Sunday, January 4, 2009
2008 Product Reviews
First off, I am very grateful to all of my 2008 sponsors (a few of which are listed below), 2008 teammates, coach, friends, family and of course my awesome husband Todd for making 2008 such a great year. This is a review of some random items I used in 2008 whether it was a sponsorship product or I paid full-price. This is not a complete list, so if you want my opinion on anything else I used please let me know. Titus bikes- Ti Fireline hardtail, Carbon Racer-X Full-suspension, and Ti Estrella road. Yes, these were sponsorship items, but I have raced Titus bikes for the last four years, there is just something about them that makes you smile - and go fast. I have written about the MTBs but I enjoyed the road bike as well. The Ti road frame made a big difference on rough roads (compared to my Al CADD8 Cannondale frame) but seemed just a hair slower to jump on an attack. Hayes Brakes - I used both the Stroker Carbon and the Stroker Trail brakes and loved them. I liked the dial adjust, while I am sure it added weight, it was a nice feature. My pads lasted all year which was cool. Once I got them bled right I could store the bike upside down or flat and there was no performance change (great for me and the amount of travel I do). I did have two issues, one: the hydraulic line had not been crimped tight enough so it pulled out on the way to the starting line, two: in a race I tangled with another racer in the start, the brake lever plunger pulled out and the brake didn't work at all. Other than the initial bleeding and these two issues everything worked perfectly all year and my brakes were not something I had to worry about. I swapped between two different wheelsets so had to do the quick "self-centering" (loosen the two 5mm bolts, pull the brake and re-tighten, same as the Avid Ultimate Carbons I ran in 2007) Manitou R7 MRD Absolute Fork - There was an issue with this fork in 08, but it looks like they have fixed it. I went to the interbike seminar and saw the fix they were testing, a new check-valve, it increased the weight a bit, but will be worth it. Tifosi Glasses - Great buy. These work as well as my Oakleys and cost much less! My favorites were the Dolomite and Vogel, I want to try the 2009 Torrent and Dea. Voler Kit - We looked good! Plus red is my favorite color. I have used Voler kits, arm and leg warmers and undershirts for two years now and really like the fit and quality. I am outfitted with ~5 kits per year. I wear/wash them almost every single day and they really stand up compared to other cycling wear I have tried. The stitching is still 100% intact, they are not stretched out, thinning, pilling or fading. iStick - It works, I use it everyday. So much better than arm bands. gel-bot lids - Get your water and gel the same way. Get a new gel with every bottle feed, no more hassle. Hydrapak- I really like the Reversible Reservoir II, I have a 50oz and a 70oz. I especially appreciate these since my camelbaks required pliers to budge the cap off. The Hydrapak solution is awesome for filling and cleaning (for those who do that kind of thing). I had an issue with one of my bite valves leaking, but they replaced it quickly and I have had no futher issues all year. ALINE Insoles - These insoles replaced my custom insoles and helped with hotfoot, I'm impressed. Ergon - Grips. Seems like everyone has a different favorite pair, mine is the GE1 Enduro, size large, with the barend that comes with the GC2 grips (anyone need a set of grip-shifter specific GC2s without barends?). I wish they were both a little lighter, but the performance is awesome. For long, non-SS, non-technical rides I like the GX1 grips. Pack. BD1 This was a sponsorship item, the first thing I thought was "what am I going to do with a backpack?". I assumed I would just use it to haul my gear from the car to the team trailer as it has a nice helmet strap on the back. Well, the way it is designed puts all the weight on your hips, not your shoulders and can be adjusted so that it moves around less than the smallest hydration pack. It has a pocket for your hydration bladder and routing for the hose (and for headphones if you want to stash the ipod in the pack). I ended up using the pack all the time, on long road rides up into snow when I had to carry an entire wardrobe for the descent and on the mountain bike where I needed a hydration pack. I liked the stability on techy descents. Best of all my shoulders quit hurting on long rides. ZeroGoo - Hydration Bladder/Shoe Dryer. No more disgusting bladders! I have three gross ones in the sink now (pre-zerogoo) if I ever get around to cleaning them, it should be the last time. (if you buy one use discount code: "Krista" for 10% off) lightweights - Very thin reflective tape/material you can add to anything. Iron it on for a permanent solution or just stick it on. (I don't own an iron since I don't ski anymore, so I just stick.) (discount code: "Krista Park" for 10% off) Specialized Stuff - S-Works Helmet (best I've tried), BG Pro women's shoes (best I've tried), gloves (tie with Fox gloves for function, Specialized fits better, Fox looks better). Swiftwick Socks - I have three pairs (two 4s and a 12), I really like the way these socks fit. They seem a little more high-tech than your standard cycling socks, they mold to your feet, no "extra" material and seams in the toe area. Facebook - okay, not a cycling product, but a great way to stay in touch while I travel.