Cannondale Women's Hi-MOD Evo

Review: Cannondale SuperSix Evo Women’s Hi-MOD Dura Ace

MSRP: $6600
Sizes: 44, 48, 51, 54, 56
Details: Geometry is based on front stack height (how tall the front end is), Shimano Dura Ace through out other than the Cannondale Hollowgram SI cranks. Wheels/Tires are from Mavic

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Bern Allston Helmet Review

Review: Bern Allston Helmet

Back in July I introduced Bern Helmets’ new ventilated model, the Allston. With a couple months of testing, three different reviewers and some matchy handlebar tape, I’m ready to give you my opinion.

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

Wear Test

The size Medium that showed up in Neon Green fit many heads. The nicest feature of this helmet in my mind is the liner that comes pre-installed. With a baseball cap flap, the adjustment comes from a soft fabric being tightened by velcro at the back. There isn’t a plastic cage tightening against your scull, it also acts as a sweat catcher!

Bern Allston Helmet Review

Ride Test

Bern Allston Test Riding

For bike commuting and low milage city riding this is a great go-to helmet. The vents allow some air flow but the skateboard style shell wraps around your head, a bit lower than most bike helmets these days.

I wouldn’t ride this helmet for 20+ miles unless it’s <60 degrees. While it has good airflow, it isn’t a match for ventilation like Lazer, Giro or Specialized.

Overall Opinion

If you want a great looking helmet, look here. If you want a helmet that can add some warmth in the winter, look here. If you are looking for a solid mountain bike or road helmet and you are often sweating or in warmer temps, do not look here.

I’m a huge fan of the helmet for the right purpose. In city bike shops Bern is selling like hotcakes. The style of the helmet is undeniable and a huge step up from their standard low vent styles.

Support Bike Shop Girl

Looking for a Bern helmet? If you can’t find something at your local bike shop, click through to JensonUSA as I make a commission off all sales you purchase after clicking through from Bike Shop Girl.

Disclaimer: This helmet was provided at no charge for review purposes.

 

Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey

Review: Sombrio Women’s Origami Jersey

When you hear jersey I bet you think spandex, pockets and zippers. Each of these features have its benefits; pockets for food and tools, zippers for airflow and spandex to keep close to your body. These features have very little use in mountain biking with backpacks strapped to our backs and the desire of looser fitting clothing to be able to move freely. While the free ride and all mountain movement have brought many killer clothes to production for guys, it’s limiting (as usual) for women.

Meet the Sombrio Cartel and the Origami Jersey

Sombrio Women's Origami Jersey

This jersey reminds me of a high end workout shirt from Adidas or Nike, but designed to fit with your arms extended and your torso slightly bent.

MSRP: $75
Details:

  • Seamless construction
  • X-Staticå¨ silver wrapped fiber technology
  • Antimicrobial
  • Eliminates odors
  • Regulates temperature
  • Eliminates static
  • Anti-slip hem

Fit of the Sombrio Origami Jersey

The size medium that I’ve been wearing fits like a glove. While snug, I haven’t had any chaffing under my Hydrapak or feeling of over heating. For sizing reference I wear a size medium/6 in most clothes.

Overall Thoughts

$75 is a pretty going rate of a bike jersey with pockets, zippers and do-dads. $75 for a glorified Lululemon overbuilt workout shirt is a bit much for me. While the shirt feels amazing, does everything it says it will, I’m sure those who live for all mountain riding won’t hesitate for a second to rock this shirt.

If you have the money it’s a great substitute for standard spandex. I find myself pulling this on any chance given, even for wearing off the bike. If the retail on this was closer to $50 I could see buying a couple and it being my go-to shirt. For $75 I may ask for it on a wish list for Christmas.

Visit Sombrio Cartel to see more

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no charge for review

Knog Blinder Road Lights

Preview: Knog Blinder Road Lights

As my hunt continues for amazing bike lights to keep me from being run over, I was sent a set of the new Knog Blinder Road Lights. These rechargeable beauties are part of the hi power series that Knog released earlier this year.

Knog Blinder Road 2 MSRP $79.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 200 Lumens
  • Light Dimensions: W53mm x H30mm x D63mm
  • Weight: 75g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Waterproof: 100% Waterproof and Dust Proof.
  • Light Modes: Total of 8 light modes: 1. Narrow Low Beam, 2. Narrow High Beam, 3. Wide Low Beam,4. Wide High Beam, 5. Dual Low Beam, 6. Dual High Beam, 7. Flashing Alternate, 8. Flashing-1 LED Steady/1 LED flashing.
  • Burn time: Low-beam modes: Steady 2hr, Flash mode 6hr. High-beam modes:Steady 1hr / Flash mode: 4hr.
  • Charge time: 5 hour charge time.
  • Bike Attachment: Two removable silicone straps for bars 22-28mm / 29-35mm. Helmet mount included

Knog Blinder Road R MSRP $59.95

Knog Blinder Road Lights

  • 70 lumens in strobe mode (peak)
  • Dimensions: W27mm x H76mm x D52mm
  • Weight: 52g
  • Materials: UV-Resistant, industrial-grade Silicone Rubber Body and Straps. Polycarbonate Housing. PMMA Lens. Anodised Aluminium Heat sink. Anodised Aluminium Fascia and solid Stainless Steel MIMLatch.
  • Rechargeable Lithium Polymer (USB). This saves using about 600 AAA Alkaline batteries during the lights lifetime.
  • Light Modes: 5 light modes: 1.Steady, 2.Fast, 3.Chaser, 4.Peleton, 5. Eco-Flash.
  • Burn time: lasting up to 3.5 hours in Steady mode, 4 hours in Fast, 5 hours in Chaser, 13 hours in Peloton Mode and 20 hours in Eco-Flash.
  • Bike Attachment: Tool-less attachment for standard rear posts measuring 22-32mm. Not suitable for aero post design

Out of the Box Thoughts

The look of Knog lights have always been a clean, catchy, subtle design. The question has always been the quality and longetivity of the light. These new Blinder Road Lights seem to have a bit more to them, first in the band which is much thicker than their other lights, and then second are the cords they are finally shipping with their USB charging lights. You struggle any longer trying to plug one of their lights into the back of your computer or keyboard thanks to this long USB extender.

Only time will tell how the lights hold up, and how long they really do keep their charge. Give me a couple weeks to push the test of these little lights! Learn more over at Knog.

Support Bike Shop Girl

If you are in the market for new lights, click through this link to JensonUSA where I receive a commission off anything you buy (as long as you do so after clicking the link!)

Disclaimer: These Knog lights were provided at no charge for review. 

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

Review: Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

Above is a great example of what I normally carried in the frame bag. A random piece of fruit or a small, light-weight, rain jacket are missing from the photo.

Roughly a month ago I did a quick preview of the Banjo Brothers Frame Bag, which you can read over here. The bag has around 700 commuting miles and a couple accidental tumbles while gravel grinding.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag $32.99-34.99

Size on test: Medium
Size and type of bike tested on: 56cm carbon cross bike, 55cm carbon road bike, 17″ mountain bike

Use and Abuse

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

The main testing ground of this bag over the past few weeks was on my cross bike during my August commuter assault. 60 miles a day for 2-4 days a week during the month of August. Only once during this assault did  I not used the frame bag and used a backpack instead to see if my opinion of this frame bag could be swayed.

The bag looks pretty brand-new even with the daily use. The only thing showing wear is some mud on the bottom down tube strap. The velcro and straps aren’t fraying and they never scratched any of my frames due to a nice piece of padding between the velcro strap and frame.

The zippers have a nice weather resistant cover to them and in the handful of rainstorms I caught myself in, the fabric nor zippers let in water. This is also in part of the front “pocket” that you can pull the zippers into.

Features

There are a few things I really like about this bag.

  • Reflective piping around the rim of both sides make this bag a great extra piece of safety when riding at night.

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag

  • The smaller and larger pocket compartments are a nice touch. Allowing me to put smaller things like multi-tool, money and keys in one pocket and then food/jacket and tubes in the other pocket.
  • Double zippers allow you to access gear easily from either end of the bag. Pretty crucial in the dark when you are looking for your arm warmers that you buried thinking that you weren’t going to need them.
  • The padded piece between the velcro and frame are pretty killer.

Downfalls

Some of these downfalls will depend on your frame size and usage

Banjo Brothers Frame Bag Review

  • My front bottle was pretty hard to get out when using the frame bag. If you are using this frame bag for bike camping or long rides get in the habit of drinking out of your seat tube mounted bottle and then rotating when you empty that one. They do advertise you can run a 70oz hydration bladder in the bag.
  • Take care when trimming the velcro. If you plan on moving it between bikes it may be long on some frames and rub your leg. There is no way around this, but if you keep it on one bike you can trim the velcro straps perfect and never run into a problem.

Overall Thoughts and Review Conclusion

I used this mostly during the testing for review while bike commuting. This bag may not be ideal if you have to lock up outside or leave your bike parked somewhere that the bag could be lifted. If you are doing some longer rides, want to test out bike camping without breaking the bank or just want a different way to carry some essentials with ease – give this bag a try. You can’t beat the price, quality or company standing behind the product.

To give you an idea of how much I enjoyed using this bike, when we plan out some overnight bike camping this fall I plan on picking up another one for my gf’s cross bike. Pairing a Banjo Brothers Frame Bag with one of their Handlebar Bags and Waterproof Trunk Bags, I believe she’ll be set as I’ll be carrying the tent.

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

Giro Sonnet

Review: Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet

Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet MSRP $90

Details: 25 vents, no visor, in-mold construction

A helmet under $100 with a slender shape for women, that’s the Giro Sonnet.

Pro’s: Weight, price, color options, availability in-store or online

Con’s: Fit system hits my ponytail (details I know), very neutral colors available

Overall Thoughts of the Giro Sonnet Women’s Helmet

I see two users buying this helmet. The first time road warrior that will be on the bike up to 2 hours at a time, or a MTB/commuter that is upgrading from that entry level, $40 heavy helmet, they started with. If you are either of these people, this helmet is perfect. If you are going to be doing 3+ hour rides, the helmet will feel heavier on your head and there are more ventilated options out there.

It’s a great helmet at a great price. I wish they tried one crazy color in the line up, but that’s me.

Purchasing this helmet online? Support BSG and purchase through this link to JensonUSA.

Disclaimer: This product was provided at no cost for review. If you purchase through the JensonUSA link, I may receive commission. 

PDW Aether Demon

Review: Portland Design Works Aether Demon

It’s pretty apparent how I feel about bike lights and the level of safety they add to your bike rides. A blinking front and rear light are found on most of my bikes, including some of my mountain bikes if I’m going to hit the road on the way to find my dirt diet. When Emily started commuting to the hospital every morning we purchased a couple lights for her All City Nature Boy that were bright, but it became apparent that the USB front light was kicking the watch battery powered rear light’s arse. Every couple weeks the batteries needed replacing or the rear light wasn’t shining as bright as new. Make fun of me that something this small stressed me out, but at 4:30am I want her seen as much as possible.

That’s about when a little birdy told me about a new USB powered rear light coming out from PDW.

Meet the Portland Design Works Aether Demon

MSRP: $49.00

Details: 

  • Nichia™ 0.5 watt LED
  • USB charging Li-ion battery
  • Texas Instruments™ integrated circuit (I have no idea what that means)
  • 4 modes (run time): Dance (8 hrs), Breathe (8 hrs), Group Ride (175 hrs at 10% power), Rock Steady (3.5 hrs)
  • Includes seatpost, seatstay mounts

Overall Thoughts of the Aether Demon™

Sometimes, though very rarely, I review a product and all I have to say about it is “it really works.” This light is it. The short USB plug that comes with the light plugs into the bottom and then either into your computer, or I use the USB box that came with my iPhone/iPad. It blinks demon blue until it’s charged, you unplug it and go on your way. With included mounts you can install the light on your seat post or on a seat stay on the bike frame. Both mounts allow you to pivot the light to be pointed properly behind you.

Pro’s and Con’s

For $49 it’s hard to beat a USB charging rear light that last for a good long while. Especially one with a great company standing behind it. The only thing I would change has to do with the light output, I’m a big fan of the Light & Motion Vis 180 rear that has light output on the sides for cars coming towards you perpendicular. That’s really my only feedback of the light.

The mount is solid, the USB plug closes up well and the light strobing options are great. If you are in the market for a new rear light and you want something that won’t blow through batteries, take a look at this beauty from Portland Design Works.

Check them out online, or find your local bike shop that stocks them.

Disclaimer: This light was provided at no charge for review. Saying that, I would buy one full retail.

IMG_3574

Review: Clif Bar Sierra Trail Mix

Clif Bar is one of the original energy bars on the market and are a pretty standard energy snack on the trail or in a cyclist pocket. It’s great to see when they add more flavors to their options to keep people interested and not burnt out on their selection

Clif Bar Sierra Trail Mix $15 per box of 12

WCB13_388-Nutritionals_Clif-Bar_STM

Ingredients

Organic Brown Rice Syrup, ClifPro® (Soy Rice Crisps [Soy Protein Isolate, Rice Flour, Barley Malt Extract], Organic Roasted Soybeans, Organic Soy Flour), Organic Rolled Oats, Organic Peanuts, Chocolate Chips (Dried Cane Syrup, Unsweetened Chocolate‡, Cocoa Butter‡, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla Extract), Organic Raisins, Organic Cane Syrup, Organic Peanut Butter (Organic Peanuts, Salt), ClifCrunch® (Organic Oat Fiber, Inulin, Organic Psyllium), Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, Roasted Sunflower Seeds (Sunflower Seeds, Sunflower Oil), Organic Date Paste, Sea Salt, Natural Flavors, Natural Vitamin E (Antioxidant).

IMG_3576

Taste Test

This bar really tast like a great bag of trail mix in a bar but with some additional moisture so you don’t have cotton mouth. It’s a welcoming difference of many bars with it’s chocolate chips, soy rice crisps, raisins and pumpkin seeds. Yummy goodness! I

f you are looking for an easy choice for calories in a wrapper, give this your own taste test and let me know what you think!

raleigh cyclocross

Intro: 2014 Raleigh Cyclocross Bikes

Hot on the heels of my review of the 2013 Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0Raleigh USA has released information on their 2014 line up. Over the next week I’ll be breaking down the line up by category. Keep up to date by checking out the search keyword “Raleigh USA 2014“.

While the cyclocross category is specific to women, Raleigh does have the RX1.0 in women but I can’t help but mention the other bikes in their line up as they are pretty stellar.

Raleigh RXC Pro Disc

2014 Raleigh RXC Pro Disc MSRP: $5,000

Spec: Carbon frameset with Shimano Ultegra Di2 (6770) with FSA SL-K cockpit
Weight: 18.9lbs for 55cm
Sizes: 50, 53, 55, 57, 59cm
Thoughts: Disc brake and electronic shifting will be seen more and more this season on the cyclocross courses. Less to gunk up and less to go wrong (in theory.) I’m surprised with the price tag of $5k that this bike is weighing in at 18.9 pounds, but I can only assume most of that is in the wheels. It looks like a great training wheel set that may be adding some rotational weight to the other wise race spec’d bike.

Raleigh RXC Disc

2014 Raleigh RXC Disc MSRP: $2,700

Spec: Carbon frameset with Shimano 105 10 speed
Weight: 19.5lbs for 55cm
Sizes: 50, 53, 55, 57, 59cm
Thoughts: A more reasonably priced cross racing bike that is coming with mechanical shifting and less racy parts. A great build and price for a carbon bike for the racer in you.

Raleigh RX 2.0 Disc

2014 Raleigh RX 2.0 Disc MSRP: $1,750

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and Shimano 105 10 speed
Weight: 22.3lbs for 56cm
Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm
Thoughts: I’m a bit biased to this fabulous color, but the bike is a strong competitor for killer disc brake cyclocross race bike. Swap out the wheels and drop off a couple pounds easy.

Raleigh RX 1.0

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 MSRP: $1,500

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and SRAM Apex 10 speed
Weight: 21.5lbs for 56cm
Sizes: 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62cm
Thoughts: The only cantilever option in Raleigh’s “unisex” line up this year.

Raleigh RX 1.0 womens

2014 Raleigh RX 1.0 MSRP: $1,500

Spec: Aluminum frame with carbon fork and SRAM Apex 10 speed
Weight: 21.3lbs for 52cm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
Thoughts: Previewed right here on Bike Shop Girl back in June – I’m happy to see this women’s geometry cross racing bike updated for 2014.

Raleigh Capri Header

Intro: 2014 Raleigh Capri Women’s Aluminum Road Line

Hot on the heels of my review of the 2013 Raleigh Capri Carbon 4.0, Raleigh USA has released information on their 2014 line up. Over the next week I’ll be breaking down the line up by category. Keep up to date by checking out the search keyword “Raleigh USA 2014“.

Overall Upgrades to the Raleigh Carpi Series

  • Updated geometry (I’ll personally be looking hard into this as the Raleigh women’s bikes have always fit me out of the box perfectly, hopefully it’s made better!)
  • All Capri models are lighter
  • All Aluminum and Carbon frames feature upgrades seat stays, top and down tubes, and increased stiffness
  • Wheels have been upgraded to be stiffer and lighter
  • New sizing system (will be in a post of itself and linked here when posted)

Raleigh Capri 3.0

2014 Raleigh Capri 3.0 MSRP: $1,300

Spec: Shimano 105 10 Speed with FSA Gossamer Compact
Weight: 20.4 lbs for 52cm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
Thoughts: It’s hard to believe that high end Aluminum frames are gone with the do-do bird, I wish Raleigh’s highest tier of aluminum would be a bit lighter. This is a well spec’d bike, and if weight isn’t a worry safe yourself the cost of upgrading the $450 upgrade to the carbon version with the same parts.

Raleigh Capri 2.0

2014 Raleigh Capri 2.0 MSRP: $950

Spec: Shimano Sora 9 speed
Weight: 21.1 lbs for 52cm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
Thoughts: If you are on a budget but want a bike that will last a couple seasons until you are sure you like this road bike thing, take this bike for a spin. The upgrade to a carbon fork and 9 speed drivetrain is worth the $250 over the 1.0!

Raleigh Capri 1.0

2014 Raleigh Capri 1.0 MSRP: $700

Spec: Shimano Claria 8 speed
Weight: 23.3 lbs for 52cm
Sizes: 48, 50, 52, 54, 56cm
Thoughts: I wish this model came in a 46 for smaller ladies or kids getting in to road biking. Overall though, if you are on a budget you can’t really beat a $700 road bike with a warranty and bike shop to stand behind it.