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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffield

Wasatch Front

Steven Sheffield's Passions

Biking
Skiing

Steven Sheffield's Bio

Once upon a time there was a boy named Steven … this boy had a fascination with all things bicycle, especially all that was new and flashy and wonderful and expensive. But as time passed, the boy learned to love the traditions, the history, the elegance.

As he grew older and became a man, he found his love of tradition grew beyond bicycles and began to encompass other aspects of life. Bicycles. Music. Fashion. Movies. Eras past merging into the present.

The boy grew up in England, Tennessee, Minnesota, Los Angeles, and Belgium, attended university in Santa Cruz, and lived in San Francisco for 12 1/2 years (okay, 11 years in San Francisco, on Nob Hill, and a year-and-a-half in Emeryville, which is the armpit between Berkeley and Oakland).

Then the man that he became moved from San Francisco to Utah and found that what people in the Bay Area call mountains really don’t quite qualify when compared to the Wasatch and Uinta ranges. It took a couple years, but the boy inside rediscovered the joys of strapping a pair of planks to his feet and sliding down the mountain snow.

But the bicycle; the bicycle will always be his one true love.

"When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking."

— Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on January 8, 2019

2 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 240 lbs
Size Purchased: II

I love Assos clothing; the quality is second-to-none in every piece I have ever tried, with the exception of these knee warmers, which I've found to be really disappointing.

The cut and fit are outstanding, and the fabric is certainly warm enough to do the job ... the problem is that these knee warmers have no grippers, either on the inside so they grip against your skin, or on the outside so they grip against the inside of your shorts ... and thus, they won't stay up.

And I'm not talking about a minor slip so they get a little loose behind the knees; no, I'm talking full slippage so that they're not even under my shorts any longer, just rumpled up around my knees, with the only thing keeping them from sliding down to my ankles being my massively chunky calves.

With proper leg grippers, these could be a 5-star product. Without the grippers, 2 stars is way more than generous.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on November 6, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I'm pretty much a die-hard Silca fanboy ... there are very few of their products that I've found any fault with, and like most of their stuff, that's true here as well.

After all, these are the same S2 hex keys found in the HX-ONE Home Essential Tool Kit, but without the wooden box, making them easier to pack in a mobile tool kit, while leaving the boxed set at home.

Bonus? You get a full set of Torx keys as well, made with the same precision and care as the hex keys.

These have been the most exact fitting wrenches I've ever laid my hands on, which when you're tightening or loosening the titanium bolts on your Campagnolo Super-Record components is important ... no chance of rounding off these keys or the bolts.

Sure, they're a bit spendy, but with a 25-year warranty, like all Silca products they're built to last a lifetime.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on October 24, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Time ATAC pedals and cleats are better than Crank Brothers in pretty much every way.

Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals are $135, weigh 325g, and it's often hard to tell when you're actually clipped in.

The Time ATAC 4 pedals are $125, weigh 296g, and have one of the most solid connections and stable platforms ever for MTB/cyclocross pedals & shoes.

I've been riding ATAC pedals for almost 20 years. Changed briefly to Crank Brothers and changed back within a month. These pedals will last a lifetime.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on October 24, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Time ATAC pedals and cleats are better than Crank Brothers in pretty much every way.

Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals are $135, weigh 325g, and it's often hard to tell when you're actually clipped in.

The Time ATAC 6 pedals are $150, weigh 296g, and has one of the most solid connections and stable platforms ever for MTB/cyclocross pedals & shoes.

I've been riding ATAC pedals for almost 20 years. Changed briefly to Crank Brothers and changed back within a month. These pedals will last a lifetime.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on October 2, 2018

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Time ATAC pedals and cleats are better than Crank Brothers in pretty much every way.

Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals are $135, weigh 325g, and it's often hard to tell when you're actually clipped in.

The Time ATAC 6 pedals are $120, weigh 296g, and has one of the most solid connections and stable platforms ever for MTB/cyclocross pedals & shoes.

I've been riding ATAC pedals for almost 20 years. Changed briefly to Crank Brothers and changed back within a month. These pedals will last a lifetime.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on October 2, 2018

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
Fit: True to size
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 245 lbs
Size Purchased: XXL

Super soft flannel, nice and warm, but doesn't seem to be the same quality as the Filson Alaskan Guide shirts (either the standard heavy, or the lightweight). I'm only disappointed because I'm familiar with the quality of the others, and this shirt seems to be just a step below.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on June 11, 2018

3 5

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

As a Chrome bag officionado, I was really looking forward to getting this pack, but once in hand, I'm less excited. I haven' t quite figured out how I want to set-up the internal dividers to carry two bodies and a variety of lenses and it just doesn't feel super convenient to get into.

The one really nice point is that since the opening is on the strapside of the bag, when putting it on the ground to get into it, all the dirt doesn't end up on your back!

For one camera body and a couple of lenses and accessories, I can definitely recommend the Chrome Niko (https://www.backcountry.com/chrome-niko), which is their smaller single shoulder sling camera pack, but I'm still looking for my ideal multi-camera backpack.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on May 5, 2018

5 5

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

When I first pulled this helmet out of the box, and saw almost no padding whatsoever inside and no extra padding in the box, I thought for sure that my review was going to end up being a negative one, and yet it isn't.

Giro's current top end road helmet (I'm not counting the Vanquish aero helmet), is one of the lightest and most comfortable I've ever had the opportunity to wear, because while the padding is minimal, it's perfectly situated.

A lightweight helmet is really important to me as well. I have degenerating discs in my neck, and relatively weak muscles. Because of this, any extra weight on my head can put stress on my neck muscles when trying to hold my head up in riding position. On today's inaugural ride in this helmet, I barely noticed the weight of the helmet at all.

My lack of fitness, on the other hand, I noticed right away, and while there were lots of times I was struggling on the bike, none of them were neck related. To me right now, that's worth a 5-star review.

And the added benefit of MIPS protection would bump it to a 6-star review if I had that option.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on May 2, 2018

4 5

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

Because of my size (5'9", 240 lbs), I often have problems finding cycling clothing that fits me properly. Now, just because my body is more about fatness than fitness these days doesn't mean that I don't want high-end technical fabrics and a body hugging fit to help optimize the fabric doing its best job... it doesn't matter to me what you think I look like in Lycra, it only matters about how comfortable I am when riding.

At first try-on, the Silverline range from Giordana is quite comfortable; good chamois in the bibs, and I was able to put on the bibs and jersey without too much struggle over my thighs or my belly.

One of the things I really like about the fit is that the jersey is relatively long, which means not much of a gap between the bottom of the jersey and the top of the shorts. There is a nice closed mesh panel right at the base of the back just above the pockets and similar panels under the armpits to help vent excess heat, and subtle reflective accents on the cuffs, below the pit mesh panels, and on the pockets for additional visibility when riding in low-light conditions.

The extra length in the jersey can also be found in the bibs, but in this case the extra length is also one of the downfalls for me.

I have long femurs for my height, so I've always liked bibs with longer inseams. As is typical with a lot of cycling clothing, as you increase the size of the garment, the length often increases proportionately ... and in the XXL bibs I have, the inseam measures out at 12.5", just about an inch too long from what would ideally suit me. If I were 2 or 3 inches taller, with the same girth, I think the XXL bibs would fit me perfectly. If I were only 170 lbs. instead of 240 lbs. I think a Large would also have a suitable inseam length ... but at my current height/weight combination, I do wish the legs were a little shorter.

On initial impressions however, the leg length issue is the only downside, and that's obviously particular to my own body shape. I have yet to decide if the extra length is something I will be able to ignore when riding, or if it's going to be something that bugs me. On the bright side, however, we often have customers looking for bibs with longer inseams, and now I know for sure that Giordana fits that bill quite well.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on May 2, 2018

4 5

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

Because of my size (5'9", 240 lbs), I often have problems finding cycling clothing that fits me properly. Now, just because my body is more about fatness than fitness these days doesn't mean that I don't want high-end technical fabrics and a body hugging fit to help optimize the fabric doing its best job... it doesn't matter to me what you think I look like in Lycra, it only matters about how comfortable I am when riding.

At first try-on, the Silverline range from Giordana is quite comfortable; good chamois in the bibs, and I was able to put on the bibs and jersey without too much struggle over my thighs or my belly.

One of the things I really like about the fit is that the jersey is relatively long, which means not much of a gap between the bottom of the jersey and the top of the shorts. There is a nice closed mesh panel right at the base of the back just above the pockets and similar panels under the armpits to help vent excess heat, and subtle reflective accents on the cuffs, below the pit mesh panels, and on the pockets for additional visibility when riding in low-light conditions.

The extra length in the jersey can also be found in the bibs, but in this case the extra length is also one of the downfalls for me.

I have long femurs for my height, so I've always liked bibs with longer inseams. As is typical with a lot of cycling clothing, as you increase the size of the garment, the length often increases proportionately ... and in the XXL bibs I have, the inseam measures out at 12.5", just about an inch too long from what would ideally suit me. If I were 2 or 3 inches taller, with the same girth, I think the XXL bibs would fit me perfectly. If I were only 170 lbs. instead of 240 lbs. I think a Large would also have a suitable inseam length ... but at my current height/weight combination, I do wish the legs were a little shorter.

On initial impressions however, the leg length issue is the only downside, and that's obviously particular to my own body shape. I have yet to decide if the extra length is something I will be able to ignore when riding, or if it's going to be something that bugs me. On the bright side, however, we often have customers looking for bibs with longer inseams, and now I know for sure that Giordana fits that bill quite well.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on February 28, 2018

4 5

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

I'm a road guy ... but I'm also a 'cross guy, and that sometimes means riding in foul weather and muddy conditions.

In the past, I've generally steered clear of wet lubes, because of their tendency to attract grit from road spray as well as dirt when playing in the mud, not too mention their tendency to spray black gunk all over your right leg if your chain was not thoroughly cleaned and wiped down for a reapplication.

I haven't experienced that with this lube. Starting with a clean chain, I applied a couple drops to every roller on my chain and let it sit overnight to soak in. The lube was viscous enough that that it did not drip and leave a gooey mess on my floor, but leave my chain feeling almost sticky, the way some other lubes can.

The real test was how it handled in the mud during a recent ride on the trails in one of the local parks; while there was definitely mud splatter all over my downtube, bottom bracket shell, chainstays and wheels, my chain seemed cleaner than I would have expected.

When I got around to cleaning my bike a few days later, I really didn't feel any grit in the chain before spraying it down and washing the bike.

I'm pretty darned sure that in relatively banal wet conditions on the road, that the lube will last and protect the chain without having to reapply after every ride, and yet will not attract the same kind of grime that causes chains to wear so much more quickly when riding in bad conditions.

I'm impressed.

And at half the price of Dumonde Tech, I anticipate there will be more silver bottles showing up on my worktable.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on February 16, 2018

Changing it up
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Review written about 2017 version of the frame; the only difference between 2017 & 2018 frames is the paint.

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I'm an old-school roadie. That means that I tend to favor lugged steel frames, Campagnolo components, and tubular wheels ... so it's going to take something special to get me to make a change.

The Stigmata is my first carbon bike, my first disc brake bike, my first tubeless wheels, and my first Shimano (I got mine built with an Ultegra 2x group) bike in over 20 years.

Initial impressions? Oh my freaking heck (that's a Utah-ism for those who don't know), this is going to be an amazing bike to ride ... on road, and especially on gravel once the snow melts. Gotta prep for the Crusher this July ... my hope is to finally finish as a rider, not as a writer.

So why only 4 stars you ask? Because I don't have enough experience on the bike to definitively give it 5 stars, but I'm pretty sure that once I've got some more miles on it, that rating will go up.

If you have any questions about this item or any other gravel/cyclocross bikes, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 801-736-6396 ext. 2422, or via email to ssheffield@competitivecyclist.com

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Update 4/15/17 - Five Stars

Yup ... this bike is a potential quiver killer for me. If I had to limit myself to just ONE bike, well ... umm ... the Campy-equipped Richard Sachs would win out (I am never getting rid of that bike); but if I got to keep TWO bikes, the Stigmata would definitely be the second one, full stop. Don't even need to think about that one.

I even like the Shimano Ultegra components, which is hard to admit as a Campy guy. Shifting is spot-on, and in many ways I'm a disc brake believer now. I was worried about the disc brakes being grabby compared to all my rim brakes, but so far, I feel like I still have good modulation when I'm just trying to control my speed going into a bend, but have all the stopping power I need when I need to grab the brakes.

I did get a second set of wheels to mount with road tires and a road cassette, so it's a lot easier when I want to switch it up from 40mm on gravel to 25mm on pavement; the bike does indeed perform just as well on pavement as any of my dedicated road bikes.

TL;DR -- New bike, new tech, love it.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on February 16, 2018

Changing it up
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Review written about 2017 version of the frame; the only difference between 2017 & 2018 is the paint.

-----------

I'm an old-school roadie. That means that I tend to favor lugged steel frames, Campagnolo components, and tubular wheels ... so it's going to take something special to get me to make a change.

The Stigmata is my first carbon bike, my first disc brake bike, my first tubeless wheels, and my first Shimano (I got mine built with an Ultegra 2x group) bike in over 20 years.

Initial impressions? Oh my freaking heck (that's a Utah-ism for those who don't know), this is going to be an amazing bike to ride ... on road, and especially on gravel once the snow melts. Gotta prep for the Crusher this July ... my hope is to finally finish as a rider, not as a writer.

So why only 4 stars you ask? Because I don't have enough experience on the bike to definitively give it 5 stars, but I'm pretty sure that once I've got some more miles on it, that rating will go up.

If you have any questions about this item or any other gravel/cyclocross bikes, please feel free to reach out to me directly at 801-736-6396 ext. 2422, or via email to ssheffield@competitivecyclist.com

-------

Update 4/15/17 - Five Stars

Yup ... this bike is a potential quiver killer for me. If I had to limit myself to just ONE bike, well ... umm ... the Campy-equipped Richard Sachs would win out (I am never getting rid of that bike); but if I got to keep TWO bikes, the Stigmata would definitely be the second one, full stop. Don't even need to think about that one.

I even like the Shimano Ultegra components, which is hard to admit as a Campy guy. Shifting is spot-on, and in many ways I'm a disc brake believer now. I was worried about the disc brakes being grabby compared to all my rim brakes, but so far, I feel like I still have good modulation when I'm just trying to control my speed going into a bend, but have all the stopping power I need when I need to grab the brakes.

I did get a second set of wheels to mount with road tires and a road cassette, so it's a lot easier when I want to switch it up from 40mm on gravel to 25mm on pavement; the bike does indeed perform just as well on pavement as any of my dedicated road bikes.

TL;DR -- New bike, new tech, love it.

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Steven Sheffield

Steven Sheffieldwrote a review of on February 6, 2018

4 5

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

I got the 27.5” wheel version, and have taken it for a couple of quick spins, and initial impressions are that it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve got my position set very similarly to that on my Santa Cruz Stigmata, with the same saddle, handlebars, and pedals, so all of my touchpoints are the same.

As built, my 52cm Hakka is 19.4 lbs; whereas my Stigmata is right around 18 lbs, but the Stigmata has 700c carbon wheels currently set-up with road tires, and the Hakka has the 27.5” alloy wheels with 2.1” wide Schwalbe Thunder Burt MTB tires.

With the stock wheels and 700x40 tires, the Stigmata came in at 18.7 lbs with the same pedals. I still have the stock wheels from the Stigmata, but need to get some 160mm rotors and endcaps to convert the front wheel from 15x100 to 12x100 to try them out on the Hakka, and see how the weight compares in 700c mode instead of 650b/27.5” mode.

This Hakka also came spec’ed with a SRAM 1x drivetrain. I’ve ridden SRAM 10-speed before on the road, and I liked it so I don’t expect there to be any problems there, but it will be interesting to see if there’s any real compromise with the bigger jumps between gears and if I spin out on the descents; the crank is spec’ed with a 40T chainring up front, and an 11-42 cassette in the rear, so my biggest gear will be slightly taller than a 53/15 or 50/14.

I could swap out the HG freehub body for a SRAM XD driver, which would allow me to use a 10-42 or 10-46 cassette. A 40/10 combination would be the equivalent of a 52x13 and just slightly smaller than a 50/12 … but these days, I’m more concerned with getting up the hills than spinning out coming back down them.

I have no doubt that the 27.5 wheels and fat tires will be able to absorb any really crap roads I might encounter, and even some of the more well-used mountain bike trails in the area, as long as the descents aren’t too technical, but its performance as a road bike as well will be a question until I get the wheel & rotor situation fully resolved.

I do have one small niggle about the Hakka MX, but it's really minor. The Hakka comes built with thru-bolts requiring a hex wrench to remove, rather than a QR-style lever (like the DT Swiss RWS thru-axles) which you can use to remove them without having to break out tools. The thru-bolt for the ENVE CX fork supplied with the frame uses a 6mm hex key, but the rear wheel thru-bolt supplied with the frame requires a 5mm hex key. If you’re carrying a multi-tool, that’s really kind of a moot point, but if not, it is an extra hex key you do have to carry with you.

All in all, I think the Hakka MX will be a more versatile bike than the Stigmata for the adventure/bikepacking and gravel crowd, as well as a fantastic cyclocross race bike, but at this point I'm not yet convinced it will be quite as good on the road as the Stigmata. That said, it will be a heck of a lot of fun to ride, no matter what the road conditions are.

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