Put Something In The Box
Summer in the DMV (District/Maryland/Virginia) demands short pants. Unfortunately, those who can’t/won’t/don’t pay attention to the style changes in short pants are doomed to repeat themselves, year after year, ad nauseam. Clarendon #brosteez demands brown flippy-floppies accompanying the shapeless, flapping man-skirts known as cargo shorts. Granted, some of them do pay attention to the outside world. And while some of those choices are quite fashionable (although that salmon color is done), none of them are fit for riding a bike. What does one do if they live the #bikelife and need a proper commuter or messenger short that works like spandex but ain’t?
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I’ve been sitting on this one (heh) for awhile now. I wanted to make sure the first hit I had on the initial ride was for real and that I wouldn’t be bitched at for aligning myself with the hype machine. So, after more than a few months of saddle time I can declare that the Assos T.Équipe_S7 Bibshorts are the best I’ve yet ridden, addressing many of my personal issues (DM for personal issues*) with bibs.
*Second thought, don’t. Not what you’re thinking.
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Sometime laatste jaar, I got the “I’m getting fugging old and I need to toe the line at least once in my life but it ain’t gonna be no road race” pangs of future remorse deep in me gut. This happened after watching DCCX but it may have been the 4 or 5 Raisons I downed in unbelievably rapid succession.
I have parts. I have a lot of parts. Unfortunately, they’re all from laatste decade and they’re all 9-speed. I’ve been assured that should be fine by those in the know. I also have full cockpits and other randomness. What I’m missing, obviously, is a frame. That’s essentially what this post is about—what frame, that’s currently available to me (pro deals), should I go with?
Mind you, I fully intend to shoulder this beast and
run hobble through sand and mud and up stairs and runups, so it can’t be a fuggin’ pig. AND NO FUGGIN’ DISCS!!
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I distinctly remember a time where a base layer was nothing more than an afterthought, save a few exceptions. Yet now, for some unknown reason, all I can envision are golden hour images of meticulous pre-ride preparations followed by the flickering light of riders’ silhouettes dancing with the setting sun, unzipped jerseys filled by the wind…
Oh wait, now I remember why.
Leave it to Rapha to rewrite the marketing manual voor base layers. I take that back, they wrote the manual voor base layer marketing, as one never existed. The question is, does it live up to their self-induced hype?
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Considering this has been a long term test and there has been little washing of the testing subject, you might be able to smell these through the screen if you get close enough.
In my first review of a swrve product, I was blown away by how well it worked on-bike, especially when compared with regular clothing. The Softshell Trousers were my go to piece when I commuted during most of the winter. When I got to work and they were too hot, I stripped down and shod my legs with Cordura, stretchy CORDURA®. Now before you get all “WTF?!” on me, this ain’t yer messenger bag’s CORDURA® (yes, it’s CAPS LOCKED. Just like LYCRA®.). This fabric has much of the same wear-resistance characteristics but none of the hardcore chafing you might expect. No, it’s soffffft—seriously soft.
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If you’ve been in the industry for any length of time, you inevitably fall into a product overload meh-laise. Product releases devolve into an expected laugh fest of proprietary techno-babble. You handle $8K bikes with nearly the same indifference as you would a $1K starter. Where once there was joy there is only ennui.
And then something like the Rapha Grand Tour Shoes ($450USD) arrive and like a bidon full of water splashed upon the face on the blazing hot switchbacks of l’Alpe shocking you into focus, reminding you you’re tete de la course on the way to a win. Multiple layers of amazing await your discovery merely by opening the box. Once again, you’re enthralled by a product and you haven’t even turned a pedal in anger with them yet.
Shod upon the skulls of the unfortunately-kitted-like-the-Canadian-ice-skating-team Cofidis, le casque jaune du Mavic draws nearly as much attention as their striking shoes.
The Mavic Plasma SLR helmet ($220USD) uses de rigueur in-mold construction with a carbon fiber (fibre in the UK) skeleton typically found on models at this price point. What really strikes me about this helmet is its remarkably refined finish. It creates an aesthetic that’s a notch above most brands.
For more information on the Plasma, check it out on Mavic’s site.
I continue to be enchanted by these wheels. The ride of 2x, box section, 23mm rims is sumptuous—no other word for it. And it’s because of this I find myself constantly snapping shots at every chance.
To tell you the truth, I had no idea Catlike made glasses. I have always been focused on their schweet helmets. Yet after more than a few rides in ‘em, I assure you they exist.
The Catlike D’Lux glasses ($175USD) come with the usual 3 lenses (mine: mirror, smoke, clear) and a totally badass case. Catlike USA says this model is the only one available in the States. That makes me haz a sad since there are a few others that look pretty wicked.
Check out the D’Lux on Catlike’s site.
There’s always room for another black and white (and gray), merino, cycling jersey. I’ve had my eye on Café du Cycliste ever since Tati name dropped them with a “Aight Playa.” Or, was it a “Correct.”? Regardless, now I’m putting my puffy winterized body in one.
The Café du Cycliste Violette ($172USD) is a spring/summer merino jersey with a “Sur le Bitume” performance cut. It has a few extra and useful zippered pockets as well as the usual high end jersey features such as: iPod pocket and cord port, pump pocket, and reflectivity.
Since it’s nearly May here in #BikeDC, I’m hoping to get some more rides in this beauty once winter ends in June.