CATEYE Strada Slim // New!

om_strada_1om_strada_3om_strada_2Bike computers aren’t exciting. They don’t get to be exciting. They sit on your stem/handlebar and tick off the miles. You set them up with the tiniest zip ties in the world (try not to break one of these), diddle around with the settings and don’t think about it again until it stops working. Just all around a boring, frustrating endeavor.

CATEYE has long been a purveyor of sensible bicycling products and their Strada series of computers has long set the bar the rest of the industry. With it’s one button system, relatively easy set-up and large screen for it’s diminutive size, it was an unobtrusive joy to work with. So when they came out with the new ‘Slim’ version, it was with relatively little fanfare. In an age of GPS based cycle computers to release an update on an older wireless system seemed a little out of place, but I kid you not when I tell you this is the only bike computer I’ve ever loved. Let me tell you why :

1. Easy to set up. And when I say easy, like ‘Plug and Play’ easy. No more zip ties, we now have super easy to use rubber bands. No more ridiculous button combinations, just a few clicks and it’s set up. The sensor zone is well marked. Just everything is a dream to work with.

2. It’s way smaller. Like WAY smaller. Look at how small that is. But the display? Bigger. Nuts.

3. Everything you need to know and nothing you don’t. And as opposed to its newer, shinier GPS cousins, when you go under a tree it doesn’t spend five minutes figuring out where the heck you’ve gone.

Somehow, with all of the wizbang GPS units coming left and right, CATEYE stuck to what they know best and produced the most exciting thing to happen to bike computers in a long time. And bike computers aren’t exciting, but this time they get to be.

Lake MXZ 303 Winter Boots // First Impressions

om_lake_1 om_lake_2Lake Boots have long been the standard for Winter Footwear in the cycling world. In Minnesota, where the threat of frostbitten toes isn’t so much a nightmare as it is a reality, clothing is key. For years when you asked your local bike shop what they used, they’d proudly point to their own pair, firmly on their feet, and grin in a knowing way.

In the shops I’ve worked, I’ve long envied those who plopped down the considerable dough and purchased a pair. Usually as soon as the weather would get dangerous, the few pairs that weren’t picked over by employees went quickly to customers. Those who owned them tended to use them for years and years, a shoe repair place in Dinkytown actually specializes in the care and maintenance of the boot; a testament to it’s quality and ubiquity. Where Winter takes up half (or more) of your riding time, not having to think about how many layers you’ll put on your feet (and yet still be cold), is one of the greatest gifts a year-round-cyclist can be given.

When Lake debuted their latest version of the ‘Lake Boot’, we were intrigued to say the least. Once we had tried a pair on we knew we had to get them in stock. We’re big believers in using proven products, and the ‘Lake Boot’ certainly hasn’t let anyone down.

This time around, however, they’ve fixed a few bugs that have nagged at users in the past. Gone is the Velcro upper, replaced by an adjustable strap with a secure plastic clip. Other than that, the BOA lacing system has stuck around, as well as the GoreTex and Vibram sole.

We’ve used them for a couple of weeks now and can confidently say that the MXZ 303 follows in it’s ancestors tradition. Put them on with a light sock, and you’re covered for all the but coldest temps. Waterproof, Windproof, Warm. All you could ever want.

SPD Compatible and comes in any color you’d like (as long as it’s black). And only $279.99. 

Oh, and it’s also %15 Off until the end of February.


45NRTH Xerxes Studded Tire // First Impressions

om_xerxes_1om_xerxes_245NRTH has brought something new to the Studded Tire game. How about a tire that works equally well on ice as it does on pavement? How about a tire that doesn’t ride like a rock and sound like a swarm of angry bees? Welcome to the Xerxes.

It’s a cross tire first and a studded tire second. It’s flexible like a normal tire – even the wire bead 27 TPI version we’re stocking can fold in on itself. You’ll also notice that despite it’s 140 stud count (fairly high up there for a 30c tire) the studs are evenly spaced on either side of the center tread. This, I’ve noticed, leads to two advantages which both have to do with the tire’s suppleness.

1. Crank that puppy up to about 70 or 75 PSI and you’re not going to hear a peep out of those studs. Why? They aren’t directly in contact with the road anymore. The center block lifts them up, lending it to behave almost like a standard road tire. Less rolling resistance than any other 140 studded tire I’ve come across – which isn’t saying a lot – but sure is nice.

2. Let out that air and get down to a 30 or 35 PSI and you’ll talking full on contact (most of the time). You’ll start to hear the studs and here’s the best part – the casing moves and conforms to the terrain. Like I said before – A CX tire with studs. The studs help you out on the glare ice, but when you hit the bumpy stuff you’ll still feel comfortable (or at the very least stay upright).

It’s not perfect for everything, but it gets pretty darn close. It also requires a little more attention than the average studded tire, which is just fine. Just like a CX tire variable pressure is the advantage and it’s been a learning experience figuring out what works for what conditions.

At then end of the day for 90% of what an average MN Winter contains, you’re going to be set with these guys. They excel at the usual clear roads/trails that we’re lucky to have, and help you out if you happen to come across a nasty patch or two.

But as 45NRTH is based locally, we shouldn’t have expected any less! Bravo! Full review up on the Blog shortly.