Icebreaker Halo Shorts Review: Take Two
Last summer I reviewed the Icebreaker Halo jersey and shorts. As I rode around today in the Halo shorts I felt pretty compelled to do a follow up on these shorts, as they deserve it.
If you shop at Dick’s Sporting Goods and not REI, or believe in working out at the gym and not hiking, you may not understand the ways of wool. (Please don’t take that offensive, it’s just probably true.)
I’m found often in stupid expensive Capo or Hincapie shorts for stupid long rides. The chamois are overly developed and “wear in” as the miles turn up.
The Halo shorts from Icebreaker are not these, they fit like boxer briefs, are super comfortable and feel as sexy as shorts can get. (I’ve also been told they don’t make me look like I’m wearing a wad and make my butt look nice.) As these are quick drying, non-spandex looking, they are also my go to for around town and over night rides to camp fires. They also look a ton better with my Keen’s than most other cycling shorts.
If you are looking for a set of shorts for longer rides on the greenway, bike touring or to commute on.. look at these Halo shorts from Icebreaker!
Preview: Chrome Dolores Shoes
For the past few years I have heard the spectrum of reviews on Chrome’s shoes. Chrome, known first for their made in the US bags that started in Colorado. Now the company is based out of San Francisco and has probably 3/4 of their line made over seas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just putting some back story out there.
Back to Chrome’s shoes
Chrome has been making “bike specific” sneakers for a few years now. Gum bottom or SPD ready, these shoes were made for those that live on their bike and want to look the part. Available in three different series, the PRO Series has the SPD compatible clip-in, the Pedal Series has a fiberglass sole for better pedaling, and the All City Series with stronger uppers and not so stiff sole.
Earlier this month Chrome released a new shoe into their All City Series it is also their first WOMENS shoe, the Dolores. Read the preview by clicking read more..!
Short & Sweet Review: Giro DJ Gloves
Touch points on the bike are critical. I talk about saddles, shorts, grips, gloves and shoes enough that I hope you realize how important those comforts are.
Introducing Giro DJ Gloves $34.99
Last week I was in Piney Flats Bicycles in Piney Flats, TN. On their wall a rather bright pair of gloves caught my eye. Giro DJ Gloves, the padding was minimum, the venting looked great, and the wrist wrap was very comfortable. Of course I bought them. Forever I’m looking for good gloves that fit my very long, skinny, hands.
The gloves have about 4 rides on them. They are working well in the hot North Carolina temperatures. The grip is perfect. The color doesn’t match anything, but that makes it wonderful. The wrist wrap is probably more than a normal XC or roadie will like as it comes up your over your wrist. For longer rides I like the compression and for harder rides I like the grip. The gloves don’t have tons of padding, it’s more about proper contact and keeping your hands from wilting.
So far I am pleased. So much that I probably will end up ordering the orange and white ones from the Giro website. They match my bikes perfectly, that is important too.
Looking at picking up a pair of these? Support BSG by buying through this link.
Disclaimer: I purchased these gloves and my opinion is my own, no one else’s.
Preview: Capo Cycling Modena Donna Collection
Capo Cycling – an italian made cycling clothing company has released a new line of women’s cycling clothing. It includes a jersey in two colors, shorts with a comfy yoga waistband and knickers. I understand the italian way of subtle with black and whites but I would love to see some accent pop on this!
Preview: Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers
Shoe covers are a funny thing. For me, it is the make or break temperature. If I have to put shoe covers on it normally means that most of my friends won’t ride with me because it is too cold. Recently I realized my hobbled together shoe covers that I have been putting more and more duct tape on every year have had it. They are neoprene ones that I had bought probably 8 years ago now. They’ve worked wonderfully and the duct tape I believe added more windproofing to them!
After hunting around, looking at price, material and of course colors I decided on some Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Barrier WxB Shoe Covers. Why? #1 price at $50 MSRP. #2 wind AND water protection #3 bright ass yellow.
Details from Pearl Izumi
- MSRP $50.00
- P.R.O. Barrier WxB fabric provides optimal wind and water protection
- Fleece lined
- Waterproof, fully taped internal seams
- Two stage hook and loop closure provides both sleek fit and easy on and off
- Kevlar® road bottom spreads open for easy on and off while providing superior durability
- Recommended for road shoes with external cleats
- Reflective elements for low-light visibility
Full review coming, for now learn more or buy some at Pearl’s site
I purchased this product on my own dime. It was not given to me for review and I was not bribed to say nice things. This is my disclaimer.
Review: Bontrager RXL Mountain WSD Shoes
If you can recall I have been using a pair of Bontrager RL shoes for a couple years, I wrote a review about them a couple months ago. After using and abusing my RL’s for a couple years I have taken a step up to the RXL shoes. Hopefully the carbon isn’t too stiff and I’ll be able to rock the gold and black.
What Bontrager has to say
Updated for 2011 with Bontrager’s new proprietary Micro-Fit buckle, the RXL MTB WSD gives hardcore cross country racers a distinct performance advantage. Using top-notch materials to cradle the foot in comfort and an efficient Silver-series carbon outsole to transfer power to the pedals, the lightweight and durable RXL WSD stands ready for all-out efforts on the most rugged World Cup circuits.
Details: Silver Series Carbon, Micro-fit buckle, women’s specific fit, eSoles insole system.
Initial Thoughts of the RXL Shoes
A few key things (other than the price) of the RXL to the RL that were quickly apparent to me.
#1 The buckle upgrade from 2010
#2 The insole was a lower arch support than the one that came in the 2010 RL
#3 the shoes were the same size (42 euro) but feel smaller than the RL. This could because my RL’s are so worn out they have “flattened” and “stretched.”
#4 The RXL and my 2010 RL shoes are within 3 grams of each other
Details that Matter
The bottom lugs of the soles are much softer and gummier than the RL.
Micro-fit buckle clicks at 1.5 increments
The shoes have decent airflow but the “anti slip” fabric on the back of the shoe can rub when you don’t have socks on.
After Two Months Review of the RXL Shoes
These shoes are everything I wanted them to be. Stiff, breathable outer, amazing colors and can do well on the road and longer distance mtb rides. I’m not convinced these will be my goto cyclocross shoes because they are so stiff but I can certainly tell my power to the pedals with these shoes.
After a couple more months I’ll check in with these shoes, give you feedback about cyclocross and how the outer of the shoes last.
This product was given to me at no charge for reviewing. I was not paid or bribed to give this review and it will have my honest opinion or thoughts through out.
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 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.
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!
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.
Review: Icebreaker GT200 Halo Jersey and Shorts
I love wool. That is a great way to start an article about wool products, right? I love wool, the thought of wool reminds me of skiing trips, bundled up at the bus stop and all things winter. It does not remind me of 90º weather on the bike.
This review took longer than I would like. Normally after a couple rides, a few washings and time on the saddle you’ll know if clothing is going to last or work for you. Personally, I didn’t if the pieces from Icebreaker would work for me but overtime these bike clothing pieces won me over.
Icebreaker SS Halo Jersey $130
Last year I was able to try one of Icebreakers first bike jerseys for women. I loved the material, but the jersey fit my body (and several friends bodies) like crap. Fast forward almost a year exactly, this past March, when I was approached with trying another round of clothing from Icebreaker. Right away the jersey fit amazing, it was tailored for a woman. After many washings (per directions) the fit didn’t stretch out, or did the color fade. The pockets were proportional to the jersey, and there is even a smaller pocket inside of one for your pump to fit in and not flop out!
Other than the collar on your neck, the jersey feels naked on you. The breeze flows through easily, yet on early morning rides this jersey was perfect with arm warmers.
Icebreakers Halo Jersey website->
The GT200 fabric is amazing. Warm, soft, cooling, wicking and best of all – it doesn’t stink! I learned the importance of wool during a 5 day bike tour in western North Carolina. It rained for most of the day and you were left trying to dry out your clothing. I brought enough clothes for the week, but sweaty clothes aren’t good in your bag – even if you wrap them in multiple plastic bags. All the clothing I had brought that was wool from Smartwool, Icebreaker and Defeet, did NOT stink and was easier to care for it seemed.
Icebreaker Halo Bike Shorts $160
These wool cycling shorts are where my hang up for this review was. When you wear these shorts on the bike they could be the most comfortable fitting shorts I’ve ever tried. They remind me of boy boxers, with the tight cotton feel around your hamstrings and upper quads. What surprised me was that attaching the chamois to the shorts was spandex. Right in the crotch area. Why is this weird? Wool wicks and doesn’t stink – wouldn’t that make sense to have in that area? I know, not right on it but around it?
The chamois was comfortable on long rides. It has much more mass than I am used to, so when standing around off the bike it defiantly felt like a diaper. This feeling disappeared once I was back on the bike, and I never had any chaffing issues so I can’t complain.
These shorts I have an absolutely love/hate relationship with. I love them, they fit amazing and I mean AMAZING. I want to order boy boxer briefs from Icebreaker to wear to bed because of it. I feel that the benefits of wool, especially at this level, would benefit a rider closer to the crotch. Then you have the issue that thin wool is rather see-through and I’m sure you can’t attach a chamois to wool for long term use without it ripping the material. I’m sure someone in product design with more knowledge than I has thought of all these things but they still perplexed me on the long rides. Enough not to write a review until the love outweighed the bad and I could put my name behind it.
At the end, when I was finally ready to weigh the pro’s and con’s I realized this clothing has inspired me. Sometimes you get something (a bike, clothes, computer, etc.) that make you want to try something new. I think these pieces of clothing from Icebreaker would be the ultimate unsupported bike tour clothing. Pair it with a nice set of cycling knickers for colder weather or night times by the fire, and a pair of wool socks – you would have a perfect, quick drying, and non-stinking set of cycling clothing!
Icebreaker Halo Shorts website->
Bontrager RL WSD Mountain Bike Shoes Reviewed
Long Term Bontrager RL Mountain WSD Cycling Shoe Review
Sizes: 36-43 euro (including half sizes between 37.5-41.5)
Details: eSole insole, durable heal cup and toe box, two straps and a third ratchet with buckle
Shoes and saddles have always been the two most sensitive areas with me. I’ve owned several brands over the years, previous to owning the Bontrager shoes my feet were found in pink Sidi Dominator’s for 3 years. When I was looking at the Bontrager cycling shoes they were for back up, for rain or during endurance races when you may need an extra pair of shoes. Quickly, the e-soles inside and the fit of the Bontrager RL WSD shoes won me over. I went from a pair of $280 cycling shoes, to $140 shoes and they made my feet happy enough I would have paid $300 for them!
Initial Feelings of the Bontrager RL Mountain Shoe
Part of me wished the shoe came in a couple color variations. Coming from my pink and red Sidi Dominators I wanted something with character and funk! The black and blue design grew on me, having some feminine flair but not a ton. The moment I put the shoes on I felt like Cinderella as the shoe fit like a glove. I was able to take out shims beneath my cleats during my first fitting with the shoes. This is due to the eSole insole system that had variable arch support, keeping my foot from rolling in towards my crank which had been causing me knee pain for the past 6 years. Yes, a proper fitting, arch support, shoe helped me with the knee pain I had been dealing with forever (including over 18 bike fittings!)
Main Features of the RL WSD Shoe
The key selling features to me were the following
- neutral yet fun color
- toe box protection
- toe spikes for cyclocross or mud
Overall Review of the Bontrager Shoes
If the shoe fits, wear it. I have gone through so many different pairs of cycling shoes to find on my first long ride that they make my feet go to sleep. While I may receive product for review on Bike Shop Girl, and they may end up being shoes, I will continue to purchase Bontrager shoes for my personal shoes. Shoes, much like any piece of clothing, is based on fit and your needs. The shoes have lasted me almost two seasons as I purchased them two years ago while an employee at a shop. Now that I pay retail for most things, I will still be happily paying the $140 for these shoes, I’m actually weighing the option of purchasing the RXL version mainly due to the patent leather and gold look (plus much lighter/stiffer.) I wear these shoes DAILY, for commuting, road riding, mountain biking and everything in between. My family lives mostly on a shoe string budget and even with that I will still be happily paying for these shoes. There are some things in your life you shouldn’t skimp on, for me it is my cycling shoes.
I feel that I should add one last thing to this review. To some people $140 is a lot for cycling shoes, for others compared to Sidi or other more boutique shoes this is half of what they normally would pay. Products to me shouldn’t be weighed by cost. If something is going to help you be a better and happier person it should be worth you saving your pennies, OR in the case of these shoes be open minded to something cheaper than I normally would have purchased. Also, my shoes are worn out. The have become flexy and the back heal has started to peal apart. They still ride wonderfully but are slowly finding their way to becoming my “rain shoes.”
These shoes were purchased with money out of my own pocket. I was not paid nor bribed for this review, though it would be nice to make money on this one day.
Review: Cutter Tech Knickerbocker
MSRP : $149.99
Details : A very stretchy, comfortable knicker that was designed for those that pedal more than stand.
Roughly 11 months ago we were gifted with a pair of Cutter Tech Knickerbockers, which were originally reviewed for commuting purposes at Commute By Bike. Since I’ve been rocking them lately for mountain biking and they will be going in to my “How to dress for winter mtbing” video, I pulled the review over here for all you ladies (or gents) to benefit from.