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ENDURO GEAR WHAT’S THAT
With the advent of a new mountain bike discipline called Enduro racing, which is comprised of stages, gear companies are now on the push to design gear suited to the needs and demands of the racer.
That being said Enduro racing is a longer distance time race where you are timed between each stage. Now I have not attended an Enduro race yet, but I do want to see what the hoopla is all about.
Now being an old Motocrosser and dirt head, I grew up all things motorcycles and the motorcycle Enduro racing aspect is about the same concept, but with moto you had to come in at certain times to the stages, to early and you would have points taken away, to late no points, on time you gain points. You had a time chart mounted to your bike and had to calculate each stage, all this while traveling through nice country sides.
So this is Enduro

THE GEAR
So for 2014 ROYAL RACING has come out with a line of Enduro specific gear designed to help the rider to obtain the most out of his or her race, to do so ROYAL RACING has not only blended light weight material to aid with keeping the rider cool and dry by wicking away sweat, but also to keep the rider comfortable as well throughout each stage or a long ride.
At Interbike we talked briefly with Jason Schippers of ROYAL RACING about the new gear, so we gave him a call and asked him if ROYAL was up for a review on their cool gear and he was more than happy to let us try it out and let our readers know about it, but rather than just test one or two items why not make it the whole ensemble that the top Enduro rider would take into battle.
Now we have to let you know just how serious ROYAL RACING is about their Enduro line. There is like 19 Enduro specific items to choose from. These items include shorts, jerseys, jackets and gloves. ROYAL also has base membranes and socks. This is a lot of gear to choose when setting yourself up.
In the end we choose the Stage Jacket, Stage Jersey, and Signature Short, finishing it out with the Quantum Gloves.
Now that were decked out in what all the cool Enduro kids are wearing let’s take a look at it all in the secret test labs and trails we go to.
All the gear is loaded with features to keep you going to your next stage or trial juncture.

STAGE JACKET
When you look at the Stage Jacket it may appear to be heavy and not to breathable, but on the contrary this jacket adorns features that make it not only light weight, but breathable too.

Royal designed the Stage to take that chill off your body on a cold days ride. They have incorporated what they call DWR, technical fleece faced double weave Nylon fabric. It has a water repellent coating to shed that light drizzle, lightweight soft shell, and made to have a low pack size when it starts to heat up on your ride.
You will notice two long oversized zippers on the front of the Stage jacket. These act as pocket and vents to allow greater air flow forward, also strategically places to avoid your hydration pack straps.

On the back of the Stage you will also have a back vent that is also placed high above where your hydration pack will sit. Nice Lycra trimmed cuffs, waist, and neck.
One last cool little feature is the pocket you have on the inside of the Stage jacket for your IPod or other music device you may have. Now it may not be big enough to fit any of those new phones that are the size of a small TV though.

STAGE JERSEY

If you want to go Enduro racing this is the jersey to use. Right off the bat when you hold this jersey you can tell how light it feels. When most companies make jerseys to fit DH or XC, you won’t find anything in between with a feel like the Stage Jersey, this is what Royal set out to do by talking to some of the best Enduro racer in the world. What better way to do so then to hear, gather, and then sit down and come up with a great jersey for a new kind of racing discipline.
First they started with the fit, not to loose like DH and not too tight like XC with a somewhat slim fit. Next you need that jersey to breathe like crazy. Two large mesh panels on the sides to bring in the air, but that’s not all accompany that with T-DOT fabric, which is an active moisture body fabric designed to keep you dry and cool. Oh and speaking of more cooling, Royal put a front neck zipper which gives you the option to allow for more cooling.
Then finish this up with push up Lycra edged cuffs. “Way to go!!”

SIGNATURE SHORTS

What Royal did with their shorts was providing what they call a Pro level short with trail riding fit. I have to agree with this. The fit was great on the Signature shorts. One of the key features on the Signature Shorts is the DWR coating that is used on the Stage Jacket. This is great when riding in a light rain or early morning mist. You have strategically place stretch panels to aid in overall comfort, dual hook and loop waist adjusters, water proof stash pocket for that important stuff, and a detachable breathable inner pant liner that hooks to the Signature shorts with small liner tabs.
The pockets on the thigh also double as a vent if you have nothing to put in them, you will also see the drain tab on the bottom of the pocket area.


With the DWR coating, moister properties, and this matting of lightweight materials make for an excellent cool and dry short.

QUANTUM GLOVES
The Quantum glove is made to breath, be lightweight, and fit. Again off the bat these qualities are noticed. This a perfect glove to use on those hot days as well as a nice fall season ride.

The feature Royal incorporates is .75mm AX perforated stretch palm that is made of one piece of material. This allows your palm to breathe and let heat out; on the back side of the hand what looks like micro diamond pockets on the mesh panel is Technically Knitted Mesh. What I like about this, is how well the air flows through the back panel, which is great on a hot day when you want to keep your hands cool.
Lycra between the fingers, along with seamless finger tips and a small cuff area with expanded V panel assure a well locked on glove to your hand. Add a Micro Fiber wipe.
Now you have one nice Enduro glove.

OVERALL RIDE FEEL
Now I can’t claim that I have done an Enduro race in the gear that Royal has provided for us, so to perform a proper test I would do planed point to point type long rides to simulate an Enduro race so to speak. I had to get my old body temp up to sweat so we can see how all the material would work under pressure, as well as go out in the cold to see if it kept me warm too.
Seeing we don’t have too many rainy days here to test the DWR coating or cold days here in SoCal to give the Stage Jacket a hardcore test, we had to take what we could get and the Stage Jacket kept me more than warm enough. When I needed to cool off the large front vent/pockets when open were a god send to have and with my hydration bag on the straps were not in the way of the vent/pockets. The internal device pocket worked great for my IPod. The Stage jacket felt light and was functional throughout any ride.
On the hot days the Stage jersey was complete awesomeness due to the T-Dot fabric and the great vented panels. This was a great feeling jersey to wear while on the move. It would wick the sweat away and provide excellent cooling. The semi slim fit gave this jersey a better feel than a tight fitting XC jersey and far nicer than a looser fit DH jersey. The name of the game here was “COOLING” and the Stage jersey did just that.
The Signature shorts were just as good when it came to fit and function. The nice stretch panels and vent panels on the back of the shorts are well thought out for comfort on those long rides, excellent front mid upper vent pockets for extra cooling when needed were perfect. The stash pocket was great for a phone, keys, or that beer money you may need at the end of the ride. The padded liner that comes with the Signature shorts was super breathable and had a good padded butt area to keep you going.
All the waist snaps and waist adjusters held in place at all times with no issues.
Last on the list are the Quantum gloves. Now I don’t want to sell these gloves short by no means, but when it comes to my hands I want protection, these gloves feel so light on the hands it just feels weird to have them on. I’m used to a glove with knuckle, finger, and palm protection being a DH racer.
This is the current trend today, thinner, lighter, and a skin hugging fit, so when you really look at the Quantum gloves and how they look and feel on the hand and how they’re made to be, I get it.
The only issue I had with the gloves (this is not a design flaw, but my mistake) was fit. I wear a medium normally and this is what I asked for, so the glove were a little loose, so make sure you try on a set first to really make them feel great on the hand.
I now get why glove are being made in this fashion. I loved the way they feel. The thinner material gives you better feel to the bike. The back Technically Knitted Mesh panel offers some of the best breath-ability of any glove I have felt so far, the perforated stretch palm lets the hand breathe as well when hot to allow heat to dissipate from the palm, finger structure and feel was also top notch.

FINAL THOUGHTS
After putting in the miles with all of Royal Racing’s newest Enduro gear you can see that the home work was done on all of these products. When you listen to feedback and do the research this becomes a great key aspect to a company that wants to do it right for that Enduro racer and weekend warrior.
My hat is off to Royal Racing for thinking it through. They made it hard to really find anything wrong with any of the products we tested.
Prices for this cool gear is, Stage Jacket $109.95, Stage Jersey $59.95, Signature Shorts $119.95, and the Quantum Gloves $34.95.

We want to say thanks to Jason Schippers from Royal Racing for providing us all the great gear. You can go to royalracing.com or ask your local bike dealer for Royal Racing gear.

 

Review Disclaimer

2013 Trek Fuel EX7 Review by Jerry Landrum

Posted by RL Policar On May - 13 - 2014

Long time reader Jerry Landrum had asked us if he could submit a Guest Review of his 2013 Trek Fuel EX7, below you’ll get a chance to read all his findings.

This full suspension bike is a much improved ride over other similar bikes that I’ve ridden. I had tested the Giant Anthem and the Specialized Camber 29er both of those bikes were full suspension as well. Being the Specialized Camber was a 29er I really can’t do justice in the comparison to my 26in Trek Fuel ex7. The Giant Anthem during testing just felt cheap and clunky the shifting was rather weak and clumsy.

When I got on the Fuel and felt the smooth ride, fluid shifting and the Trek specific DRCV. Sitting on this bike at first was like the feeling you get sitting in a new car just said to me “this is your next bike”. The full floating rear suspension makes almost any trail feel nice and smooth; I can roll over rocks and roots without getting too off balance. The Shimano components go great to compliment this bike for its price point. They do not include Shimano brakes instead they went with Avid Elixir 3 hydraulic brakes. For me these work just fine, after about 25 miles of trail riding you begin to hear noises from the suspension and internal parts almost make it sound like a mystery where it comes from, but as advanced as this bike is breaking in, sounds are normal.
Trek Fuel EX7
The TLR wheels by Bontrager roll very fast and smooth on any surface. I was a bit skeptical about the Bontrager xr3 expert tires as in the past they have been less than dependable. However, Trek recruited a new tire designer and I can say these tires have impressed me for sure they will and can like most tires wash out from under you under various conditions but so far for me this has only
happened once within about the first 20-30 miles of riding it. I was already set on replacing them before giving them their fair chance. I am happy to have them on this bike, not saying I won’t replace them later but for now they are great.
Trek fuel ex7 review
The CTD (Climb/Trail/Descend) option for this bike which is included is truly amazing once you get it dialed in just right; Fox suspension makes this great the only complaint I have is not being able to switch between them via cockpit shifter. I have seen them on other bikes, but this option was not on the available for my Trek…yet. As far as the wheel size issue debate this model year was the final that they will make the ex7 in a 26er, now it is a 29er so I was able to get the last 26er Trek will make for the Fuel ex7.

Overall this bike is not for those looking for less than stellar performance for the price you get an amazing bike that you can add a few upgrades to down the road to make it even better while not having to feel like a new bike is needed. I would recommend this bike to anyone who has a budget for their next ride. For those looking to buy this one it is likely reduced right now down from full price of about $2599 to around $1999.


Review Disclaimer

Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit: Review

Posted by RL Policar On April - 28 - 2014

Not too long ago I posted a photo of the new Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit that we received for testing. Since I’m a huge fan of Ghetto Tubeless, this kit caught my attention because it basically takes the same ideas as the Ghetto Tubeless, but it packaged up all in one bundle. It comes with all the things you need to go tubeless. From the Slime Sealant, Gorilla Tape, Valve Stems, CO2 cartridges levers and even a measuring cup.

 

Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit

Taping up the rim with the Gorilla Tape included in the kit.

 

I used a tire lever to tuck in the tape and make sure I had a good seal. One thing you have to do is start from the valve hole and finish about 5-8″ after it. Then just use a razor to cut out the valve hole and install the stem.

Here’s the rim all taped and ready to go with the valve stem installed (not shown)

Valve stem installed.

I followed the directions on the amount of Slime to use per tire and proceeded to fill in the casing with the green goo. What’s interesting about the Slime is that it’s very slick but not too sticky. Unlike Stan’s, there’s no small particles floating inside the mixture.

Though the packaging stated “Tubeless Ready” I went with what I thought most people would be doing with this kit, converting their regular non-ust tires to go tubeless. Some may call it Ghetto Tubeless, I call it budget tubeless. Anyhow on the left you sea a GEAX AKA 29 (in which I know works for ghetto tubeless-previous article) and the other is a Kenda Karma. Notice the green Slime leaking out of the Kenda? Well that never sealed.

In fact the Slime sealant it self just wasn’t that great in sealing either tire. I tried to let it set up and seal in a span of a few days. Basically I’d air it up, shake the wheel around to get the Slime sloshed around towards the leaks, but it just wouldn’t hold. I’ve done tubeless before with Stan’s and usually it’s a pretty easy thing to do. But with the Slime sealant just didn’t work.

Here’s how bad it got. After about 4 days of trying to get my tires to seal, I gave up and dumped out the Slime and replaced it with Stan’s. Guess what, that held. It worked so well that I’m currently running Stan’s sealant with the Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit.

Now I can’t certainly say that this kit is a flop. Actually it’s pretty clever to package up all the things you need to convert to tubeless, but it’s that Slime Sealant that makes this kit pointless. The retail for this kit averages to $50. But what if we do the math and create our own kit, could it be cheaper? Keep in mind that the kit comes with C02 cartridges, and tire levers.  However, if you were to get the basic things you need to go tubeless, then it’s going to be way cheaper.

Stan’s Sealant: $15

DT Swiss Tubeless Valves:$15 ( for a set)

1″ Gorilla Tape: $4

Total of $34.00

Ghetto Tubeless is even cheaper

2, 20″ presta valve tubes: $12

Stan’s Sealant: $15

Total of: $27.00

So take it for what it’s worth, the Slime Sealant didn’t work for our test, but the kit is a great idea. If you decided to go with the Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready kit, go ahead and get a bottle of Stan’s Sealant with it.

FTC Disclaimer

Happy Valentines Day. For get the flowers, get her Carbon!

Posted by RL Policar On February - 14 - 2014

If you’re lucky like me you’ve got a wife who is into riding. For the most part Lady P nerds out on bikes just as much as I do. But for about the last 6 months, she’s been wanting carbon bike. Why? Well she likes how they look. She loves the carbon weaving and how pretty the frames are. So this year I surprised her with a new Titus Rockstar Carbon frame. Don’t think I got this thing for free, I actually paid for this bike. The fact that I paid for it with my own money and not tapping into our regular finances, makes this gift more thoughtful in her eyes.

I had actually been checking out this frame for quite some time for her and I was talking to El Guapo of Titus Cycles in Portland to get some advice. He answered all my questions, even on the weekend and when it was 10 o’clock in the evening. Now that’s customer service! After mulling it over, I finally bit the bullet and placed the order online.

The process was pretty painless. I placed the order Wednesday and by lunch time on Monday, UPS dropped off the frame. At this time I hadn’t told Lady P what I got her, but since both don’t really like Valentines Day, I went ahead and gave her the frame later that evening. She was pretty surprised to see the frame and when I told her that it was Carbon, she got even more excited.

I took some glamour shots of the frame to show you how sexy this bike is going to be. Check it out!

Titus Rockstar Carbon

I simply love the lines on this frame. Shapely+Curvy=Sexy Bike

Now that’s one sexy frame!

 

I can’t get over how pretty this frame his…that gloss. Superb!

I forgot to mention that this frame has internally routed cables. In fact the rear brake and front derailleur cable goes into the same routing. So that means I’ll have to cut her brake line, feed it, then re-install it. I love the idea of internal cables, makes for a cleaner looking bike.

I’m really looking forward to this build. I’m still waiting on a few parts to come in before I start working on it. But I figured once I have everything, it should only take about 1-2 to get all the parts on and have it dialed in.

 

 

We’ve got a Fatty for you!

Posted by RL Policar On February - 6 - 2014

Actually this Fatty isn’t what you’re thinking, it’s the On-One Fatty available at PlanetX. Ghost Rider, our Managing Editor on our sister site, BikeCommuters.com is putting this Fatty through the snowy paces for a review. We Voluntold Ghost Rider for this review because of the obvious…snow. He’s at our Dayton, Ohio facility to see what all the hoopla is all about with these fatties.

On-One Fatty being tested

Check out the small rooster tail being kicked up from the rear tire. From what GR tells us, under the 4″ of  powder, there’s a few inches of ice that even the big fat tires can’t seem to break through.

BRAAAP!

Apparently you can pretty much do anything with these bikes despite the larger tires.

Stay tuned as GR does more testing on this fun bike!

 

Nashbar Bee’s Knees Review

Posted by Moe Ramirez On February - 3 - 2014

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While the rest of the country freezes their butt off, So Cal mountain bikers are enjoying quite a warm winter. Warm winter=more riding! To up the winter fun factor, I’ve been riding Nashbar’s Bee’s Knees 650b single speed fully rigid bicycle.

Calling this bike a “beginner entry level” bike would be a mistake, the $499.00 may say otherwise but I would not recommend this bike to a person who’s just entering the sport. Why? First of all, the bike needs to be re-geared to be more “knee” friendly for mountain biking, the 32X18 gearing seems to be working fine for most people that have ridden the bike. Another reason why this bike would appeal to a more seasoned rider is that this bike is quite customizable and adding middle of the line parts that maybe gathering dust from a previous upgrade would be an decent upgrade to this bike.

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One look at the spec sheet and it easy to see that this bike comes with mostly no-name parts such the saddle, seatpost, bars and the cranks. These parts do attribute to the heaviness of the bicycle. However, it is nice to see that the bike does come with Avid mechanical brakes and Kenda Nevegal tires.

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What is the appeal of this bike? It’s a singlespeed 650b bike! As I mentioned on my first impression, I love Singlespeed bikes for their simplicity and how challenging they can be to ride.

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How does it ride? Having had experience with both 26″ and 29″ singlespeed bikes, the 650b has blown me away. The bike is nimble, the steering does not feel heavy like a 29er, the lower center of gravity on the 650b does not feel that you are riding too high and once you get rolling, the momentum that 29ers have over a 26er is also present on a 650b bicycle. The choice of tires on this bike help out a lot, Nevegals are a superb all-around tire and that helps the bicycle track with easiness in all kinds of terrain.

beesnightriding

The Bee’s Knees is no racing machine by any means, but the fun factor of this bike scores highly on my scale. I really like riding this bike even though it can beat me up sometimes and it also has proven to be very reliable with zero problems and zero chain drops. Another great reason to ride a singlespeed bicycle is that it increases one’s stamina and physical condition and it is great for losing the weight you gathered during the holiday season.

If you are wanting an inexpensive singlespeed with 650b tires, you should really consider the Bee’s Knees, it surpassed my expectations.

Review Disclaimer

Beer Review: Samuel Adams Winter Favorites

Posted by Moe Ramirez On December - 23 - 2013

We used to do beer reviews a while back by beer connoisseurs, well they are gone now so you are stuck with me. Every year around the holiday season I look forward to Sam Adam’s winter favorites; a collection of seasonal beers that vary from ales to porters to IPAs.

Since I’m no beer expert, I’m going to tell you which beer I liked and then I’m going to try my best to describe each beer at a “high level” (New term I learned in management meetings).

The first beer I had was the Winter Lager. Nice crisp beer with a little bitter aftertaste. I wasn’t really impressed with the flavor nor the aroma so I would rate this one a 6 out of 10 on the Buzz meter.

Second beer I tried was the White Christmas. This beer I liked since I’m a fan of wheat beers, the flavor reminded me a lot of Blue Moon, but it didn’t have that weird bitter aftertaste of Blue Moon. Definitely a beer that I would buy in 12 packs; 9 out of 10 on the Buzz Meter.

“Cinnamon, ginger and orange peel”, that is what the Old Fezziwig Ale bottle read at the bottom. I thought that this beer was going to smell a lot like cinnamon, but one whiff of this beer and I picked up the orange peel smell. This beer tasted quite good, a little on the exotic side and the orange peel aftertaste was quite palatable. 9 out of 10 on the Buzz meter.

Stouts, bocks and porters are my favorite beers of this season, I was quite disappointed that this sampler did not include any porters but the inclusion of a Cherry Chocolate Bock really caught my attention. I’ve tasted cherry beers from Sam Adams before and they were not my style, so I proceeded with caution. One quick smell of this beer and I was able to smell the cherry, the chocolate and hints of coffee… I had a drink of this beer and I was very pleasantly surprised that the cherry flavor was not over powering. If you are a fan of cherry fountain drinks, this beer is for you. I really enjoyed the chocolate taste of this Bock, not as bitter as a stout and the bitter-sweet aftertaste left me yearning for more. 10 out 10 on the buzz meter!

The last beer of the winter pack was the Juniper IPA. I’m not an IPA person, I just don’t like their bitterness but I approached this IPA with an open mind. First thing I did was do the smell test, eh.. not bad, then I took a swig out of the glass; great “fizzy” and refreshing taste… until the bitter aftertaste hit my taste buds and annihilated them and I was quickly reminded why I don’t like IPAs. So what did I do with the rest of the beer? I chugged it of course! I wasn’t going to let it go to waste! Kind of hard to rate this beer on the buzz meter since I don’t like IPAs but since I had worse, I would rate it a 6 out of 10 on the buzz meter.

So what happened to the Boston Lager review? Well, the Boston Lager is not really a select “Winter beer”, it is readily available and I think it is a great beer on tap.

If you happen to be the type of person who enjoys most types of beer, you should give this winter pack a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Black Tiger Jerky Review

Posted by RL Policar On December - 19 - 2013

In this review we’ll be talking about some delicious products from Black Tiger Jerky. If you recall, they sponsored our Interbike 2013 coverage. During that time, the kind folks of Black Tiger Jerky sent us a care package so we can test out the jerky and give our thoughts about them. Here’s a spoiler alert, Black Tiger Jerky is pretty darn good! But for the sake of having a review, let’s get started on the review shall we?

First up would be The Legend Spicy. Here’s the ingredients: Beef, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, spice, lime juice, liquid smoke, vinegar, celery salt, sea salt. Contains: soy.
Beef was easy to tear, you can definitely taste some sweetness at first, then the heat kicks in later. But it’s not an overwhelming heat, just enough to acknowledge that your mouth is hot. Great texture, full of flavor and very easy to chew. The aroma is terrific! The Legend Spicy would actually be paired well with a nice cold beer.
The legend spicy

Next up is Jungle Spice. Oooh sounds all exotic and stuff. This may actually have been discontinued since I don’t see it on their website. It’s too bad they did because it’s really GOOD! It has a some heat to it but you’re greeted by sweet overtones. Easy to tear and chew. If the Legend Spicy is too hot for you, then you would have liked the Jungle Spice. It’s made up with barbecue sauce, lime juice, sea salt as well as other ingredients that make this jerky flavor one of my favorites.
jungle spice

Want a healthier alternative? How about some Turkey Jerky? This one is the Teriyaki Honey Spice. This one actually has 72 calories per 1oz serving, while the beef version has up to 112 calories per serving. One of the ingredients in the Teriyaki Honey is pineapple. That’s actually the first thing I tasted when I bit in to the jerky. The flavor is so unique and pleasant. While most teriyaki flavored jerky has an overwhelming soy sauce flavor, this one doesn’t. It’s really light and tasty!
teriyaki honey turkey jerky

Island BBQ is another one I don’t currently see on their website. Dude, if you like Korean BBQ, then you’ll like this! I swear, it has that same flavor but in jerky form. Nice and sweet with just a hint of heat. Again, it’s easy to tear and chew.
Island bbq

Last but certainly not least, Whiskey Jerky. You know, I have to hand it to the guys at Black Tiger Jerky, this flavor is pretty darn yummy of you ask me. Check this out, in their ingredients, it listed ANCHOVIES as one of the items used. Well shoot, if they’re using fish as well as things like Worcestershire sauce and tamarind extract to get this jerky to taste as good as it does, then I would have to give them a high five! Here’s the best part…ready for this? The Whiskey Jerky actually has whiskey in the ingredients! So it’s not just a name, but its actually used in it.
whiskey jerky

So there you have it, 5 different flavors of beef jerky provided to us by Black Tiger Jerky. They even offer Venison, Ahi Tuna and Buffalo Jerky. I’m really impressed with the variety that Black Tiger Jerky offers. Not only are they delicious, but the cuts of meats they use are fantastic. There have been times where I’ve purchased jerky and they’re so hard to chew because the pieces have ligaments or connective tissue in them. But you don’t get that with Black Tiger. They took the time to make sure the cuts of meats they are using are premium and offer the best quality in texture, flavor and in the ability to tear pieces off.

A 3oz bag of Black Tiger Jerky sells for $8. They offer free shipping on all orders. $8 may seem more than what you’d normally pay for at the store for jerky. But one thing they do offer is variety in the types of meats as well as flavors, give them a shot.
Our Review Disclaimer

Nashbar’s Bee’s Knees first impression

Posted by Moe Ramirez On November - 30 - 2013

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When my buddy RL asked me if I wanted to do a review of a 650b Singlespeed rigid mountain bike I quickly jumped at the opportunity. Singlespeed bikes have always been dear to my heart, I just love their simplicity; no adjusting derailleurs, forks, or rear shocks. I have owned and ridden singlespeed bicycles with both 26 and 29 inch tires and from what I remembered, those bikes kicked my butt but were super fun to ride.

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When I first saw this bike, I was expecting something “less” of a bike since it sells for $499, but I was pleased to see that it comes with Avid disc brakes and my favorite all-around tires Kenda Nevegals. I also loved the “British Racing” green paint scheme, the white part is a little odd but it maybe a canvas for some personal stickers!

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The first item of business was to make the Bee’s Knees more “knee” friendly, we swapped the stock 38×16 drivetrain to a 32X18 combination. This setup is perfect for the World Famous Fullerton Loop which consists of mostly flat terrain with a few steep short uphills.

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Our choice of gearing made riding this bike quite fun. I was going a at decent clip on the straights, I was spinning hard but not to the point of “spinning out”. The full rigid setup made climbing so much easier than on my full suspension 29er, I just had to make sure that I had enough momentum before I hit the climbs. Yes, the ride was a little rough on the downhills, but shifting my body towards the rear and relaxing my arms made it tolerable. As as side note, I hit 21 mph on the longest downhill where I would normally hit 24 mph on my FS.

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So what are my thoughts of a 650B? I like it… a lot… Steering is quicker, climbing is easier and that famous “29er momentum” is still there. And how about the Bee’s Knees? I dig this bike, it was really fun to ride and the price is quite affordable. Stay tuned for the full review, I will be riding the Bee’s knees during my weekly night rides and hopefully take it to a trail where I can really abuse it.

For specs and price information click on this link: http://www.nashbar.com/bikes/Product_10053_10052_544782_-1

Vulcan Premium Multi Sport Helmet Review

Posted by RL Policar On July - 29 - 2013

A few months ago we received a set of helmets to review from LeatherUp.com. They’re typically known for their motorcycle accessories, but looks like they’re branching out into the bicycle helmet market.

Here’s how they describe the Vulcan helmet:

Vulcan Premium Multi Sport HelmetThe Multi Sports Safety Bicycle Helmet provides protection, whether on or off the road. This helmet features a lightweight and durable outer shell, multiple air vents, removable padding and an adjustable quick-release retention system.

  • Protection and Ventilation:The outershell allows the helmet to be rated one of the lightest helmets while providing excellent durability and integrity. The multiple vents with inner air channels draw the air through the helmet and over the brow for maximum cooling.
  • Pad Fitting:With the proper fit, the helmet will not move back and forth or side to side while fastened. If the helmet does not fit with installed pads, simply remove them and install a different size pad. To insure the proper fit, mix and match the pad thickness to best conform to your head shape.
  • Retention System:This Multi- Sport Safety Helmet uses a quick-release buckle that is simple and can be buckled without changing the adjustment. The straps must be snugly and evenly tensioned. Place the helmet firmly on your head and fasten the buckle.
  • Available sizes:Small/Medium (55-58cm)
    Medium/Large (58-61cm)

The current price for the Vulcan helmet ranges from $24.95-$29.95, depending on the color you want. They sent us a blue and pink, his and hers set.

In fact here’s a shot of LadyP and yours truly wearing the Vulcan helmets.

Pink and Blue Vulcan Helmet by LeatherUp.com

The Vulcan does have a good number of vents, 20 total. It comes with a ratcheting adjuster in the rear so you can custom fit it to your head. It also has a padded chin strap for added comfort.

Plenty of rear vents.

Inside view of the Vulcan.

Let’s talk about the fit of the Vulcan helmet. The blue Vulcan I had was a Med/Large. The Pink is a Small/Med. The fit wasn’t as great as I would have hoped. For starters I was constantly having to adjust the chin strap. Not sure if it just kept getting lose on its own or if the helmet would shift on me while riding, which meant I had to readjust it because of the change. This was the complaint that LadyP and I both had on our helmets. There was another issue I had with the blue helmet’s rear ratchet tension dial, it popped out a few times. I was able to pop it back in and it seemed to work after that.

What’s interesting about the Vulcan helmets, they fit kinda big. The Med/Large seemed a bit big even for my fat head. LadyP mentioned the same thing with the pink Small/Med helmet. In fact the smaller pink helmet actually fit my head just fine. Here’s proof, I raced with it because it matched my tuxedo jersey and gloves.

All in all, the Vulcan is an OK helmet. I say OK because the fit just wasn’t right. LadyP and I have owned helmets that cost anywhere from $19-$250. No matter the price, it all comes down to fit and ventilation. Though the Vulcan gets great air flow going through it, and works great for super hot days. I also liked how I was able to wear a bandana underneath. But it’s down fall is the fit, often times you’d see us adjusting the helmets while riding or during our rest stops. Then again the price of $24.95-$29.95 is rather appealing and it would make for a good spare helmet to have around in the event your friend needs one or if you forgot yours.

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