Since the weather became nice enough to start using tubular wheels again, the eternal frustration with valve extenders has become yet again apparent. Adding to the frustration is the fact that I'm a devout user of the Lezyne Alloy Floor Drive pump (which screws on to both presta and schrader valve stems) and that just doesn't work with a non-threaded valve extender.
And let's face it…that old Park floor pump I have in the garage is a piece of junk at best.
Enter the machined aluminum, laser etched beauty that is the Lezyne alloy 70mm valve extender. With a presta threaded top on it, wrench flats to ensure proper torque on the stock valve and a little baggie (I do mean little, it almost requires tweezers to open and I have fairly thin fingers) full of o-rings to make a perfect airtight seal, these things are more than worth the fifteen bucks that I paid for them.
As well as looking awesome, they function extremely well (at least as well as a piece as simple as a valve extender can.) They threaded presta cap means you can use the awesome screw on Lezyne pump or you can use any standard pump you want, making life infinitely easier.
The biggest downside to these extenders is that they screw onto the top of the existing valve stem and merely provide a conduit for air to get from the pump head to the valve. I'd prefer if the extender actually moved the valve parts out to the end of the valve extender, much like the ENVE extenders do. The issue with these extenders is simply that in order to access the valve (to open or close it, or to remove it to spray in Stans or anything similar) you have to remove the valve extender, and it may still be impossible to access the valve stem anyway (otherwise you wouldn't be using extenders.) That aside, I've had no issues with them, especially as they relate to the Lezyne Floor Drive pump.
The only other thing one could wish for was stealth black with the sweet laser etched "Lezyne" logo on it. But the polished silver certainly looks the part.
As I reported back in December, I had an issue with my Quarq Cinqo Saturn unit. Specifically, I had ridden in wet conditions, and the unit died shortly thereafter. On that occasion, Quarq replaced the unit, however with it being around the holidays, turnaround was about 10 days. I received a new electronics pod on the original spider, along with the explanation that "there was a run of bad pods, and this was probably one of them." I was told that there shouldn't be any more issues with my Cinqo. Fair enough, back to training and all was right in my world.
Fast forward to February, 2013. After a training ride for Battenkill (in other words, pissing rain, lots of dirt roads and mud, and overall shitty weather) the magic stopped a second time, and my Cinqo was once again dead. Off to South Dakota with it again, this time overnight, only to be replaced again. I had a brand new electronics pod AND spider in hand in 4 days, I was told that there wouldn't be another problem with it, and again all was right in my world.
Or should I say it was until Friday, April 12th.
Continue reading “Quarq Warranty Experience (Part Deux)” »
It all starts with some spy photos: blacked out parts, blurry shots of cyclocross races, SRAM team guys with suspicious shift levers and cranksets. Then SRAM made a splash early last year by redesigning their flagship group and releasing it just prior to the spring classics. They have marketed their new group as the best mechanical group on the market, making waves about Boonen winning Flanders and Roubaix on the new gear and have Hammered the media with their successes.
But how is it, really?
Some of you may have gathered that I'm something of a SRAM fanboy, and having ridden SRAM for the past 5 years (starting with the old original Force which is still kicking on my cyclocross bike) I wanted to do this methodically, piece by piece. I've started with the shifters, as they're the most important part of the group (in my opinion) and will compare them to the old model Red shifters that they have replaced.
Continue reading “Review: SRAM Red Shifters” »
On this blog, I've made it a habit to discuss those companies that have gone the extra mile in producing a quality product and/or support that product above and beyond with exceptional customer service.
VeloInk is definitely one of these companies.
My experience with VeloInk started way back in December with a quick question on designing a custom label using my coaching company logo as well as my name because 1) it's "pro" to have your name on the top tube (yeah, right…) and 2) there's no better free advertising than plaster your logo onto the bike and then thrash people with it. My initial inquiry was quickly dealt with by Chris, who became my contact throughout the process. Unfortunately, the holidays and various work commitments kept putting the decals on the back burner, but every time I emailed Chris to kickstart the process, he was eager to work with me.
Those of you who are regular readers know that I'm pretty particular about details, and Chris compliments this perfectly: his attention to every detail of my (extremely small, in hindsight) order gave me the "warm and fuzzy" feeling we so often search for when dealing with vendors. I honestly felt that Chris really cared about each and every facet of my order, and I've heard the same from everyone else that I've dealt with.
The quality of the decals I ordered was top notch, the price was fantastic and the service was second to none.
I'd highly recommend Chris and VeloInk to anyone looking to personalize their machine with their name or company logo.
Tires are a very personal thing, and changing them can represent a significant investment in the unknown. That being said, last year I published my first impressions on the Michelin Pro Race 4 SC tires that I picked up at Velofest. I was hesitant at the time: I was replacing an extremely durable, nice riding set of Vittoria Rubino Pro IIIs and had poor luck with Michelins in the past. Specifically, the Pro Race 3s that I used had an extremely short lifespan and were somewhat puncture prone. I was hoping that the Pro4s had rectified this problem. Much to my surprise, the Pro 4s gave a very favorable first impression, and were extremely solid during the first 250 miles that comprised my first impression.
Having spent the rest of the season on them it's time for my final thoughts on their performance, their value and make my recommendation.
Continue reading “Michelin Pro 4 Race Service Course Final Thoughts” »