Gear review Connex 11sp SO chain

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This gear review has been about 8 months in the making. At the last years seaotter i talked with a rep from the Connex booth and i was really interested in trying out their chain. They were cool enough to send me out one to ry out. To me a chain is a chain but what really stood out to me with the connex chain was their connector link. Their link was different than any one I’ve seen, sram shimano and kmc all have a pretty similar system where the link together

And they snap together and usually require tools to separate thempower link

 

The connex link is in my opinion quite superior to all the others I’ve used. connex link

It doesn’t require and tools to install and it makes it super easy to take on and off for cleaning. it slides in to place and stays in place with tension and the unique design. I’ve put about 1000 miles on this chain since i installed this chain and i couldn’t be happier. the chain shifts super smooth and because its easy to take off and deep clean i can get it cleaner than a standard chain. I can really get in all the places you can’t when its on the bike. I will usually clean and lube my chain every other ride sometimes if I’m lazy ill go 3 rides in between cleaning and lubes, but with the connex i could take the whole thing off clean it and reinstall it in about the same time i would spend with my old chain.Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 1.55.47 PMScreen Shot 2016-01-17 at 1.56.05 PM

 

Its super easy to put together, the performance of the chain was great, it shifted smooth in every gear and was quiet as well. The link is shaped slightly different but doesn’t effect shifting or performance. If you’re in the market for a new chain that’s easy to maintain give the Connex chain a try. Make sure and check out the Connex website to see their full line of products or purchase directly from the cantitoeroad 


  
 

Stocking stuffers under $25

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Only 10 more days till christmas, still looking for those last minute stocking stuffers for that hard to shop for cyclist? Well i got you covered here are a few stocking stuffers any cyclist would be stoked to get.

 

 

What cyclist doesn’t like a cool cycling cap and these two are some of the coolest I’ve come across. First one is a full metal jacket helmet cap from Mashsf. Mashsf is a cool fixie shop in San Francisco that always has cool cycling accessories. Next cap I came across was this super cool Replica Colnago Sydney Deane (wesley snipes) white men can’t jump cap, i came across this one on eBay and had to swoop one up just because its so cool. Go check out mashsf web site to see all their cool cycling accessories

 

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Next up and also from Mashsf are theses super cool 35mm film purist bottles. These bottles appeal to me because I shoot a lot of Ilford hp5, fuji velvia and tri-x. These bottles are not only cool but are high quality as well, i only use purist bottles i just like they way they look and how the valve functions in my opinion they are one of the best bottles on the market. Not to worry though if the cyclist you buying gifts for isn’t in to film photography mash has a bunch of other bottles to choose from. P.S. RIP  Kodachrome, arguably the best film ever made…

 

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Next up are with out a doubt my favorite tire lever ever made. The Pedros tire lever is in my opinion the best tire lever on the market. I have 2 in all my flat kits i carry. They slide so smooth and I’ve never had them get caught on the tube when changing a tire. Pedros really nailed it in the design of the levers and the material there made, i believe its a special blend of unicorn horn and wizard dust formed in to a tire lever, thats the only way i can explain how they work so well. At a price of $5 a pair their a deal at twice the price, go check out Pedros site to see all of their awesome products

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Looking for something for the pizza cycling enthusiast in your life? Well I got you covered with this rad fixe pizza cutter, what goes better than pizza and bikes? Maybe beer and bikes, but pizza beer and bikes is the trifecta. You can swoop up one of these rad little guys on Amazon for around $20
 
I think cyclists are the only people who like getting socks for Christmas, and why not get them some of the coolest cycling socks from hbstache. At $15 these socks are the perfect stocking stuffer and with a few dozen options you can find the perfect ones to match just about any kit. 

That just about does it for my holiday stocking stuffers hope this helped for shopping for that particular cyclist on your list.

 

 

FBTC’s holiday gift guide, part 2

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Continuing on with my holiday gift guide i have a great pair of shoes at a great price. The Bont riot are a great pair of shoes that pack a lot of high end features on a budget price. Ive been wearing bontrager RXL shoes for a while now these have been the best fitting shoes I’ve found till  saw the Bont’s. Bont are unique in the fact that all of their shoes are anatomical with a wide toe box and the carbon composite sole is easily heat moldable for a truly custom fit, all at a MSRP of $149.99 but easily found on the good old inter webs for around $90-$120, i found mine new eBay for  a steal $70 shipped. Bout also has a fancy system of tracing your foot and measuring the widest and longest part and telling what size and width to get, I’ve been wearing a 46 in most cycling shoes the Bont fitting system suggested a 45 regular width, the fit well and with a heat molding will make them fit perfect. If looking for a good light shoe at a great price give the Bont riot a chance. Only negative review i have is that where the upper meets the sole it loos unfinished needing a rubber strip for a more finished look, which Bont sells separate”bumper” for $10, why they don’t just add them on i have no clue

 

 

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Next up on the list is a second Silca product that has quite a buzz about it. The Slica Impero Ultimate frame pump is just that, the ultimate frame pump. I have an old 80’s Slica floor pump i inherited from a relative when i started to get in cycling, this thing is built to last, I’ve been using it for years with no issues they make absolutely great products that are not only built for years of use but look great too. Silca claims that the impero can inflate a 23c tire to 90psi in 100 strokes, which is either great or horrible i have to clue, i use a co2 inflater in my flat kit, but if your looking for a top of the line frame pump check out the impero!

 

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Another must have for any cyclist is a work stand. It literally makes working on your bike 1000% easier. The park pcs-9 is a great work stand for the home mechanic, at  price of $139.99 it a good deal on a park stand, it folds up for easy transportation for taking to the races or cleaning and lubing your bike after a ride. if you don’t have a work stand i highly recommend getting one, i use mine all the time weather I’m cleaning and lubing the drivetrain or giving my bike a bath. Its also great for bike storage i always have one of my 4 bikes in the stand. Do your self a favor and grab a park stand and you won’t look back.

 

Michelin Pro4 Endurance tyres (Pic: George Scott/Factory Media)

Michelin Pro4 Endurance tyres 

 

 

What cyclist doesn’t like to ride new tires, nothing better than unfolding a new tires and putting it on a rim. Ive been running the Michelin pro 4 endurance for a few years now, and over that time  I’ve had about 1 flat. Im currently running a 25c tire on a hed beligum + rim and i absolutely love them. The pro 4 endurance has a a nice kevlar side wall to help with puncture protection, and it works really well for me i rarely get flats (knock on wood). The pro4 has a great rubber compound with excellent grip and also come in a in a few different colors to match whatever color your bike is. At a price of $44.99 its as good as tires the cost %50 more. If your in the market for a light, grippy and tough tire give the Michelin pro 4 endurance a try

 

zecto light

 

As a cyclist i can never have enough lights, i have lights for all my bikes along with flat kit with co2 set ups and tire levers. Im always stoked wen some one gives me a light as a present i always end up using them. The Lezyne zecto drive pro is a great all purpose light, it functions as a front a rear light and has 3 different colored aluminum bezels if thats something you’re in to. The red LEDs range between 10-40 lumens and the white LED’s go from 40-160 lumens. USB rechargeable and a fairly quick recharge time of 2.5 hours and a cool red green and blue led inside the power button to tell what the battery level is. Lezyne always makes really rice products and the zecto drive is no different its made well and looks cool and it water resistant, this thing can take pretty much any riding condition, if your like me and like to have light for all your bike pick up one of these cool. At $49.99 its a tad on the pricy but you really get what you pay for.

 

FBTC’s holiday gift guide, part 1

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The holidays are upon us and anyone who knows a cyclist knows how hard it can be to shop for them for presents. This holiday gift guide is going to showcase 10 awesome products any cyclist would love to have all under $150.

 

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First up on the list are the Tifosi escalate pro. At a retail price of $149.99  you get 6 pairs of glasses. Tifosi has a great system of where the ear pieces clip on to the frame giving you 3 different frame options with 2 set of lenses for each frame style. I’ve been using these the past couple months and  i really like them, my favorite style are the shields where the ear pieces clip directly to the lenses giving a super sleek look. The lenses pop out really easy in the full frame and half frame. Tifosi has 2 different options of the escalate with either a clarion blue or a clarion red, and each have a clear smoke and ac red lenses. These are great glasses and have an option for any weather condition. Tifosi really hit the nail on the head with these glasses and I’m looking forward to what they have to offer in 2016! Go check out Tifosis web site for all their new products

 

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Next on the list is a $125 set of hex wrenches from italian pump maker slica. Silca’s new HX-ONE hex wrenches are the hot must have holiday gift for cyclists. This is what slice has to say about their new HX-ONE, “For the HX-One we had to start with the finest S-2 Tool Steel, a shock resistant steel which has been refined by Swiss and German toolmakers for the optimal balance of strength, hardness, shock resistance and dimensional control. S-2 yields stronger tools with much harder surfaces for prolonged tool AND fastener life. The keys are then coated with thin-dense Chrome, a process generally reserved for mold tool components or optical grade surfaces inside molding tools. This coating provides the hardest, most dimensionally stable finish possible on each hex key. Finally, each tool is spray coated with a high-grip, high-visibility textured polymer finish for maximum grip and control. No more dropping your tools with greasy fingers or losing them on your workbench!” Go check out silcas site for more info

 

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If your looking for a great stocking stuffer you can’t beat the Pig pen from Pedros. The Pig pen includes the pig chain cleaning unit cleverly designed to look like a pig! it also comes with a bottle of pig juice degreaser fluid and chain j lube. At a price of $39.99 its an awesome way to keep your drivetrain clean and lubed. I love Pedros products a lot I’m always stoked when they come out with something new because i know its going to be rad. Do you self a favor and buy all of pedros products!

 

mini-gps

 

Next up is the Lezyne mini GPS should be on every cyclists wishlist this year. Its compact design and reasonable price makes this gps. At $139.99 its significantly less than their competitors, and you still get a ton of great features including Optimized GPS recording, stores up to 100 hours of data, Scrolling data ticker and auto start/stop functions
Custom alerts,Up to 10 hours of runtime and weighs only 29 Grams. The main display includes Moving time, ride time, elapsed time,Distance: Current, Trip Total, Trip Odometer
Speed: Current, Average, Max. Elevation: Ascent, Descent, Current Laps
Temperature Time: ride time, clock,GPS signal strength, Battery life indicator
Semi-customizable display: 2, 3 or 4 fields, Manually choose bottom field, or set to auto scroll. The bigger brothers also include text message display, Heart rate monitor compatibility bigger battery and display for only about $60 more, Lezyne really did their R&D when they made their new GPS line and is guaranteed to take a bite out of the garmin market go check out lezyne for all their fine cycling products

 

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Next up is my one MTB item on my list, the praxis wide range 11-40 10sp cassette. I actually really want this for my stock 14′ giant trance sx 27.5, its currently set up with 1×10  34t front chainring and 36t cassette, which makes climbing some what of a hellish experience. With the help of this cassette and the matching 32t praxis chainring its going to revive my now “outdated” drivetrain, Praxis really hit the nail on the head with this cassette, you can now breath life in to that 10 speed that you thought was dead. Praxis markets this cassette as a direct swap, you do not need to even shorten the chain. At a price of $130 its an inexpensive way to get up  the mtn, go check out praxis for their full line chain rings cassettes and bb for road and MTB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review! Origin 8 x bar lights

 

I’ve been using these rad Origin8 lights for a few months now, and i have to say I’m pleasantly surprised on how cool these are. If you are not familiar with the brand Origin8 has been around for a while. They started out in accessories and spread out to a full line of road,mountain, CX, and fixed gear.

Having used their single speed hubs for a while now i was stoked to get ahold of these lights. The x bar have a very easy mounting bracket, basically a rubber band with a hook and a notches, it can attach to just about any set of bars or seat posts.

 

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I use the rear light on just about every ride day or night, its small compact and bright and uses a rechargeable micro usb battery witch lasts close to the 5 hours on strobe mode. The light is has 3 brightness setting and 3 strobe settings, its one of the brightest and compact lights I’ve used. The light can be mounted horizontally or vertically to accommodate other accessories or bar positions. I have mine mounted to my seat post horizontally under my seat bag.

 

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The Front X bar is pretty much the same exact light just with a different lens. They did bump up the lumens from 25 to 50, its a super bright compact light. I have used this on many night rides on my single speed and it lights up the road nicely. In a day where LED bike lights are cheap and everywhere the x bar really sets it self apart with its unique design and quality construction. With a price point of about $35 these are not the cheapest lights but they are worth the money. Go check out orgin8 full line of bike products, they have just about whatever you need!

Review! Pedros chain pig

chain pig

 

This cute little guy was sent to me from the good people over at Pedros tools, his name is the chain pig and he keeps your chain sparkling clean. I have done reviews on Pedros products before, they make some of the best tools and bike maintenance products on the market. Ive been using their apprentice tool kit for a while now and I love it. The tools are top notch, i found out about Pedros products from the guys at my local bike shop. After breaking a ton of tire levers they recommended the Pedros levers, and i was instantly sold! I have 2 levers in every underseat bag on all my bikes. So when i  found out they had a new line of chain cleaners bike wash and chain lube i was stoked to try them out.

 

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I was pretty stoked to get some samples of their new wet chain lube called “Go juice”, and their dry lube “ice wax”, their biodegradable “pig juice” for cleaning and degreasing the chain, a general biodegradable degreaser for other parts and their bike wash “green fiz”. I was really impressed with the design of the chain pig, it not only looks like an actual pig it functions great too, getting my chain sparkling clean. I used it on a bike i was working on that had been sitting for a long time and breathed life back in to a greasy crusty chain.

 

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The go juice is a great all around lube, i made sure to evenly coat the chain in the go juice and cycle through the gears to get the cassette nice and lube up to, after letting it sit for about 15 min i took a shop rag and wiped off the excess, after a couple rides the chain is still shifting smooth as silk. the Go juice is a biodegradable non toxic synthetic designed for dry to mixed conditions . Go juice does a great job of attracting less dirt than a conventional lube. Living in  California the go juice is perfect for the weather conditions up here, mostly dry with occasional rain, they also make “chain j” for light wet conditions and the “syn lube” for extreme wet conditions

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The green fizz bike wash made even the matte finish on my scott addict sparkle like a new penny. it has a 16:1 concentration ratio, meaning about  10-15 drops to a gallon of warm water will give you some good suds for washing off road grime and also degreasing the drivetrain. the green fizz is also biodegradable plant derived perfect for use on carbon, aluminum, steel and plastic, i even used it on my wheel and tires.

 

I was really happy with how well the cleaners and lubes preformed. my drivetrain is squeaky clean and shifting smooth as silk. Do your self a favor and buy anything with a pedros logo, you won’t be disappointed, I’m happy to add the go juice, green fizz and pig juice to my tool box! Go check out all of pedros products from mechanics tool and multi tools for you daily ride to cleaners and lubes, and my personal favorite their tire levers

Sunday ride

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Since I got back from my trip to Thailand I’ve been working quite a bit to catch up for all the time i took off and riding opportunities have been scarce. So when a fried and my roommate wanted to go for a ride i jumped at the chance. My roommate is a total cycling noob, he was given a decent bike a scott speedster, by his sister who’s ex-bf left it with her when he moved. He had her ship it from the east coast and i put it back together for him giving him a general fit as best as i could. Its a decent bike aluminum frame carbon fork and tiagra components. He had ridden it around town but nothing more than a few miles.

My other buddy who went with us is my buddy i go mtn biking with, he recently bought a giant hybrid bike to ride on his breaks at work, so he not a total cycling noob but dosent have a lot of road riding experience. We set out for a small ride 16.7 miles looking like a pretty eclectic group of riders, my self being the roadie in full kit and clipless shoes, my mtn bike buddy who was in his baggy mtn bike gear, camel back and riding platform pedals, and my roommate who was in a pair of cycling shorts i gave him which were given new to me, and a lakers jersey and my mtn bike helmet with a visor and platform pedals.

I lead the group on the ride, using cycling hand gestures to motion to road hazards and making turns. We road for about 30 min and took a break at bout the 6.5 mile mark, i usually don’t stop for a rest on my usual ride till the half way point of about 12.5-15 miles, but being the nice guy i am we stopped early to see if they want to head back or keep going. We decided to keep pressing on another 3.5 miles to our destination. we stopped for a rest and snack of a granola and acai bowl.

On the way back i could tell one of my buddys was falling behind, so i would wait for him to catch up at critical points in the ride. We averaged about 14.6mph, I’m usually around 16-16.5, which isn’t to bad for inexperienced riders i was riding with. With both my friends riding the stock seats on their bike they were pretty sore i told them to invest in a seat fitment before they did anything else. To the non-cycling public paying a $100 for a bike seat is ridiculous but they don’t understand that thats the most critical part of their bike, that being said my friends may appointments to get a saddle fitment.

Im petty stoked to have my friends show an interest in cycling and coming to me for advice on bikes and cycling in general, my cycling buddy moved away a while ago and i usually ride solo with a group ride once in a while with the guys from the bike shop. Its nice  to have friends to ride with again, I’m always happy to help out new cyclists get in to the sport i love.