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  #1  
Old 11-12-2012, 05:36 PM
August August is offline
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Reviews and Recapitulation



I've been searching for information about parts and gear recently, things I'd like to buy soon, or maybe not depending on what I find people have said. Good, thoughtful long-term reviews are nice to have when it's time to spend money, especially when marketing is thought of as an honorable profession these days. So, I thought I would contribute my fraction to the whole, my ideas about some of my most prized everyday stuff when it comes to bikes and riding.



Stan's NoTubes Tubeless Conversion and Hutchinson Fusion 3 Tires



Converting to tubeless is far and away the most significant single improvement I've ever experienced as a cyclist, bar none. And I knew it from the first pedal stroke. I've always been an advocate for larger volume when it came to tires, on or off road, and for the past few years I've preferred 25mm or larger tires for all road riding. Tubulars notwithstanding, I thought my Vittoria Open Corsas were as good as tires got. I could keep them at a relatively low ninety psi for comfort and decreased rolling resistance, and they lasted pretty well. The 23mm Hutchinsons feel so much better, though, it's hard to quantify it. Imagine a really good tubular at 75 psi (which is the pressure I like my Fusions at) and you get the idea. Grip is substantial, cornering and braking. And the best part: I haven't had a single flat in six months. Living in Manhattan, that's more than impressive, but I know lots of people who have worn out their tubeless tires before flatting. Converting one's existing wheels is easy as long as the mechanic is familiar with tubeless quirks. It should be mentioned that my Zipps lost some spoke tension after the conversion, which I noticed immediately in the rear wheel. Fixing that was simple, of course, but it's a common phenomenon, so watch out. Otherwise, I really do not find a downside. Perhaps the tires could be lighter. Those who feel a choice of options is important will feel disappointed, but the Fusion is so superior to any convention tire, absence of choice seems a moot point.



Rapha Pro Team Bib Shorts



I have four pairs of the Pro Team shorts. That should give clear indication of how much I like them. They are the most unobtrusive piece of cycling kit I've ever worn, so much so that I can't think of a single ride in which I've noticed anything about them. Paired with Rapha's chamois cream, which is relatively thin, smelling like patchouli and pine, my area is always in good shape. Most, if they are honest, like the styling. What more can I say about the article itself? Regarding the provenance, it's a serious issue. Along with my iPhone and Macbook, it is conspicuously expensive and dubiously produced, and one of the things I own that, nevertheless, I really wouldn't want to do without. I suppose that's just to say I feel guilty. I don't have any excuse for owning these rather than something else other than that they work superbly. I will say to Rapha's credit that when a pair of my short's silicon grippers started to peel off after a year, they replaced the shorts for free, no questions asked. This happened to only one pair of my shorts.



Mission Workshop Orion and Bosun Jackets



One a hardshell, one a soft. One of Schoeller c_change, one of Smartwool. I bought the Orion first, but having done that, I knew I'd have to have the Bosun. They are so excellent together, but individually they are no less outstanding. For the past couple years I have worn at least one of them nearly every day from October to May. The Orion is wind- and waterproof, and the bosun insulates. On the bike I use the bosun as I would a long sleeve jersey, and it's good down to around forty-five degrees. Layer with the Orion and you can ride below freezing, which is about my cutoff anyway. Neither is cheap, but both are lasting. I suppose that's all I ask of an expensive piece: last. The fit is of the "cycling" type, which means outstanding for me, being skinny and all. There are all sorts of features one can read about elsewhere, but since the only one I notice is the large rear pocket, that's the only one I'll mention.



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  #2  
Old 11-12-2012, 05:47 PM
rnhood rnhood is offline
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Nice recap on a few cycling bits - but the bike steals show. Stunningly nice looking and perfectly appointed.

Very good comments on the tubless tires. I may have to try some yet.
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  #3  
Old 11-12-2012, 05:57 PM
jtakeda jtakeda is offline
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For real. Holy crap that Kirk looks great.
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  #4  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:00 PM
thegunner thegunner is offline
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shiz man, that is gorgeous
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  #5  
Old 11-12-2012, 06:48 PM
nebraskacycling nebraskacycling is offline
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That bike is beautiful. Love the rear triangle. Jealous
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:56 PM
esldude esldude is offline
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The Kirk takes ones breath away. And you didn't even review it. I cry FOUL!


On the other hand, thanks for the other reviews. Especially the tubeless. I recently started using tubeless on a bike and find them very good. Wonder why they haven't been more popular. I do have them on some rims made for tubeless. But glad to hear conversion is working out for you long term.
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  #7  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:45 AM
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AngryScientist AngryScientist is offline
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nice reviews, we appreciate the good, thorough feedback.

i have to say, respectfully, that i do not share your opinion of tubeless though. i rode tubeless for a few months, and was like : "meh". no better ride than my vittorias or veloflex tires with latex tubes. just my opinion though
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  #8  
Old 11-13-2012, 07:51 AM
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MattTuck MattTuck is offline
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I am soooo tempted to just copy that bike when dave builds mine... out of respect, of course, I would not do that. Maybe if it was not a forum member, I would.

I really like it.


Thanks for the reviews. What kind of roads do you typically ride? I know the city has debris, but is the road quality decent? I ride a lot of country roads that are in rough shape, and plenty of dirt too. I like my 28mm conti gatorskins for their flat protection, but they are not the smoothest ride...

I might be willing to put tubeless on the Kirk when it is finished... will have to think about.
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  #9  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:05 AM
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shovelhd shovelhd is offline
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Screw the shorts, that bike is sickkkkkkk.
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  #10  
Old 11-13-2012, 08:06 AM
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bobswire bobswire is offline
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August,liked your review, love your Kirk. Looks like a Rapha shoot, just for fun maybe have a contest for forum members to come up with their own photo review in what they ride and wear for their typical rides?
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  #11  
Old 11-13-2012, 10:36 AM
tiretrax tiretrax is offline
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What your opinion on the single pocket on your jacket?

The Kirk is beautiful. Looks like it needs a little cleaning, however. What are your thoughts on Di2?
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  #12  
Old 11-13-2012, 11:05 AM
August August is offline
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To those who have commented on the bike: it was Dave's choice, everything from the geometry to the paint scheme and color he picked, so praise should be directed his way. I specified a JKS X with Di2 and 25mm tire clearance, that's it. After almost nine years of custom, I've decided the builder knows best, and if he doesn't, find another builder.

The roads in the NYC area are fair-to-bad, but it's the glass and wire and sharp metal objects that are offensive to tires around here--much more so than anywhere I've ever ridden.

If my photos are Rapha-esque, I suppose that means they're professional looking, in which case I'll accept the compliment.

As for Di2, it's great. Anyone can find my opinions at-length and at-odds in some cases by doing a search of this forum.
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  #13  
Old 11-13-2012, 12:29 PM
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bobswire bobswire is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by August View Post
To those who have commented on the bike: it was Dave's choice, everything from the geometry to the paint scheme and color he picked, so praise should be directed his way. I specified a JKS X with Di2 and 25mm tire clearance, that's it. After almost nine years of custom, I've decided the builder knows best, and if he doesn't, find another builder.

The roads in the NYC area are fair-to-bad, but it's the glass and wire and sharp metal objects that are offensive to tires around here--much more so than anywhere I've ever ridden.

If my photos are Rapha-esque, I suppose that means they're professional looking, in which case I'll accept the compliment.
Yes, I thought your review was professional looking. Like you I am urban centered, San Francisco, my "kit" and choice of components reflect my environment .
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  #14  
Old 11-13-2012, 12:35 PM
cfox cfox is offline
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Don't fret about your shorts' origins. Rapha's bibs (regular and pro team) are made (actually cut and sewn) by MOA in Italy. Unless you have issues with things made in Italy, of course. Nice bike.
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  #15  
Old 11-13-2012, 01:18 PM
August August is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfox View Post
Don't fret about your shorts' origins. Rapha's bibs (regular and pro team) are made (actually cut and sewn) by MOA in Italy. Unless you have issues with things made in Italy, of course. Nice bike.
I can't find a label anywhere on the shorts that indicates origin. I assumed they were Chinese since my Rapha jerseys are all very clearly labeled such. In any case, I already admitted I'm vulnerable to criticism, and whether the shorts are from Italy or China, there's other questionable stuff I keep and use.

The whole debate is pretty tiresome, but I figured I ought to mention my misgivings at the start rather than wait for the inevitable protest.
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