Saturday, May 27, 2023

Review Briefs

 As many of you know, I get in a fair amount of stuff to review on Riding Gravel and sometimes just to give feedback on/test for others. I figured I may as well shoot a few words this way on some things being currently tested and reviewed by giving a few, brief thoughts on those items. As always, The Standard Disclaimer applies. 

Showers Pass Ultra-Light Wind Jacket

Showers Pass Ultra-Light Wind Jacket:

I just received this Showers Pass garment to review for Riding Gravel and it is a redesign of their popular wind jacket which is packable and very lightweight. 

Typically cycling apparel for guys and gals that are not "athletically shaped" is difficult. My wide shoulders and barrel-shaped chest often do not play well with many items made for cycling. 

Then there is sizing. It can be all over the place for me and I have XL, XXL, and XXXL sized jackets, as an example, all which "fit" me. 


Yes- sizing for cycling garments, (or any clothing, really), is pretty much a crap-shoot. I really appreciate sizing charts on sites and many utilize these, so that does help tremendously. I get into all of the previous stuff because whenever I get a jacket like this Showers Pass one, even though I've tried several of this company's products, it is always an adventure whenever I slip something on. 

In this case, this jacket, while a 3X was recommended, is very generously sized. I think the shoulder width and arm length is spot on, but the body of this thing is probably big enough that I could layer underneath this with insulating layers for really cold Winter riding. In other words, this ain't no athletic cut here. And maybe that bodes well for you if you are a person with a bigger belly than most. 

I'd be fine with the extra room, but there is no waist draw string, so on me this fits like a blouse. Not sure what to think there, because sizing down might help the abdominal area but would shoulder width be too constricted? I'm thinking so. Especially when the sizing chart puts me dead in the middle of 3X. 

Oh, and this is ninety-nine bucks. More on this one on Riding Gravel soon.

Cardiff grips are available through SOMA.

Cardiff Cork Composite Grips:

When I got the Karate Monkey set up with that Velo Orange Utility flat bar, I needed a classy looking set of grips and my local bike shop happened to have a set on hand that fit the bill. The rubberized Cardiff cork grips

These are "rubberized" meaning that the cork is ground up and mixed in with rubber and then formed into a grip. So, they weigh a little more than a typical fully cork wood grip, and they have a better feel and damping. 

The grips have a closed over end which makes for a nicer look and overall are a bit darker in color than a typical all-cork wood grip would be. I also found that they were a bit of a bear to slip on the Utility Bar which may be an issue with a slightly over-sized bar or under-sized grip. Not sure on that, but a liberal dose of WD-40 made them go right on. 

Riding with them on the steel Utility Bar gives a bit of cushion to the hands and grip is excellent with the rubber part lending a lot of paw-traction there.  The shape is a classic curved one which fits the hand nicely. For 15 bucks its a winner. Plus it'll likely keep your hands warmer in cooler weather due to the cork content. Oh! And I bought these with my own money, so there! 

Pedros Tire Levers:

 I've written about tire levers before in a post from last August, but I wanted to revisit my absolute favorite tire levers in my mechanic career, the Pedros Tire lever. 

Why is it my favorite? Because of the shape of the tip, its strength, and it is easy on the hands. Because it doesn't break under extreme pressure. Because they are cheap and not some fashion statement, or weird revision of a simple idea.

Because when you are a service mechanic and you need to get the job done quickly and efficiently with the least amount of resistance, you find what does that for you and you are not swayed off that choice easily if at all. And I feel that way about the Pedros Tire Lever. 

Ironically Pedros is responsible for possibly the very worst tire levers ever made in the old "Milk Lever" which was a tire lever made from recycled plastic milk jugs, or reputably so. This was in the 1990's, so my memory may be vague on that detail. Anyway, I do remember that they were about as stiff as a wet noodle and that they were functionally useless. So, to see Pedros have a lever these days that is superior to just about everything else I've seen or used is quite the turnaround. 

Get some, put them in your bag. You will never need any other tire levers.  (Note: The levers shown were gifted to me by an old employer.)

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