Sunday, June 10, 2012

Product reviews

I've been wanting to post about this now for several weeks, so I am finally getting around to doing so.  I have a couple pieces of equipment that I would like to share some of my thoughts and experiences with in case you may be in the market for any of these.

The products I am going to give brief reviews on are the following:
Laser helmet
Oakley glasses
Revelate Designs handlebar bag
Enve 29er clincher wheels
Garmin Edge 500
ATB chain lube

Laser Genesis Helmet
This is the first season that I am riding with a Laser helmet.  I can't believe I waited so long to make the switch. The Genesis model is one of the best helmets I have ever used.  The sleek design offers 18 ventilation holes for good breathability and a snug fit.  The tensioning turn-knob on the top of the helmet is very easy to adjust while riding, and gives plenty of adjustability.  The helmet comes with extra padding (as do other manufacturers).  the price point is very impressive at $175.  It's big brother (Helium) is a bit more expensive at $230.
The only negative thing I can say is that the vents are a little narrow and make it a bit difficult to get fingers in the holes to scratch your head, or remove bugs from.

Oakley Glasses
Split jacket
Not only are these glasses appealing to look at, they are also very comfortable to wear.  A few years ago in the Pro tour peloton just about every rider was wearing these glasses making them become very popular with us mear mortals.  If nothing else, you have to look good riding your bike, right?
The lenses seem extremely clear and UV protectant, I have been wearing them for 4 months now and do NOT have any scratches on the lenses.  The frame seem very durable, and the carrying case they come in is bombproof (I highly recommend keeping your glasses in the case when not being worn.  They also come with extra lenses (clear), an extra set of nose pads, and a lens cleaner.  The lenses have small little holes on top and bottom of each lens that help minimize/eliminate any fogging.  I haven't had an issue with that yet.
I opted for these glasses to to use mainly while road bike riding, and the occasional casual wearing.  These frames seem a bit more sturdy than the Split Jackets and offer an even more snug feeling; especially around the eyes.  The lenses are extremely clear and have not yet scratched.
They too come with a nice sturdy carrying case and extra nose pads and a lens cleaner.

Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag
I opted to buy these bags (got 2) to use while doing long training rides; especially in the cold weather.  I do not like to stuff my jersey pockets with a bunch of crap, and when it's cold it's a pain in the ass to try and get food or anything else out of your pockets.  I also had in mind to use these while competing in backcountry races where being self-sufficient was a necessity.
the bags are large enough to store a tube, mini-pump, CO2 cartridge, a Park multi-tool, and 3 energy bars.  That is a lot of things in a tiny bag that is easy to access.  The internal compartment is waterproof and the out materials are water-resistant.  They have a draw string so you can keep everything secure and enclosed in case it is raining.  They bare easy to attach to your handlebar...a strap that goes around the handlebar, a strap that goes around the stem, and a clip that you can wrap around the head tube.  Trust me, the bag will NOT move at all, I have put these to the test and have ridden some super technical/bumpy trails and they have stayed perfectly still and nothing fell out.
Then only drawback to loading everything up on your handlebar in these bags is that it will make the front end of your bike much heavier, so clearing objects and climbing steep technical sections becomes that much harder.

Enve 29er Clincher MTB Wheels
What can I say about these wheels other than they are extremely light, fast, and stiff.  Then perfect combination for XC racing.  At 1430g (with DT 240 hubs) these are extremely light for even a 26" wheel, yet alone a 29er.  I am using these wheels on my Kona hardtail and make for a super quick accelerating bike.  I've logged about 350 miles on them so far and they are still perfectly true.
The rims are tubeless compatible; I had a little trouble getting the tires to seal the first time installing them, but after adding more Stan's they were very easy to inflate and seal.
I've ridden on various terrain (smooth, rocky, rooty) and have not had any issues with durability, they seem to be very durable.

Garmin Edge 500
I have the HR option along with the normal cyclometer functions.  The Edge 500 does not have maps features, so if you prefer to have that you will need to upgrade to the 800 model.  The Edge 500 comes in 3 different colors and each are pretty cool looking.  It's designed to fit on the stem and the mounting system they have is great.  Easy to install, and putting on and taking off are very easy.  You just have to rotate the Edge 90 degree to do wither and it comes right off.  It secures solid and haven;t have any trouble with it moving during riding.  The numbers are all very easy to read, even while riding, you can adjust the setting so that you display whatever you choose to.
The only negative comment would be that the buttons are a little stiff and make it hard to change from one screen to the next when riding.  I haven't had to do that yet, but ion case you are one that likes to do that while riding you may have some difficulty.  Plenty of data storage and memory.  You can also use this model with any ANT+ device, which I have the Joule so I use the HR Strap and can utilize HR and calories burned.  The nice thing is that unlike other Garmin products, the Edge is small in size (much like a normal cyclometer).

A.T.B Chain Lube
ATB - Absolutely The Best uses a special blended petroleum compound along with a premium grade oil help to keep chains lasting longer, and have less noise while riding.  I usually lube my chain after each ride and let the lubricant soak in overnight.  I've used the lube in dry and wet conditions and it seems to be just as effective in both conditions.  It also acts as a chain cleaner too.  Don't remember how much I paid, but wasn't any more than your regular lube brands (Tri Flow, etc).

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