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.
Shimano Flint Hills Edition "Moonlight" RX6 Shoes:
Yesterday I mentioned that I got those RX6 shoes in and now that I've had a chance to ride in them and walk around in them I have a few thoughts to share.
I have been wearing the Shimano gravel shoes since they came out a few years back. The newer RX8's are a definite improvement over the originals and I have liked them quite a bit. So when I saw that the RX6's were very similar I was pretty stoked to give them a try.
The upper and the BOA are really similar with very little variation between the RX8 and RX6. However; after that you get to the soles and those vary quite a lot in terms of feel while walking and riding. In terms of fit, the RX8 and RX6 are really very close to being identical. That's very good!
My take is that the big difference in the RX6 is that it isn't so stiff. The RX8 is actually kind of hard to walk in. Not terrible, but it doesn't have very much "give" and that makes walking any distance on harder surfaces a bit tedious and the RX8 fatigues your feet and lower legs a lot more quickly because of that. The RX6 is noticeably easier on the earth-pads and lower legs when you have to walk.
I imagine this is also why the shoe feels a bit more relaxed while riding as well. I like that, personally. Really stiff shoes fatigue my feet more quickly, so I am hopeful that the stiffness to flex ratio of the RX6 actually will make my feet happier than the RX8's. Time will tell.....
Voler "Pirate Cycling League 15th Anniversary" Windbreaker:
I've tried a lot of windbreakers and I took a chance recently on another one, the Voler branded "Pirate Cycling League 15th Anniversary" windbreaker. I've been able to use this several times over the Spring and I have ended up at a place where this windbreaker has taken the point in my apparel arsenal.
The biggest reason I jumped on this one was because it has three jersey-type rear pockets. Most windbreakers don't have this feature and I find that a bit frustrating.
So, right off the mark this windbreaker was a head and shoulders above the rest. But it was in the wearing that I found this one to be tops for me and cooler, windy weather.
The fit isn't too loose, but it fits without any real tight areas on me either. So, that was a huge plus to have hardly any fabric flapping in the breeze but the jacket didn't make me feel like a sausage in a casing. The zipper is beefy, two-way, and looks solid. It isn't some wimpy zipper that would fail after a season or two. The collar covers the neck well, so if you are in a cold wind this helps keep the air out. The sleeves are well long enough too.
The fabric is just right- Not too stiff and not at all uncomfortable against the skin. This is almost a long sleeved jersey, actually, but technically, still a windbreaker.
While you cannot get a 15th Anniversary PCL version, you can get this model windbreaker from Voler. Oh, and I bought this one at full-boat retail. So there!
Ergon SR Allroad Core Saddle:
This was the first wide/short saddle I ever tried. I didn't know whether or not it would work out and Ergon saddles weren't my favorites. I had tried several over the years and while they were "okay", I never really bonded with any of them.
And what do you know? I ended up really liking this saddle. It didn't feel weird, and in fact, the BASF manufactured padding was actually what Ergon claimed for it, a vibration reducing material.
This is also the first saddle I have tried that has the big cut-out/channel thing going on. First of all, I didn't really notice anything different. But then again, I don't typically worry about getting numb, I guess I block that bit out because after I paid attention, there was a benefit.
I don't have debilitating numbness issues, but after using the Ergon saddle I noticed I felt better than typical. So, I have changed my mind a bit on that feature since I have been using it. The WTB "Gravelier" I talked about in this "Review Brief", also has the relief cut-out, and it also does well with making me feel better after a longer ride.
But my favorite between the two is definitely this Ergon SR Allroad. The BASF foam padding is a big reason why I would choose this over the WTB, but both are really pretty good.