D.Chu

D.Chu

D.Chu's Passions

Snowboarding

D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on June 17, 2014

4 5

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

These are awesome pants. They stretch for full freedom of movement, are cut at a nice relaxed-but-not-baggy fit, and the gusseting isn't too obvious so you can wear them casually. Styling is pretty muted, they have a very casual, rugged aesthetic. I think Kuhl was going for a "work appropriate" pant but honestly I would never wear these to work unless I worked at a very casual workplace (e.g. a tech startup). The knee articulation is in brighter synthetic threads, so it can look a bit obnoxious on darker colors. My biggest complaint is that the dye sucks. They use a "vintage patina" dye which is supposed to wear out unevenly and give it a nice, well-used look. Kind of like raw denim, I suppose. I get what they're trying to do, but it ended up looking ratty and faded. That said, these pants are so ridiculous comfortable I still wear them quite often. With a better color selection and better dying process, they'd be five stars for sure.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on June 14, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

4.5 stars. I've worn them hiking, working out, and casually about 7-8 times and washed them a few times. The good: GREAT stretch and material. No restriction of movement in any direction, ever. Durability seems good so far. Good fit for a guy with a "power base" (read: big ole ass and thighs). I really like the single pull tightening, much better than a draw string. Looks good enough that it can be worn casually very easily. The bad: Main complaint is pockets. The single zippered cargo pocket is pretty small and for season reason has dual zipped entry. It is also kind of awkward to hold anything more than some cash. Because it's placed so far from the pivot point of the hips, any weight like a wallet, phone, or energy bar is quite noticeable. No other pockets have zippers, so if you want to secure something in another pocket, you better hope it doesn't slip out (thanks what she said). The pants don't dry quite as quickly as I'd like (although it doesn't dry too slowly either). If you run hot, I would definitely get it in a lighter shade; I have the charcoal and khaki would be more fun in 90+ degree exposure. Some sort of keeper for the pull end of the belt would be nice. Conclusion: great pants despite some minor issues, I would give them 5 stars with either more zippered or better placed pockets. Ideally both in the next version.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on March 10, 2013

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I purchased an older pair of these on discount a few years ago. I had some durability issues with those (very poor design), and VivoBarefoot replaced them with the current version, which addressed the issue. Very positive customer service experience.

These are very, very comfortable shoes. They have a wide toe-box with a medium-ish to narrow heel that you can lock down with appropriate lacing. I have duck feet (very wide in the forefoot, very narrow in the ankles and heel) and they fit me great. They provide enough room for the foot to spray, without ever feeling sloppy.

That said, I don't really enjoy running in these because I don't like the way they feel underfoot. They have a patent puncture-proof sole, which is very durable and holds up to wear well. However they flip side is that they have a very "plastic-y" feel underfoot. They are much better than a traditional pair of running shoes, but not nearly as natural feeling as my old Vibram KSOs or even a pair of worn-in Merrell Trail Gloves.

I find the removable insole gets pulled back during a run which leads to an annoying gap in the forefoot with your toes are "hanging over" the insole. I prefer to run without the insoles, so not an issue for me, but something to note.

That feel is much less of an issue when I'm static and I find these make great shoes at the gym. For squats, deadlifts, and cleans, they are perfect since there is no compression of squishy cushioning material to throw off your balance. That is true of pretty much any decent minimalist shoe, though.

I would give them 3.5 stars. Adequate, but nothing special. I would not buy another pair, even at discount, because I believe there are superior options on the market. I will probably go back to Merrell for my next set of shoes now now that they've expanded their barefoot line beyond trail runners.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on January 6, 2013

5 5

I had the 2010 version of these boots and was pretty disappointed. Those boots had a significant design flaw in that the material used in the toebox and forefoot generally was too soft and prone to warping. This caused a significant loss of response (and in my case, terrible foot fatigue and pain).

I sent them into Burton and Burton replaced them. As always, Burton took care of me.

The 2012 version has the same fit, but the forefoot is MUCH stiffer and less prone to warping. Nice.

I really, really like the flex of this boot. I ride pretty much everything and tend to like my boots at a stiffer than average flex for a supportive feel that still lets me flex the ankles. That describes these perfectly. Keep in mind that I am a bigger dude (200 lbs), so to some these might be stiff boots.

I really like the neoprene notch the boot has at the ankle. It does the same thing as an articulating cuff, causing less shell distortion when you flex the boot.

I dig Burton's Speed Zone lacing system a lot. Very thoughtfully designed, simple to use, and effective. It wraps tight and allows independent tightening of the upper and lower parts of the boot. It doesn't allow QUITE the same degree of customization as laces if you want say them tight at the shin but a little looser at the ankle, but it'll be fine for most. The inner lace lock is also great, and never comes loose.

Burton claims these are comfort-optimized or some such nonsense ("Total Comfort Construction") and will feel comfortable from day one... don't believe the marketing copy. These things killed my feet on day one and will do the same for you if you go for a tight performance fit. But after wearing them around the house a ton, they were very comfortable by the end of day two.

This boot has the EST sole, which is a thinner midsole that has less ramp angle than most snowboard boots (higher heel than toes to put you at a slight incline). I was worried I'd lose toeside power not being propped up onto the balls of my feet. However, I found I didn't notice any loss of power on toeside and felt much more locked in on heelside.

They are really great for hiking because they: A.) SUPER light, B.) have Vibram soles, and C.) the way the speed lace works, you can easily loosen the upper zone but keep your foot more or less secure by cranking the lower zone.

The only complaints I have is that I don't like Burton's dual velcro liner closure (I miss the strap they used to have there) and I can still feel some ankle strap pressure from the binding. Although this is true of just about every boot I've ever owned, it is a touch more noticeable with these because they are so low profile and lightweight.

All in all though, excellent boots and I look forward to seeing where they take me.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on December 20, 2010

4 5

This jacket is fantastic. It has a somewhat loose fit, but not baggy. If you have tried last year's version, this one is longer in the arms and the body and wider across the torso. I know some said last year that they needed to size up, but this year's is very true-to-size. It is aesthetically really striking. I got the black/deep/deep colorway and the "deep" color is not nearly as bright as it looks in the photo. It's a more subdued color, I'd call it a dark-ish blue turquoise. It's a very great looking color, but not one that screams "Pay attention to me!" If I had known what the deep looked like, I might gotten the deep/black/metal colorway. It's very light and packable, however the warmth-to-weight ratio is pretty incredible. I've worn this down to -12 degree F with windchill (0 degree F base temp) in Minneapolis with a midweight merino baselayer underneath and been perfectly fine (or as fine as you can be in those sort of temperatures). It's also quite versatile, I wore last year's version in 60-65 degree weather with a t-shirt on and was not overheating. I wear this pretty much every day that I step outside in the winter, either as a primary jacket going out or as a insulating mid-layer under a shell while snowboarding.

Unfortunately, I have one complaint that keeps me from giving it five stars: I have had it about two weeks, worn it to school quite a lot, and the area where my backpack sits has small bits of insulation seeping out through the stitching holes. It's VERY minute quantities and mostly a cosmetic issue, but it's still quite annoying because this jacket has a lot of stitching (check out the close-ups of the back) and it's happening all over the place. This was a problem with last year's jacket as well and I hoped that they had addressed the issue, but two weeks in this one is suffering the same fate. The annoying thing is almost all of the stitching is decorative. Very few seams actually hold panels together, most of it is just for show.

Ultimately though, it's my favorite jacket. I wear it every day and the complaint is pretty minor, especially with Backcountry backing it up with a lifetime warranty. I'd give it 4.5 stars if I could.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on January 31, 2010

4 5

Me: intermediate-advanced, riding 5 years, ~20-30 days per year. Prefer charging steeps, trees, and open bowls, but opening it up in the park and expanding the skill set lately, mostly on account of moving from the Bay Area to Minneapolis (steeps and Midwest do not get along). I have been between 190-200 this season and ride the 156W. I put about six days on this thing, mostly in hardpack conditions.I've been a fan of the standard Destroyer for the a couple seasons, so I decided to give this badboy a shot. The Destroyer Chilly is a really fun, versatile board. I have ridden a Banana and owned a TRS BTX and hands down prefer the Destroyer Chilly. Compared to the BTX, the continuous chilly rocker seems to give a bit more power and bite closer to the contact points. It's pretty burly in the middle, but softer in the tips, so it holds a surprisingly solid edge at speed but is still plenty playful in the tips for butters and presses. At my size, I was pretty impressed at how well it held up at speed when I took it out to Snowbird and the Canyons in Utah, both in softer snow and hardpack/ice. It is an absolute BLAST in bumps at speed. The base is pretty fast and I was pretty impressed at how it held edge without any sort of help from magnetration or similar sidecut gimmicks. I (unfortunately) haven't had the chance to ride it in powder, but being reverse camber I have little doubt that it'd perform well relative to size.The biggest weakness, like a lot of rockered sticks, is pop. It's better than a lot of reverse camber boards I've ridden, but nowhere close to a solid cambered stick. On the plus side, it's easier to kind snap an ollie since you don't have to fight the flex of the board as you would on a cambered stick.I enjoy it and was very surprised at how well-rounded it was. I bought it with the intention of having a board that would be a bit jibbier than anything in my quiver, but still be able to handle the mountain, and it actually turned out to be quite a lot more aggressive than I had expected. As the other review says, if you're looking for a versatility, cannot afford multiple snowboards, and want some rocker, this is a great option.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on January 30, 2010

5 5

As the title references, these don't fit my face quite well. 95% of the days they are perfectly fine, but my nose is just a hair too narrow/small to fill out the nose piece and occasionally on windy days I get a terribly jet stream into my eyes at speed.However, if they do fit, you're in for a treat. They have fantastic field of vision, great optics, great aesthetics, and a fantastic assortment of lenses. My favorite lens is Ignitor Mirror, which is great in pretty much every condition except for blizzards and night riding. I love that they are lower profile, very sleek and simple, yet Smith always finds a way to kill it with spiffy graphics year after year.The lenses can also take a beating. I ride through trees quite often, so my helmet/goggle are always taking swipes from branches, and these have held up quite well. They are nicked for sure, but nothing that bothers me while I'm riding. And even if they get beat up, Smith's replacement lenses are readily available and quite reasonably priced compared to the competition. You can get a regular lens at $24 and a fully mirrored lens for under $45 retail, which is ver nice if you do happen to beat one to hell.As I said, they don't fit my face, so I'm unfortunately no longer using them as my primary goggle. But I wish I could, and if I can ever get my hands on the Asian fit at a good price, I'll be right back on them.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on January 19, 2010

5 5

At various points I've owned Green Superfeet, Orange Superfeet, Standard SOLE footbeds, and Alines. Alines are the most expensive, but blow the others out of the water for my particular feet. They give me the best support, are the lowest profile, and they have a slight grippiness to the topsheet that keeps my feet from subtle slipping. I have tried them snowboarding and they're great (although not better than my custom insoles). I wear them in my cross trainers for weight lifting and also recreational basketball/football. I absolutely will not do squats unless I have these on me. I used to run with them, however my current shoes have enough built in arch support.

Aline has made huge strides with this new model in terms of durability. I had a pair of the older blue ones and had to warranty them after about three months. The replacement pair died on me after four months. I've had these since the beginning of last year and they're still going strong.

I really have no complaints. If you are VERY anal-retentive, than the ink dye from the foam forefoot can stain the inside of shoes when they get hot/sweaty, but I can't imagine who would actually care about that.

Word of warning: if you're in an borderline size or if you know you have a funky arch, don't blindly trust the sizing chart. My foot is barely a 10.5 fully weighted, but I have a slightly long arch so almost every footbed I've ever used, I've had to size up. My suggestion would be to buy both multiple sizes and see which works for you.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on December 26, 2009

5 5

I've owned a couple different compact snowboard tools (this, the Burton bullet tool, and one other I can't remember offhand) and this is my favorite. It has a ratchet and plenty of torque. It's compact. The only issue I have is that as it's designed, it comes with 3 bit (#2, #3, and flathead) and only 2 storage spaces, so as designed you'll have to keep one mounted in the main socket. Keeping that in your pocket while snowboarding would be a TERRIBLE idea. My suggestion would be to throw out the flat head.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on December 17, 2009

1 5

When I first got these things, I was pretty excited. They fit nice and low profile, they have solid (but well articulated) padding on the side of the thighs and hips. The patch of VPD seemed small, but it covered the tailbone so it let it go. I was stoked to use it. After a couple days with it on the mountain, I'm less stoked.

First, there is a function issue. There's not nearly enough padding coverage on the backside. If all you're concerned about is coccyx protection they're fine, but if you've ever slipped on on a rail, you know soft tissue impacts on a hard, sharp surface hurt plenty. At least a little bit more padding (not even the VPD) would have helped. Lame.

Second, no fly. I knew this coming in, but this drives me batty about impact shorts. Why would you not give them a fly? Guy lame.

Third, and most importantly, the spandex material surrounding the "pocket" where the VPD piece rests is tearing in two different places. I could stitch it up, but based on where it is, I think it's likely to get worse. SUPER lame.

It's sad because the VPD is really an incredible material. It's comfortable and pliable (much more so than D3O), while CE-2 certified for motorcycling. POC just hasn't found a way to make it work yet. I also bought the VPD vest, which I also had problems with. POC has a lot of great ideas with this incredible material, but they need to execute better.

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D.Chu

D.Chu wrote a review of on December 5, 2009

1 5

These things look nice and their audio seems pretty clear, certainly better than the cheapo earbuds I've been using. But the cloth material transmits a TON of sound. Anything I could tell this even from walking around my apartment. So they sound great, but you can't move while you're wearing them. Hmm. They're going back.

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