Enve Composite 27.2, 25MM Setback Seat Post Review

The new Enve Composite seat post is probably one of the best looking seat posts on the market.  Designed for both road and off-road applications, the one-piece, strong, carbon design showcases form, function, and beauty.  It seems all Enve seat posts are elegant, have ample adjustment options, are easy on the eyes, and comfortable on your ride.  They come in various diameters (27.2mm, 30.9mm, 31.6mm, or 34.9mm), at a length of 400mm, with a zero or 25mm setback.  The 27.2mm, 25mm setback we have tested today weighs in at 198 grams uncut and retails for $279.

Don’t let the price sway you!  There is no doubt that this seat post is expensive, however, the versatility cannot be matched.  All Enve seat posts can be configured with standard or oversize rails, installation or adjustments are simple, and the strong pedaling platform ensures you feel secure with your bike while pedaling.  Out of the box, the Enve Composite comes assembled with standard rail hardware and a bag of 10×7 wedges for oversize saddles.  I used the oversize rail wedges for my Selle Italia Carbon on my Lynsky and the installation was not a problem.  Adjustments were also easy and can be done with one hand.  Check out the following video courtesy of Enve Composite for saddle and post installation instructions:

On the trail, the 25mm setback is just enough to give me the leverage needed for an excellent transfer of power while seated.  The slightly curved construction simply looks gorgeous – it truly was love at first ride.  Check out the pictures below: 

Multiple views of seat post

Multiple views of the post with saddle attached

Hardware bag

Contents

Close-up View of Clamp

Weight: 198 Grams

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The Beast in the Wild

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CycleOps PowerCal Review

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Power meters truly are neat gadgets. They are a “must-have” training tool for any athlete who wants to take their performance to the next level. CycleOps, a popular manufacturer of high quality cycling products, has created the world’s first-ever power meter calculated from heart rate. According to their tech team, they have developed “an advanced algorithm that translates your heart rate data into vernacular of power-based training (watts, kilojoules, peak power, etc.).”

But what does all that really mean?DSC_6851

Out of the package, the PowerCal looks just like an ordinary heart rate monitor. It is extremely easy to set up. The straps are soft, comfortable, and easy to adjust. It is very lightweight (weighing only 48 grams), and once you have tweaked the proper fit, it honestly disappears. Another key feature of the PowerCal is that it is ANT+ compatible, which means it will easily pair with any Garmin unit you may be using.

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After familiarizing myself with the unit and instructions, I quickly broke out my new Edge 510 for some research and testing. Within seconds, my computer detected both a heart rate monitor and power meter. All I had to do was adjust my training pages to display my power in watts. There was no real calibration needed.

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So I mounted my 510, hopped on my saddle, and off I went – just a quick 45 minute ride through the city that never sleeps. As I digested the sites and sounds of the Big Apple, I was able to see exactly what CycleOps is talking about when they refer to their “advanced algorithm”. The monitor quickly analyzed my heart rate to display the corresponding wattage, and thus, I was able to effectively gauge how hard I was actually pushing myself. I immediately started pushing harder to see the impact. Then I thought to myself, “Wow, this thing actually works.”

While the PowerCal is not as accurate as the PowerTap hub, it still provides the rider with benchmarks that allow you to always keep track of where and how you would like to improve. The data that is recorded can easily be analyzed after a ride to spot areas of improvement. In the price range, this is the ideal accessory for the new cyclist or triathlete. Don’t believe us? Check out this video from Dr. Allen Lim:

Shimano Unzen 6L with 2L Hydration Pack Review

Shimano Unzen

Shimano is not to be taken lightly when they say they have designed the ultimate hydration pack for cycling.  The brand new Shimano Unzen 6L with 2L bladder is packed with many innovative features that any level of rider can surely put to use.  In fact, Shimano has partnered with the well-known manufacturer Hydrapak to ensure ease of use and durability, without burning a hole in your pocket.

X-Harness

One of the most innovative features is the introduction of the X-Harness strapping system.  When adjusted properly, the X-Harness feels secure AND comfortable.  Shimano also incorporated their Accu3D technology as seen throughout their clothing line.  The elastic used in the stretchable fabric allows the pack to expand and follow the contours of your body.  Combined with Shimano’s new X-Harness, you truly feel like the pack is a part of your body, and not a part on your body.

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Some basic features you may overlook when shopping for a hydration pack are loop zipper pulls for easy usage, a felt lined “valuables” pocket (cell phone, GPS device, etc.), and an elastic waist pocket for food, gels, money, or whatever else you may need.  The waist pocket is only really accessible while the pack is on, however, they are in the perfect location to grab on the go. The bladder itself is reversible, durable, and easy to clean. The shoulder straps have a dual hydration port and holds your tube conveniently on the buckle of the X-Harness. There is also an extra strap for carrying body armor or a helmet, and the pack is lined with reflective strips that shine in the dark.  And finally, the weight of the unit is an astonishing 678 grams unloaded.

Valuables Pocket

Overall, the Shimano Unzen 2L hydration pack is extremely comfortable and designed with the avid cycling in mind. It may be the most aerodynamic and well thought out hydration pack we have tried to date. It has tons of storage that is easily accessible, and when loaded, it fell balanced and secure. This pack offers a freedom of movement unlike any other popular brand currently on the market. Likewise, there are no annoying or excess straps to contend with. This pack is great for the aggressive, off-road, cyclist but can definitely be used just cruising around town on a nice day.

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Some riders were worried that because the pack almost became a part of your body, there was sure to be a sweaty ride ahead. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was anatomically ventilated to allow for the release of any moisture build up. We will surely put this feature to the test on our follow-up ride and review in the forthcoming weeks. Keep an eye out for what’s to come!