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Daniel

Daniel

, Gearhead

Daniel's Passions

Biking
Hiking & Camping

Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on May 22, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

After 1000s of miles I've got to say this is one of my favorite tires of all time. They're not the lightest or most supple or fastest rolling but unlike some fancier tires they've got really good durability while still rolling nicely.

On gravel tires you always have to consider how much time you'll actually be on gravel versus pavement and this is one of those that works equally well on both. I commute daily on these and the ride is very comfortable, maybe not as fast as other tires but then I hop onto a dirt track and the tires roll just as nicely. They're not a mountain tire but all things considered the only time I really find them lacking off road is when they lose traction on cheap climbs. But I've bombed through sharp lava rock gardens on jeep trails and they've shrugged all that off.

And for icing on the cake, tan wall tires always look good on gravel bikes!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on May 6, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: 31x9

Just like Prana's other pieces the fit and quality on the Bronson shorts are excellent. They use a bit tougher, less stretchy material than my other favorite the Brion but with a similar slim cut. While this is my initial impression, they do seem like they'll be some of the most durable shorts I've had. Once again the fit is slim on these, the 9" inseam version does feel a bit shorter in length than that of the Brion. Usually I wear about a 32" waist pant and went with the 31" on these for a snug fit.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on May 6, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Not everyone needs an enduro bike, even in the rough and rocky terrain here in Utah. Some of us enjoy in some twisted way the long heart-rate-elevating climbs as much as the payoff downhills. But when we get to the top we do want to have fun on the descent and that's exactly what the Blur is for.

In my opinion the Trail build really elevates this bike - adding a dropper and a touch more travel/slack headtube up front does make it a bit more capable than it already is on the downhill. You may not be blasting airs or ignoring the brakes but you'll reach the bottom with a grin on your face. A light race-able bike that's confident on the downs is really what so many of us have been looking for.

Similar to other reviews I was not a fan of the lockout. Lockout itself is good and I definitely used it on the bike but the gripshift style just doesn't lend itself to easy use. I understand why Santa Cruz spec-ed this style - to stay out of the way of the dropper remote - but someone needs to design a better option.

Beyond the the parts choices on this build are really solid - wheels are reliable, Reverb dropper is a bit more maintenance intensive but works well. Bars are a suitable width at 750mm and stem is a good length for XC at 80mm. I rode an XL at 6'1" and liked it but would go with a shorter stem for more of a trail bike fit, most racers at my height would be better suited to a Large frame for more agility.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on April 17, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I've picked up a number of 7Mesh pieces recently and everything has been 5 stars. These don't disappoint either. The cut is on the slim side but not at all constricting, and the hem falls an inch or two above my knees which is just what I like. The material used is very lightweight, stretchy, breathable, and fast drying, but it still feels decently tough. This short looks good enough to wear anywhere off the bike.

2 hand pocket open higher up to keep things from falling out and a zippered thigh pocket is absolutely perfectly placed to hold a phone and wallet without flopping around while pedaling. I do wish there was at least one rear pocket. The waistband is comfortable with belt loops and integrated adjusters that just work and don't bunch the material all weird.

I've spent all day in this short without even thinking about it which is the sign of a really good piece. If I ever meet 7Mesh's designers I own them my praise and a beer!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

The 7Mesh Revelation is as close to perfect as you can get. Fit, performance, and durability, I’ll rate it a 10/10 on each.

Fit: it’s slim cut but not roadie, kind of like a good Arcteryx piece it gives you room to move but not flap excessively. It’s got full rain coverage but doesn’t look out of place off the bike. The arms are cut so that when you’re stretched out on the bike they don’t pull up which is genius.

Gore Tex Pro is a really good material and has some of the best breathability out there while still being waterproof and durable. That doesn’t mean it’s magic though, and generous side vents and sleeve vents let fresh air in. I still build up heat when riding in warm weather in this jacket but it takes longer to get there than other rain jackets I've owned. The hood is removable as some riders want it, some don’t. The only nitpicks I have is that I would prefer a 2-way zipper for even more venting, and I wish the side vents were pit zips as that’s where my heat builds up fastest (but I get why this isn’t done as it wouldn’t work well with the sleeve cut).

So is this jacket worth the price? If you want the best rain jacket for commuting, trail riding, or bikepacking, yes. There are certainly cheaper alternatives but they certainly won’t be as good.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

The Desperado Henley is one of those jerseys that disappears once it’s on. The fit is trim without being tight and length is great. It’s a wool blend which takes the softness and temperature regulation of wool and gets rid of any itchiness while keeping it very light and breathable. I don’t know if I’d wear this on the hottest days but it’s comfortable all summer otherwise. Best of all, it doesn’t smell when you wear in several days in a row. I’ll be choosing this for my all-day rides.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: Medium

I found these socks decent but not outstanding. Height and thickness is solid, these are great when it’s a bit chilly out but you don’t need an overshoe. The material feels a bit delicate so I’m curious to see how it will stand up, and it also felt a bit loose and not very fitted, having less elastic then I’d like. Maybe a smaller size would solve that but I think it's just the material blend. However they look really good, which is the most important.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on April 7, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

The FR-C Pro Thermal Bib Knicker is really really nice. The quality and excellent cut that Giordana is known for are well represented in this piece. I found they fit me well and were exactly what I wanted, not as compressive as some summer bibs and perfect for spinning in the off season. It’s lined with a fleecy material that feels good against the skin and the knees have just bit more protection without being restricting. I do wish the waist came up a bit higher to add a touch of warmth to my stomach but that’s just a personal preference. The straps have plenty of stretch which makes Giordana bibs my top recommendation for taller riders like me. I found these comfortable from the mid 30s up to the mid 60s which is a fairly broad range – without windstopper these breathe decently. If you’re putting in hard efforts and keeping your heart rate up your results may vary. These knickers are one of those pieces that disappear on the ride, ensuring you don’t have to worry about your layering in changing temperatures.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 31, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I found this jersey quite comfortable and temperature regulating. It's a slim fit but because it's wool it's not compressive and the sleeve and body length were about perfect. The material is warm but not overly so, it seems to breathe quite well which I didn't expect from wool. 4 pockets (1 zippered) are nicely positioned and don't sag like on some wool jerseys. Two slight nitpicks - the zipper worked perfectly but felt a little rough when zipping, and the orange jersey I have is thin enough to show off my bib straps underneath.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 24, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: L/XL

This baselayer surprised me with how good it was. The material is very soft and lightweight so it's almost invisible once on, fit is next-to-skin as it should be but not compressive. On a recent cool weather ride with lots of climbing I expected to be overheating on the climbs and chilled on the descents and instead was comfortable the entire time. The baselayer wicked sweat and cooled me consistently on the uphill grinds and kept all the sweat that did accumulate away from my body to prevent cooling on the downhills. I don't wear lightweight baselayers often but I'm going to start wearing this every ride!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 19, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Great stem! It does what it's supposed to do while looking good. The stealth look goes with any bike and the shaping is very attractive in my opinion. Weight is decent as well. It hasn't slipped at all and isn't overly stiff so the only downside as others have mentioned is it needs a T30 to tighten the steer clamp. I'll probably switch that out so I can adjust with a multitool.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 14, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I own a fancy Garmin Edge 1000 and after trying the Elemnt Bolt, find I much prefer this simpler computer. Don't get me wrong, this is very fully featured, it just feels so much simpler due to the easy of setting it up and navigating menus.

The big feature is you use the app on a smartphone to do most of the setup, eliminating all the fussy button pushes and scrolling through menus. The Bluetooth connectivity works great, and it's extremely simple to upload routes to the device and save rides back to the app and sync with Strava or RWGPS.

I use my computer more for routes than training but all sensors paired easily with this and I'm sure it has all the training features you could desire. Another thing I like is the lack of a touch screen - the Garmin worked terribly with gloves or in the rain. The battery lasts forever compared to the 8 hours of the Garmin Edge 1000, which is necessary on those all day adventures.

Although not perfect for what I do, I find routing works just as well on this computer as a Garmin, even though the Garmin is supposedly the leader in maps. The simple black and white screen does just fine and shows the route clearly, it beeps annoyingly when I miss a turn, and it starts and stops when I start and stop. However mapping could use some improvements. Mainly, not enough of the route is shown clearly at once. Sure you can zoom out to see more, but then the basemap disappears which isn't helpful. You also can't pan around to find alternate routes and see the route further ahead in detail. This makes it very hard when you have to detour off your route and find your way back further ahead, which is frequent with the gravel riding I do.

All in all, I think Wahoo improved many of my complaints against Garmins and I'd choose this computer for my next.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 8, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 180 lbs
Size Purchased: XL

Quite impressed by these bibs. Castelli's Free Aero Race shorts have always been a favorite and it looks like these will be at the top of the pile in my closet. Materials are excellent - the Progetto X2 Air chamois has padding in all the right places without excess bulk, the main fabric of the legs is compressive yet lightweight (I expect these will breathe well in summer), and the bib straps seem to lay especially well against my body and are once again quite airy. Usually I prefer seamless elastic bibs (like Giordana uses) but I have no complaints here. Even without the dimpled material on the legs I'm not winning races but it certainly makes me feel fast. Some of Castelli's lesser pieces have had occasional quality issues with the sewing of the seams but construction is excellent here. Lastly the leg grippers are wide and unobtrusive and the inseam length is perfect.

Once again, the fit is compressive to reduce muscle fatigue in hard efforts or on long days. If you're not familiar with Castelli, in general their apparel runs smaller than American brands and sometimes even a bit smaller than European brands. I wear a large bib in Assos, Giordana, and Pearl Izumi's PRO line, I went up to an XL in this for the strap length as Castelli's straps run short and dig into my shoulders in smaller sizes. The XL's straps are perfect and while I was worried that the body of the bib would be loose and baggy, that's not the case at all due to the compressive material. So if in doubt, size up!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 24, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 175 lbs
Size Purchased: Large

I really like the quality of this jersey. The material is quite comfortable and I haven't put it to a true test yet, but feels very lightweight and breathable. I found the design to be good with the sleeves a comfortable length. The fit will work better for some than others - it's a slim fit but not a second-skin race fit like some of Castelli's jerseys. As typical with Castelli I found the length a bit short - it works ok with bibs but I would have preferred another inch or so in back for my tall frame.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 23, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've had a number of these fenders over the years, not because they fail but because they get lost or stolen and I feel they're the best quick fender on the market. On-off is very fast, coverage is good (obviously a full coverage fender will work better but who wants those on their bike all the time in the desert?), and durability is top notch. The only very minor complaints are that initially setting up the strap to your seatpost size is slightly fussy and the silicone grippers on the strap wear off after years of use.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 23, 2019

4 5

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

Just picked one of these up and haven't installed it yet, but the quality looks really good. The size and shape are good and the mounting system is plenty adjustable so I don't anticipate any problems. I like that the mini top rack is removable. For an expedition rack this is relatively lightweight and Blackburn's Outpost series has a lifetime warranty!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 23, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: Medium

I've used Pearl Izumi's Thermal Lite glove for the past few years so I thought I'd try something slightly thicker. What I really like on these is the palm is grippier since it's a thin synthetic leather. The gloves are still pretty thin and don't work quite as well as liners, but if these stand up half as well as the Thermal Lites, these will stay in my glove rotation for years. Fit is true to size.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 9, 2019

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I found this post decent but not spectacular. I really like the function of it on the right terrain - riding some steep doubletrack and hiking trails it was fantastic to get over the back of the saddle on a gravel bike.

However this post is on the heavy side for a dropper, adding a full pound to my bike. It worked well enough (see my complaints below on the CX remote) and construction quality is quite good. This dropper is quite simple internally and easily rebuildable, and that I greatly appreciated. Installing saddles is a bit annoying but no worse than many other posts and I didn't care for the position where the cable attaches, it got in the way of the seatpost clamp on my bike.

I really wanted to like the CX dropper lever on my gravel bike after a month of riding. But I don't. My biggest complaint was difficulty of getting clean cable routing - the position forces the housing to curl around to follow the bar contour which introduces a lot of cable drag. Then the inline barrel adjuster didn't want to hold the housing straight unless it was adjusted all the way in. I don't know what brand the included cable was, but my Park Tool cable cutter really didn't want to cut it cleanly and the cable end position behind the lever made it fussy to cut short enough to be unobtrusive. It was hard to get good tension on the cable before clamping without a third hand, and lastly, there was no grip to the lever blade so by thumb wanted to slip off on rough terrain. Oh, and you have to completely unwrap your bar tape for install.

The kit includes cable and housing, so everything you need for install. 3 stars for the post, 2 stars for the lever. I'll probably try a different brand next.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on January 31, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Pad Thai is a go-to dish at home and this backpacking meal is a good backcountry substitute. Obviously it's not going to be as good as fresh ingredients, but when I dig into this after a long day on the trail I let out a sigh of satisfaction. The trick I've found is to make sure you stir up all the spices immediately after you add water, and be patient - crunchy rice noodles are a disappointment.

Huge bonus - this dish is vegan!

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