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Ben C.

Ben C.

Ben C.

Ben C.wrote a review of on January 1, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 7"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I rarely pay full price for gear, but made an exception with this base. I needed something to keep me warm during rides into the mid 20's. This base is worth every penny. It's super soft and the mesh pit areas are great. I wore only this base under Castelli's Perfetto jacket and got cold as I began to sweat. I added a summer base under my bibs and wore this then the jacket and it's the perfect cold weather setup. Highly recommend. I wear XL in most other Castelli products and the large in this is a bit looser than I would prefer.

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Ben C.

Ben C.wrote a review of on May 23, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I want to review what I am assuming is last year's Ridley X-Trail, which seems to be of similar build except mine has the SRAM Force 1 drive and an all black color scheme. After years of riding Italy's finest race bikes (Bianchi and currently own a Wilier) I had to re-address my needs. I am military serving in South Korea and began exploring the gravel bike concept upon arriving to discover my skinny-tired Wilier wasn't going cut it here. After a few months of research, I pulled the trigger on this Ridley. I was nervous about the size, ordering a XS (my Wilier is a M) and going with the Force 1 and giving up a second front chainring. I now have about 500 miles on this ride and couldn't be happier. It's light, stiff and climbs my local Korean mountains like a scared cat. Descending is fun and stable and really enjoy the solid feel from the thru-axle front fork. All of this with more comfort and less back pain - the gravel geometry really works for me. I love the Force 1 and disc brakes, I can't see a reason to go back to rim brakes and I don't miss the second front chainring. My last group ride last week was a mix of smooth asphalt, rough rice paddy farm road, and gravel mountain pass and the Ridley X-Trail handled them all with ease. I am 5'6" with a semi-long torso and the XS fits me like it was custom made. I still have my Wilier but enjoy the freedom of riding the X-Trail on anything I come across. Lastly I will say that few retailers and absolutely no bike shops support military members overseas like Competitive Cyclist does. Andrew Meehan at CC offered me free USPS Priority Mail shipping and the Ridley and some new gear arrived in 4 boxes less than 10 days later. This is the second bike I've had shipped overseas by CC (my Wilier was shipped to Germany). Love the bike, love the company and love riding more than ever.

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Ben C.

Ben C.wrote a review of on March 12, 2016

5 5

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

I live on the central coast of California where we need tights and long sleeves almost 12 months out of the year. Even on nice days, a fog or the marine layer can rush in dropping the temp significantly. I hate tights, knee/leg warmers and so I thought about using embro for my first MTB race this season, as it was cold and rainy. Instead of ordering real embro, I tried my wife's icy hot. Big mistake - Icy Hot is not embrocation. My legs were on fire the entire race and it just added to the overall misery. I bought the In Heat medium and tried it on a windy, cool day here on the coast. I didn't really feel anything so the next day I decided not to use it and wish I had. I can't tell it's working, but I can definitely notice the difference in not using it. In addition to being a buffer from the wind and cold, it also makes it easier to clean mud and road debris off the legs later. I used to live in Colorado and for that climate, I would probably add the hot version to use when it's really cold. I have also lived in Texas and the southeast and probably wouldn't use warming embro at all there. It has greatly enhanced my riding experience.

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Ben C.

Ben C.wrote a review of on January 5, 2014

5 5

I am in the military and was assigned to Germany, but deployed to Afghanistan when I decided to buy a new 2010 Izoard XP that was left over in 2011. CC is one of the only bike shops that agreed to send the bike USPS Priority to my APO address in Germany. It came in two boxes and cost me $200 but I got such a great deal, it was no worry. After seeing my wife and kids, the first thing I wanted when I got back to Germany from AFG, I wanted to see my new Wilier. It was my first carbon bike and my only comparison was my old Cannondale Saeco CAAD 5. The words that came to mind after my first few rides was supple and efficient for the long haul. When I needed to step on it and sprint, it had all the stiffness I needed to launch and accelerate. Having been a Campy fan, I have really come to like the SRAM setup. Unfortunately the current model is spec'd with Shimano, which would be a deal killer for me. My only gripe about the way my bike was spec'd out was the wheel set. I had hoped to replace the set with a $500-700 level set soon after purchase but was convinced by the household accountant (wife) to wait. Very soon I will be in the market for upgraded wheels. I love the boutique nature of the brand and what the brand stood for originally. I wanted to avoid looking like everybody else on Treks and Specialized. Great bike and a great opportunity for me to step up to carbon. Very glad I own this bike.

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Ben C.

Ben C.posted an image about on January 24, 2012

Me on the chairlift in the shadow of the Eiger, Jungfraujoch region, Switzerland.

Outstanding jacket for a not-going-to-recover jacket addict. Not too cold that day, perhaps mid to upper 20's, but windy at the top. Jacket fought the wind and kept me warm with only a silk-weight and a base layer. So light and functional, I didn't know it was there. Wore it in the rain the day before in Interlaken, Switzerland and it works great. At the end of the day while poling and skating to the end of the run, I had to open up the pit zips and it was like I turned on the A/C. I bought the medium and since I am short, the hip-fit cut fit me just right. I am 5' 7" and 160, and have plenty of room to layer. I could probably work a small, too. My first piece of gear from this brand and I will have to save my pennies, because it won't be my last.

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