Thanks for visiting Texas Cyclist, a site about bicycling in the Lone Star State.
If you see anything missing or any inaccuracies, please leave a comment on that page so that we can fix it.
Thanks for visiting Texas Cyclist, a site about bicycling in the Lone Star State.
If you see anything missing or any inaccuracies, please leave a comment on that page so that we can fix it.
It’s already surpassed its initial funding goal, and will be available in February to Kickstarter backers. I only have a limited amount of production time scheduled with my manufacturing partner for February availability. So the timing for full availability at retailers like Amazon will depend on whether or not I sell out the first scheduled run, or if I have locks left from the first run to sell.
At this rate, it looks like I am fairly likely to sell out my initial planned run.
The Mighty Click solves the biggest hassle of using a bike lock for me, which is taking the lock with me when I ride somewhere.
I ride nice bikes, and I don’t want to install any kind of an ugly, permanent, heavy mounting bracket. But I also hate the inconvenience of trying to carry a U lock, cable lock or chain lock in my hand while I am riding somewhere. I rarely carry a backpack when I am riding over to my local coffee shop, for example.
Check it out over at Kickstarter and see what you think!
The rewards I have set up on Kickstarter will allow you to buy the lock at a significant discount to the full retail price when the product launches, so it makes good sense to order one now instead of waiting. It might be several more months before I can get a second run completed and shipped in to my warehouse in Dallas.
Although the Mighty Click is my first cycling related product, it’s not the first product that I have had manufactured before. I’ve designed and manufactured a successful compost tumbler, and an entire line of high performance yoyos.
The chain of the lock is 32 inches, so there is plenty of chain to loop around your bike and both wheels if you like to lock it up that way.
The Mighty Click bicycle lock has a reflective strip on the back that lights up when car lights shine on it. That keeps you safer riding at dusk and dawn on the road.
The Mighty Click comes with a handy zippered pouch on the belt, which allows you to carry something small like your keys and some money.
There’s also a version of the Mighty Click with no lock, if you want to save some money and you already have a padlock that you like at home.
I’m very excited about the Mighty Click. I hope you like it too, and that you’ll back me on Kickstarter and get one for your bike!
I bought my very first set of aero wheels almost by accident. I was looking for a set of Powertap wheels a few years back, and I ended up getting a great deal on some Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL wheels in 2009 that had a rear Powertap wireless hub.
Although those Mavic wheels were very heavy, at around 1,900 grams, they were really fast! Especially when the speeds get faster. I realized at that point that aero wheels really do make a difference and became a big fan.
Fast forward a few years, and I was looking for a new set of road wheels. Specifically, I was looking for a clincher that was road tubeless compatible, because I wanted to use the wheels both on the road, and also for cyclocross and some gravel grinding. I ride tubeless for cyclocross already, but have been using lower end Mavic Kyserium wheels that required Stan’s tape to seal up. With road tubeless ready Dura Ace wheels, I would be able to go tubeless on the road, but also have a really light set of racing wheels for cyclocross that were easy to set up.
I bought my Dura Ace C24 WH-9000 wheels about a couple of months ago. I have primarily been riding them on the road, tubeless. I am using Specialized Roubaix Pro road tubeless tires on them, which have been great so far.
One important feature of the Dura Ace C24 wheels that helped me make a buying decision was the aluminum brake surface on them. Sure, full carbon clinchers have been around a long time now, and have supposedly been proven safe and reliable. But I still fear them. They don’t brake as well. They usually require special brake pads. And they can fail during long descents if you ride the brakes, because carbon tends to soften up when it gets too hot. I don’t live within hundreds of miles of a descent that long, but these are the kinds of things I worry about. Wheels are a critical safety issue, and I don’t want to worry about mine, ever.
Dura Ace WH 9000 C24 wheels are light, at a reported 1,395 grams. That’s not ultralight, like some climbing specific wheels. But it’s very light for aero wheels, and particularly those with a sturdy, aluminum braking surface. Compare, for example, to Zip 404 Firecrest aero wheels. Those wheels are deeper 58 mm wheels (which means more aerodynamic), but weigh 1525 grams. Mavic R-Sys clinchers with carbon spokes are a little bit lighter at 1,355 grams, for example. But they are not aero at all.
And speaking of aero, I would say that the biggest selling point for me with these wheels aside from the road tubeless compatibility was the extra wide rims. Zip, HED and ENVE have sort of overtaken Mavic with the new aero trend of making the wheel rim wider. I’m not going to go into all the details about it, but a slightly wider rim improves aerodynamics, and also gives you a really nice ride at the same time.
Shimano took this new advance in wheel aerodynamics and put their own twist on it. The front and back wheel have different widths! Where the front wheel is 23 mm wide — the same as the other brands that are doing wide aero rims — the rear rim is a millimeter wider, at 24 mm. That difference gives you increased lateral stability, increased comfort, and improved airflow. If you are running tubeless in particular, it gives you a very smooth ride because it is widening out your rear tire and giving you just a little bit better volume for additional comfort and traction.
UPDATE: As two different commenters pointed out, the C24 wheels have a 20.8mm width, front and rear, and do not have the varying widths that the C50 and C75 have.
The flanges on these wheels are the widest that Shimano has done yet with Dura Ace wheels. That additional width gives you increased torsional and lateral stability, according to Shimano. I don’t really understand what that means, but Competitive Cyclist compares it to standing with your feet close together, or your feet shoulder width apart — the wider stance is going to give you a lot better stability and strength.
Another great feature of these wheels is that they are both 10 and 11 speed compatible. They come with a spacer that goes behind the cassette if you are still running 10 speed. This is terrific for me, because I’m running 10 speed on all my bikes right now, but plan to move to Ultegra electronic 11 speed when Shimano finally launches it. (I’m too cheap for Dura Ace electronic.)
I don’t work on wheels myself, because I only have basic bike mechanic abilities. But Shimano evidently used a standard kind of cone bearing that can be easily serviced.
The wheels have 16 radial laced, bladed spokes in front, and 20 two-cross, bladed spokes in back. The freehub is made of titanium, which helps keep the weight so low on these wheels while still keeping them bulletproof.
The skewers that hold the wheels on the bike are outstanding. They have a great shape that’s easy on your hands, and they are also sturdy and rattle free. (I say that because I’ve gotten a few Mavic skewers that rattle in the last couple of years.)
My biggest criticism of these wheels is how plain they look. When you ride something like Zip 404s or Enve wheels, they look impressive. These Dura Ace wheels are completely unnoticeable, and look no different at a glance than a low end set of Mavic Ksyrium wheels, which were cutting edge and cool about 10 years ago.
But to me, looking cool isn’t as important as bulletproof reliability, light weight, road tubeless compatibility and modern, wide-rimmed aero design. These wheels met every one of my requirements, and I am very happy with my purchase.
I put these wheels on my cyclocross bike to complete the Dirty Kanza 200, and they performed flawlessly. I ran them tubeless, so I could ride using tire sealant. I finished with no flats, so it was a success. This confirmed my theory that the wheels would perform well for gravel grinding and cyclocross, as well as on the road. I look forward to using them during cyclocross season in the fall.
For the past 10 years at least, I have only ridden Mavic wheels. These Dura Ace wheels are my first non Mavic wheels in so long that I don’t even remember what I might have ridden other than Mavic before.
I am extremely happy with these wheels, and recommend them. For the price of around $1,200 online or up to $1,400, I think they are probably the very best aero wheels that you can buy for the money if you are looking at the best balance of weight, durability and aerodynamics.
Agree or disagree? Leave a comment!
Last year, I completed my first Leadville 100 mountain bike race. It’s fair to say that I was obsessed with it, and I spent a lot of time worrying and completely stressed out about whether I could finish it. It was a huge relief to finish it successfully and get my belt buckle, even if my time turned out slower than I might have wished for. I felt like I raced Leadville to the best of my abilities and fitness at the time.
This year, I signed up for the Dirty Kanza 200 in January. I decided right then that it was not going to be like Leadville. Either I would finish it, or I wouldn’t. If I didn’t finish, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. I was not going to take all the fun out of it by making it completely stressful again with worrying for months on end.
What’s the best type of interval training for cycling? There’s unfortunately no one interval that does it all. It depends on what you’re training for. Instead of getting hung up on which interval is “the very best one” that is going to give you the absolute best results to make you the strongest cyclist, consider this: which type of interval training are you doing right now? If the answer is that you aren’t doing any at all, then almost any type of interval training that you start is going to give you an improvement in performance in general by making you fitter. So if you aren’t doing any intervals at all, getting started with any of these intervals below will improve your cycling performance. Just pick one that looks interesting and try it. Do intervals training twice a week, and have at least one rest day after your interval day, so that you can recover and improve. You will start to see results within a week or two. If you are doing intervals already, check out this list and consider whether or not one of these other types of intervals might help some specific aspect of cycling that you want to improve or might seem more appealing than what you are doing now, and try some of those. Let’s start with one that Bicycling Magazine calls The Ultimate Interval. The concept behind these intervals is that a relatively fit cyclist can ride at all out maximum effort for somewhere between 4 and 6 minutes. After doing a study, they determined that if you ride intervals at this maximum effort for 60 percent of the length of time that you can sustain a maximum effort, that is going to be your “ultimate interval” training length to increase your fitness. If you don’t want to mess around with figuring out the precise details with a power meter, you can pretty much do a 2 1/2 minute interval at maximum effort and assume that it’s going to be close. Rest 5 minutes between intervals, and do a set of 6 to 8 of these 2 2/1 minute maximum efforts twice a week.
Laursen found that cyclists improved the most doing intervals at 60 percent of their T-Max with double that amount of time for recovery between efforts. For instance, someone with a T-Max of four minutes would ride hard for 2:30, followed by five minutes of recovery. In a 2006 study performed at Ithaca College in central New York, members of the collegiate cycling team performed sets of eight intervals twice a week for six weeks; they improved their performance in a 5-kilometer time trial by 7 percent.
The cool thing about that interval training method is that they studied it with actual cyclists, and not just random people on an exercise bike. So it really helps in the real world. Next, consider pyramid intervals. With pyramid intervals, you’ll do a 1 minute interval, followed by 1 minute of rest. And then a 2 minute interval followed by 2 minutes of rest. And then a 3 minute interval followed by 3 minutes of rest. Start out with just one pyramid on a ride, and do it once per week. If you are starting to feel fitter, add in a second pyramid. Here’s why pyramid intervals are effective:
I asked Christian Vande Velde, the U.S. Postal Service cycling team rider who’s competed in the Tour de France, which one workout a part-time cyclist should do for fitness. He immediately answered with “the pyramid,” explaining, “They’re good for all around because three minutes is almost endurance and one minute is like a kilo … They’re a good trainer workout, too.” What Vande Velde means is that different intervals train different physiologic capacities. The one minute, or “kilo,” helps build short-term, explosive power. This type of fitness will help you close or bridge a gap, escape in the final miles of a race, or ride away over a particularly rocky section in a mountain-bike event. The “endurance”-type intervals works at a slightly lower intensity and builds longer-term muscular endurance for sustained climbs, windy road races or time trials. The advantage of doing pyramids is that you’ll train over a variety of zones during your workout.
Want some other good interval options to mix it up? Consider these intervals recommended by Chris Carmichael of Carmichael Training Systems, also covered in his terrific book, The Time Crunched Cyclist. Threshold Ladders are intervals designed to help you prepare for an attack off the front, where you can stay away from the field. These are long and painful 12 minute intervals. You start out for the first 2 minutes at a perceived effort of 10 out of 10. In other words, go all out. This represents the initial attack. Then, you dial it back to a perceived effort of 8 out of 10 for the next 4 minutes. Then ease it up just a little bit more for the last 6 minutes, and go at a perceived effort of 7 out of 10. Take a 6 minute spinning rest, and then do it again. Do just 2 sets of these for your workout unless you are extremely fit, in which case you can do 3 sets. Want to increase your sprinting performance? Try these ultra short 6 to 12 second intervals recommended by Joe Friel, author of the Cyclist’s Training Bible. With these intervals, you’ll go at an all out sprint for 6 to 12 seconds, followed by a rest period of 3 to 5 minutes. He recommends counting pedal strokes (just count one leg going around) for 8 to 16 pedal revolutions. You repeat them until your power during the sprint goes down by 5 percent, and then you quit doing them. Here’s the explanation of how it works.
Sprint power interval workouts are primarily used in non-steady state events in which the outcomes are determined by brief, maximal efforts. So this type of interval session falls primarily into the domain of road cyclists. Endurance runners and triathletes generally have no need for this training. One such workout is to do brief, all-out-effort sprints on varying terrain, straight-aways, and out of corners. Recovery lasts for several minutes after each sprint in order to allow subsequent intervals to be done at maximal intensity. Fatigue negates the benefits of this session. So when intensity drops by about 5% the session must end. Continuing will produce no greater benefits and may well lead to injury, deep fatigue, and burnout. WI duration: 6-12 seconds. I often have cyclists do these intervals by counting 8-16 pedal revolutions (counting one leg only). The final, maximal portion of a finish line sprint is seldom longer than about 12 pedal revolutions.
Want your intervals to be simple and easy to remember, but still brutally effective? Try these, recommended by David Henderson on his blog. “Ride absolutely as hard as you can for 1 minute, then soft pedal as easy as you can for 3 minutes, repeat 5-8 times or until you think you see Jesus.” Do you have a different favorite interval workout that you use instead? Have you gotten good results from one of these types of intervals? Leave a comment!
I just got my new Specialized Roubaix Road Tubeless tires delivered, so I set them up on my also brand new Dura Ace WH-9000 C24 tubeless wheels and took both the wheels and the tires on their first ride. I first tried to buy these at my local bike shop, but they only had Bontrager 23 mm tires and some Hutchinson Fusion 3 tires, and none of the new tubeless Specialized. So I ordered directly from Specialized online. They cost $90 per tire.
On the mountain biking side, I was pretty late to tubeless, just having converted last year. But my experience with tubeless was so great that when I started looking at my next set of wheels that I plan to use for road biking and also some cyclocross and gravel grinders, I decided to go tubeless there too.
You can run cyclocross tubeless on just about any wheels with tape, because the tire pressures are low. But with high pressure road tires, you need to stick with wheels and tires that are both “road tubeless” compatible for safety. Otherwise you risk a catastrophic failure. Keep that in mind if you are considering riding road tubeless.
Deciding to go the road tubeless route led me to the new 2013 Dura Ace C24 wheels, which have a road tubeless option.
But back to the tires….
The first thing I noticed about these tires is that they aren’t really 700 x 25 tires like I originally imagined them to be. It’s some weird 700 x 23 / 25c hybrid size, where supposedly the tire is 23 mm, but the body is 25 mm. I’d personally prefer a full on 25 mm tire, but oh well.
The next thing I noticed on the package was that they were made in Japan. That gave me a little bit of extra confidence that the quality control was going to be there, even though it is Specialized’s first road tubeless tire. I wonder if IRC (also in Japan) makes these tires for them, or what the story is there.
One of the reasons I didn’t go with Hutchinson Fusion 3 25 mm tires is because I’ve heard from two different people about a road tubeless tire and a cyclocross tubeless tire that was so hard to get off the rim and fit so tight that they either broke several plastic tire tools in one case, or ended up giving up and actually cutting the bead to get them off the tire in the other case. Both of these stories concern tires from a year or two ago, so maybe this isn’t an issue anymore. But it spooked me, because I don’t want to have a flat and be stuck somewhere, unable to get my tire off to put in an emergency tube.
Why am I telling you all that? Because I was able to get the Specialized Roubaix road tubeless tires on my rims with a single Pedro’s plastic tire lever and my hands. I feel like if I had normal strength hands and not baby hands that only type at the computer all day, I might have been able to get them on with no lever at all. That was a relief to me.
After I got the first tire on, I ran to the back of the house and got out my Topeak Joe Blow Pro floor pump and started pumping. What would happen next, I wondered?
With my 29er tubeless tires, I always require a compressor to get my tires seated and sealed up. And even then, sometimes I have trouble. But I figured with such a small volume tire, a floor pump might be enough.
And what do you know, they sealed up almost instantly and started inflating! I heard a little bit of air leaking and started to freak out, but it was just that my presta valve wasn’t screwed all the way tight and air was leaking at the base of it. I gave it a quick turn, and the tires pumped up all the way to 115, the listed max.
When I got to around 90 pounds, I heard the tires make that noise where you know they have snapped into place. I bounced them, and they made one more popping sound as the bead slid into the hook, and they were done.
“What about sealant?” you might be asking.
I put on the tires inside the house, and didn’t want to make a giant Caffelatex mess. So I didn’t use any sealant at all yet. But the tires held air all night without any sealant, regardless. (I plan to remove the valve core and add sealant in the next day or two.)
Putting on the other tire was similarly straightforward and without incident.
I took the tires on a quick 20 mile spin the next day, without sealant, and found them to be comfortable and grippy. I ran them at 95 pounds.
I run my Continental Grand Prix 4000S tires (in a 25 mm) at 95 pounds already. So I can’t say that I noticed that going tubeless provided a noticeably plusher or grippier ride than that set up.
But I would say that I feel confident on these tires, and I am happy with them.
One of the biggest questions I have about these tires is why Specialized decided to call them an “Endurance” tire instead of just a competition road tire? They are in the same weight range as other road tubeless tires, at 295 grams. The tread looks close enough to any other road tire. And they are only 700 x 23, which isn’t really the kind of tire that you would go gravel grinding with. They seem clearly intended for regular road riding to me.
I’ll follow up with a future post after I’ve ridden them for a few hundred miles and also added sealant.
If you have any questions, leave a comment and I’ll see if I know the answer for you.
I ride a Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Carbon Comp 29er with a frame shape that makes it difficult to attach a frame bag in a way that doesn’t interfere with pedaling. Leading up to the Leadville 100 in 2012, I bought a couple of different frame bags that I thought might work with my bike, but both of them rubbed against my leg.
Then I saw a review of a product on either Velonews or maybe Bike Radar, which led me to the Revelate manufacturer’s web site. It was a company out of Alaska that designed a huge variety of made in the USA bike bags, that I had never even heard of before.
Browsing through their variety of bag designs, I discovered the Mountain Feedbag. It looked perfect! Instead of attaching to the frame, it attaches to the handlebars and then anchors against the fork, holding it in place so that it doesn’t swing back and forth while you ride.
I used this bag in Leadville because you can pack a ton of food in it and easily get to it. I have used it in gravel grinders and other endurance mountain bike races like the Austin Rattler 100 since then. I’ve used it both on my mountain bike, and also on my cyclocross bike (for gravel grinders).
Revelate bags are extremely well made, with quality velcro straps, nice and thick nylon, and a pinch thing that lets you cinch the bag open or closed with one hand while you are riding. The bag is designed so that you can use it to carry a water bottle, or just stuff it full of your favorite food or tools or whatever. You can mount it left or right handed, which allows you to even run with two of them if you wanted to seriously load your bike down for a long, unsupported ride.
The large opening is one big cavity, but there are two webbed areas on the outside of the bag where you can also put stuff if you wanted to carry a water bottle in the main cavity and still add some gels or a tool or something like that.
Here’s what it looks like off the bike. You can see that it has a strap that will attach to the handlebar itself (which can be mounted on the left or the right), as well as a strap at the bottom to anchor it from swinging around. You can also get a pretty good look at the two webbed outside pouches.
This is one of the coolest bags I’ve found for keeping food or water near your handlebars. I’m happy I found this brand of bag.
I have used a Pearl Izumi nylon duffle bag for more than a decade to carry stuff to bike rides and races. I picked it up for free, and it was an okay bag. Nothing special. It did the job of carrying my stuff, and had a separate pocket for shoes. But I got some mud inside of it recently. When I tried to wash the bag to get it clean again, it ruined something inside the bag so that all my stuff would get covered with this sandy material that evidently something disintegrating inside the bag. I had to throw it out.
I already owned a second duffle bag from REI that I used mostly for weekend travel by car. It is a good bag that is well designed and sturdy, like most stuff from REI. So I initially thought I’d order a second REI bag that I could use for my cycling stuff. But they don’t make a bag like my bag anymore. They closest thing I could find was over $100, so I decided to look around to see what else was available first, and discovered the brand Ogio on Amazon.
They had a series of bags designed especially with cycling types of sports in mind, with a special place to put your helmet and everything.
So after looking at several different size options, I decided to buy the Ogio Endurance 8.0 version.
The first thing I noticed when I got it was that the color described as “Magenta” on Amazon looked pretty damn pink to me. I was on the fence about returning it, but decided that a few pink stripes wasn’t worth the hassle and expense of sending it back and reordering another color and kept it.
The bag was noticeably smaller than my large REI duffle bag, and smaller than the Pearl Izumi bag it replaced. Would it be big enough for me? I decided to get out my cycling stuff and pack it up to see. I packed enough stuff for a weekend of racing.
Two bike jerseys, three pair of shorts, helmet, shoes, a rain jacket, bike light, Chamois Buttr, two water bottles, a can of HEED sports drink, a bunch of gels and food, some CO2, my cycling glasses, and a couple of pair of gloves. And even a small Camelbak for good measure.
Now, it was time to pack it. Would it all fit? Take a look for yourself.
Here are some of the features of the Endurance series bags from Ogio that I like.
Other than the accent color of this bag, I am very happy with it, and feel that I probably chose the best cycling equipment bag for my needs.
Questions or opinions about the bag? Leave a comment!
I like bar tape that is grippy, and not slippery. I also like grip tape that has some padding to it. I used to ride this really grippy and thick handlebar tape from Specialized that I liked a lot, but they either renamed it or they don’t make it anymore. Also, someone pointed out to me how heavy the gel padding was in the bike shop, letting me hold it in my hand to see. I rode cork tape for a while, which I also liked because of the comfort. But cork doesn’t have the same grip, and can easily get torn up if you aren’t careful.
So when I was at my local bike shop last year and saw this Lizard Skins tape on display, I decided to try it in spite of its really high price. Suggested retail is around $38, and I think that’s what I paid. I put it on my cyclocross bike first, where a good grip is extremely important. And after using it there, I really liked it and also put it on my road bike.
What I didn’t know when I bought this tape at my local bike shop is that it comes in different styles and thicknesses. I got the thinnest and lightest tape at 1.8 mm and just 50 grams. It also comes in slightly thicker 2.5 mm tape at 56 grams, and a really thick 3.2 mm tape that was used in the 2012 Paris Roubaix by Vacansoleil-DCM and still weighs just a little bit more at 63 grams.
If I had known about different thicknesses, I would have gone with the thickest 3.2 mm version for my cyclocross bike for sure, and probably also for my road bike. But alas, I already shelled out the money for what I have, so I’m sticking with it until my tape wears out. And that will probably be a while, because it is holding up quite well.
The 1.8 mm version is slightly plush and extremely grippy. I would describe it as only very slightly thicker and softer than traditional bar tape, with the better grip being the main selling point. Although I have to admit that I’ve done plenty of cyclocross racing and even a gravel grinder with this tape on my cyclocross bike, with no hand discomfort. So maybe even the thinnest version is better at vibration dampening than regular tape.
I’ve had some minor cyclocross crashes with the tape, and it has held up pretty well in spite of that. I have one little spot where I can see that I crashed it, but the tape did not tear completely and just looks a little bit beat up.
The next time I buy grip tape, I plan to stick with the Lizard Skins brand, but move up to the thickest 3.2 mm version. I feel that the tape is probably a little bit too expensive, at almost three times what you can buy some cork bike tape. But having a very solid grip where I don’t worry about my hands slipping off the bars even when my gloves are sweated through or my handlebars are wet is worth the extra expense for me.
Anyone else like grippy bicycle tape? What brand are you using? Leave a comment and let me know.
I have been using Caffelatex sealant in my 29er tubeless mountain bike tires for almost a year now, but had not experienced any situations where the sealant came into play until last weekend at the Austin Rattler 100.
After the race was long over and I was cleaning up my bike the next day, I started picking at a spot on my front tire that looked like it was mud stuck to the tire. I realized that it was actually dried latex when I peeled some off with my fingernail and saw a little bit of bubbling as it resealed. That means that the product was a complete success, because it sealed so well and so quickly that I didn’t even hear the air come out or see any latex squirting through.
The reason I began using Caffelatex to begin with was when I bought a new set of wheels and was over at a friend’s house who was helping me set them up. I didn’t have any Stan’s sealant with me, and he only used Caffelatex. He told me that Caffelatex had no ammonia in it, and the ammonia in other sealants can actually eat away at the metal on some wheels that it reacts poorly with. I wasn’t sure if this was bullshit or a real thing, but since I had brand new wheels and that’s what he had at his house, I decided to try it and have been very happy with it. And indeed, on the bottle itself, they advertise the “no ammonia” aspect of the sealant.
One thing you’ll notice about Caffelatex is that it seems a lot thinner than Stan’s when you pour it. That would make you think that it would work poorly as a sealant in comparison, but the reason for the thinner liquid is that Caffelatex is designed to foam up inside the tire when you are riding. This foaming action will allow the sealant to seal sidewall cuts better and faster than sealants that don’t foam up. I haven’t had a cut sidewall yet, so I can’t verify if this actually works as well as they claim it should.
One thing about sealant is that it will eventually dry up and evaporate inside your tire, leaving you with a thin layer of latex looking stuff on the inside of the tire, but no liquid rolling around in there. How long before the liquid dries up and evaporates depends upon where you store your bike (someplace hot and dry?), the humidity where you live, how much you ride and other factors.
I went seven months between checking my sealant — from just before the Leadville 100 last year until March or so of this year. My tires were still holding air just fine, but they were completely dry in there when I popped them open and looked inside. So I added the recommended amount for 29er tires and easily got them back on and sealed up with a low end compressor that I have around the house.
There’s a special ingredient that I read about that I add to my sealant. It’s plain old glitter, like you buy at a hobby shop. I put about a teaspoon’s worth of glitter inside the tire when I add sealant. The reason for this is that I read that the little pieces of glitter will clog up the hole faster and more effectively than just plain sealant by itself. My tire did indeed seal up so quickly that I didn’t even know that it had worked, but I have no idea if the glitter actually helped or not. I figure it didn’t hurt, so I will probably continue adding glitter to my mountain bike and cyclocross tubeless tires.
I am happy with Caffelatex, and will continue using it as my tire sealant on all of my tubeless tires and wheels.
Do you have an opinion or question about Caffelatex? Leave a comment!
I’ve been riding the Specialized Toupe Expert road bike seat for more than a year now, so I thought I would write a review for others considering this saddle.
A bike saddle is a very personal thing, and what works well for one person might not be a good fit for someone else. Until I started riding Specialized saddles, I tried many other brands including Selle Italia, Selle SMP, Fizik, Koobi and several other brands. My goal with any bicycle saddle is comfort, above all else. When you have the right saddle, you should basically never notice it when you are riding. If you feel pressure points and have to shift around a lot, or if you start to suffer from wiener sleepage issues, you’ve got the wrong saddle and need to keep looking. Especially the crotch numbness part, which should avoid at all costs.
I’ve found some saddles that were terrific when it came to avoiding crotch numbness, but just weren’t that comfortable overall, and left me shifting around. Before Specialized, I had the best luck with the Fizik Alliante, which is a great seat that I also recommend. But when I started looking for a replacement for the Alliante that had worn out, I decided to try other brands to see if I could find something even better. And after many failed attempts where I almost gave up, I ended up with the Toupe Expert that became my new favorite road seat.
As I’ve mentioned in my other Specialized saddle reviews (for my Henge and my Phenom Expert), I didn’t really think that a bicycle manufacturer could design a bike seat that would be better than a seat designed by a seat specialist. But I kept hearing good things from people who rode Specialized seats, so I went ahead and bought one. It was immediately comfortable for me, and caused no crotch numbness, and has held up great over the past year of riding it probably 8,000 miles or more.
The Toupe Expert is a light saddle designed for road racing. It has hollow titanium rails, and only weighs 188 grams in the 143 width. Like other Specialized saddles, it comes in three different widths. You can go to a bike shop that carries Specialized and sit on this pad thing, which will show indentations where your sit bones are. You measure that, and you know which width is best for you.
I think I probably paid close to the $130 suggested retail at my local bike shop, but it was worth it to have a quality road saddle that is comfortable. They make an even more expensive version of this saddle, and a heavier, less expensive version. So you can decide on your budget and go in either direction, as far as spending money. I would imagine that all of the saddles in the Toupe series are going to feel pretty similar, and it’s mostly about weight savings as you change prices.
If you are struggling with finding a comfortable saddle, I recommend this. Many bike shops have “demo saddles” of a lot of different brands, possibly including Specialized. They also sometimes have a program where you can return the saddle and trade it if you don’t like it. Take advantage of those programs, but be sure to ride a different saddle for at least a week or two before you decide. The first ride or two with a new saddle doesn’t always tell you everything, because your butt has to get used to the new shape.
I am very happy with this saddle, and recommend trying it as one of your options for a road bike.
Here’s what Specialized says about it:
Our highest-performance road saddle, this sleek minimalist is ultra-light and tuned for an outstanding fit, with a flat profile and thin padding perfect for explosive efforts.
– Patented Body Geometry design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries
– Super-light EVA padding for comfort and support on longer rides
– Stiff, carbon-reinforced shell for longevity and all-day racing efficiency
– Lightweight and durable hollow titanium rails
– Tough, light and water resistant Micromatrix cover
Have you used this saddle and like it or dislike it? Leave a comment!