Reviews

Surly Womens Jersey
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Review: Surly Merino Wool Longsleeve Jersey

This winter I’ve had the opportunity to add pretty key pieces to my cold weather attire. With a good amount of cold base miles, I’ve shredded some items and some have stayed strong and worthy of a solid review. A few different long sleeve jerseys are my main highlights from this shredding that I’ll be reviewing this week.

There is something comforting about a soft merino wool piece of clothing. It wraps you up in it’s natural warmth, and can be reused for a couple weeks at a time if you don’t sweat it up too badly. Most folks who are purchasing their first piece of merino get sticker shock, but quickly they understand they are replacing 2-3 piece of clothing due to the wicking, warmth and longevity of wool. Ever purchased a pair of Smartwool socks? I bet you wish all of your socks were that amazing.

Features

MSRP: $140
Colors: Black or Gray

There are a handful of features that Surly will want to tell you about, but the best feature for me is the ability to wear this on and off the bike easily. The jersey turns into a sweater when paired with a pair of jeans. The sleeves with thumb holes are long enough and easily flipped up for casual use. The back has a “cigarette pocket” which is one pocket with zippers on either side.

Surly Womens Merino Wool

Fit

Traditionally women’s wool jerseys have fit pretty baggy and boxy on me. I can say that this jersey in size large fits me pretty darn well. With room for a tshirt or jersey underneath it isn’t super snug but it does allow me to feel like a woman when wearing it. As I mentioned I often wear it into shops as a sweater and it does look like a women’s sweater (with a sweet pocket in the back!)

Overall Thoughts

If you can swallow the price tag of $140 this jersey will last you many seasons, keeping you warm and dry. It’s an essential for me when traveling as I can wear it a handful of times and not be overwhelmed by stench or dirt.

See it on SurlyBikes.com

Photo Credit: Benjamin Wilson

Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape
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Review: Zevlin Big40 Custom Tape

From adjusting parts to fit you better, to switching parts around to make your bike look different and completely yours, both are equally important in the journey of bicycle ownership. Customizing your bike is an important part of making the bike “yours.” Bar tape is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do this.

Zevlin Big40 Custom Handlebar Tape

MSRP: $33.95 (discount for buying in bulk)
Unique Details: Super wide at 40mm, add your own logo to your handlebars!

The boys at Zevlin sent me a care package to test out and review, one of the coolest unique products in this was custom bar tape. While the tape isn’t as padded or grippy as my loved Lizard Skins DSP it has done well on the road under my winter testing.

Feel and Wear of the Zevlin Big40

The tape currently has a handful of long rides and roughly 200 miles of winter glove riding. The 40mm allows a good overlap of tape to get a cushion while showing off the custom logos covering half the width of tape. The logos are in great shape, I’m sure with a tacky summer glove the logos would wear after awhile but it would be a good indication that your bar tape needs replaced. It seems that not enough people replace their tape until their wrist or hands hurt!! I would compare the feel and tackiness of the tape to a Fizik bar without the pain of installing that leather like wrap.

Customize It

Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape

While you can buy the Big40 alone, I believe the biggest market advantage Zevlin has is to price bulk custom tape to be attractive to shops, teams and even large charity events to promote brand identity. The Zevlin tape looks amazing on my bike with the white logos and then a few blue logos at the end of the wrap, now imagine that with your company under your bars. Rolling up to a group ride, sitting at a stop light or your bike parked at a coffee shop will put your brand identity right at hand level.

Overall Thoughts

Zeplin Big40 Custom Bar Tape

The bar tape is wearing well, I’ll use it for most of the road season but it will not replace the DSP on my cyclocross bike as grip and cushion are super important then. I plan on doing a run of Bike Shop Girl in black  to promote myself and the brand as they are a great grassroots company trying to do different things in the bike industry.

If you are in the market to take your branding a bit further on the bike, I would start with Zevlin. If you are looking for a new black bar tape I would stick to Lizard Skins DSP.

 

 

Po Campo Roscoe Crossbody Bag
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Preview: Po Campo Roscoe Cross Body Bag

Ever since Po Campo sent out an email a couple weeks back about the new colors in the Roscoe Crossbody bag I’ve been waiting patiently for Quality Bicycle Products to get them instock. I had hoped they would get them in before Frostbike (industry trade show this week) but unfortunately they did not. Maria from Po Campo braved the snow and traveled to Minneapolis this weekend for Frostbike. She was nice enough to bring along a bag for me to buy!I was able to use the Roscoe over the past couple days to carry around my iPad mini, iPhone and other key items (ID badge, charger, business cards, etc.)

Maria saved the day, so thank you!

Roscoe Crossbody Bag

I wouldn’t say this is a cycling specific bag at all, but more of a great looking bag with touches for those that use it on the bike. The color and function are what completely caught my attention and what I’ll be basing an upcoming review on!

Hopefully over the next week I’ll be able to ride with the bag and can give a pretty straight forward review with more photos of the interior pockets.

Disclaimer: I purchased this bag, super stoked on it and reviews (as always) will be based on using/abusing the product to give you the best feedback possible.

 

Chrome Niko Camera Pack
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Preview: Chrome Niko Camera Bag

Chrome has launched a big brother to their Niko Messenger Camera Bag.

Meet the Niko Camera Pack

The Niko pack was designed and built for day shooting and travel with a tough weatherproof denier nylon outer shell and military grade truck tarpaulin liner. It has a fully customizable interior compartment for lenses and flashes and multiple pockets for cable and gear storage. Other features include quick access top loading compartment for items like a windbreaker or phone, a padded laptop compartment that fits up to 15” Macbook Pro, front Velcro straps for securing a tripod or skateboard, and side access u-lock holster.

Features:

  • MSRp: $180
  • Fully weather resistant Video/DSLR camera pack with PU coated zipper
  • Large zip around opening and customizable main compartment for organizing lenses, flash and other equipment
  • Padded laptop compartment fits up to Macbook Pro 15
  • Quick access top-loading camera compartment
  • Front velcro straps secure large tripod or skateboard
  • Side access U-Lock Holster

See more on Chrome’s website

 

All City Ladies Clothing
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All City Cycles Ladies Clothing

All City Cycles, one of the awesome brands I represent, and a group of cool kids, have released some new clothes for us bike geeks out there. See the full line up on the All City website.

SRAM XX1 Review
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Preview: SRAM XX1 MTB Drivetrain

When my work started “pre-selling” the new XX1 group I knew this is what I had to have for my new hardtail race machine. Not only is it the latest and greatest, which doesn’t always appeal to me on my own bikes, it was very tested and several pro racers I know whispered in my ear that it REALLY was the bee’s knees.

Setup of XX1 Reviewed

MSRP: $1450
Shifter: Trigger shifter
Cranks: 175m, 32t, 168 Q
Cassette: 42 x 10 (with 11 speeds!)

Benefits of SRAM XX1

Rear Derailleur – Redesign of the rear derailleur. With an offset of the upper pulley, larger pulleys and a “straight parallelogram” that takes away ghost shifting and making it easier to shift. This derailleur also has the Type 2 clutch which keeps your derailleur from bouncing when you’re going down hill.

Chain- I can’t even begin to explain the chain, so I’ll show a photo!

XX1 Chain

Cassette- 10x42t. The cassette also has larger gaps to clean out better.

Cassette body- due to the size of the cassette going down to 10t, you have to get a new freehub called XD. I picked up a set of SRAM Rise 60 wheels (preview to come at a later date) and had to do a freehub swap. Super painless, and the freehub feels awesome. I haven’t had it on technical uphills to test out the engagement, but it feels good at most the trails I ride. A bit of a warning that there isn’t a ton of selection yet on freehub bodies.

Shifters- One shifter, pick your poison, either Grip Shift or Trigger. (I went with trigger, long term when I build up an all mountain bike I’ll switch the trigger to it and get Grip Shift for the race bike.)

Learn more “tech” stuff from SRAM by clicking here.

 

Initial Impressions

Pimp. I’m a bit biased as I’ve always preferred how SRAM shifts. I’ve ridden XX, I’ve ridden XO and XTR. This by far takes the cake. The range I get out of the rear cassette is amazing. There is no cross chaining and it performs perfectly throughout the range.

My crank setup is a 32t chainring with 168 Q-Factor (going to be the most popular option.) I plan on picking up a 36t chainring closer to XC season but right now on the road I spin out the 32×10 at roughly 27mph. Your speeds my vary and my legs can only spin so fast! The biggest reason I want to go up on a chainring is so that I’m using the middle of the cassette more. Currently when hitting the few off-road intervals I’ve had in the off season I have been riding lower in my cassette, which (in my experience) wears out parts faster. PLUS, I like to have more wrap on my cassette when going down hill so my derailleur /chain are under tension a bit more. Yes, you can tell me that is what the Type 2 derailleur does but I still like what I know has worked for years.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for new parts, building up a new bike or simply like the best. I would recommend giving this a spin, if you can find it. As a rep my bike is always in my car, and most shops that I have visited have NOT seen XX1 themselves. At least not mounted on a bike that can be test ridden. The first group sets have been out in the market for a few weeks (I believe the started shipping the beginning of December.) I’ve seen some Specialized S-Works coming out of the box with XX1 too. Give it a couple months for more shipments to come from SRAM and I’m sure it will be more readily available at your favorite bike shop. If you see me, you can take mine for a spin, BUT not moments before a race, just a warning.

$1450 is a pretty penny for a drivetrain only setup, if you are looking to take yourself and bike to the next level you won’t regret it with this.

Once I need to replace my chain I will chime back in with a full review of wear and long term thoughts.

Disclaimer: I purchased this drivetrain out of my own wallet. This wasn’t given to me, and my opinions will always be honest.

Here are the pants on me after my afternoon commute. I've tried to pull my shirt back so that you can get a good look at the waist band.
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Review: Outlier’s Women’s Daily Riding Pant

A guest post from Laura Colbert of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA.

I am a girl who loves denim.  Outside of work time, I’m always in dark, well-fitted pair of jeans, even if I’m on a bike.  So when I started commuting more, I didn’t think twice about what I would wear for the ride.  Read More

Rapha Clothing
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Why Must I Want Rapha for Christmas?

I work in the bike industry which means I do not make crazy amounts of money in order to justify paying $85 for a merino wool tshirt. But, I want it so badly.

Then there are their cycling caps. Sexy and I own one. Thanks to Peter with Bike Law. Best cycling cap I’ve ever had. $40. WTH.

Finally, these boxers. They look so yummy and delicious to sleep in, or lay on the couch, or work out in (under shorts) at the gym. Merino wool, pink, boxers. Oddly, they are affordable in my head. $40

 

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