Category Archives: Reviews
I love photo bags and I’ve used a ton. They all have their strengths and their weaknesses but I keep coming back to one in particular. The Incase DSLR Pro Pack definitely has shorcomings but overall, I’ve put it to the test over the past six months and traveled with it all over the world.
Take a look through the slideshow photos in the Gallery and check out my review below.
This year made it really tough to keep up with Tuesday Teardowns, mostly because of my travels. It’s hard to schedule album reviews while you’re in another city. I also had an epiphany one day: digitalization has essentially killed my music library. Not in a necessarily bad way, but an over-indulgent way. I used to comb over music blogs, downloading music from all over. It’d then sit on my hoard drive and go unplayed for months. What good was that? My appreciation for good music had started to die.
The final straw was when Kim.com’s Megaupload was kicked and other sites followed suit (literally). One by one, all my favorite music blogs started to dwindle and the whole time this was going on, I was already coming to terms that downloading music is killing the industry. Every week, I’d head out to my local record shop and flip through stacks like I used to as a kid in high school. My ears were tuned in differently and I began to appreciate albums once again.
That’s where this list comes into play. A lot of these albums were on such heavy rotation that I barely put them back into the stacks. They were either purchased at my local shop, or ordered directly from the artist / their labels. While not all of them are metal, you can definitely feel a reoccurring theme…
Check out the PiNP Concert Slave Top 10 Albums of 2012 below in no particular order.
There are few things more beautiful in this world than fine leatherwork and a brand new bottle of straight Kentucky bourbon. When it comes to the latter, Old Rip Van Winkle is the most coveted and as for the leather, you can’t go wrong with the Rapha Leather Town Gloves. Both are coveted and will provide years of use if treated properly. This isn’t the first time I’ve highlighted cycling products with bourbon and it’s only the finest products that inspired the comparison.
The Rapha Leather Town gloves are exquisitely crafted from the finest Africa hair sheep. Now, I’ve never seen a hair sheep before but they apparently live in an hot and arid place, making their skin extremely tough but thin, perfect for gloves. As with all leather, you’ll want to care for them. When they get dirty or wet, clean them off and let them dry. Then, a simple wipe down with leather conditioner helps keep the leather supple.
Warmth is key in the winter months and no matter how nice gloves look, they have to keep you warm. I’ve found them to be perfect for 40 degrees and up, as is. For sub 40 degree weather, the Ibex merino wool liners keeps your extremities warm. Since it doesn’t get that cold too often in Texas, I’ve only had to wear the liners a couple of times.
And even for the coldest rides, coming home to a glass of Van Winkle 10 year is a sure way to warm you up. The aroma of a fine bourbon such as this will compliment the leather. Simple open the bottle to be greeted with a warm scent of caramel and charred oak wood. At 107 proof, it should be sipped neat, with no ice. If you prefer your bourbon cold, drink it outdoors. The Rapha Leather Town Gloves will keep your hands warm enough!
I have a problem. I can’t seem to turn down a pair of road shoes. Especially the 74 road from Specialized. These shoes have all the bells and whistles of a modern road shoe but are clad in a supple kangaroo leather. Complete with Specialized’s Boa technology, the only thing that’s throwback about the 74s is their material.
Right off the bat though, you’ll notice that the silhouette is lower than other shoes. By comparison, the heel is a centimeter lower than others I own. I thought it would be an issue with rubbing but all it took was putting the shoes on, tightening the two Boa lace systems and immediately, you can feel how different these shoes are.
It doesn’t end there. The Full Body Geometry system features in the outsole and High Performance Footbed change your alignment while pedaling, while reducing hot spots. Without going too far into this fit theory, it essentially straightens your legs as you pedal. Basically it feels like your cleats are wedged towards the outside of your shoe. A sensation that disappeared after a few miles.
The Boa system is easy to adjust on the fly, after you’ve done 30 miles or so (my feet swell during riding). While some have complained about the heel cup and ankle rub, I will say that like a good work boot, fit is essential. You’ve really got to nail down your size, so buy from a local dealer, or be prepared to send a pair back if you ordered online. At $400 a pop, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper fit. A shoe that’s properly fit will not rub.
For instance, I normally wear a 47 but ended up sticking with a 46. They’re were a bit tight on the sides of the shoe but have already begun to form around my foot. There is no fore and aft movement when I pedal: they’re snug but comfortable. Since I have only ridden these a few times, I’ll have to leave this Initial Reaction where it stands, with a follow up to come. Until then, check out some more photos in the Gallery.
This morning, at 6am PST, Rapha has opened up an auction for the new Team Rapha Focus Oakley RadarLock sunglasses. The opening bid is $250, or the retail of the normal RadarLocks and all the proceeds aid in financing the Team Rapha Focus men and women. These sunglasses come with a set of Rapha-etched clear lenses and Rapha-Focus branded carrying bag. You might even get a set of Rapha-Focus trading cards.
Click here for the auction and here for more details. Make sure you follow @Rapha_N_America on Twitter or the Rapha Facebook page to monitor the bids each day. Next week, limited edition Rapha-Focus Frogskins go on the auction block.
These are very sharp shades. See for yourself in the gallery!
When the team at Budnitz Bicycles emailed me, asking if I wanted to try out one of their single speed, belt-drive bikes, I respectfully declined, prompting them to offer up their titanium bars and seatpost instead. I’ll be honest, I was pretty amped on how my Icarus looked with those Ritchey drops and there was absolutely nothing wrong with my Thomson post but I decided to give them a try anyway. It’s been a few weeks of riding them, so what’s my consensus?
Honestly, the feel of the bars is distinguishable from an aluminum bar’s stiffness but it’s not blatantly obvious. It takes a few rides to feel it. What makes these most appealing is the shape, perfect for a bike like this: not too racy but not upright like many cruiser or porteur bars. The finish is nice and the bend is elegant. I never was a fan of straight, flat bars. As for the post? I can’t really feel any difference. The clamp is a bit cumbersome but once you set it up, makes a lot of sense. And I really like the simplicity of the design.
Overall, a $170 Ti bar and $150 seat post is out of most of our price ranges but when compared to high-end carbon bars and posts, it’s not that bad, especially if you prefer the feel over carbon. Or in my case, the low-lustre finish. The Budnitz Bicycles Ti Bars and Seatpost definitely changed the look and feel of my Icarus. Only time will tell for how long. Check out some photos in the Gallery.
For the past few months, I’ve been wearing Vans because my DVS x CA DNC Rico’s had finally worn out. And it wasn’t until I put on the new models that I forgot how much I missed these sneakers. They’re comfortable, simple and man, those soles make a world of difference on a track pedal. The overall construction of this year’s release has improved a lot and I’m glad to have them back in my normal rotation. Swoop some here, at Cadence.
This will probably be the simplest review I’ll ever do because this is one of the most straight-forward products I’ve reviewed. When DPow from PDW sent over a Takeout Basket Adventure Edition, I was going to wait on my tourer to be built before putting it on a bike. Then the summer months kept creeping along and I hated having a sweaty camera bag or backpack on for really simple runs. That’s when the comfortable size of this thing just took over. Off went the drops, on went the flat bar and the Takeout Basket. The brackets can be a pain in the ass to assemble if you’re not patient but the whole thing installed in under 5 minutes.
As the name implies, this is not a rack for heavy cargo. It’s a basket meant for small runs *like* takeout. I found it a perfect fit for a six pack of beer, or some simple grocery items. Because the Blaq-built Adventure bag doesn’t have padding, I swapped my ILE Photo Bag in its place for my Hasselblad and 5D. But the tall nature of a roll-top fit a giant bottle of bourbon just fine.
Overall, I’ve been very keen on this basket, mostly because I never know when I’ll have to pick something up without a backpack. It’s come in handy multiple times and I would even consider it on a longer ride to hold my camera. Now, let me just say, sure, there are other options for larger loads. Cetma comes to mind but this isn’t a rack, it’s a basket…
Pick one up in the Adventure Edition here or the standard Takeout Basket here and flip through more shots in the Gallery.
So here’s a factoid you might not have been aware of: Vittoria shoes, the brand, are in fact older than Vittoria tires. Don’t ask me why Vittoria tires decided to take their name but the main point to take away from this is that Vittoria shoes have been around a very long time.
When they re-issued their classic cycling shoes a few years back, people applauded them. The 1976 line was before any other company went for that “vintage look” and Vittoria is one of the few manufacturers that have said experience under their laces. Naturally, when they reached out to me to try out a pair of the 1976 Classic Carbon Road Shoes with a carbon sole, I did and have been riding them for a little longer than a month.
Right out of the box, they’ve proven to be just as comfortable and durable as any modern road shoe and I have yet to critique anything in their design. People complain about the laces but if you’ve been riding long enough, you know how tight or loose you need to have your shoes. I have yet to adjust them on a ride. The leather is incredibly durable and the vented perforations keep your feet cool, even in the Texas summer heat. To boot, they’re made by hand in Italy. In one word: perfetto!
Click on the above photo to launch the gallery, or here to open in a new tab.
So you’ll have to excuse the enthusiastic photos and copy here but since I got my new fork on my Icarus ViKing Track, I’ve been looking for a polished silver, non-grooved 31.8, 44cm wide road bar, but to no avail. Track drops on the street aren’t for me. They never come wide enough and I like having multiple hand positions on the bike while riding.
I couldn’t figure out why it was so hard to find that exact bar. Surely someone else wanted it? It wasn’t until a friend showed me the Ritchey Classic Logic Curve that I thought there even existed such a bar. Minimally branded and all of the above, these bars fit the bike perfectly.
Click on the above photo to launch the gallery, or here to open in a new tab.