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Daniel

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Daniel's Passions

  • Biking,
  • Hiking & Camping.
Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on March 9, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I was hesitant to try these pedals out after trying Issi's clipless pedals a few years back and finding the quality lacking, but I was pleasantly surprised. Grip is really good due to the tall pins (you can change the length) and the concave middle is more defined than other flat pedals I've tried. It's awesome to have 2 sizes available - I tried the Small which work fine for my size 9.5 shoes but are a little narrower than I'm used to, these XL will be plenty big.

Weight is a little high compared to other pedals like these but hopefully that means they'll be extra durable. I'm curious to see how the finish and bearings stand up long term. Lastly, price is higher than the Stamp 3 but less than Deity, about the same as the thinner OneUp pedals. If durability (and serviceability) is good I'd say it's a fair price.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 11, 2020

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I don't think much about the stem on my bike once i find the right length, it just has to not break and I9 has proven they can make tough parts. Made in the USA is always good too. Weight's not really a consideration for me on stems so I can't say how that compares, but what sold me on this is simply that it looks so good! At the end of the day that's definitely worth the price over something more generic.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 11, 2020

5 5

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

I have yet to put this bag through any hard abuse, but my initial impressions of it are really positive. Up until now I've been using a Backcountry duffel for hauling my gear around which is fine, but everything on this bag is better thought out and higher quality. Flaps and pockets and dividers are all made to fit helmets and shoes and bottles and tools and things just fit. The wide opening compared to a duffel eliminates my previous troubles of things getting lost in the bottom of the bag. All the materials used do look tough and zippers feel quality, but we'll see how it lasts long term. It's not cheap and for the price I wish it was made in the US,

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 7, 2020

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs large
Size Purchased: 42

I've only had the chance to try these out a couple times due to the snow but so far I like the design. I think they look good with less flashiness than XC shoes but sleeker than a skate shoe styled DH shoe. Materials used all seem solid like they'll stand up to some bushwacking but time will tell. The sole is plenty grippy and stiff enough, but not too stiff to spend all day in.

I'm torn on BOA dials on mountain/gravel shoes as they lack bulletproof durability, but they are really nice for fine tuning fit. I do wish Giro had upped the price a bit and gone with the IP1 which ratchets both ways. Adding Giro's Supernatural insole system is another feature I'd pay extra for.

Now fit - these fit way differently than previous Giro shoes, they've got much more volume. A size 43 Terraduro fits me perfectly so that's what I first tried in these - they were quite loose at toes, heel, and ball of my foot. So I went down to a 42 which work far better. However they don't have room for anything beyond a thin sock. At this price I would have hoped to perfect the fit with a half size.

So if your feet were a bit too wide for Giro's previous shoes, try these. And if Giro's previous shoes fit you well, be wary.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on February 7, 2020

Best Name Ever
5 5

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

First of all, 5 stars to Evil for the clever pun in name. That's how to start off on the right foot.

"It's ugly" is the first comment I've been hearing on this bike and honestly, it's a little weird but it'll grow on you. I'm sure '90s riders would think current mtbs are ugly too.

"Who needs that slack a gravel bike?" Is always the next question. Definitely not everyone. If you're racing Dirty Kanza, look elsewhere (not to say this bike couldn't do it, but there are better suited bikes). But if you want to ride 75 miles of mixed fast rolling gravel, some singletrack, sketchy atv trails, and steep forest roads, this is the bike for you.

"Does it handle weird?" No, it handles better than you expect. I don't think this is the last gravel bike you'll see with these angles. When you hop on in a parking lot you'll notice the front wheel flop over but as soon as you get riding all you'll feel is a very stable bike. The wheelbase is long so it's not going to be ideal for tight woodsy trails or u-turns when you drop a bottle, but when you hit steep rough stuff you want this confidence.

Uncooperative weather only let me ride this bike on mostly pavement for a few days so this is without a doubt a first look review, but based on the brief experience I would buy one. Fit was absolutely perfect on a size large with a 50mm stem and 42mm bars (I'm 6'1" with a long inseam and am usually between L and XL), and I could just tell that this bike will handle the rough terrain I love. Parts spec on this build is impeccable. I'd expect to upgrade the wheels but the current WTBs are just fine to start and the rest of the parts are what I would choose on a build. Some may complain about limited tire clearance for this style bike, but 50mm is almost 2" - that's plenty!

I will demo again just to make sure it climbs ok (will steering wander on loose steeps?) and handles a bikepacking load (it's got the braze-ons for everything). Even on pavement with 50mm WTB Venture tires it cruised along just fine.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on January 13, 2020

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Size Purchased: S/M

Good socks, nice and breathable and they stay in place. These do fit tight with compression keeps them from moving, so keep that in mind if you're between sizes. These aren't super fancy but a good choice to match your kit.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on January 13, 2020

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

These shorts are well constructed with durable material and nice features, they're not innovative or really unique but a solid short.

Fit seemed spot on to me, and the adjustable waistband works well. I usually like belt loops just in case the fit is off a bit but they're not needed here. These feel a bit longer/baggier than the images suggest, they're not terrible but I prefer a slimmer short with shorter inseam.

The material is a good weight to balance breathability and toughness and the zippered pocket is slightly small for my phone but it works. All in all these are on par with

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 23, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

Personally I like jerseys that look like t-shirts, casual enough to wear off the bike but having some tech benefitsand the Armstrong jersey fits the bill. It's very unassuming until you look closely and see the side ventilation, the longer tail, and feel the stretchy material. It wicks way better than a cotton tee of course, but I have yet to get thoroughly sweaty enough to test it's odor resistance.

Fit is true to size (t-shirt sizing) as far as looseness, sleeve length, and body length..

I think the retail price on this is a bit expensive for how simple it is but if you can get a deal, this is a great shirt!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 23, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

$600 just to move the front of your bike up and down? Sounds ridiculous. But if you can get over the price (it's big downside) you'll really like the Kickr Climb.

Training is already a grind, even with Zwift doing a decent job of keeping us mentally stimulated but with bike just sitting flat it doesn't feel at all like riding outdoors. With the Climb it still doesn't, but helps a lot. Hit that Zwift climb and feel the bike slow as the front raises, close your eyes and pretend you're LeMond racing with Hinault up the Alpe d'Huez with the crowd loud around you, or take the descent and feel the nose drop as you spin out in the big ring (with the wind in your hair if you've got the Headwind Fan) and tell me you're not having even a little bit of fun riding indoors.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 23, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Wahoo has proven itself to be at the top of the trainer market and the Kickr as their premier product is worth it, I'd call it the best in this price range. Since I'm frequently asked about the differnces between this and the Kickr Core, here's what you get:

Bigger flywheel (road feel is better)
A bit bigger so not quite as storeable
Cassette included (11s 11-28t)
Higher max power and max grade
Legs are more adjustable

Wahoo's trainers have had some hardware and software issues in the past but they've stood behind them and seem to have resolved everything by this version. Their customer service has been solid and this has a 1 year warranty, so no need to worry. It's a nice smooth quiet trainer that connects easily and just works. Versus its competitors what sets it just above some other brands for me are all the add ons available. The Headwind Fan and Climb seem kind of gimmicky initially but after a few rides on them they just making riding indoors that much more enjoyable.

There are some little things that other trainers have over the Kickr - the Neo 2T simulates gravel/pave and some other trainers have slightly more accurate power during certain high output training reps but these are minor notes - this trainer just works well.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 23, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This is a great trainer, just a step down from the more expensive Kickr. For $300 less it's almost as good and well worth considering. Since I get asked this a lot the differences are:

Smaller flywheel (road feel isn't quite as good)
More compact and storeable
No cassette included
Lower max power and max grade
Legs aren't as adjustable

Wahoo's trainers have had some hardware and software issues in the past but they've stood behind them and seem to have resolved everything by this version. Their customer service has been solid and this has a 1 year warranty, so no need to worry. It's a nice smooth quiet trainer that connects easily and just works. Wahoo has some good competition these days but the Kickr Core has proven itself to be one of the best models out there in this price range - what sets it just above some other brands for me are all the add ons available. The Headwind Fan and Climb seem kind of gimmicky initially but after a few rides on them they just making riding indoors that much more enjoyable.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 16, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

You can't go wrong with these socks for everyday riding. FIt is nice and supportive, these won't slide around on you. The material doesn't get smelly as fast as others which is always appreciated. They do feel a bit thicker than other summer socks I have but that doesn't seem to affect breathability, they wick sweat fast. Lots of good bright patterns to choose from.

Fit is true to size, although since they are supportive/compressive there's a chance they'll be too tight if you have wide feet.

Made in the USA and a solid satisfaction guarantee make these even better.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on December 2, 2019

5 5

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

I've used these gloves since they were first released, maybe 5 years ago and they've been solid. I've been through many Minnesota winters and these have kept me comfortable into the single digits. The materials used are top notch and construction quality is pretty good. The liners have started coming apart at the seams but to be fair I've heard from a few brands that wool is hard to sew.

FIt is true to size, but I sized up to make sure I have plenty of finger wiggle room. Dexterity in these is about what you expect - I can shift a drop bar bike but can't tie my shoes. But you get some of the warmest bike gloves made.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on November 25, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

You can't go wrong with these socks for everyday riding. FIt is nice and supportive, these won't slide around on you. The material doesn't get smelly as fast as others which is always appreciated. They do feel a bit thicker than other summer socks I have but that doesn't seem to affect breathability, they wick sweat fast.

Fit is true to size, although since they are supportive/compressive there's a chance they'll be too tight if you have wide feet.

Made in the USA and a solid satisfaction guarantee make these even better.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on November 25, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

These are some of the best winter socks out there. They're a nice weight that adds warmth but still fits in most cycling shoes without having to size up.

Swiftwick is known for their compression and that makes these even better. Some wool socks I have tend to slide around on my feet, these stay locked in place. The 7" cuff is perfect for winter use.

The merino wool means these socks don't start to smell right away. They seem plenty durable out of the box but Swiftwick has an awesome warranty if needed!

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on November 25, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

This seems like a simple product but I was pretty impressed. It's a good weight that's not a sweater but thicker than many long sleeves I have, the cut/fit is spot on average, and the green is a great color. Logos are not obtrusive and the wool blend (minimal wool, but still) should help with odor.

I'm tall and thin and the shirt could be a little longer in the body and arms (as most shirts like this could be) but it had a good average to slim fit in the body that I liked - I do have room to layer this over a t-shirt.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on October 23, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 170 lbs
Size Purchased: Medium

I didn't expect a lot from the new Backcountry brand but was incredibly impressed by this piece. I wore it 3 days straight on a bikepacking trip and it was the perfect weight and pretty close to the perfect cut to keep me comfortable. It's fairly thin so I found it shed heat pretty well when I got moving but still cut the wind a bit when standing around . The hood was well cut to fit under a helmet if needed and the neck zip was just the right length.

Fit is trim but not at all constricting with a good amount of stretch. For my long arms the sleeves were a little short when stretched out on a bike but anywhere else they were just fine. The bit of elastic in the cuffs kept them in place when I pushed them up my arms. Torso length was just right where it didn't pull up in back when I was pedaling.

The odor fighting treatment did seem to work and the material seems like it's going to stand up to a lot of abuse. I'd love to see a darker color to hide dirt but the Sage is a good light gray that works.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on October 23, 2019

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I got this bag as a gear bag for bike rides and for that it works pretty well. The space is well configured to hold just about everything for a ride or a weekend trip and construction quality seems good. Out of the box the bag smelled real plasticky which made it seem cheap but that smell has faded.

The backpack style straps are an easy on/off which is nice and worked pretty well but the excess strap is a little too long and they take up to much space when packed into the bag. I could have used another medium size pocket but that's just personal preference. Beyond that, I really like the extendable side pocket for shoes or dirty laundry, the zip top opens and closes smoothly with one hand, and the material seems tough.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on October 7, 2019

A Big Step in the RIght Direction
4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Gravel has been the fastest growing segment for the past few years and Shimano has finally done something about it. GRX is a much needed drivetrain but doesn't quite go far enough with gearing for us casual riders in the mountains.

To start with, performance and looks are on par with Shimano's road groups, so really good. It's a very clean looking groupset. So if you've liked your Ultegra drivetrain but want easier gearing, going to GRX makes good sense. There's some compatibility between the two groups too which is nice.

This rear derailleur interestingly enough has only a 5mm shorter cage than an SLX which fits a 46t cog so despite Shimano's stated max cassette size as 42t I plan to try it with an 11-46t eventually just to see what happens.

I've had a 105 shifter paired with an SLX rear derailleur and 11-42t rear cassette (using Wolf Tooth's excellent Tanpan adapter) on the bike until now so I already knew what to expect for gearing but GRX really does shift crisper without that adapter and this group feels lighter weight.

So with no substantial complaints on the quality of this group my big gripe is the gearing options. Shimano has provided good options for a lot of riders on flatter terrain and for gravel racers but us bikepackers and for those big days in the mountains we need better options. Sram's AXS drivetrain mullet builds are popular for that giant 10-50t range, Shimano should have used their Micro Spline freehub to allow for a 10t cog and made the derailleur for 46t cassettes, then with more chainring options they'd have a perfect, more versatile group.

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Daniel

Danielwrote a review of on October 7, 2019

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Gravel has been the fastest growing segment for the past few years and Shimano has finally done something about it. GRX is a much needed drivetrain but doesn't quite go far enough with gearing for us casual riders in the mountains.

To start with, performance and looks are on par with Shimano's road groups, so really good. It's a very clean looking groupset. So if you've liked your Ultegra drivetrain but want easier gearing, going to GRX makes good sense. There's some compatibility between the two groups too which is nice.

The shifter bodies seem a bit larger for more grip but still work well for my small hands. They've got reach adjust (useful) and free stroke adjust which is not really useful - these brakes already seem to have a lot of throw and I had to do some fine bleed tuning to firm them up - bleeding these was a pain (but I've not bled other Shimano road brakes before). A very exciting step from Shimano is their decision to offer their 1x shifters with a left lever that activates a dropper! I plan to add one to my gravel bike eventually. One minor complaint I had that doesn't affect performance is that after folding the hoods back a few times for bleeds they tend to pucker away from the body on the sides.

I've had a 105 shifter paired with an SLX rear derailleur and 11-42t rear cassette (using Wolf Tooth's excellent Tanpan adapter) on the bike until now so I already knew what to expect for gearing but GRX really does shift crisper without that adapter and this group feels lighter weight.

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