Thursday, December 13, 2007

Two Reviews for the Price of One:

SO I have two items I have had some recent experience with. One was surprising and one not so much. First the review of the not so surprising item.

Craft Winter Bib Knicker

I admit it, I have a thing for bibs. Whether they be shorts, tights or knickers I prefer they be in the bibs style. I blame this on my friend Fish. Not that he forced me to buy my first set or anything. It is just that he wore them most of the time. I eventually bought a set and I havently looked back. I like how they stay in place over just regular spandex shorts. They get hung up less on the back of my saddle. Anyway, I have had lots of different bibs and lots of brands. My newest set of bibs are these Craft Winter Bib Knickers. They rock. They keep me pretty warm, but not as warm as a full tight obviously. Even with a little bit of leg showing I haven't gotten too cold. Cool, yes, but not cold. Unless it is near freezing, I don't think I need a full tight. There is a brushed inside layer which feels nice. The outside is fairly wind proof, but not totally. Not really rainproof either, but that is ok. For mostly dry, cold days these kinckers are great. Very comfortable. The pad is thick in all of the right places. The material is very form fitting. I have some Adidas bib Kinckers and they are just way too elastic. The material in the Craft bib also keeps heat in much better than my other bibs. I do believe that I will be taking back the old Adidas bibs to my local Performance Bike Shop, where I got them. They suck comparatively to these Craft bib knickers. Craft stuff is a bit spendy but worth it. I have a lot of their insulating jerseys. They are musts for cross season and thru the winter. I give this Bib Knicker a solid A grade.

Cane Creek Volos XL Wheelset

Another admission here. I was going to sell these wheels when they came with my Fuji CF2. They are heavy for high end wheels--around 1800 grams. So really, they can't be all that highend--even if they come with a bike that retails for over $3000. My other wheels I have owned recently have weighed much less. I was going to use them this season for cross, but I never flatted and never needed them. So they just sat in the pits each race. After the season was over I again going to sell them, but never got around to it. The Fuji had been outfitted with some spendy carbon tubulars. But when the Fuji got put regular road duty, the carbon wheels weren't going to cut it. Not durable enough. Until I figured out what I was going to run I thought I would just run these. The heft of them bugged, but oh well. But then something surprising happened, I started to like them.

These wheels have a great feel. They are very solid, and really inpire me to rail through turns. Maybe they are have much less flex than I have gotten used to with my lighter wheels. Regardless of cost, they are the best feeling road wheel I own or have owned. I have had custom built DT240s on DT RR1.1 rims, Tune hubs on IRD 19mm Noibium rims with CX-Ray spokes, Bontrager X-Lites, King hubs on Mavic Open Pros and probably some others that I am forgetting.

They roll well enough that I didn't notice the extra weight. I like them. I really like them. Weird. I am not sure I can help upgrading them eventually--they are pretty hefty; about a half pound heavier than my cross wheels and almost 580 grams heavier than the American Classic Carbon Wheels that I will run for my triathlons (pictured in my former post about the Fuji), but for now they are more than good enough. For the money, the wheels are more than worth it too. I noticed that they can be had online for about $300 to $350 brand new. Retail is $500. Grades: Value A, overall B.

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