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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on April 7, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

So I ordered a pair of these, and as the other review stated, LG's size chart is overly optimistic. The issue is that taking a dump on the product because the size chart is off isn't really a review now, is it?
Fortunately, the large bibs I ordered fit one of my ride buddies, so he ordered a XL, and we traded. See...easy peasy.
Whatever size you normally ride, go up one. I wear large in Pactimo and Hincapie, and the XL Garneau bibs fit me perfectly.
The Good :
Super nice material. Holy compression Batman. They aren't tight for the sake of it, or because they're too small. The material is designed to be compressive in order to help your muscles. And it does just that. They felt odd at first, but after an hour, you just forget them. It honestly feels like you aren't wearing bibs. There's ZERO adjustment needed mid-ride.
They look great. Simple colors. Simple logos.
The pad is big...bigger than some (Giordana), but in NO way does it give you the damp diaper feeling that some other bibs with 3D pads can give. And the nature of the bib material keeps it where it needs to be...on your important bits. Again...ZERO adjustments needed.
Strap length is perfect, and the front of the bib is a good length. It doesn't come up to your nipples, nor does it push your stomach out the opening, a la Castelli.
Inseam length is spot on as well. And speaking off, the lycra band at the bottom is great. Didn't think I'd like it, but it never creeped up, and didn't give the much feared and hated "sausage legs".
The bad?
Haven't found anything bad about them yet. Hell, in all honesty, as soon as I got home from the ride, I ordered another pair.
For reference, I'm 6'1" and 180. XLs fit me perfectly. My aforementioned ride partner? He's 5'7" and 165. The large bib fit him well. Go by weight on these, as the lengths aren't that different. 170-ish is about as big as will fit into the large.
Time will tell about wear and tear, but for now, these are the best I own!

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on March 4, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm a DeFeet fanboy. I probably have more DeFeet socks (all models) than most people. It's a problem. I'm not getting help, SO STOP PUSHING ME MAN!
Sorry for the outburst...
Anyway...
These seem to fit a bit better, and are slightly more compressive, and that's a good thing. Plus the 5" cuffs. Sh*t just looks pro, which is half the battle anyway, right?
And they are thin! No issue wearing them with the tight road shoes. You listening Hincapie?
I'm amassing another CC order right now, and a couple more pair of Cyclismo socks will be on that order.

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote an answer about on March 4, 2014

Huh...a week? Don't know where you got that info. I actually get FEWER flats with latex, as when paired with a high tpi tire, the combination is MORE supple, and tends to run over road debris, rather than having the debris get forced thru the tire, into the tube.
I actually DID have a flat a couple of weeks ago, and the latex tube leaked about half of it's air, then stopped. I rode 5 miles to the store stop on 50-60psi without issue. Never had a butyl tube do that. (Veloflex tire. It had a cut THRU the tread and casing)
And honestly, if one invests $5000 on a bike, and rides $1000+ wheels, and $75 tires, why would one use a $4 butyl tube?

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on December 7, 2013

George, I am disappoint...
2 5

These socks are made here, and they honestly look a bit like DeFeet is doing them.
Let's start with the + :
They look good. Simple. Plain. Clean. I like that.
They're tall. 5 inch cuffs. I have size 46 feet, and they fit just fine.
That's about it for the pluseseses....
Now for where Hincapie fell down :
They're too damn thick. The tops/cuffs are perfect. The foot part of the sock is rather tube sock-esque. I simply cannot wear them with my road shoes.
Sure, I wear narrow Italian shoes...Diadora...cough...cough...but DAMN. One shouldn't be forced into a higher volume shoe because their socks are thick. Even loosening the straps didn't help!
Hell, even in my Nike running shoes, the socks just FEEL thick. The soles just squirm under foot.
And they don't breathe. As I'm sitting here typing this, my feet are hot. I cannot imagine trying to wear these on a 90 degree, South Carolina, July day.
BRB...
OK...changed socks...much better.
If Defeet makes these, and again, I suspect they do, just order a run of Levitator Lites, and slap the "H" logo on them. Easy peasy...
I like Hincapie clothing. I know Richie. Gotta go all Grumpy Cat on this one and say...
NO!

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on November 21, 2013

Just like Quizno's...Mmmmm...toasty...
4 5

Open note to other embro makers :
In the wise words of Ric Flair, "If you wanna be the best, you gotta beat the best...WHOOOOOO...!"
Mad Alchemy embro is the best, period, and unless you live in the frozen tundra, somewhere North of say...Tennessee, anything stronger than medium heat level isn't necessary.
Above say, 55 degrees, put on a light layer, and head out the door.
45-55, go a little heavier, and you'll be all good. No knee warmers required.
The guns are protected from the cold, the breeze, and the wet. Actually, the wet makes the embro WARMER, which is always good. Better than rolling around in wet knee warmers...
It also opens the legs a bit by drawing blood to the surface skin of the legs. Yeah, it does. It's been proven. It's science.
Now for your warning(s)/tips :
Wear surgical gloves when applying. Trust me, it just makes the job easier, cleaner, and will save you trouble down the road.
Trouble you say? Yeah...
If you choose NOT to wear gloves, wash your hands like you just handled nuclear fuel rods. I mean a 'Silkwood' scrub down.
And once you're out, be VERY aware of touching your legs.
Should you decide to rub your nose, lips, or eyes, you will experience a feeling akin to being maced. Also be aware of it when making adjustments to the privatest of areas.
The burn...THE BUUUUURRRRNNNNNN!
A simple scrub in the shower, with a soapy washcloth, will remove the embro. The heat will linger for a while, keeping you plenty warm after returning from a chilly ride.
It takes a little more time, and discipline, to rock to embro, but it's worth it.
Plus, it's just flipping SO EURO!!!

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on November 21, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

So, I've used the M.A. "pro" chamois cream for a long while. M.A. was out of it, so I ordered the La Femme. Same stuff, but with more essential oils, and antibacterial properties. Okay.
Jump forward a couple of years...
Still using the La Femme. It's thinner, lighter, and smells oh-so-good.
It's chock full of good stuff that will keep your under-carriage in top operating condition, regardless of internal, or external plumbing.
I'm a big M.A. fanboy, and use ONLY M.A. chamois creams and embros. Peter knows what he's doing, and he does it well.

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote an answer about on November 21, 2013

Hey man, I don't know what they mean by "contoured", but the fit is more on the American side than the full-on Italian/Euro super skinny dude cut. I'm 6'1 and 180. The large fits me pretty well. Hell, the sleeves are actually a little long, and a little loose for my taste. Nothing my sewing machine can't fix...
I'd say the size chart is dead on....

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on October 17, 2013

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If one has a multi-thousand dollar bike, that rolls on high dollar wheels, shod with tires that cost more than those on your car, why would one run a cheap-ass butyl tubes? Seriously. I never understood it. Still don't...
If you run crap tires, again...why?, then a butyl tube is largely peeing into the breeze. If you are running a high TPI, performance oriented tire (Vitt OC, Conti 4000S, Veloflex, Challenge, etc.), then there's little reason NOT to run latex.
They improve ride quality, and lower rolling resistance. Don't shake your head, it's been proven...
As for the cost, swing by your LBS, and check out how much a lightweight, long valve butyl tube is going for. Yeah...$12-15. At that point, just spend the extra couple of bucks, and get Latex. Just buy a smaller cup of coffee for a few days to make up the difference!
I run these things in my Vitt OC CX, and OC SC tires. Like butter on a bald monkey....smoooooth.
And (knocks on wood), I seem to get less punctures, as the supple tire, mated with a supple tube, inflated to the correct pressure, just seems to roll OVER road debris, instead of picking it up. Yes, this has been proven too...
Sure, have a crappy butyl tube in your saddle bag, but only to get you home.

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on October 17, 2013

Shield your eyes...
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Glowing is a bit of an understatement for the orange. Flouro on EPO? Hi-Vis on hi-test? In all honesty, it's just as all Deda tape is...pretty good. Plenty long enough, even for double wrapped tops, and big hooks.
As appearances go, it's insane.
When I wrapped the bars, I tried to get a picture to illustrate the color to some riding friends.
I used THREE different cameras. Two point and shoot, and our digital SLR. None took a shot worth a damn. The orange just KILLED the metering.
I guess I'm an early adopter in this town, as three of my ride partners have ordered it since seeing mine. Bandwagon jumpers...
Wish there was a hi-vis red, so I could throw it on the road bike too.
Between this tape, and my hi-vis socks, armwarmers, shoe covers, and helmet, I should be ok on the night rides.
If I get hit, they were trying...

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on September 9, 2013

So flouro...
5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Great gloves. Not terribly heavy in weight, so they can be worn in Summer while on the CX or MTB. Hell, I'd probably race a crit in them in we didn't live in the most humid place on the damn planet.
They fit great, and are lightly padded, so one doesn't wadded up feeling when holding the bars. The little grippy silicone bits on the fingertips are a nice touch as well.
And for the $, you really cannot beat them. My last pair of Giro gloves just gave up after almost three years...myriad rides...and the construction of a pirate ship. Yes, you read that correctly!
The flouro is easily seen as well. If you point to where you are turning, cagers can damn sure your hands. If they can't, well...

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on September 6, 2013

A comfort bike, it ain't....
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Built up pretty nicely. Not as light as my old Helium, but DEFINITELY has more aero properties. Crazy tube shapes, tucked in rear wheel, and internal cable routing. Speaking of internal routing, I understand it, but what a pain in the ass. The rear brake is full housing, through the top tube, and it was pretty easy, which lulled me into a false sense of security.
The gear cables were the old 'push-pull-until-you-find-the-hole' exercise. It was cool though, as I had a lot of practice with this through high school and college...wink, wink!
It's a race bike. It's not a "comfort" road bike, a la the Roubaix, or Domane, or even the old Helium.
It's comfortable, and smooth, as long as the road is the same. On rough, pot-holed, choppy pavement, the ride is not what one would call compliant. And I'm running 25c Vittorias @ 100-ish PSI.
It's tolerable for a rider that weighs more than 170 pounds, or doesn't mind the harshness. Fortunately, I'm both.
If you want a comfy, plush, cushy ride, look elsewhere.
That being said, yesterday was the first time I put an anger to the pedals, and I can assure you, it JUMPS forward when given the whip. No wasted motion or energy, AT ALL!

Turn in is quick, yet very predictable, like all Ridley frames. No drama in a hard turn. Lean it in, and the Noah rails through.
Outputs occur quickly. There's little need for big efforts to make it change line. Small inputs are all that is needed to get around holes in the road, or drop it into a corner.
It's not twitchy...no way. I rode it no-handed without issue. Let's say...it's direct.
It's a hard-edged sports car in a World filled with Camrys.
The aero thing is truly odd too. At lower speeds, it rides like a normal, really stiff bike. Once the speeds climb into the mid-high 20s, I liken it to a speedboat getting up on plane. It smoothes out, and feels like it wants to go forward. Ridley says it's fast, and it is!

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on April 9, 2012

4 5

Really nice jersey. Great material and great fit and finish. The colors also really pop, and will be noticeable in traffic. My only issue is the sizing. The large I got is definitely somewhere between race and club cut. It's not horribly tight, but then again, most folks don't want to look like they're wrapped in sausage casing!
I may pro-dog it, and take the jersey to my seamstress to get it taken in a bit. Then again, I may just eat more cookies and fill it out!! :)

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Mark Merrill

Mark Merrill wrote a review of on February 4, 2012

It ain't heavy...it's my Ridley
5 5

4th Ridley I've had. Started with an Excalibur, moved to a Damocles, then to a Helium. That Helium was sacrificed to the Cycling Gods after nearly 20k miles...and a pothole the size of a Smart car. Split seat-tube...sh*t happens. And here's the outstanding part about Ridley...
I did nothing more than send photos to the Ridley rep, and the frameset was covered. They even sent me the new frameset before receiving the broken one! That customer service my friends! But I digress...
My old Helium had the "archer's bow" seatstays, and to be honest, it was a bit of a jackhammer on rough roads. It rode very well, and was very lively, but was harsh-ish.
The 2011 I'm on now, which is the same as the 2012, is a completely different animal.
The headtube and fork are the same, but that's were the similarities end. The downtube is bigger, as is the BB junction, which we all know (or should know) makes the bottom end stiff.
The chainstays are a completely different shape, and much larger than the previous iteration of the Helium.
Now to the seatstays...
They are a bit flattish, and the "archer's bow" has been replaced with a more standard, triangle setup. These flat, thin stays lend themselves to much improved ride quality.
The bottom end of the bike is still uber-stiff, but the stays allow for a bit of flex on the vertical plane.
The Helium is smoooove.
As for high speed characteristics, it's like the other Ridleys I've owned before it. The harder you push it, the more alive it feels under you. I've raced all of them, and each has exhibited the same behaviors. No drama, no BS sketchiness...just rock steady and smooth carving corners.
The uploaded pic shows the bike as I have it built now. 7800 D/A, Deda Deep bars, Thomson X4 stem, Mavic SSC binders, and a boat anchor Flite Ti gel saddle. As shown, it weighs 16.2 pounds, which isn't bad considering it's a medium, and NO effort was made to build it light.
With new 7900, Di2 or Red, mid-15s will not be an issue. The dilemma is which group to buy this Spring!

Sure, it's not one of those new-fangled aero bikes, and it doesn't matter. I've ridden a Venge, and it's stiff and fast, but rides like a dumptruck. Given the choice, I'll take big, fat, round tubes and ride quality every time! And so should you!

Update: New 7900 mechanical went on about a month ago. Rotor crankset w/round FSA rings. Lost enough weight to get under 16 pounds. Saweeeet!

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