BergMann

BergMann

South Lake Tahoe

BergMann's Passions

Hiking & Camping
Running
Biking
Skiing

BergMann's Bio

30 years in the game, still got love for the steeps...

0 Answers

BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on May 17, 2016

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times



Against the backdrop of how much I liked the original S7 and S3, Rossi's huge hype campaign on how the new 7-series improved on the old design in every way made demoing the Soul 7 the biggest disappointment I've had in 30years+ of testing gear.
I spent an entire variable-condidtion pow day on the Soul 7 & found it a mediocre intermediate ski that did *nothing* well other than be light. Even under my 160lbs, float in light & medium density snow was lacking. Yes the ski is 10mm narrower than the old S7, but unfortunately what you give up in the pow is not paid back on piste. The vaunted, new, flatter, & squarer tail shape on the Soul 7 provided no discernible advantage on hard snow, however it made the ski much less maneuverable in tight & deep conditions than its wider predecessor.
Hard snow performance was truly abysmal: the tips flattered like rag-dolls at speeds over 25mph on tracked up, glazed rides back to the lift. The tips & tails are so soft that it feels like there is no camber to this ski. Quick, edge-to-edge short radius turns were utterly lacking in energy or edge bite. GS turns w/ the Soul 7s skied way out away from body engaged the edges, but were harrowing on a ski this spineless.
In contrast, on the old S7s or Armada JJs, I had no problem making snappy, carved short turns in the fall line with enough camber to "pop" me into the next turn. W/ a centered, modern stance "fun shapes" like the old S7s, JJs, & Patrons will also carve decent GS turns up till about 40mph, when they start to chatter on icier slopes, but every decent ski in this category is still more stable at 40mph than the Soul 7 was at 20mph.

Who is this ski for? No idea.
Low intermediates looking for a ski with more float should opt for more tail rocker for easier turning. Everyone else will be left wishing this ski had more substance.
Perhaps the wider Super 7 or Squad 7 offer this, but I need a tourable width that will side-hill, so I'm looking elsewhere.

(0)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on May 17, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

Think of these as road gloves: if can't remember the last time you crashed or clipped a hand on a trailside branch or obstacle, they'll probably last 6-12 months.
I replaced mine after 10 months of dirt riding due to failing velcro & growing holes in the mesh back-of-hand that refused to bond with the Tenacious Repair Tape I've used to repair countless gloves & other damaged MTB garments.
The mesh on back of hand tears easily: my favorite trails are narrow, & lined with dense head-height manzanitas. My other gloves w/ back-of-hand reinforcement (Giro Xen) and/or better fabrics (Endura) have faired much better, and allow for Tenacious Tape repairs when damaged by heavy brush / crash contact.

(1)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on May 17, 2016

2 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs

Punchline: I'm done w/ Giro gloves 'till they learn to make a MTB glove that lasts more than a couple weeks.
When you try Giro gloves on in the shop, it is evident that they are good at making form-fitting, comfortable, well-ventilated gloves.
What you will not learn 'till you buy them, unfortunately, is that they are lousy at quality control & selecting materials that can withstand day-to-day on the dirt.
I have an older pair of Giro Xens that used a laughably-thin mesh between fingers that tore when you looked at it crosswise. I liked the fit, so I kept on taping over the tears w/ tenacious tape and rode 'em 'till the velcro fell off (30 pieces of tape later.) Against my better judgement, I decided to try this latest version of the Xen because my other gloves lacked any back-of-hand protection.
After just 2 rides, I already had my first seam fail between the perforated faux-leather and the terry portion that wraps the back of the thumb.
I decided to just put a big piece of Tenacious Tape over the entire inside-half of the palm on both gloves both to repair this damage, and because the paper-thin single layer of this pleather material would have offered next to zero protection in a crash anyway.
Strange that Giro can make such great helmets, but such lousy gloves

(0)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on December 22, 2015

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Straight to the chase: Julbo's lenses are simply inferior in quality & performance to Smith & Oakley. They scratch too easily, and can't define the fine contours of bright, convoluted snowfields, much less the depth, shadows, & layers of an evergreen forest like Smith's better rose-copper mirrored tints, or Oakley's Irridium lenses.
I bought the Aerospace goggles w/ the Zebra photochromic lenses (7-42% VLT) as a replacement for a broken set of Smith Phenoms w/ Ignitor Mirror (35% VLT) lens. This proved to be a very poor, and costly decision. In a word, it's irrelevant that the Julbos are photochromic, the contrast is so poor that I simply don't want to wear them, regardless of how broad their nominal range is. The "reaction time" claimed by Julbo is also irrelevant: contrast and light transmission is so poor in shaded areas that even stopping & waiting for the goggles to adjust is pointless. What is more, after a single day of use & careful handling, these Julbos already have more small surface scratches than any of my Smith or Oakley goggles that are several seasons old.
Using the Zebra photochromic lenses in the open on a bright bluebird day in Lake Tahoe, they produced a tolerable, albeit muddy view of the convoluted & rocky terrain I was navigating. As soon as I dropped into a familiar, wooded zone, however, I realized that these goggles had no place in my pack: I could make out the trunks of trees, but due to Julbo's poorly-blended, flat, gray-gold tint, I could discern next to nothing of their layered branches, or the rocks, deadfall, and critically sparse snow coverage below.
I had hoped to benefit from Julbo's novel vented frame design on warm spring days at the resort & in the backcountry, but even if I knew I were spending an entire day above the treeline, I would still opt for something (i.e. anything) else with better contrast. Julbo's Zebra tint reminds me of the mediocre green-gold Uvex lenses I used in the 80s, prior to discovering Smith's game-changing RC36 tint.
Forget the frame, the lenses just don't measure up.

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on May 26, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 155 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

This jersey is an amazing value. I own over 20 different cycling jersies (inclucing the Gore Xenon 2.0 Jersey which costs twice as much), and this one is my hands-down favorite for warm-weather riding.
Why? AWESOME ventilation. Mesh panels are perfectly placed - this jersey stays dry and airy even when temps soar above 100 degrees here in the Sierra Foothills. I am a high-sweat-rate rider, and in over 30 years of competitive riding, I have never had anything that transports moisture so well.
Other benefits of note:
Pockets are well placed, and there are no silly, unserviceable zippered compartments that require two hands to open while on the bike or to harbor mold on the washline.
I LOVE the collar that tapers down to the neck zipper. Pros tend to wear high-collared jersies, but that is because that collar is billboard space for sponsors. I own several high-collared jersies for cold-weather use, but unless you ride around with the jersey zipped all the way up in the summer, that extra collar is going to just flap around in the wind and chafe or annoy.

Only caveat: this jersey breathes so well , that when climbing in hot & dry conditions with little wind, you may find yourself pouring water down your back for additional cooling. This is a tradeoff I'm willing to take for a jersey that never leaves you with a clammy belly on long descents.

Note on sizing: this is a RACE fit, aerodynamic jersey. For European standards, it actually runs rather large. I'm a wiry 6'1" 155lb, 40" chest & a Gore's medium fits me perfectly (I'm an XL in most Italian jersies, and a M/L in American brands like Pear Izumi). If you want a baggy / loose fit, look elsewhere.

(0)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on April 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

With the removable handle, this shovel packs more compactly than any other extendable shovel on the market. Weight is also amongst the lightest at 21oz.
Blade size is perfect for stowing inside packs in the 20-35 liter range. Anything bigger, and you'll need a bigger pack, or risk snagging / loss by external attachment.
I used this shovel at my Level 1 Avalanche certification and was consistently among the 3 fastest in my class of 30 participants to deploy & finish digging in Tahoe's heavy, costal snowpack. In fact, I observed several participants struggling with larger blades attached to shorter handles. Bottom line: be aware of the conditions you are most likely to face: those in continental conditions in deep, light snow may benefit from a bigger blade. In subsequent use up and down the Sierra Nevadas, I've found the dimensions of this tool perfect for western snow conditions.
Overall I'd rate this shovel 4.5 out of 5 due to one minor quibble:
I would have liked to see extra holes equidistant from the ends of both sections of shovel handle for use in building an emergency sled w/ my skis.
BCA would do well to follow K2's lead & add this "big picture" functionality to their shovels as a stock feature. I am going to drill holes where I need them, but why should I have to resort to a DIY fix that voids my warranty when other manufacturers incorporate it into their base design?
Are you listening BCA? Just 4 holes short of perfection!

(2)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on March 6, 2014

1 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Against the backdrop of how much I liked the original S7 and S3, Rossi's huge hype campaign on how the new 7-series improved on the old design in every way made demoing the Soul 7 the biggest disappointment I've had in 30years+ of testing gear.
I spent an entire variable-condidtion pow day on the Soul 7 & found it a mediocre intermediate ski that did *nothing* well other than be light. Even under my 160lbs, float in light & medium density snow was lacking. Yes the ski is 10mm narrower than the old S7, but unfortunately what you give up in the pow is not paid back on piste. The vaunted, new, flatter, & squarer tail shape on the Soul 7 provided no discernible advantage on hard snow, however it made the ski much less maneuverable in tight & deep conditions than its wider predecessor.
Hard snow performance was truly abysmal: the tips flattered like rag-dolls at speeds over 25mph on tracked up, glazed rides back to the lift. The tips & tails are so soft that it feels like there is no camber to this ski. Quick, edge-to-edge short radius turns were utterly lacking in energy or edge bite. GS turns w/ the Soul 7s skied way out away from body engaged the edges, but were harrowing on a ski this spineless.
In contrast, on the old S7s or Armada JJs, I had no problem making snappy, carved short turns in the fall line with enough camber to "pop" me into the next turn. W/ a centered, modern stance "fun shapes" like the old S7s, JJs, & Patrons will also carve decent GS turns up till about 40mph, when they start to chatter on icier slopes, but every decent ski in this category is still more stable at 40mph than the Soul 7 was at 20mph.

Who is this ski for? No idea.
Low intermediates looking for a ski with more float should opt for more tail rocker for easier turning. Everyone else will be left wishing this ski had more substance.
Perhaps the wider Super 7 or Squad 7 offer this, but I need a tourable width that will side-hill, so I'm looking elsewhere.

(1)

 

BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on March 6, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Skier: 6'1", 160lbs. Technically proficient on any terrain.
Setup: 185cm, Marker Baron binder.
Daily use: trees, pillows, chutes, & tight technical terrain of S. Lake Tahoe.
Of the dozen or so "fun shaped," rockered skis I've tried in the 115mm-ish waist category the JJ is by far the most balanced design: it excels in soft snow & is still tons of fun in mixed conditions typically found at resorts. Float is awesome, pivoting & smearing effortless, and the cambered section offers fantastic edge grip on hard snow for a ski this wide and light (9.8lbs in 185cm).
My daily skiing is in tight, technical trees, chutes, spines and pillowlines typical of the resorts & backcountry of South Lake Tahoe. While I don't ski switch outside of the park, I do find the rockered tails useful for tail drags in tight spots where you want to keep it on the snow and for wheelies to help get the tips up and over larger obstacles.
For skiers of similar weight & w/ the technique to lay down good, carved turns on hard snow, I'd rate the "speed limit" around 40mph. The ski will go faster, but like most other tapered, tip & tail rockered skis of this width, you'll begin to feel the tips & tails flatter at high speeds when slopes get icy.
Caveat: bigger skiers (~180lbs+) looking to ski wide open spaces flat out & blast through heavy crud should look elsewhere. Blizzard and Volkl make flatter-tailed, stiffer, big-mountain skis better suited to your needs.
Punchline: Do you want to go deep, tight, & technical? This is your ski.
Note: *For the 3-star reviewer who complained of tail "hookiness" the problem was definitely his tune: skis with tapered tails & shovels need to have the edges detuned fore & aft of the widest contact points.
I'm a former shop tech who tunes his own skis. Get the right length (go head-height+, they ski short), tune these skis properly & keep the edges sharp, and you will be impressed with the edging capabilities of this powder ski.

(1)

 

BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on December 13, 2013

Too short
2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

These are NOT a size L in length, much less an XL.
I've attached a picture of these Giordana leg warmers up against size L Voler & Hincapie models: the Giordanas are a full 2" shorter, and since the elastic bunching at the back of the knee dictates how you position the warmers on your legs, they do not cover my shins properly.
Nice concept, but Giordana needs to produce a full size run: the stretch weave conforms nicely, but can't make up for lack of length. I tried to stretch them out lengthwise before spinning a couple of minutes on the trainer, and they slipped right back up my leg.

(1)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on June 21, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This jersey is an amazing value. I own over 20 different cycling jersies (inclucing the Gore Xenon 2.0 Jersey which costs twice as much), and this one is my hands-down favorite for warm-weather riding.
Why? AWESOME ventilation. Mesh panels are perfectly placed - this jersey stays dry and airy even when temps soar above 100 degrees here in the Sierra Foothills. I am a high-sweat-rate rider, and in over 30 years of competitive riding, I have never had anything that transports moisture so well.
Other benefits of note:
Pockets are well placed, and there are no silly, unserviceable zippered compartments that require two hands to open while on the bike or to harbor mold on the washline.
I LOVE the collar that tapers down to the neck zipper. Pros tend to wear high-collared jersies, but that is because that collar is billboard space for sponsors. I own several high-collared jersies for cold-weather use, but unless you ride around with the jersey zipped all the way up in the summer, that extra collar is going to just flap around in the wind and chafe or annoy.

Only caveat: this jersey breathes so well , that when climbing in hot & dry conditions with little wind, you may find yourself pouring water down your back for additional cooling. This is a tradeoff I'm willing to take for a jersey that never leaves you with a clammy belly on long descents.

Fit: I am 6'1", 155lbs , 40" chest, with an athletic build and muscular arms. The Medium gives me a perfect, race-ready fit with zero puckering or material to flap in the wind. If you are a bigger build you'll want to size up to the Large.

(1)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on June 21, 2013

2 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I returned this jacket because it reminded me of old, low-tech, 2-layer fleece / nylon jackets I owned in the 80s, and not in a good way.
It is basically just a nylon shell with a free-floating brushed poly zip-t that hangs inside. I expected a modern, two-layer laminated fabric, but found what is in fact two garments stitched together only at the wrists, hem, and neck.
It felt and looked lumpy, the nylon was noisy in motion, and it had no stretch. The wrists and hood elastic had no adjustability.
Frankly, I'd rather just wear a poly base layer and single-layer nylon windbreaker and have the option to remove each layer independently.
I had intended the jacket as a wind-resistent yet breathable layer for backcountry skiing & hiking.
Instead I got the Mountain Hardwear Onata Softshell.
It doesn't have a hood and weighs 4 ounces more, but the breathability, DWR, adjustable cuffs, fit, feel, & stretch of the Onata are just what I was looking for.
Fit notes: I'm 6'1", 160lbs with 35" long arms, and the XL I ordered was way too baggy. According to the Marmot size chart, I was between a Medium and Large size, but those sizes were out of stock at that time.

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on December 20, 2012

3 5

Familiarity: I returned this product before using it

I loaded up this pack side by side with the Kode 30, and made a disappointing discovery:
My medium Smith Variant helmet wouldn't fit in the "helmet" compartment in the lid of the Kode 38 pack, but the Kode 30's external helmet-carrier holds it with ease.
Sad thing is that even the Kode 30 wouldn't hold my helmet and allow me to A-frame carry my 185cm skis at the same time - the helmet prevents you from strapping your ski tips together to limit movement that can lead to your ski edges cutting the pack fabric.
I like the overall fit & function of these packs, but Osprey needs to rethink their helmet carry designs.
Tip for Osprey: providing a second set of tether points for the helmet carry flap towards the bottom of the Kode 30 pack would allow carrying a helmet on the back of the pack while A-framing skis.

(2)

 

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BergMann

BergMannwrote a review of on January 30, 2009

5 5

While the review of Dec 19 is helpful in that indicates the widths of Zipp bars are measured Outside-Outside (BackCo take note: specs like this simply MUST be included in the item listing itself), the rest of the listing is incorrect.

The de-facto industry standard for handlebar widths is Center-to-Center in centimeters. While some manufacturers such as Zipp measure Outside-to-Outside, there is NO SUCH THING as nominal handlebar widths measured Inside-to-Inside.

Why does this matter? Because an Easton bar with a nominal 42cm C-C width will be the same width as a Zipp bar with a nominal width of 44.5cm O-O.

While nominal widths are a good starting point, the only surefire way to make sure you are getting the width you need is with actual measurements.

As for the Nov 20 review by a 220 lb "clydesdale" who rides an Orbea Orca and is concerned with stiffness: keep this fact in mind: the ORCA is one of the flexiest carbon frames ever made, especially at the head tube junction.
I've ridden the bike, and the type of bar is almost irrelevant: so much flex comes from the frame and fork steerer, steering will never be precise, especially for a larger rider.
A rider this heavy shouldn't be on a frameset that soft, and probably shouldn't be on a 185g carbon bar either, for that matter.
Cum grano salis, indeed.

(0)

 

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