Chrome Sherman Bag Review

Review: Chrome Sherman Race Tool Bag

Chrome Sherman Bag ReviewThere have been many reviews released for the Chrome Sherman “Utility” bag. These reviews are mostly by folks riding their track bikes down to the local velodrome, swapping out wheels and gearing to race that same bike. For me this bag introduces a new look at doing business as a mechanic and ease of use for tool storage.

The spring and early summer season is always my busiest. First to Sea Otter, a couple local endurance races, a 24 hour mtb race and a handful of South East crit series to hit up. As a racer, but more importantly as everyone’s friendly female mechanic it is my job to be organized and prepared for whatever you need at the race.

Using the Chrome Sherman


At first this bag is overwhelming, so many pockets and clasps. In fact three weeks after actively using the bag I found a hidden pocket to hold my chain whip and pedal tool! The bag trifolds to easily be carried on your back, or the top flap folds back to be clasped on a repair stand, fence or whatever is close by. Once you figure out all the pockets, what zippers, what velcro’s, and what can go where is when you can start pushing the bag to its extreme.

The Chrome Sherman for Daily Use

Chrome Sherman Review
As I mentioned, I use the Sherman for different purposes than others. I use it as my tool bag, that travels on my back from car to pits, of garage to car to races. I’ve never ridden more than 2 miles with the thing on my back, but the bag is used daily with my bike tools.

To be able to grab the Sherman from where it hangs off my bookcase or repair stand, fold up the tri-fold and head off to wherever I am going. It is amazing. I’m not repacking all my tools, questioning where I left my measuring tape or 3-way. It is where I keep it, organized and always in the same spot.

If I am doing a full overhaul in my garage I will take out most the tools I know I’ll need and put them on the bench or on the wall for their homes, but this is more for speed than anything else.

What Goes in my Chrome Sherman

A random list of what is normally in my Sherman for daily use. Each race is different, if I’m going to a road race I may pull something different than a mtb.

  • Full run of allen hex’s. from 1.5 to 10mm
  • 4 main allen wrenches, 8,9,10,15
  • Adjustable wrench x 2
  • Chain tool
  • Cassette tools
  • Pedal wrench
  • Side cutter
  • Needle nose
  • Phillips screw driver x2
  • Flathead screw driver x2
  • Shock pump
  • Small squeeze of grease
  • Wax based lube
  • Teflon based lube
  • Electrical tape
  • Cable ends
  • Small tackle box of misc parts (quick links, headset spacers, tire boot, co2 head, pens,
  • 3-way
  • Spoke wrenches
  • Cable ties
  • Zip ties
  • Single speed cogs x2
  • SRAM 9 speed chain (new)
  • SRAM 10 speed chain (new)
  • Tire levers
  • 700c tube
  • 29″ tube
  • Mechanics gloves
  • Small container of Stans NoTubes
  • Crank tool x 2
  • Shimano crank tool
  • BB tool x 4 (outboard, octalink, square taper and Campy)
  • Brake cables x2
  • Shifter cables x2
  • Brake housing
  • Shifter housing

Overall Review of the Chrome Sherman

The Chrome Sherman is a bag that makes you think out of the box. (No pun intended.) It has allowed me to expand my services as a mechanic, and be more efficient when doing so. It handles cross country trips well, being shoved in the trunk of a car, or slapped on your back to haul on a bike.

There are things I would change, pockets I would expand, tool slots I would stitch in but for a non-custom bag at MSRP of $190 the bag does what it needs to do. Now at $190 you need to utilize the thing to death to justify the cost, but keeping my tools safe and organized in all conditions is worth it to me. Chrome, please add custom colors to the mix in the future!

Visit Chrome’s store for more details.

FITS Co Sock Review

Review: FITS Co Sock

There are select socks that I refer to in my life. I’m not a complete sock snob, but I am pretty darn close to it. I love Smart Wool socks in the winter or for cold rainy training rides, I love Twin Six socks (especially their new brand) for the look and sexy factor. The rest of my sock drawer is mostly filled with Sock Guy and DeFeet cycling socks, keeping only one or two “girl stockings” on hand for when I have to wear a suit.

FITS Co Sock Review

FITS Co sent me a couple pairs of socks to try out, nothing behind it but a beautiful handwritten note and a funky business card from their brand manager Wood Talkington. I won’t lie, their story is unique and worth a visit by itself.

Knitting socks in Niota, TN since 1902, Crescent Sock Co. endured the ups and downs that shaped the character of America’s people and her textiles industry. Today the company produces socks under its own FITS™ name in the oldest operating hosiery mill in the U.S. -FITSSock.com

Review of FITS Performance Trail Sock

Pulling on the Performance Trail sock I felt like I was pulling on a Smart Wool sock but with more arch support. As if the sock was giving my sock a nice hug at the end of a long day. The cuff seems to be of a different knit than the body of the sock, I’m assuming this is for circulation and support, without cutting your circulation off in the leg. The socks are heavier in weight and warmth. I wouldn’t wear these around in 90 degree weather with out reason but on a hard hike and mountain biking these socks provide the shock absorbing to my feet for all day comfort.

FITS Co Performance Trail Review
The cost is high for FITS socks, $17.99 for the Performance Trail. One could argue it is American made and high end wool, I would argue to buy a pair to keep for those long rides or cold night rides in the winter. I don’t plan on wearing them too often for everyday around the house as I want them to last!

Review of the FITS Light Runner Sock

These socks were reviewed by my girlfriend so I’ll turn over the keyboard to her.

I don’t know what to say about reviewing the socks, but this is what I think of them so far. For wool, these socks are very soft, the compression is exactly where I want it and when I was riding in 100 degree weather I didn’t notice these socks at all on my feet other than comfortable!

FITS Co Light Runner Review
The MSRP is $15.99 for the Light Runner socks. With the cuff showing above the shoes, and a heavy cuff at that it seems that it is going to wear well without Kim wearing a hole in her socks quickly. If Kim can’t kill these socks, no normal user will be able to!

Overall Review of the FITS Co Socks

The socks feel amazing, both pairs feel amazing. If I had a larger income, I would wear some variety of this and Smart Wool of some variety. The costs on the flip side is what brings me hesitant from giving this a 100% positive review. $15-20 for socks is steep, and I hope these socks feel as amazing as they did the first day for the next 8 months.

These socks were provided at no cost. I was not paid or bribed, and hopefully if you read this far you know I’m honest and won’t put my name next to something.

 

Tech Tuesday

Tech Tuesday: Trail and Roadside Repairs

Make sure to visit the sponsors of this posts.. Problem Solvers!

One concern that so many women (and guys) have with owning a bike is the basics of fixing it, or how to do basic road side repairs. I do recommend that as an avid cyclist even with some mechanical skills that you should become best buds with your local mechanic (beer or ice cream works well.) I also want women to feel empowered and to have a better idea of what they are talking about. Tech Tuesday is the remedy for common tech questions!

You’ve branched out on your own, you want to ride on your own or not be worried about basic repairs that happen on the road side.

Changing a Flat Tire

A while ago I did a basic video on how to change a flat, and boot your tire. This is probably the most crucial thing to know when you venture out on the road or trail as it is the most common issue. Someday in the future I need to update the video since I have a better camera and audio microphone.

Chain tool and quick links

It doesn’t happen too often, but you are able to break your chain. When this happens you can often trim your chain and use a SRAM quick link to put it back together. You’re gears will be limited but you’ll at least be able to ride the bike home.

If a Spoke Breaks

Another thing that doesn’t happen too often is breaking spokes on your wheel. Normally on an older wheel, or after a crash you’ll start breaking spokes. On the side of your ride you need to move the spoke out of the way. On some front wheels you can actually remove the spoke by pulling it out of the wheel. If you have disc brakes or if the spoke on the back wheel you’ll need to bend the spoke around another so that it doesn’t get in the way. Open up your brakes if you have v-brakes or u-brakes. This should make enough room for the wheel to spin freely, if not you’ll have to tighten spokes or in a last ditch effort remove the wheel and bang it against a tree. I try to avoid the last two since it is harder to repair once you get it to a shop.

Other Things to Know

Go confident on your bike ride. Things break and sometimes you can’t fix them. Bringing a multi-tool helps with many things, but if you are going to venture more than walking distance (6 or so miles) bring a friend or a cell phone until you learn more things.

Milliegoat

Motivational Monday with Millie Tanner

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Are you a woman that bicycles? Fill out this easy form and be part of our motivational movement!

Milliegoat

What is your name and location?

My name is Millie Tanner and my nickname is Milliegoat because I am good at climbing hills, mountains, overpasses, you name it! I live in warm Southern California.

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

I race road and cyclocross and I absolutely love both. Road is fun and tactical and cyclocross you get to race in the mud.

What is your first cycling memory?

That is a tough question! I think my first cycling memory is actually of crashing. I came around a u-turn and hit a curb when I was about 7 or 8 and on my road bike. I then proceeded to yell “ It jumped up and bit me!!” Ahh, good times!

Who in the cycling community inspires you and why?

I am inspired by many people in the cycling community. One person is Pam Sayler because she is always happy and you always will see a smile on her face! Chris Horner is another person who inspires me, because even at the age of 39 he won the Amgen Tour of California, and always seems to put his best foot forward. Another person is Jens Voigt, he has such a great work ethic and he is super funny too. The whole women’s peloton inspires me because they put their best foot foward, kick butt and have a good time. And last but certainly not least, my parents inspire me too. They always are helping out , working hard and being the best parents ever.

What has been your best moment on a bike in 2011?

I think my best moment on a bike in 2011 was placing second at the USACycling National Championships. I rode a really great time trial and I wanted to win so bad. As I came across the line I had the fastest time. I had the national championship for the next 29 seconds and then another girl came across the line beating my by 1 second.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward in 2012?

Milliegoat

In the next year I really want to win a national championship and all the state championships. I have won state championships before so I think it is finally time to go and win that national championship.

About my bikes

I have a Fuji Supreme 1.0, a Specialized Langster track bike for the trainer and a Fuji concept frame for a TT bike.

Check out Milliegoats latest at her blog Milliegoat.wordpress.com/

Robin Farina National Champion

Motivational Monday with Robin Farina

Motivational Monday, a Monday tradition at Bike Shop Girl, my goal to keep you motivated and to be striving on the bike even during a hard week or long hours at work. Do you know someone that motivates and inspires you? Send us your answers and photo to Girly@BikeShopGirl.com

Robin Farina National ChampionRobin Farina is a local bike shop owner, cycling coach and a women’s professional road cyclist. I’ve had the honor to know her for many years, and even to be coached by her a few years ago. Her personality and drive is exactly what the professional circuit needs, to add to this last weekend she won the USA National Road Race in Augusta, GA!

What’s your name and location?

Robin Farina Charlotte, NC

What type of cycling do you enjoy?

All kinds of cycling. Mainly race on the road but I love a good mtn bike ride and cyclocross ride

What is your first cycling memory?

Crashing on wet pavement on my bright shiny Schwinn when I was about 10 years old. It ripped off my fingernail.

Robin Farina National Champion

Who in the current cycling industry inspires you, and better yet WHY?

Right now I am pretty inspired by women racers that have balance going on in their lives. Obviously you can not get rich making it as a racer so it’s vital to continue on a career path or an education. Specifically right NOW, I am inspired by Louise Keoghan. She and her husband Phil Keoghan started the new professional Women’s Cycling Team, Now and Novartis for MS. Louise is passionate about cycling and a driven professional. She is an example of what women in our sport should aspire to be. It’s fantastic that racers have a competitive edge that needs to be fulfilled but it’s more important that we take the steps to keep the sport growing and support other women in cycling. She is leading by example with their Now and Novartis for MS team project.

What was your best moment on a bike in 2011?

Winning the USA National Road Race Championships last Sunday. It’s the biggest honor you can win for your country. I am still in shock about it.

In the next year, what are your goals with cycling and pushing yourself forward?

Before I can look to next year, I am pretty focused on the rest of my season and now I get to go to the World Championships in Denmark in Sept so that will be a big focus for the latter part of the season for me.

Wanna Know About my Bikes?

I have one of every kind. Road bike – Specialized Amira, TT bike – Specialized Transition and a Cannondale Slice, Cross bike – Blue, Mountain bike – Giant 29′er, Cruiser – Electra Tocina: Each have a purpose and ridden often!

Kids Fix Bikes

Introductions and Questions: Tech Tuesday

Kids Fix Bikes
With the wild success of Motivational Monday, and a ton of “tech” questions rolling in to our email what is a better way than to have a tech clinic day each week?!?!

Starting next week we will be starting to have a tech article every Tuesday. This could be steps to changing a flat, how to tighten a stem, what tubeless means, etc etc. For this to work, I need to hear from you. What tech questions do you want answered?

Thanks to Livestrong.com for the use of their photo

Liz Hatch Photo

The Bike Industry Needs More Women Like Liz Hatch

The name Liz Hatch is a sensitive subject in the women’s cycling peloton .  The sexy blonde has made many pro women cringe.  Last year I mentioned her name during an interview with Team Vera Bradley and they weren’t happy.  Why?  Some call her a wanna be. Not fast enough to compete with the great girls.  Some call her a sand bagger.

Read More

2012 Specialized Fate Womens 29er

A Carbon 29er for Women from Specialized

2012 Specialized Fate Womens 29erIn the past year 29ers finally hit the women’s niche of the market.  Locally I have only been able to put my hands on the Trek versions of the women’s 29ers.  After the test ride and looking deeper at the geometry I wasn’t sold. The bike didn’t ride well, but that was one brand trying their hand at the women’s 29ers. Specialized has had their own cross country recreational women’s 29er line out as well, the Myka. The line has several different models, from 26 to 29, including two different levels of the 29er hardtail.  Now, Specialized wasn’t the first company to the original 29er market – they were actually very slow about the movement. They must really love the bikes, and what 29ers can do for women (I Told You So) as they have released a couple new lines of 29ers for women, including a carbon hardtail.

The Fate – Women’s 29er carbon mountain bikeSpecialized Fate Women's 29er

Some of the details: Performance fit (race ready), 80mm travel, and a higher level of components. The Fate will be available in stores in September in two models: the Comp and the Expert. Each will come in three sizes: 15″, 17″ and 19″. Pricing is not yet finalized, but is expected to come in between US$2000-3000. (Details from CyclingNews)

Depending on the level you’ll see the spec of something of the following:  Roval 29er wheels, Renegade 2Bliss tires, XX chainrings with custom gear ratios, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Specialized saddle, handlebar, stem and post. (Details from BikeRumor)

The Jett – Women’s 29er aluminum mountain bike

The Jett’s full details haven’t been released but this is what we found over at TwentyNineInches. M4 Aluminum (2nds from highest grade in Specialized library) and the same performance fit as the Fate. The exception will be rack mounts.

What is Specialized doing different with women’s 29ers

You’ve heard my rant about the wacky geometry that Trek’s 29ers possesed. I haven’t seen Specialized by the numbers, but they are doing some custom things to their new line.

First is a “women’s designed carbon layup”  which I am questioning to their product managers but it is an interesting thought. From there Specialized teamed up with Rock Shox for a custom fork.  At the 15″ size the offset of the fork is different, it goes to 51mm. Finally the headtube is as shortened as much as I have seen especially with the integrated headset that most production 29ers are using now.

From Bike Radar‘s Q & A

Hughes said Specialized has noticed that women have been slower to adopt 29ers than men. Part of the reason is that many shorter women believe they are too small to fit on a 29er. And in fact, looking at the geometries of bikes like Specialized’s popular Stumpjumper hardtail 29er (for which the smallest size is a 15.5″), that observation proves true for many women although possibilities for smaller female riders vary by manufacturer and model.

The Fate’s geometry will naturally position female riders lower and longer than they would be on the Myka. For example, on the 15″ Fate, a 10mm shorter headtube drops the front end of the bike, an 8mm longer top tube puts women in a longer, more racing-oriented position while 17″ and 19″ Fates have 20mm shorter head tubes. With 6mm shorter chainstays for all sizes, the Fate also climbs better and ends up with a shorter wheelbase (14mm for a size 17, for example) for quicker handling than the Myka.

One of the biggest issues encountered during the design process was addressing toe overlap, a common problem on smaller bikes, especially those with shorter wheelbases. To address this, the small 15″ bikes were designed with a 51mm fork offset while the 17″ and 19″ frames will feature the standard 46mm offset.

What does “Women’s Specific” 29ers mean for you?

The jury is still out.  The folks that have given feedback thus far are Specialized branded racers. I have a message out to Lea Davidson, who races for Specialized, for more specific questions from her last race on the bike.  These bikes were designed for those that like a lower front end, but want the benefits from a 29er.  The Myka is their recreational bike that will suit more women off the bat, but for the women wanting to push themselves further and faster or perhaps used to the Epic or Titus Racer-X the Fate is for them..  Finally, I am simply excited that a company like Specialized is seeing the women’s market big enough to design a new carbon line around it.

Once I know more, you’ll be the first people to know!

 

Airborne Goblin 29er

2011 Airborne Goblin 29er Full Review

Airborne Goblin 29er
With over 300 miles on the Airborne Goblin that I’m riding for the season the bike has been tested.  I’ve ridden the bike to the limits and pushed it, then pushed it a bit more.  Now it is time for a good and fair review for all of you holding your breath wondering if you should purchase one!  During the 300 miles the Goblin has seen a little bit of everything, from commuting, local single track and a 24 hour race on its shoulders.  I haven beaten and abused the bike to the best of my ability thus far and this is my review based on those elements.

Read More