Thursday, July 06, 2017

Leather And Elastomers

Smell the glove...... It smells like leather! Get yer mind outta the gutter!
So, a little back story is in order here. Generally speaking, I do not wear cycling gloves when it is warm enough to not have to wear full fingered gloves. The reason being is that short fingered, cycling type gloves always make my fingers and hands go numb. Like really quickly. Sometimes I can put on a pair of summer cycling gloves and my hands start tingling within minutes, I don't even have to be riding!

This brought me a lot of frustration and pain until I discovered Ergon grips and started riding radical drop bars like the Luxy Bar. There were still times when my grip was compromised due to sweat or when I biffed and scraped up my hands, but at least I could feel my digits! I couldn't figure out why I had such an issue. I tried all sorts and brands of short fingered gloves and nothing worked for me. Eventually I just gave up trying.

Well, then I got an email from this guy in Texas that runs a business called Recovered Cycling. He had designed some leather cycling gloves, had them made overseas, and wondered if I wanted to give them a shot. They were called "Cuero" gloves, ("leather" in Spanish), and were pretty classy looking. Short fingered, but......well, it had been a long time. Maybe these would be different? I was advised to measure my hand in a certain manner and then to order the gloves. I decided to order a size larger than I was guided to. Then I waited......

Well, they showed up, smelling all leathery and awesome, and looked even classier than I thought. They fit perfectly, (glad I sized up!), and I rode with them on my 50 miler on the 4th.

No hand numbness!

That was nice! And the gloves are working out well, obviously, but I need to do some more rides to see how they wear in and hold up. Stay tuned...........

The Twin Six Standard Rando with the Redshift ShockStop stem on it. This stem is the business.
I also have been blessed to be able to try out this stem from Redshift Sports. Okay, so this guy from Redshuft sent me an email at my address and it says something about a "suspension stem". I briefly looked at it and shook my head before sending it to the trash bin. I never gave it a second thought. Suspension stems! What a load of crap those things were! (YES- I actually tried one back in the day) I worked on many of the more notable ones and saw a few rare ones in my time, but all were eventually destined for that mtb parts dust bin, never to be seen again. Good riddance! I couldn't imagine how this Redshift one could be any different.

Then the guy sent me another email.

Out of respect for his persistence, I actually went to their website and dug around a bit. Okay.....maybe. Just maybe this is different. I emailed back with questions, and I got answers, and eventually I got a stem in for review. So, okay.......I was all wrong about the ShockStop. It actually does what they claim and it is nearly an "invisible" component. Go ahead and click the link above to read my review so far.

So, between those two things, and the puffy WTB Byway tires don't hurt either, my Cowchipper equipped T-6 Standard Rando is now a fun bike to ride again. Not that it  wasn't when I got it, but my shoulder injury I got the Winter the bike was purchased really changed things for me and then that bike's set up was painful. These new items have really made that bike a go-to rig once again.

Note- WTB sent over the Byways, Redshift sent over the Shockstop, and Recovered Cycling sent over the Cuero gloves at no charge for test and review to I chose to chat about them here on G-Ted Productions.  I have not been paid nor bribed for these reviews. I will strive to give my honest thoughts and opinions throughout.


BluesDawg said...

It would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on how the Redshift stem compares to Specialized's Future Shock.

Guitar Ted said...

@BluesDawg- While I haven't ridden a Specialized Future Shock stem yet, I can draw a couple of comparisons simply based upon the design. First and foremost, that Specialized design is not something you can just put on any bicycle of yours, to my knowledge. The frame is also part of the equation. With the Redshift Sports stem, you can use it on any road or gravel bike to great success, as long as the fit works for you.

Secondly, (If you hit the link provided and scroll down, you can see this), the Specialized Future Shock is a lot more complex. More parts to the system.

In my experience as a mechanic, it is going to be imperative that water/sweat ingress be kept at bay in the Specialized design. I've seen upper and lower head set bearings severely corroded and in worst cases, frozen up, by sweat and water contamination. The Redshift stem is not as problematic, potentially, as the Specialized stem, being that there is only a single pivot and that placed in a manner less likely to be contaminated.

Also- while the the Redshift stem requires a bit of mechanical futzing to swap elastomer settings, I have to wonder how you get springs and then change them in the Specialized system. Looking at the site, it isn't immediately apparent how that is adjusted and where different springs are available. Most likely this is a Specialized, dealer only, swap. The Redshift stem allows you the ability to swap elastomers yourself, whenever you want to, since all spring rates are supplied with the stem.

That Fture Shock would have to be pretty impressive, along with the rest of the bike, (because it has to come with a Specialized bike), to make me think it is a better option for most riders. That's my take.
Performance-wise, I cannot comment on that. Obviously.

baric said...

So in your evaluation of the Red Shift shock stem so far do you think this is something that would have been beneficial to Greg Gleeson on his Great Divide attempt this year. I realize he pushed it pretty hard on the first day ( it looked like he was riding it like a Trans Iowa race) but do you think this would have helped his problem without resorting to a front shock with lockout on his Salsa Cutthroat ??

Guitar Ted said...

@baric- That is a question only Greg Gleason can answer. I cannot really speak to his specific situation.

That said, this is a component I think might be useful to certain folks on ultra distance rides. Keep in mind that, for bike packing, many folks hang a lot of weight off their bars. Adding that weight to rider weight on the bars, and it may exceed the capabilities of the ShockStop stem to effectively do its job. You'd probably have to have a customized set of elastomers for that sort of job for many of the set ups I see on TD. Lighter weight riders? Then I could see it being a component that would be within its parameters as it is.

In my opinion Redshift wold have to do a "TD" version of the stem to be suitable for true bike packing work, such as what Greg Gleason was doing for Tour Divide.