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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on November 17, 2018

4 5

I’ll echo what others have said about this tool: it’s not an absolute necessity, but it can be really useful.

For me it really shines when setting really old front derailleur cables that don’t have barrel adjusters. The tool allows finer control during initial tensioning than using a pair of pliers. Old pro wrenches will scoff and say it can be done without this tool. And they’re right. But any tool that makes a job easier means the job goes faster which means you’re out on the road/trail faster, too.

If you’re just getting into cabling your bike yourself, invest in a good set of cutters first. This tool can come later.

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macweelzwrote a review of on November 17, 2018

4 5

Previously, I had re-cabled internally routed bikes using all the tricks and hacks with only the occasional slip up that required “extra effort” accompanied by a cloud of choice words. I bought one of these thinking, “it’s an over-priced magnet but what the heck.” After having re-cabled several bikes it has a permanent place in my toolbox.

With all the different heads it’s easy to pull cables, housing, and hydraulic hoses through your frame. Tiny little holes at an angle are no longer a problem. Neither is extra material inside your tubes from less-than-perfect frame assembly. Routing a cable was previously a 5-50 minute job depending on the frame. Now it’s always a five minute job.

Do you absolutely need one of these? No. But it’s possible to do a root canal without Novocain, too. Save yourself the pain and pick one up. Why only four stars? Because it’s still an expensive magnet. But it’s a really useful magnet that deserves consideration for your toolbox if you regularly re-cable bikes with internal routing.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on June 23, 2018

5 5

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

For me, this is what a club jersey should fit like. Not every day is go! go! go! training, and on those days this jersey is great. If you want Assos' signature looks-like-it's-painted-on fit, this is not the jersey for you. But it's also no so baggy that I feel like a flag blowing in the wind and worrying about nipple-rash. Unlike other European brands or some of Assos' racing kit, do size down (or normal, depending on how you look at it). If you don't, then you WILL experience what some here have described about this jersey being way too baggy. At this price, it's the same price or less as lesser jerseys. Just think of this model as the gateway dru...jersey to all things Assos.

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macweelzwrote a review of on April 14, 2018

5 5

Fit: True to size

There are rumors of riders in the pro peloton who aren't sponsored by Assos replacing the chamois in their team kit with Assos chamois. After riding with these it's easy to understand how that might be true.

Many have raved about Assos’ famous “click fit” and I’ll add my voice to that group. After putting them on and getting everything situated (more on that in a second), the shorts feel a little weird while standing or walking, but disappeared once in the riding position as one would expect. Straps that seemed like they might be a touch too short slid right into place and didn’t bite into my shoulders as I stretched into my cockpit. These shorts have a nice racing and supportive fit, though if you’re one who likes boa constrictor compression around your guns you might consider going down a size provided the rest of the shorts’ dimensions allow it. The torso is cut a little lower which eliminates compression on your diaphragm and makes things easier when nature comes calling. Sizing seems to be right on, though some might even consider going down a size.

And what about that chamois? With their “golden gate” allowing for some free movement, you’ll want to be certain that it’s centered when you put the shorts on. This isn’t that big a deal and usually happens “automagically” but check anyway. Once things are situated you’ll be comfortable and still have the support you want without being crushed like a department store mannequin. All shorts should be like this. The chamois cover is soft and padding is sufficient for long hours in the saddle without giving you the diaper-butt look. I’m looking at you PI. And the ventilation is excellent. In fact, my saddle has a cutout and I’m assuming I benefit from the ventilation more than those without a cutout. This might be something to consider in the early spring or late fall, but so far it’s been fantastic and I’m sure will be a god-send during the blistering days of summer.

The Assos brand name aside, features like this don’t come cheap. Depending on the shorts you normally buy they’ll be 1.5-2x plus the cost. But if you can swing it, they’ll make it hard, if not impossible, to go back to your other shorts.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on November 21, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I service a small fleet of personal bikes and many of my friends' and neighbors' bikes, as well. Removing and replacing cassettes is a common thing for me. Why buy two tools to do one job—a lock ring tool and a wrench to remove EITHER a Shimano or Campy ring—when you can buy one tool that does two jobs—this tool that removes both a Shimano AND a Campy ring? (You'd need a chain whip or equivalent no matter what so I'm not counting that.)

It's lightweight, fits comfortably in hand, has enough leverage to do the job, and is compact enough to fit inside a travel toolbox or tool roll. The tolerances are great and I expect it to last.

This may be more expensive than a Park lockring tool and a cheap wrench. But good tools save you money in increased efficiency, and help prevent you from destroying your equipment...or the tool itself, for that matter.

Have I been drinking the Jeff Crombie/Abbey Tools kool-aid? Maybe. They may not build every tool for every job, but every tool they build is tight and bomb-proof, and this one is no exception.

This is the right tool for this job.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on July 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

These are fabulous wheels. The SES 4.5s make for a great all-around wheel set that can be used for both training and racing. A five year warranty helps put your mind at ease when you’re doing either.

The CK hubs engage quickly, are smooth, and roll forever. I haven't ridden them in the rain yet, but the textured brake surface slows me down noticeably faster than my other ENVE wheels without them. When you apply the brakes the textured surface makes it so they're not silent as a good set of alloy hoops, but the sound they make isn't the high-pitched squeal you get from poorly adjusted rim brakes or discs, for that matter. If you’re braking in the corners like a rookie, everyone will know it.

With the added depth they don't spin up quite as fast as my 3.4s but they're no slouches, either. And once up to speed, they're much easier to hold at speed, too.

One of the more remarkable things about this wheel set is how well they deal with crosswinds. I feel more pressure on my SES 3.4s (previous generation) than these; they’re very easy to control, though really light riders (<150 lbs.) may feel it more.

They are also very stiff. I keep my brake pads adjusted very close (1mm clearance) and the only time I get any rub is when I’m cranking around a corner. They’re silent in straight sprints and climbing out of the saddle.

Comfort comes as an added bonus to it’s aero qualities: you can run lower tire pressures while reaping the aero and lower rolling resistance rewards that come with a very wide internal track and external measurement.

If I had to nitpick, I do wish these were tubeless instead of clinchers, but that doesn’t lessen how they ride or how much I enjoy them.

As a whole, these are definitely not cheap wheels, but are a worthy upgrade to your bike and a whole lot of fun to ride.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on July 10, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

A solid set of wrenches for the home workshop, and compact enough to keep in a traveling toolkit. Leverage is good, and the ball ends make getting into awkward-to-reach places a lot easier. I regularly service a small fleet of bikes and they've held up well over the years. I've never rounded out the tool or a bolt and that includes fixing the neighbor kids' Walmart specials. They're not as "pro" as a set of PB Swiss tools, but they're perfect for the home mechanic, plus you're also not paying $100+ for them.

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macweelzwrote a review of on June 29, 2017

5 5

Not really anything I can add that hasn't been said. A pleasant, if somewhat mild (in a great way) gel that goes down easily and is easy on the stomach, to boot. No more cloyingly sweet gels that are more like glue when they get in your mouth and then having to drain half a bottle just to chase it down. A larger package is a small price to pay for the convenience and benefits of an isotonic gel. Is there room for improvement? Sure...a key lime pie flavor in the summer and maybe pumpkin spice in the winter would be nice. #firstworldproblems

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on June 9, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was always borrowing my buddy's tool, even though I previously owned a Park. I finally bought one of my own. I'm always amazed at how many new bikes right off the showroom floor or out of the shipment box need their hangers straightened. I use this tool on any new bike I work on and at least twice a year on each bike when doing deep maintenance.

This tool is lightweight, yet with enough heft and leverage needed for bringing hangers back into alignment. And while you can do the same thing with tools from Park, using the Abbey is a much smoother affair with far less messing with the feeler and no risk of bumping it out of place. The Abbey's feeler is held in place by twisting the top cap to lock it in place whereas the Park uses rubber washers which can be more easily bumped.

Will it last a lifetime? Probably, but I imagine a Park would, too, unless you're using it wrong. Is it expensive? Definitely. You always pay a premium for a well machined tool. Is it for everyone? Doubtful. But if you put a premium on good tools that are easy to use, accurate, and will last a long time, the Abbey HAG is definitely one to consider.

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macweelzwrote a review of on May 5, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

All the benefits of the Perfetto long-sleeved jersey minus the sleeves and with a little shorter tail. Great with a pair of arm warmers for shoulder season and when it's really cold, pair it with the Perfetto jersey. I did that and was comfortable down into the low 30s. Throw in a good base layer and I'm sure one could go lower still.

As far as sizing goes, it is part of Castelli's Rosso Corsa (racing) line so it's snug. Size up per usual. I purchased the same size as my Castelli jerseys. It fits snugly like it should but it appears it was cut to accommodate the Perfetto jersey so it works together, well—perfectly.

What keeps it from being a 5-star vest for me? I prefer three pockets instead of two, but don't let that stop you from buying one of these.

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macweelzwrote a review of on April 4, 2017

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

While they won't truly replace custom insoles, they do a great job of adding the right amount of support. You can choose between low, medium, and high arch support. They also help wick moisture away. But the part I love the most? I can use a medium in one shoe and a high in the other to accommodate my different arches.

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macweelzwrote a review of on March 13, 2017

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: Runs small

I bought a Gabba and really liked that. Then I got this.

Somehow it manages to provide the right mix of wind and water repellency, breathability, and insulation all in a single garment. Depending on the weather, a short or a long-sleeve baselayer will be the perfect accompaniment. I will often take a light wind-vest for really cool days, and on those brutally cold days, this jersey layers nicely under an aero jacket (see fit below). And I agree that Castelli's temperature recommendation is a bit pessimistic. You can go 5-10 deg F colder than what they recommend depending on your tolerance for cold.

This jersey is part of Castelli's Rosso Corsa line so it's a race fit. Translation: size up per usual for Castelli and it will still be close-fitting. As with the rest of this line, it might fit a bit tight across the chest when standing, but it is cut to fit you correctly when in the riding position. It really is better at eliminating that extra material at the chest and stomach when in the drops than any other race fit or otherwise jersey or jacket I own. This also makes it more comfortable when wearing the jersey under a jacket on the coldest of winter rides. The side vents work surprisingly well at adding a bit of ventilation and cooling when needed. And the closer fitting tail does a better job than a Gabba at keeping wheel spray out and a little extra heat in on those cold wet rides.

Pockets stretch "reasonably" well and do a good job of supporting what you stow back there, but because this is a race fit, don't plan on carrying the kitchen sink.

If I had to pick on anything (and I'm really stretching here) it's that the zipper pulls are a little small and there's no zipper garage. Both of those are personal taste issues and don't adversely affect the jersey.

The Perfetto is a truly versatile jersey great for cool and even cold dry and damp conditions. I like it so well I bought two more. At full price.

My new go-to cold weather jersey.

*** UPDATE ***

I was caught out in a rainstorm that turned to snow during my ride. Wearing only a long-sleeved Craft baselayer with a windstopper front under this jersey, I was cool but not cold on descents and when I stopped at traffic lights, and fine otherwise. The high collar didn't let any rain or snow in. After an hour in the rain/snow I was still dry and comfortable, though I was working pretty hard which kept my body temp up. At no time did I overheat and moisture management between the baselayer and the jersey was superb. *This* is why the Perfetto is better than the Gabba.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on December 27, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I have worn the Castelli Sorpassos for years and generally like them except for the coldest and windiest days. When I read about the Polares I was anxious to see if they would address the issues I had.

The Polare's front panels are considerably thicker and include a brushed lining. They're much warmer on very cold and windy days than any of Castelli's other offerings. And while not billed as being waterproof, they do a reasonable job if you get caught out in the sleet or snow. The added thickness reduces the stretch a little bit and seems to make bunching behind the knees a bit more of an issue. Shoulder straps are a comfortable stretchy mesh and stay in place without twisting up as they can on some of Castelli’s cheaper offerings. I don’t know how much they contribute to keeping the tights up since the compression in the legs seems to take care of that. And of course, the main part of any short or tight—the chamois—is well placed and comfortable even if it isn’t Castelli’s top-of-the-line chamois. Fit is typical for Italian brands. Size up to give yourself a bit more room.

My only complaint—and it’s a small one—are the ankles. These tights use a raw edge gripper with a zipper at the ankle for ease of entry. The closed diameter of the ankle is really tight compared to other products I’ve owned (other Castelli, Sportful, Pearl Izumi, Giordana, Garneau), and that’s even if I wear wool ankle socks so that there is no additional layer adding to the diameter of my ankle. It’s a bit annoying at first, because I can feel the zipper head pressing into my leg unless I situate it just right. I don’t believe it’s tight enough to reduce blood flow to my feet and make them cold and I eventually get over it after a few minutes on the bike. But still….

Personally, I still prefer the fit of the Sorpassos and if the WS versions had protection over the groin as well as the legs (take a hint Castelli; people have been requesting that for years) I would have bought those instead, especially since it has a better chamois. But these certainly fit the bill for a decent pair of tights good for temps down into the 25 deg - 45 deg F in a light snow or drizzle depending on your tolerance for cold.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on October 6, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I won't repeat what everyone has said about the shoes. I'm a lace convert and I won't go back if I can help it.

On sizing, I ride the road version of this shoe (Empire) and love it so I ordered the same size in the VR90 expecting all to be well. My particular pair seemed about 1/4 - 1/2 size too short. "Narrowness" seemed to be about the same as what I'm used to, but I had to go a half size up to get these to work, otherwise running in these shoes would have had my toes banging into the tops, especially when wearing winter socks.

Other than that, they're great shoes.

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macweelzwrote a review of on September 16, 2016

3 5

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

The bed mount rack is a stout (heavy) system and the track fits nicely into the bed tracks on my 2006 Tacoma. The included inserts allow you to use 15mm and 12mm thru axles as we well as a standard QR. RockyMounts indicates that if you use the QR your bike will not be secure even if you lock the rack. I might make the same argument for the thru axles.

The mount clamps down on your thru axle and locks with the provided key. But when locked, unless you really clamp down tightly on the axle (and I would argue even if you do, especially if you put a light coat of grease on your axle like I do), a determined thief could easily unscrew the axle and walk away with your prized steed.

I suppose the lock is like any other; locks only work on the honest and the incompetent.

If there is another way that it is supposed to be more secure it is not readily evident. I might try running a cable through there somehow, but then that adds to what should be a simple one-key (pun intended) solution.

Other than that, it's a convenient way to haul your bike if this style of transport is your thing.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on June 12, 2016

3 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

There's a lot to like about these bibs. The cut is comfortable when in the riding position and the straps are soft, breathable, and don't twist up as easily as Castelli straps do. It's also low enough in the front not to restrict your diaphragm and to make breaks a little easier. Sizing is mostly true to size for me. I wouldn't mind if there were a little more compression, but it's adequate. For reference I have a 34" waist and the medium fit me fine. I tried a large too, and would probably go for those if I wanted a more relaxed fit.

The chamois is something that does OK, but not my favorite. I was interested to see how memory foam does for absorbing pressure on long rides and I'm finding I don't love it. The chamois has two higher spots for the sit bones but it's almost cut like it has straight edges (as if cut with a cookie cutter) rather than tapering them down for multiple thicknesses like so many other shorts do today. Consequently, they don't always sit perfectly as you move around on the saddle. Additionally, it has a deep center channel that has minimal padding. This becomes a problem for me because I move around along the entire length of my saddle and when I sit up front, it's like there's almost no padding there. The fact that I ride in a fairly aggressive position also means the chamois sits too far back for my preference.

If you're one of those people that sits more upright and don't move around much on the saddle you may enjoy these. For me, they're just ok.

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macweelz

macweelzwrote a review of on May 29, 2016

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Packing for events during the shoulder season is one of the true tests of a bag's capacity and usefulness. I've packed it with three full sets of kit (cool, cold, and freezing), towels, spare dry clothing, a couple pairs of shoes, tools, nutrition and a helmet with no problem. The 3-sided opening on the top allows for easier packing and access than a single straight zip duffel would, and the water-resistant outer is a nice for when you need to set your bag down in damp or lightly snowing conditions.

The only thing that prevents me from giving it a 5-star rating are the straps. The backpack style straps come together to make the carrying strap if you want to use it as a traditional duffel and not a backpack. Where the "handles" come together isn't executed as well as some other brands. To be fair, this is typical of almost all bags of this style and is a small compromise to be expected when you buy a bag like this.

Can't speak to long-term durability but it seems like it will last.

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