Saturday, June 10, 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. 

Cedaero Tank Top Pack

Cedaero Tank Top Pack:

Mrs. Guitar Ted bought me a nice present when we were in Emporia last week. It is a Cedaero Tank Top Pack in a waxed canvas purple color. 

This bag can also be had in a Cordura Nylon or in what I have here which Cedaero calls a "Martexin Waxed Canvass". The waxed bags weigh a bit more, if that matters to you, and this one weighs in at 176 grams. 

The price for this was $79.99 and Mrs. Guitar Ted purchased it a Merchant Cycles (Formerly Gravel City Adventure and Supply) in Emporia KS. 

Okay, so I am replacing a Revelate "Mag Tank" bag with the magnetic closure top. I was using that bag on my Singular Gryphon Mk3 and I thought it was a bit of a kludgy bag in that is has a top that doesn't cover the interior well at times and the top magnetic closure is fiddly and doesn't hold its contents securely. 

The Cedaero bag has a proper zipper closure which is easy to use and doesn't cause you to have to use two hands to start to zip it shut. The zipper pull feels beefy without being annoying and it should be easy to find in a 'no-look' fashion while riding. That's important to me. 

There is a side mesh inner pocket, useful for trash, or smaller items, and otherwise the inner cavity is not divided nor contrasted in color. The Revelate bag has a inner contrasting color which is a bit nicer in my opinion. 

The two hook and loop straps on the bottom of the bag are not capable of being re-positioned as they are permanently sewn in. The front hook and loop strap can be re-positioned though. 

The bag was easily mounted and initial testing shows good results, so I am hopeful this passes the ride test. 

For context, the Cedaero Tank Top Pack is almost identically sized to the Revelate Mag Tank, but the Mag Tank weighs about 30 grams less and is cheaper at $59.99. These compare to my all-time favorite top tube bag, the Bike Bag Dude "Top Tube Garage", which is significantly larger and has a dual inner side pockets arrangement, contrasting inner fabric, multi-position straps, and is lighter overall. It costs about a C-note plus shipping from Australia, but these bags are totally worth the money. 

More soon......

Tifosi "Rail" Sunglasses:

Recently I received a pair (why are Sunglasses called "a pair"? Weird...) of Tifosi Rail Sunglasses with three interchangeable lenses. There is a high-light blockage "Slate Mirror" lens, a Red AC (All Conditions) lens, and a clear lens. The retail price for this model is $79.99. 

Tifosi and I go way back. Little known factoid: Tifosi sponsored the very first Trans Iowa and gave each rider a free pair of Sunglasses! (I wish I had kept mine, but they are long gone.) 

Anyway, Tifosi's "MO" is to offer the rider a set of glasses with a lot of value and high performance at a low cost. In the past I was "mostly satisfied" with their wares. I mean, you could tell that Oakleys and Spy, and Rudy Projects were superior in terms of optics, and so the resulting price differences between those brands and Tifosi made some sense. 

Is this still the case? 

Well, I think that Tifosi has upped their game since the days I was a regular user of their products. The overall optical experience with the Rail has been really good. "Oakley" good? "Spy" good? Yeah....pretty darn close to that good, for sure. 

And you get three very usable lenses. The Smoke Mirror lens is great at blocking out really bright Sun and glare. The Red AC lens is what I would call perfect. I like the ability to see contrasts and they block enough light to keep me happy while not being so dark that going under the branches of a roadside tree does not leave you in the dark. 

And clear lenses need no explanation. 

The bows of these Rail model glasses are comfy, the adjustable nose piece is on par with any high-end glasses, and the Rail does not slip, nor cause any fatigue after wearing them a long time. They do have a large "blade-like" lens that is all the rage these days, so they cover a lot of facial real estate. Keep that in mind here. 

I'll have more to say in my Riding Gravel review. 

Base Layers:

Here is something you don't see a lot of chatter about - Base layers. Those garments that go between you and the jersey. It would seem counter-intuitive for hot, humid conditions to wear one of these and a jersey, but if you know, know.

I'll spare the apologetic of base layer usage and just say that I was amazed at the difference when wearing a base layer versus not wearing one. You can decide for yourself if it is worth the trouble. Now with that said, here are two base layer tops for men that I have found to my liking. 

Twin Six T6 Base Layer:

No techy mumbo-jumbo here. I like this one because it is relatively inexpensive at $21.60 and it feels pretty darn good. I have been wearing one of these on most of my rides for several years after having used another brand at first. This top launders well and stays nice and bright white wash after wash. Plus it does what it is supposed to do- wick away sweat and keep you cooler. The fabric is supple and decently soft to the touch, even after several years of use. It has more of a tank-top cut to it, so it doesn't cover the shoulders. 

Endura Translite S/L Baselayer: 

The Endura base layer (right in the image above) is the nicest base layer I have. I only have one, but I have had it for a few years as well. It also launders well and works great on the bike. The main differences are that the Endura fabric is softer to the skin and very supple. The other difference is that it is a sleeveless design, so this one has a tighter collar, more like a t-shirt than a tank-top, and it covers the shoulders. Cost is a bit more at $39.99 but the Endura base layer is like an "Ultegra" option whereas the T6 top would be your "105" option. (Or XT vs SLX if you are a MTB person) You can check out this one HERE, but I see the website says they are out of stock at the moment. 

The bottom line is that these are both great base layer tops for hot, humid weather or any riding, really. The T6 gets my vote as the workhorse option that you will definitely get your money's worth from. The Endura one is more of a luxury item, in my view, but it is definitely a great base layer. 

That's a wrap for this edition of Review Briefs


Rydn9ers said...

Tifosi is my jam! I personally am a big fan of the Swank series that they have and at $25 a pair I don't know how you can go wrong. I used to be an Oakley guy for riding but at over $200 for most of their glasses now it just seemed silly to use those on gravel rides. Seemed like everytime I breathed on them wrong they got scratched, the Tifosi glasses seem more robust in that area and IF you do scratch them you can almost buy 10 more pair of them before reaching Oakley prices.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers - That's pretty much the value proposition for most folks concerning Tifosi, and I think their most recent glasses are their best ever.