Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0

Review: Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0

A women’s carbon bike that is happy on the all day century, yet stiff enough for trying your hand at criteriums.

MSRP: $4,000
Details: Performance carbon frameset with a taller headtube and a little more relaxed geometry
Drivetrain: Shimano Ultegra 6770 Di2 with 6700 bits mixed in. A full Shimano groupset which is rare to find these days
Components: Handlebar, stem, seatpost and seat are all the Raleigh brand of Avenir. Not top level parts but competitive in durability and weight
Wheels: Weinman DP18 laced to Formula hubs
Full Spec on Raleigh USA

Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0

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Bern Allston Helmet

Intro: Bern Allston Helmet

Bern Helmets are a pretty standard helmet line these days that you’ll find urban shops, as well as snowboard shops! This proven helmet brand brought their snowboard molds to the bike market a few years ago and have been selling pretty hot in the shops that stock them well (and in the right commuting/urban market!) The biggest complaint in the original models was the lack of ventilation.  This made sense as they were originally designed for snowboarding, having huge vents to let in snow and cold air wasn’t really ideal.

Meet the Bern Allston

The Allston has 16 vents, weighs in at a claimed 13 ounces and comes in 4 colors. With the classic Bern visor style, lighter weight and a decent amount of ventilation this is going to turn some fixie riding heads!

Key Details

MSRP: $89.99
Colors: Matte Black, Matte Grey, Matte Neon Green, Satin White
Features: 16 vents, 13 ounces, Available in 3 sizes (M, L, XL), Snap in liners to make this an all season helmet

Looking for a Bern helmet? Check out JensonUSA as they have some deals going on!

 

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Review: Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Bags seem to be an addiction for cyclist. You need something for your commute, your mountain riding, your city dwelling and grocery shopping. Finding a bag that can do a little bit of everything and not weigh 40 pounds at the end of the day is pretty important to me.

A few years ago I reviewed the Banjo Brothers Commuter bag. For everyday life the bag was just a bit too big for me. I loved the white color and functions but it was just too bulky for my back. A few weeks back Banjo Brothers sent a care package of review items, one of the bags inside was their newer Metro Backpack, in white of course. As the box was being unpacked my girlfriend quickly put her claim on the Metro Backpack for her daily commute to the hospital. As she is commuting 10 miles a day, 6 days a week, with an extra set of clothes, iPad, overnight “essentials”, lunch and books, I figured she’s a good candidate for testing out the Metro Backpack.

Metro Backpack Essential Details

  • MSRP: $74.99
  • Available in Black or White
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches

Details that Mattered to Emily

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Not too big, not too small. The bag isn’t so big that you can overload and have too much gear on your back. You can stuff it, carry tons of stuff or whatever else you may but it’s right at 1100 cubic inches of space.

It’s white and has a large reflective strips. The added safety of a white bag with a large reflective strip across the back flap, a couple reflective strips on the shoulder straps and light holder is pretty thoughtful for when she is commuting at 5am.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

12 interior and exterior pockets. Each side of the bag has an outside pocket, perfect for a small u-lock, keys or waterbottles. The main flap has a pocket for items you need quickly but want under the protection of a zipper. Inside you have a large compartment with a padded laptop sleeve. Pen pockets, phone pockets and other smaller compartments to keep things organized.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Phone pocket on shoulder strap that fits a Lifeproof iPhone.

Waterproof. The fabric is waterproof, the flap would keep out water in most rain storms and the most water we deal with normally in Denver are sprinklers. I wouldn’t submerge the thing but it will be more than enough for most commuters.

Removable waist belt. She didn’t ever use it, so we simply unclipped it!

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

Compression straps on the sides. Keeps things snug, and when the bags not full you can make it a lot smaller.

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

What’s In Your Bag?

This is a blow out of what is normally in Emily’s bag for her daily commute.

What's In your Bag

Overall Feedback and Thoughts

The bag does not have the classic Banjo Brothers removable liner, which I am thankful for. This is a trimmer, and realistic bag for the everyday commuter (or smaller frame person.) It does still create a sweaty back on commutes over 15 minutes, but that’s really the only downfall of this bag.

There are a few things I would change if I had my way… The material they use is waterproof but that also makes it not stretch or flex very well. The interior and side pockets could be made out of a material that had a little give in it to allow things to get in and out easier. The material also has a lot of friction so sliding things like phones/pens/etc in and out the tight pockets can require two hands. (Note from Banjo Brothers: Truck tarp is stiffer than the ballistic nylon – white is truck tarp, and black and red are in standard ballistic nylon, which is a little more forgiving.)

For $75 I would be surprised if you found a bag comparable for everyday use and easy to use features with out too many thrills to over complicate the bag.

20% Discount with Banjo Brothers Through July

That’s right, Banjo Brothers wants to know if folks that read my reviews actually purchase stuff. They are offering a 20% off discount off anything if use BIKESHOPGIRL at time of checkout (case sensitive.) http://bit.ly/12SPsAu

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review. 

Strider Balance Bike

Strider (Balance Bike) Racing

The popular balance bikes from Strider have received some updates. When I was over on Strider.com reading about the updates I also stumbled upon the Strider U.S. Championships!

Strider U.S. Championship Details

Save the Dates of July 13th and 14th for the 1st ever STRIDER U.S. Championship in STRIDERville (aka Rapid City, SD)!

Perfect timing for a family vacation to the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. Thirty minutes from Mt. Rushmore with lakes, single tracks, and loads of family fun abound. This race also qualifies you for the 3rd Annual STRIDER World Championship in Sarasota, Florida  this October 11th-13th!

Registration will be $15 and will include a medal for all racers, a Strider shirt and other cool Strider items.

STRIDER World Cup Races will take place on 7/13/2013:

2 and under –     10am
3 year olds –      11am
4 year olds –      1pm
5 year olds –      2pm

Updated Strider ST-4 Details

Strider ST-4

Strider’s are my favorite thing to sell in a bike shop. Helping kids skip the training wheels (or lose the training wheels) and enjoy the freedom that two wheels gives you. Strider is on it’s 4th version, each one getting better and better. The latest ST-4 has many updates, a few of them I think will rock kids and parents.

• Holds the MSRP of $110
• Sealed bearings
• Powder coated finish
• Softer Grips
More details

Looking for a Strider? JensonUSA has the ST-3 on sale!

Liv Brava SLR 0

Liv/giant Releases 2014 Women’s Cyclocross Line

The press release I received last night from Liv/giant was a long one (two pages long without photos.) As I started reading it, every paragraph was making me more giddy than the last. Why?

Liv/giant is about to rock the women’s cyclocross world

Meet the Liv/giant Brava SLR women’s cyclocross line! Two models, the Brava SLR O and Brava SLR 2 both equally stunning in their own category. Light weight, disc brakes, women’s geometry and colors that I personally find attractive.

Liv/giant Brava SLR 2 MSRP: $1600

 

Liv/Giant Brava SLR 2

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. You can race it during cyclocross season, commute with it in all kinds of conditions, or use it for long rides on mixed terrain. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. – Liv/Giant

Liv/giant Brava SLR 0 MSRP: $4800

 

Liv Brava SLR 0

 

The lightest women’s-specific cyclocross bike—and the only one with disc brakes—is all about performance and versatility. The lightweight, responsive ALUXX SLR alloy frame features an OverDrive 2 steerer tube for stiff, responsive steering and a toptube that’s shaped for shouldering comfort. A D-Fuse SL composite seatpost provides compliance over rough terrain. Additional performance-minded features include disc brakes, a 15mm thru-axle for enhanced handling precision, and smooth, clean internal cable routing. -Liv/giant

Sizing/Geometry of the Brava SLR Women’s Cyclocross Bikes

Brava SLR Geo

I suggest to be familiar with the geometry of these bikes before test riding. Traditionally I ride a 55/56cm which normally equals a Large in women’s bikes, but looking at top tube lengths I will fit a medium. Everything else in the geometry looks straight forward, and should fit many short torso’d women very well. This part (other than pricing and spec) was one of the main reasons I was so giddy reading the press release! Hopefully I’ll be able to swing a leg over one of these bikes to give you a full report on handling and sizing.

fizik vesta

Fizik Vesta Bike Shop Girl Edition

It’s not really a Bike Shop Girl edition, but fitting that soon after I posted that the Vesta is one of my top 3 saddle they released information on a black and pink version for a limited time only!

Banjo Brothers Header

New Product from Banjo Brothers

While I realize the below product may not be that new from Banjo Brothers, it is awesome product that I haven’t talked about yet. Look for many of the mentioned products in Bike Shop Girl reviews over the coming weeks as a box of bag goodness showed up earlier this week from Banjo Brothers!

Metro BackPack $74.99

 

Banjo Brothers Metro Backpack

 

Features

  • Available in Black, White and Red
  • 18 oz vinyl tarp material (for easier cleaning) with hanging liner for excellent water resistance
  • Full width wicking back pad
  • 12 interior and exterior pockets
  • Padded laptop pocket fits up to 10″ x 15″ notebooks
  • Cell phone holster included
  • Front and rear reflective tape and webbing tab for safety light
  • 16″H x 11″L x 6.5″W / 1100 cubic inches
  • Click for Product Page

 

Canvas Waterproof Commuter Backpack $99.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Canvas Commuter Backpack

 

 

Features

  • Fully-waterproof replaceable liner
  • 20-oz heavy-duty canvas construction
  • Water repellent dry-wax finish
  • 1500 cu in.
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

 

Frame Packs $32.99-34.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

 

 

Features

  • Efficient gear carrying frame bag
  • Ballistic nylon
  • Waterproof Zippers
  • Zipper-pull Garage
  • Two Pockets – one full size and one flat pocket for smaller items
  • Med Size fits 70-oz hydration bladder
  • 01064 (medium) is 15.5″L x 5.75″ H x 2″W and 01063 (small) 14.75″ L x 4.25″ H 1.75″W
  • Click for Product Page

 

 

Top Tube Bag $14.99

 

 

Banjo Brothers Top Tube Bag

 

 

Features

  • 41 cubic inches (6.25″ L x 2″ W x 3.25″ H)
  • 840 denier nylon fabric with padded and lined interior
  • Rubber-backed frame straps are secure and gentle on bike’s finish
  • Interior key clip and reflective piping
  • Clear flap helps keep your stuff dry and allows full view of contents
  • Plenty of room for race tools/food, or camera, phone, etc.
  • Click for Product Page

 

Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet $5.99

 

Banjo Brothers Jersey Pocket Cycling Wallet

 

 

Features

Giant Tempt 27.5

Released: Giant Tempt 27.5 Women’s Mountain Bikes

Giant has released to the wild three models of a new women’s 27.5″ mountain bike called the Tempt. Available in the 0, 2 & 5, look for full spec and pricing shortly. For now you can find below why Giant went with the in between wheel size for their new line.

Three key characteristics of 27.5 technology:

1. Lighter weight

  • 27.5-inch wheels are only 5 percent heavier than 26. By comparison, 29-inch wheels are 11 percent heavier than 26-inch.
  • Overall weights of 27.5 bikes also trend closer to 26 than heavier 29 versions of the same series.

2. More Efficient

  • 27.5-inch wheels accelerate much like 26, outperforming 29-inch wheels.
  • 27.5-inch wheels roll over obstacles with much more control than 26. That translates into more efficient cornering, acceleration and braking capabilities.

3. Better Control

  • The larger the diameter of a wheel, the greater the contact patch of the tire. A larger contact patch results in better traction—which improves acceleration, deceleration and cornering. 27.5-inch wheels provide a contact patch that is similar to 29-inch wheels.
  • The larger the wheel, the larger the frame dimensions must be—and that leads to unwanted flex. A flexing frame causes sloppy handling and slower acceleration under heavy power. A 27.5 frame flexes less than a 29 frame, resulting in better control.
Jaybird BlueBuds X

Review: Jaybird Bluebuds X Headphones

Headphones I find to be essential for the long haul, putting in training miles, or maybe the need of getting lost in a good podcast while being active. Loud enough to tune my thoughts out, but not loud enough to tune out the cars around me.

In late April there was a short preview of the Jaybird Bluebuds X headphones, Bluetooth, multi-fit, “training tools”, as I would call them. They aren’t a requirement for a good workout, but they do make it easier.

Full Review of the Jaybird Bluebuds X

Features and Spec

  • MSRP: $169.99
  • Wireless music and phone calls
  • In-ear white noise reduction that eliminates listener fatigue
  • 8 hour playtime on one battery charge
  • Sweat-proof

Personal Thoughts on Features

Pricing

When I see prices of Bluetooth products these days my jaw drops. Normally $100 will get you a “decent” Bluetooth headset to make calls in. Anything below that will wear out and echo. When I saw the price of the BlueBuds X, I thought “that is pretty expensive” and then I thought about using them for music and phone calls. If they prevented me from ever using my phone to my head again, that will be worth it.

Wireless music and phone calls

Phone calls sound amazing, and the music quality warms the soul but if you are a cyclist you may not be able to get both. The headphones have multiple fits, one in your standard “in-ear” and then one “over-ear.” The in-ear fit bothered me with my helmet straps, and the over-ear fit was perfect but you can’t use the microphone very well when the headset is in the over-ear setup. Switching between the two fits isn’t hard, but it include pulling off a rubber wing and putting it on the other ear bud. Over time the wings stretch and don’t stay in place any longer.

One last gripe is that the features on my phone for music are no longer accessible. The double click forward tries to make a phone call, and the triple click for last song confuses my phone. This is a bummer to be able to use it well with my iPhone.

 

Jaybird gave me some directions on how to move tracks forward and back: Hold the up volume and it advances the track, hold the down volume and it goes back a track.

In-ear White Noise Reduction

This feature works really well. I have found in the past with Bluetooth headphones if I am listening to something very quietly the low buzz of the headphones & music output is annoying. There isn’t really a low buzz using these headphones.

8 hour playtime on one battery charge

This one is key for me, I have enough things to charge after a bike ride or day at work. Remembering to plugin my headphones every night is a nuisance. I’m able to get through almost a full weeks of bike commuting with these headphones, or a couple days on the road while making phone calls when driving. It uses a mini-USB charger so make sure to it handy, as an Apple user this size plug isn’t too common for me.

Sweat-proof

All I can say on this one is that it seems good so far. I’ve done a couple pretty sweaty workouts with the headphones and they are still working fine but this is exactly how I’ve killed a couple other Bluetooth headphones.

Overall Impression and Thoughts

Jaybird Bluebud X Headphones

As headphones these guys are great, all the fits work well for my ears and the sound is amazing. The cable resting on my neck doesn’t bother me or tangle in my hair at all. With a long lasting charge and easy to sync feature it will be a big hit for those that don’t mind the in-ear fit with their helmet and want to make phone calls.

I’ll continue to use these headphones, and will check back if they ever stop working. If you are an avid music lover and want something for your active lifestyle these are it. Better than the Motorola, Beats and Yurbuds that I have tested. If you are wanting something for both, you’ll have to pick between your music or phone call quality but at least you can pick which you want to sacrifice.

20% off Bike Shop Girl Discount for 10 days only!

Jay Bird has offered a 20% off discount code for Bike Shop Girl friends. Use BSG20 at check out and get 20% off!

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review.