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2014 Products of the Year

Posted on Jan 14, 2015

For the 2014 Product of the Year Awards, I have added the categories of  HARDWARE, SOFTWARE, CLOTHING and HONORABLE MENTION. This was actually pretty tough to put together since every product I have tested has been top-notch from every manufacturer. Not a dud in the group. Every product I tested lived up to its manufacturers spec-sheet and every product performed extremely well and met/exceeded its intended purpose. For 2014, each manufacturer put a lot of quality back into their products and every manufacturer I have spoken with has up front and honest when answering any and all of my questions. Therefore, this made it extremely difficult to pick the best of the best. What I decided to do is create a THEME for 2014 … ELECTRONICS. Since Di2 has been out for awhile, I looked at what’s next. I decided to look at the ‘accessories’ built to support Di2. So here goes; HARDWARE – In keeping with the 2014 theme, I chose the Shimano d-fly SM-EWWO1 wireless transmitter. This small transmitter adds a whole new dimension to Di2 by transmitting Di2 data such as % battery remaining, current gear...

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Cyckit’s Aeroclam Hard Shelled Saddle Bag

Posted on Jan 7, 2015

INTRODUCTION CYCKIT Ltd, located in New Zealand, specializes in designing and producing integrated bicycling storage products which are targeted primarily for higher end users in the road bike market. Cyckit’s initial goal was to create a highly effective saddle bag without using Velcro and zippers which are two issues I have had with cloth saddle bags. The cloth tends to fray, the Velcro wears out causing the bag to either hang down or fall off completely and zippers get stuck the first time they get dirty, which is the worst thing that can happen as it prevents  you from getting to your spare tube and C02. Cyckit’s founder, Pat Reardon, looked at the problems with current saddle bags and decided that there had to be a better way. After interviewing 125 road cyclists, common problems, issues and enhancement requests became evident. These being that the bag had to be completely secured under the saddle, seamless integration to the saddle (i.e., more aerodynamic), easy access to the contents, must fit most saddles and free of contact with the cyclist while...

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How to gain back some free wattage – Shimano RD-6800/6870 Upper Guide Pulley fix...

Posted on Dec 31, 2014

This simple how-to article is specifically for the Ultegra line of rear derailleur tension & guide pulleys, aka jockey wheels. In this specific case, the RD-6800 guide pulleys are identical to the 6870 guide pulleys so for sake of simplicity, we will call them RD-68xx. This article does NOT apply to the Dura Ace RD-9000/9070 tension & guide pulleys since the RD-90xx pulleys use sealed bearings. While cleaning my bike the other day, I noticed that the upper pulley had considerable resistance so that it was hard to turn by hand. Since my RD-6870 only has a couple thousand miles, it seemed unlikely that the pulley/ceramic bushing was worn out. I had already removed the rear wheel so I took a brand new 3mm allen wrench and quickly removed the upper jockey wheel. Note: using a NEW allen wrench will help prevent stripping of this screw. Pinching the dust caps together ensured that I wouldn’t lose any bits and pieces. Placing the jockey wheel on the workbench I stripped it down completely. HOW IT WORKS The upper jockey wheel is located in what...

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Best Place to Position the Brake Pads on Aluminum Road Bike Rim...

Posted on Dec 30, 2014

 So where’s the best place to position your road bike’s brake pads? Last Saturday, while waiting for everyone to arrive at the group ride, the self-proclaimed bike repair guy, whose shop is in his basement, was helping a female cyclist who was fairly new to the sport. She told him that something was rubbing and shaking while she was riding, especially when braking. He took the bike for a quick up the block and back and told her it was her brake pads. She was running them dead center on the brake track and he said that he prefers to see them as high as possible. I sat there for a minute trying to understand his logic which still doesn’t make sense. The True Answer is that it’s better to run the pads lower than higher (lower as in closer to the spoke nipples than higher which is closer to the tire). In fact, its best to run them as low as possible just before they start hitting the side of the rim. There are two reasons for this. From a...

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PROVIZ 100% Retroreflective Jacket

Posted on Dec 19, 2014

  INTRODUCTION PROVIZ, a company located in Christchurch, Dorset, United Kingdom, started in 2009 with a passion to design and develop affordable visibly bright and reflective cycling clothing and accessories. Due to the lack of light-reflective clothing available for cycling, motorcycling and runners, PROVIZ has developed a number of unique, high visibility products that are at another level altogether. Today, PROVIZ continues to grow their product range in new application specific markets by introducing light reflective jackets and vests, motorcycle jackets, a complete kids line, light emitting accessories and even reflective helmets. This review will concentrate on the REFLECT360 cycling jacket and REFLECT360 backpack cover. WHAT IS REFLECT360? REFLECT360 is a super-reflective technology designed as the super reflective stripes on safety vests for public works agencies and construction workers. 3M™, a US-based company, offers a similar technology called Scotchlite™. I say technology since it can be built into almost any fabric. 3M™ Scotchlite™ 8910 is available in larger sizes such as 1270mm (50”) x 100m (100 yards) sizing. 3M™ builds to a US ANSI/ISEA standard and PROVIZ builds to...

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STRAVA incorrectly calculating total elevation/altitude...

Posted on Dec 10, 2014

Recent issue with Strava. Meaning … DON’T BELIEVE THE ALTITUDE DATA IN STRAVA. I did a local course this morning. The Magellan Cyclo 505 stated 4,080.56 feet of climbing. When I uploaded this ride to Strava, Strava said 6,918 feet. How can these be so different? The Magellan Cyclo GPS creates a GPX file and every second builds on this file as you ride, updating each parameter including Lat, Lon, elev, hr, power, etc. After the ride, when you hit STOP, the cyclo ends the recording, calculates the totals and closes the file – that’s why it takes several seconds for the Cyclo 505 to respond after you hit STOP. At home, you can upload this file to your local Magellan account where a graphical representation of the ride is displayed. Regarding Altitude, the Magellan adds all of the waypoints up and, for this ride was calculated to be 4,080.56 feet. I then uploaded to Strava and now the total Ascent is 6,918 feet. So where is the discrepancy? I then took the GPX file and changed each <ele> to <xxx>...

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