BarFly 2.0 Mount Review

Okay, what can we say – we are gear junkies.

All Three Mounts

The SRAM quickview, BarFly 1.0, and BarFly 2.0

BarFly’s new 2.0 Garmin mount is more aerodynamic and now supports the latest Di2/EPS junction boxes in comparison to its older cousin from years prior.  Specifically, there is a space designed at the bottom of the mount to attach the junction box to.  The mount itself sits level with your stem, instead of above or below, in an effort to reduce any extra drag.  Additionally, the mount offers two mounting positions and compatibility with two different computer sizes (the 200/500 and the 510/800/810).

Junction box

On the downside, the 2.0 is still slightly heavier than the SRAM quick mount and the previous BarFly generation.  However, if you are running Di2 or EPS, the BarFly 2.0 is a must have for junction box installation.

Weight

20 Grams

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 9070 Review

The time of electronic shifting has finally come of age.  It offers precision shifting in all conditions, a self-trimming front derailleur, push button convenience, and low maintenance.  I was originally weary with the first generation of Dura-Ace electronic shifting, however, the Di2 9070 is definitely cream of the crop.

The Di2 9070 Groupset

Here are several key features on the new Dura-Ace 9070 Di2:

1.  There are multiple shifting options available – “climbing”, “sprint”, bar-end, and standard brake lever.  The new junction box (SM-EW-90 A/B) enables the rider to connect any of these shifting options neatly below the stem and the box can be mounted anywhere you would like.

2. The PC linkage device allows you to plug your bike into a desktop computer (talk about Back to the Future! Will I warp in time when I hit 1.21 gigawatts? ) to program the functionality of each shifter and update the firmware of each component.  For example: You can now program the shifters to “multi shift” (which allows the bike to continuously shift as long as you continue to hold the shift lever).  The PC link also allows the use of advanced software to diagnose and troubleshoot any problems.

3. The shifter lever has been re-designed and offers a comfortable feel.

4. The battery is completely internal and rests directly inside your seat post.  You can remove the battery for charging or use an external plug located at the junction box.

5. With the external battery, the entire system weighs only 60 grams more than the Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical group set.

6. The Etube wire can be purchased in various lengths to allow for a precise cable run.

7. It is 11-speed and can be configured with up to a 28t cassette.

E-tube Project Software for programming, troubleshooting, and customization

Real World Testing:

I took my Cevelo R5 VWD equipped with the new Shimano 9070 Di2 towards route 9W and into Rockland, NY for the GFNY13 training ride.  The ride consists of approximately 100+ miles and 6,000+ feet of climbing, and not to be forgotten, some 15mph wind gusts that certainly added to the challenge.

Having used the Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 mechanical group for the last four months, I can happily say switching to the Di2 9070 was pure joy.  The transition felt seamless.  Push button shifting was intuitive, effortless, precise, and as stated earlier, the feel of the levers were extremely comfortable.  You literally only need  slight touch to shift the front or rear derailleur.  This gave me much better control while on the hoods and while standing up for climbs or a brief sprint.

Ergonomic Lever

Extra E-Tube port

I programmed my rear derailleur to multi-shift while holding down the lever.  Shifting was uninhibited, predictable, and smooth.  It reminded me of an automatic transmission in your car.  The fast reflexes of  the system led me to believe that drivetrain shock under pressure was almost nonexistant.  Standing up to sprint and shifting without easing up made my bike feel almost flawless.

Rear Derailleur Installed

The front derailleur adjusts trim on the fly for ultra quiet operation, while allowing for fast and powerful shifting.  Having had my bike properly adjusted by a trained Di2 mechanic definitely helped, however, I felt absolutely no chain rub whatsoever during my ride.  The only sound I would hear during my ride was the servo working like a good little robot.  I remember being annoyed by manually adjusting the trim on my mechanical group in the past and was excited to not worry in the future.  The only problem I encountered was shifting from the small ring to the big ring in which the derailleur failed to engage once or twice.  But, nevertheless, perhaps I was pedaling a bit too hard during the shift.

Front Derailleur Installed and Battery Mounted

Shimano manufactured two different types of batteries for the Di2 system.  One can be internally mounted within your seat post or frame (if your bike allows it).  The other, which I purchased, is an external battery that can be installed anywhere around the bottom bracket or using your water bottle mount.  Shimano claims that you can reach approximately 1,500 miles before recharge and charging time is only a little over an hour with the external charger.

Overall, making the switch to the Shimano Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 is completely worth it despite the expense and negligible added weight of the battery compared to the mechanical group.  The ultra fast, precise, reliable shifting is second to none.  The system truly gets out of the way and lets you do what you need to do – RIDE.

SMJC 40 Junction Box Installed with Precision

 

OSMO Active Hydration: Blackberry Review

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OSMO Nutrition has successfully engineered an active hydration supplement based entirely on how the body absorbs nutrients and fluids.  Their studies show that electrolyte and nutrient absorption is optimized by using natural and organic ingredients in their active hydration mixes.  Simply stated:  The hydration mix is designed to make sure you don’t get thirsty.

I took several packs of single serve OSMO Active Hydration: Blackberry on a recent group ride.  I figured the only way to really test this stuff was to make sure I was pushing myself to an optimal level of performance.  The ride was three hours long across 70 miles and approximately 6,000 feet of climbing.  It began at Exit 2 on Route 9W, went to Bear Mountain, and back.  I packed some OSMO, my favorite gel blocks, a power bar, and some bananas.

As a skeptic at first, I wondered: “What can this really do for me?”  I was happy to see the product actually delivers.  Needless to say, my body felt great during and after the ride.  I did not experience any bonking or cramping, and with each sip from my water bottle, I felt my quench for thirst relieved.  I immediately became a believer.

The single serving packets I had been given were extremely convenient and easy to use with a 16oz water bottle (rip the packet, pour it in, shake it up).  I later purchased the 14.1oz  container and have been using it on every ride since.  Each 16oz water bottle only requires two scoops of the mix. I was astonished that the mix was also cost-effective.  Furthermore, it was very easy on the stomach and had a great taste.  My legs hurt from the miles of climbing, however, I did not once experience any cramping or fatigue.  The supplemental hydration mix certainly helps ensure a positive riding experience.

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“Established Science”

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

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!