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Shimano SH-XC90

 

 

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Anyone following the Velospeak Instagram knows I’ve been riding a lot of dirt as of late. It’s been years since I purchased any mountain bike shoes, and the last pair still in use is at least 15 years old. Not the ideal shoe to wear any longer, so when the opportunity to ride the Shimano SH-XC90 arose, I jumped at the chance. Strangely, I’d never ridden Shimano shoes despite their stellar reputation. The SH-XC90 is their top of the line mountain bike shoe, and is available in sizes 36 – 48 with the added benefit of a wide option on the 38 – 48 sizes. I am one of those folks who needs a wide shoe, so when a company offers that option, I take it. The shoe is well crafted, and the design simple, but quite functional. There are two velcro straps, and one buckle closure. This might feel a bit old school compared to the plethora of shoes using the BOA system, but when riding dirt, the security of a rock solid system such as this can’t be beat. The adjustment is easy, and the comfort achieved perfect. Another feature that impressed me is the ability to increase the arch via a system of shims that slide into the insole. It is a rather clever set-up, and allows for incredible flexibility in adjusting how the shoe fits. I’ve been riding with the SH-XC90 for many months now, and the fit, finish, and overall good design have won me over. It’s too bad I am only now discovering the high quality of Shimano shoes.



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Stromer ST2

 

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This past Saturday, I was invited to attend the launch of the Stromer ST2 e-bike. The Swiss company released the bike a year ago in Europe, and is now ready to tackle the US market and its burgeoning appetite for electric assist bicycles. Judging from the proliferation of e-bike shops in Santa Monica and Venice, e-bikes are the next big thing, so I wanted to check out what Stromer has to offer. The ST2 is most definitely the upscale choice in the e-bike marketplace. The design is clean and fluid, and unlike other companies and systems out there, the battery is neatly incorporated into the frame for a clean look. It is still accessible and removable for easy charging, but lives neatly in the downtube. There are incorporated lights, and an iPhone app is available to customize the settings, as well as track the bike should it be stolen. This apparently happened just the other day in San Francisco, and thanks to the built-in GPS, the police were able to track and recover the stolen ST2, along with 30 other bicycles. I’m hoping to have the chance to spend more time with the bike for a more comprehensive review, but in the meantime, know that I am a fan of the ST2. On a quick test ride, the ST2 performed well, and most importantly, it put a huge smile on my face.



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House Industries

 

 

Velo Wool Socks
House Industries has added a collection of check wool socks to their already stellar line-up of cycling inspired gear. The design aesthetic at House Industries is right up my alley, and given the chance, I would be dressed head to toe in their wonderful clothing and accessories. My bicycle would match with the addition of black checked bidons securely cradled in the bottle cages. Head over to their website, and spend some time looking through the fonts and other great design.



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CicLAvia 3.22.15

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Tomorrow is the day the Valley (does the Valley actually get capitalized?) gets to experience CicLAvia. From the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Ventura, to the intersection of Chandler and Lankershim, this edition of the ride should be a crowd pleaser. I’m curious to see how many folks show up for this edition of CicLAvia. I will most definitely be there, and I hope to run into many friends doing the same.



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The Back Bottle

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Brian Davis, the man responsible for the ingenious Fix It Sticks multi tool, has a new idea sure to satisfy many. He has developed the Back Bottle, a hybrid of a bottle and a hydration pack. The idea behind the Back Bottle is to provide another way of carrying water when the temperatures rise, or when the effort is extreme, and extra hydration is needed. The bottle fits easily into the rear pocket of any standard jersey. Its shape facilitates easy stowage and retrieval while riding. The design also incorporates a ridge that prevents the bottle from ejecting from the jersey while riding especially challenging terrain. I suspect the Back Bottle will become indispensable during the summer months. But,  as the video produced by Brian Davis shows, the Back Bottle is also quite useful in colder weather when a traditional bottle might freeze up since your body temperature keeps the Back Bottle from freezing. All in all, I think Brian has come up with another great idea worth backing. For those interested in learning more, check out the Back Bottle website. For those interested in the Kickstarter campaign, head on over and get in on the funding.



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