Category Archives: Well Used
Reviewing bikes like the Cielo Road Racer is easy. Well, sort of. Isn’t the whole idea about a bike review to critically assess its potential for the market? That means looking and discussing honestly the strengths and the weaknesses.
Luckily, for Cielo, these were apparent after the first ride and continued to hold strong throughout the several weeks that the Road Racer Di2 was in my possession. Some of my critiques are merely aesthetic or tied in with the build kit on this particular bike.
Whatever my thoughts are, I can tell you, it’s gonna be tough to send her home.
I love long-term reviews. “Here, take this bike, travel with it and shred it for around six months, then send it right back to us.” Pretty ideal, huh? Especially when there’s a no-strings-attached policy. If you like it, do a review, or don’t, no big deal. Just get out and ride it. For The Radavist, that’s how I like to do product reviews: honestly and with no commitments. The problem is, you’ve got to be really stoked on a bike to want to ride it a bunch, and then photograph it / write about it.
Reviewing bikes is something I don’t often do, partially because I rarely get the chance to ride anything else besides my own bikes but mostly because so few companies contact me to review their bikes. One of the companies that has embraced what I’m doing over here is Santa Cruz and I can’t complain. Great company, great bikes and as I said before, no strings attached.
When Santa Cruz offered to send me out a Tallboy LTC with SRAM’s new – at the time – XX1 groupet back in December, I obliged! Who wouldn’t? I traveled with it, raced it a few times and rode the shit out of it for half a year.
While the world of the $8,000 – $10,000 MTB is certainly saturated at this point, I’ve ridden a few of them and yet I keep wanting to come back to the Tallboy and its unique riding characteristics. The best way I can describe the way this bike rides is solid. There’s no “plastic feel” to the frame, no annoying resonance when you hit technical sections and when the bike tells you to go in a particular direction, it’s usually on point… What often requires honing are your own skills and your confidence on that bike in particular.
While my favorite go-to bibs for MTB riding are the Giro New Road bib undershorts, my new favorite non-bibshorts are the Kitsbow Merino Base Shorts.
I wore them every day on the Oregon Outback and I’ve begun using them exclusively during short and sweet MTB rides. Because the main material is merino wool, they dry fast, feel soft, keep you cool in warm weather / warm in cold and don’t get super funky like synthetic blends tend to. They’re great for camping or touring as well, because they’ll dry faster than synthetic shorts.
When you ask Jon from Skratch why their “Lemons and Limes” flavored drink mix is pluralized, he’ll tell you because it takes more than one lemon and one lime to make it. Now, the concept of sports drinks or hydration mixes containing fruit shouldn’t be that foreign to most of you, but the reality is, a lot don’t. Instead, they’ll contain “natural” flavors, which may be natural, but in reality aren’t fruit.
I love raspberries and the Skratch Raspberry mix is a favorite of mine, but it always tasted a bit different than my other raspberry flavored drink mixes. It wasn’t as overpowering. The main reason being, Skratch is actually made from raspberries and my *gasp* other mix is from other “natural” flavors.
As I quit using other hydration mixes, the actual, real, raspberry mix tastes worlds better and the other mixes started to taste like ass. Coincidentally, that’s where “natural” raspberry flavoring comes from. Ass. A beaver’s ass. No shit. Well, yes, shit. Well…
Castoreum is an all-natural additive used in perfumes and food flavoring. It’s the anal gland of our flat-tailed friend, the beaver. You’ll actually find it e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. In fact, unless it says “raspberries” in the ingredients, you’re *definitely drinking beaver ass. Pucker up baby!
I know this sounds like an advertisement. It’s not. I buy my Skratch from my local shop and have never taken a dime from them to say any of this. I just don’t want you sucking down the butthole of a beaver when you hydrate.
Drink Skratch, don’t drink beaver butt.
*maybe not definitely, but most likely
When it comes to a touring bike, the randonneur bag or Wald basket will reign supreme for front-end portage, but not every bike has rack mounts. In the case of a classic road bike, or MTB, strap on handlebar bags are the simplest solution to carrying extra cargo around town.
There are countless options, ranging from cordura, to cotton, but for those looking for something a little classier, check out the Tanner Goods Porter Handlebar Bag. I’ve been keen on trying one out since the line was first launched and since using mine for around a month, I’m loving it…
See more below!
I’ve used a lot of camera bags and honestly, they each have their own place. For instance, right now I’m using one of F-Stop’s Loki packs. It’s great for a strictly-photo trip, but as I’m packing for the Amgen Tour of California today, I broke out my Poler Excursion camera insert once again.
Why? Because it’s modular! This thing is so clever and even though it’s sold as a set with the Excursion backpack, I’ve used just the insert for over a year.
Check out more below.
At this point in the MTB game, probably one of the greatest inventions in the past few years has been the narrow wide chainring. Sure, there was a patent from a century ago, that called out a similar design but at a much larger scale but it was SRAM who first applied that technology to the cycling industry.
Later, companies like Wolf Tooth and Race Face adopted the narrow wide ring design, making it applicable to a wider platform. Basically, any system can use this ring design and work.
Last year, Giro introduced their new Terraduro shoe at Eurobike. This was a heavy nod to the growing enduro crowd, salivating for “enduro specific” products. For the rest of us, who don’t enduro, bro – these shoes offered a new Vibram sole to a tried and true MTB platform.
While most cantilever cable hangers have built in barrel adjusters, some don’t. Since I run the Speedvagen x ENVE Integrated stem, I don’t have an in-line adjuster. Before, I used to just re-clamp my yoke or canti if I needed more stopping power and that’s just not right.
These little things have been floating around on the internet since 2011, but I completely forgot about them until last December…
… continuing with the Fuji X-T1 test shots, I wanted to sing praises of these tires. Made in Japan by Panaracer, the Jack Brown “Blue” label 33.3 tires have been very good to me. I’ve yet to flat on them and even examining the tread as I was shooting this photo, I found a number of thorns and copper wire pieces stuck in its hardy casing.
If I had to guess how many miles I’ve put on them, it’d be over 1000. Most of which are from around town trips.
Sure, the rolling resistance is higher than other comparable offerings – including the Jack Brown “Green” – but for an around town / touring machine, I’d rather have a reliable tire than one that flats on thorns or road debris.
Pick up the Jack Brown Blue tires at Rivendell for $63 /each or $126 for a pair.
For those wondering about the camera and lens, this is my Zeiss 28mm f2.8 on the X-T1 shot wide open.