min job… and then I wonder if he really knows what he’s doing. Maybe there’s a better way. With Dave’s professionally filmed course you get to fix, maintain and upgrade your bikes fast and save… and there’s no doubt that you’re doing it right.

How Two Tiny Centimeters Unlocked 500 Miles

Reader Brian F tells a story that dramatically illustrates the potential power or destructiveness of a bike fit, and how little adjustments can have major effects. 1500 miles in to a 2000 mile bike tour he faced defeat due to unbearable pain…

“We had already done about 1500 miles, but I started to develop saddle sores. I spent almost two entire days coasting and standing because I couldn’t bear to pedal while sitting. I was resigned to having to take a bus for the last 500 miles of the trip, which was a completely demoralizing thought. About four in the morning I woke up in my tent and said out loud, “Lower the seat.” A couple of hours later I lowered the seat by about 2 cm. and I was good to go. It was like a miracle.

Don’t you love the way his mind figured it out while he was sleeping?

Speaking of bike fit and saddle sores, I had the hardest time finding a saddle that was comfortable. I used to ride quite a bit, up to 40-50 miles was no problem, but a couple of days a week I’d do 90 miles, and occasionally I’d do 120-150.

It’s those long rides that revealed the weakness in a saddle for me… and frankly scared me a bit as I started experiencing lingering numbness and pain.

Finally I found one that worked, here’s the saddle that saved my butt.

Saddles are a very personal thing, but if you’ve had issues and are not quite satisfied with your saddle, I recommend giving this one a try.

Clever Low Tech Light for Your Bike

Here’s a neat little accessory that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Sigma have brought out a rear brake light for cyclists. It’s small, simple to install, and no fancy gimmicks… it won’t even tweet or post to Facebook that you slowed down. It attaches to your brake cable and is mechanically triggered when the brake calipers tighten. Simple.

Big advantage… the battery will last forever, well at least for months. They say 100,000 illuminations. Depending on how heavy you are on the brakes, that’s a long time.

Sigma’s $10 Brakelight

http://www.sigmasportstore.com/Sigma-Sport-Brake-Light-p/brakelight.htm

Review: Quarq Power Meter

by Bruce Humphries

Editor: Newly crowned SC State Road Race Champion Bruce Humphries of the Hincapie / Green Creation Elite Cycling Team shares his thoughts on the Quarq Cinqo power meter.

I have had the fortune this year to be able to train and race on what I feel may be one of the single most important pieces of equipment that a racing cyclist could use, and that is my Quarq Cinqo power meter and Garmin head unit.

I placed my order for the Quarq and waited in anticipation for the package to arrive. I was told there would be a small wait period, but it should not be too long. The customer service up to this point was great, a real person on the other end of the line taking order information from me. Very pleasant. When I received the package, to say I was excited would be an understatement. I had been working last season with FasCat Coaching out of Colorado, and had set it up again for this season, knowing that I would have the power meter. We did not have our team bikes at this time, but I was not wasting anytime getting my numbers started. I had the local shop install the crank on my older steel bike.

The only issue we ran into was that the old bottom bracket did not want to come out easily, but a little elbow grease and the new crank was on. Installation was a breeze, since this is a crank based power meter, the only really thing that I needed to make sure to do was have the Quarq provided magnet in the right location relative to the marked sensor area. Quarq made this easy, since this was a standard frame, the magnet ring went right behind the bottom bracket cup on the drive side, and voila it was in perfect position. Upon getting home with my new toy, I pulled the Garmin out of the box, and a few simple steps had me reading power.  I am not sure if this could have been easier.

Quarq Cinqo Power MeterI trained all through the winter with the older bike and the Quarq. Some rough winter weather on many rides never gave any trouble, the unit is sealed tight, so I had no problems with rain or snow.  Once we received our new frames, I pulled the cranks from the old bike and installed them on my new frame, same ease of installation. This frame is a full carbon TREK Madone with the BB90 bottom bracket, so the magnet ring would not work on this frame. No problem there, Quarq also provided loose magnets with a two part epoxy for installation. I deviated a little on the installation here, knowing that this was a team bike, and knowing that I could not pull the magnet off at the end of the season, I took advice form a friend who also has the Quarq and bought some 3m mounting putty. This is a strong putty which allowed me to install the magnet, but would also allow me the ability to pull the magnet off at the end of the season.

Everything is working great with the power meter, and I have already seen the improvements that training and racing with a power meter offer. Quarq made it simple to get into the power reading way of training with simple installation, affordable pricing, and tremendous customer service. What more can you ask for from a company?

— Bruce Humphries

Thanks to Bruce and to Hincapie / Green Creation Elite Cycling Team for their review of the Quarq Cinqo power meter.

Hincapie Alp Gloves

Today I headed out with my new Hincapie Alp gloves and poly liners. I used them a couple of weeks ago in a small blizzard, and they did great! My old gloves, Bellwether’s, worked well when I first got them, but after a few years they’ve lost their ability to keep out the cold.

When I left the house in the morning it was 30F. I pulled on the poly liners and the gloves, headed out, and didn’t think of my hands again! That’s pretty unusual for me as typically, after an hour or so, my hands are freezing and my finger tips start to hurt.

The poly liner gloves are fairly thin, you'd think they'd have little effect, but they really do help raise your hand temperature a few degrees.

I really needed the Alp gloves a few weeks ago, when I was doing 3 hr rides at night in sub-freezing temperatures. With my old gloves I’d start feeling cold after an hour, after 2 hours it would start being painful, after the 3 rd hour I’d be tucking my hands under my arms, rubbing them together, doing what ever I could think of to ward off frostbite.

The Hincapie Alp gloves are light and thin. They have a clip to keep them together, a detail but a useful one.

Quite a pleasure to ride in freezing temps and not worry about my hands going numb.

The construction of the Alp gloves is superb, they are fairly thin but by no means delicate. The detail in the gloves is characteristic of Hincapie apparel, attention to detail. The small grip pads on the palm and fingers of the glove are the Hincapie logo.

The best thing about these gloves is that they work. I haven’t taken them out when it’s been in the 20s, but I plan to! The second best thing is that being thin, you remain dexterous enough that you can fit your hand in your jersey pocket and pull out a gel or bar, you can even operate a camera.

I give the Hincapie Alp gloves a big thumbs up! If you ride in very cold temperatures (much below 30F) they might not be sufficient, even with the poly liner gloves. For those conditions you might try the Hincapie Black Ice, which are a lot beefier.

Have you found a pair of gloves that works for you?

Bontrager RXL Cycling Shoes

Photo of Bontrager RXL cycling shoes
Bontrager RXL Cycling Shoes perform admirably!

The Bontrager RXL shoes arrived in a classy, understated box. I tried them on and they fit nicely, a little more roomy around the wide part of the foot than I’m used to, but better than many makes that tend to be tight around there. The shoes are crisp white, with a carbon sole, and gold accents. They look very cool. One thing stood out, they are extremely light. So light that I almost threw them out with the box! No kidding.

I took them for a few short spins to make sure they fit well, that the cleats were well adjusted, and that they wouldn’t start hurting after 20 miles. They felt great, so great in fact, that I forgot that I was wearing them.

Then I headed in to the mountains for a 60 mile out and back from Marion to the top of Mt Mitchell and back. Almost the whole outbound leg is uphill, the return is a descender’s dream, and a thrill. I was prepared for a little bit of discomfort, especially given the fact that I would be climbing for over 2 hrs, but there was none. I completely forgot about monitoring the state of my feet and the performance of the shoe, instead I was captivated by the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and the views down on to the foothills below. And, it must be said, I was well engrossed in the suffering inherent in a sustained climb of 25 miles.

The Bontrager RXL shoe performed admirably. It was comfortable, stiff, secure and airy, allowing a liberal amounts of air to flow through and keep my feet cool. They felt good on the climbs when I was seated, and they felt firm and secure under out of the saddle accelerations and sprints. The shoes close snug where it counts, but leave ample room around the box area so your foot never feels cramped. With custom e-sole foot beds, you can get them to fit even better.

On the downside, these shoes look great new, but after a bit of real world immersion, they can start to look grubby. Clean them regularly and use your old ones when it rains, and the these brilliant white head-turners will last a lot longer.

On the whole, the Bontrager RXL shoes are right up there with the best.

Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate

Gary Fisher is renowned for mountain bikes, and in fact is the inventor of the mountain bike, but it’s clear that the Fisher expertise extends to road bikes too.

The Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate
The Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate is a looker!

The 2010 Gary Fisher Cronus Ultimate is a feather light, rock solid road racing machine. The Cronus Ultimate is a full carbon bike with oversized tubes and a unique and stylish graphical flair.

The Specs

Bontrager RXL front wheel wide flange.
Bontrager RXL’s wide flange spacing.
  • Carbon frame and fork
  • FCC front end
  • Bontrager handlebars, stem, seat post and saddle
  • Bontrager RXL wheels

The Ride

The Gary Fisher Cronus
Gary Fisher Cronus

On the road the bike is a pleasure to ride, it’s very responsive, and behaves with discipline. Through  corners the bike holds a line beautifully, giving you confidence and urging you to push it further. Much of this can probably be attributed to the Fisher FCC (Fisher Control Column), which is basically amounts to a solid and stable front end, thanks to the large head tube, wide fork, and wide flange/hub on the Bontrager RXL front wheel. The bike feels equally at home climbing, cornering and sprinting.

The Bad

One thing that we did not like was the saddle. We found the Bontrager RXL saddle uncomfortable as it did not offer good support for the sit bones, resulting in much of the weight of the rider being borne by the tender regions of the the undercarriage. This may or not bother others. And the saddle is a minor flaw in an otherwise superb ride. Racers who adopt an aggressive position may find the Cronus’s head tube a little too big for their liking, limiting their ability to drop the handlebars somewhat, but for most racers and riders this should not be a problem. The FCC system while creating a rigid front end, also means it can be a little harsh. In a crit with a cobblestone pedestrian crossing on a turn, the shuddering front end was a little scary. This was an extreme case though, and any bike would have had problems, though the FCC system might exacerbate such extreme situations. In general the bike handles with precision and grace.

Summary

Overall, we really like the Cronus. It’s an incredibly good all round ride. The price tag for an Ultegra equipped Cronus in particular is very reasonable.

Looks: 5
Handling: 5
Comfort: 4
Price: 4

Resources: FisherBikes.com