Category Archives: Reviews
Review: Search and State S1-A Jersey and S1-S Bibs
This kit is as comfy on the bike as it is in the grass.

Without a doubt, green is a color of spring…

I’ve been a supporter of Search and State since I first caught wind of their operations in New York City. Their S1-A jersey is a staple in my daily rotation (see my older product review here) and now, the S1-S bibs have been providing me with comfortable rides on all my bikes. S&S’s line is minimally branded, made in New York City from technical fabrics and is far from your standard cycling apparel.

So far, I’ve logged about 10 rides in the shorts, washed them, hung them out to dry and even dried them on medium heat. They still look brand new and they hold their black dye. I know the price might seem a little steep, but bibs are something you’ll wear much more than a jersey. Plus, they’re each made by hand in NYC and domestic production is a little more expensive for a reason.

As far as fit is concerned, I’d rate their sizing a bit like a club cut. If you’re unsure which size to get, go down. I usually wear an medium or large in club bibs and XL in race cut. Here, I’m wearing a large and the fit is comfortable, without being restricting. What I’m most impressed with though is the detailing and how soft the fabric feels. That and they look great with any jersey…

While this particular color-pairing looks great on the road, it also beckons for the ‘wood, so I took to the trails yesterday afternoon before shooting these photos. Check out my thoughts on these two garments in the narrated Gallery.

Search and State S1-A Riding Jersey $125
Search and State S1-S Riding Short $210

May 9, 2013 4 comments
I Reckon It’s Almost Time
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For a new cap? Maybe not… At this point, US Customs could sample it and find bacteria from four different countries. Long live the magic of riding bikes.

Apr 16, 2013 1 comment
Review: Shinola Runwell Porteur – Made in the USA
Initial Reaction: Shinola Runwell Porteur

Detroit has a long tradition of US manufacturing and it’s this very tradition that Shinola is looking to continue with their brand. The company began with watches, a common, everyday object that hasn’t been mass produced in the United States for decades. But Shinola knew that in order to bring that industry back to Detroit, they’d have to enlist in the help of true craftsmen. Ronda AG, a Lausen, Switzerland-based movement manufacturer is working with Shinola on their Argonite 1069 watch movement assemblage and that’s only the beginning.

Similarly, when Shinola began to design their bicycles, they looked to Wisconsin and the Waterford facilities for fabrication. Inspired by French porteurs and light tourers, the Shinola Runwell is an ideal city bike and you don’t need any fancy Swiss movement to get these bikes rolling. An 11-speed Alfine hub effortlessly shifts this mid-trail bike through your city or countryside. Load up the front rack with groceries, post office runs, beer, or what have you and just go! If you need to stop on a dime, the mechanical disk brakes will do the trick.

The Runwell has details. Waterford’s simple and classy lugwork, along with a bright Cherokee red paint job (it’s really bright!) really compliments the mostly chrome components. Even the gusset on the non-drive fork leg resolves any stress riser issue you might have with disk tabs on a mid-trail ride. Shinola went the extra mile with their branded saddle and grips and the 32c Continental Contact tires will roll without getting flats from thorns or glass.

Check out more below.

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Feb 20, 2013 20 comments
An Ode to the Grifo

I have a love / hate relationship with this tire. Last year, I had a bad batch. The tread pulled off almost immediately but luckily, they were easy enough to return. I swore them off, claiming they were just popular because of their gum-colored side wall. It took me going to LA and seeing how people rode their Grifos on everything: asphalt, dirt, rock, and even mud (yes, there’s mud in SoCal).

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Feb 15, 2013 19 comments
Initial Reaction: Chrome Niko Camera Pack
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The years I spent in New York make me appreciate two concepts: mobility and real estate. Observing both, in the literal and figurative sense, can teach you everything you need to know about anything, even products. They are key deciding factors in determining something’s usefulness. Quite simply put: how you use the product while moving through space and how the product uses its own space.

When I heard that Chrome had picked up a designer from Lowepro to design their new Niko Camera Pack, I had high hopes that it would be an improvement over last year’s Niko Messenger Sling bag. The design seemed to be simple enough and the product shots made it look like the Niko Pack was just an enlarged by 200% Niko Messenger.  I shoot multiple formats and travel a lot with my camera equipment, so I’m always looking for a new bag that meets my needs.

Surely with all this space, it had to be the bag I was looking for?

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Feb 12, 2013 11 comments
Fix it Sticks: Made in the USA Minimalist Bicycle Tools
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Look, I don’t like posting Kickstarter projects. I believe in a good old fashioned pre-order or a loan. Crowd funding has gotten out of hand in the past year and the amount of utter garbage that makes its way to my inbox is embarrassing for the human race. Ok, I’m overreacting here but when I got an email from Brian from Fix it Sticks, I almost deleted it without reading past the word “Kickstarter”. Call me a cynic. What I do appreciate about Kickstarter is many individual’s desire to bring fabrication back Stateside, for even the simplest products.

Cynicism aside, bicycle tools are something we all need, whether at home or on the road. I’m partial to Leyzne’s ultra mini SV tool line for the jersey pocket but sometimes you need a little more leverage (yes, even on the road). The Park tri tool is great but too bulky to take with you. That’s why I dig the Fix it Sticks “tinker toy” design. I put them in my zippered pouch I carry with me on rides and hardly notice that they’re there. There’s no moving parts and you don’t have to worry about losing the tool head (they’re in there!).

Simply arrange the sticks in any order to gain the leverage you prefer on the tool head you need. It’s so simple that I’m surprised Craftsman or someone didn’t already think of it. Check out more photos below and more information at the Fix it Sticks Kickstarter.

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Feb 11, 2013 5 comments
New Bling for the Bishop
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Last summer, Chris King gave me one of their soon-to-be-reissued purple NoThreadSets and all I could think was “this will be perfect on the Bishop”. For whatever reason, it sat on my desk, staring me down until the other day when I finally broke out my headset tools and installed it. This, along with the new Tune Skewers I ordered from Fairwheel Bikes (hey, no one could order them locally) brought just the right amount of purple to the already classy Bishop road.

See a few more shots below.

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Feb 11, 2013 10 comments
Embrocation Vol 9
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One of my longtime favorite magazines, Embrocation Cycling Journal, just keeps getting better and better. Volume 9 delivers on many fronts and includes one of the best stories to ever grace its pages. Without giving too much away, I’ll just say that you’ve really got to check out this issue. The photos from Heather McGrath are amazing.

Pick up a copy here and see more teasers below.

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Feb 11, 2013 4 comments
Product Review: Fizik Antares VS Saddle
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Let me preface this review by saying I’ve never felt the need to own a saddle with a relief channel. I always find that proper saddle position and bicycle fit will keep your body happy, even in the most sensitive areas. That said, I completely understand that not everyone’s body is the same. Much like having a proper frame fit, saddle fit* is one of the key deciding factors in an enjoyable ride.

My normal saddle of choice is the fi’zi:k Kurve but I’ve found that without a chamois, they can be a bit harsh so when I began to use my cross bike as an around the town bike, I wanted something with a little more padding. That’s when numerous people turned me onto the fi’zi:k Antares VS. I rode one on Ty’s Hufnagel up to Mt. Disappointment while in LA last summer and was sold immediately. Since then, I picked one up and have been in love ever since.

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Jan 14, 2013 14 comments
Mad Fiber’s High Tech Wheels are Made in the USA
Mad Fiber's High Tech Wheels are Made in the USA

A wise man once said “Don’t buy upgrades, ride up grades” and those words still hold true today but for those who are looking for cutting edge wheel technology to aid in their performance, the name Mad Fiber might come to mind. Now, I am the last person on the face of the Earth that wants or needs carbon wheels like this but they’re not even mine. So technically, “Don’t buy upgrades, borrow them from the rep” fits here.

Check out more below.

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Jan 8, 2013 23 comments