UPDATE - Another Christmas Add-On from ECJ

By: Brandon Dec 20

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Hopefully you've already read my wish list, which to be honest, was barely scratching the surface of what I'd love to find on Christmas morning! So many cool things, so little time (and money).

But here is something I've been eyeballing for quite some time, and something that is so far from where my personal finances fall that it's time I share it with others with the hope of living vicariously though our readers.

I can't recall how Slayer Espresso popped up on my radar, and for the life of me I can't even remember where. But from first glance, I've been enamored with their customization, detail, and frankly, the brand they've built.

Our love for custom, handmade things doesn't end with bikes. We love the connection that comes from a builder/craftsman pouring their knowledge, skill, and passion into whatever they produce. When that passion and precision are applied into making something as beautiful as Slayer is doing with these machines, well, I fell in love.

To be clear, we're talking about a $10,000+ coffee machine. No doubt the audience for such a machine is limited, though I assume much the same could be said for a $6000 Pegoretti!

I encourage you to poke around Slayer's website, the machines will not disappoint. There are also some pretty amazing projects Slayer has been a part of, something like this Airstream serving espresso on location. A bit like Rapha is doing, but Strom isn't also about the bike and you can order what you'd like.

If you find yourself with a large stack on Benjamin's sometime in the near future and they are burning a hole in your pocket, send me a Slayer. I'll pull some wicked shots and let you know how great it tastes.

photos from Slayer Espresso and words by Brandon Elliott

 

What Does ECJ Want for Christmas?

By: Brandon Dec 16

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Yeah, everyone does one. Everywhere you look during the month of December someone is publishing their own little version of a Wish List. Why did I decide to do one? Probably to hint to my wife what I want, it's subtle, ya know?

Anyway, here are a few things I'd love to find on Christmas morning. A few small, a few huge, something in between, but all great stuff.

Skratch Labs - $2-$35

The up side of buying Skratch for someone else is that so far, I have yet to find a flavor I didn't like. Of course, I do have favorites, and at the top of that list is Matcha + Lemons Exercise Hydration Mix. A little bit of matcha (green tea) which provides some caffeine, as well as some lemons for flavor. It's kind of tough to beat and tastes good enough that I wouldn't hesitate to drink it off of the bike as well.

Beyond Matcha + Lemons, it seems everyone around my house likes the Apples + Cinnamon, which is meant to be consumed hot. I can't say I've gotten into drinking it while on the bike, but a small serving after a cold ride is certainly a nice treat. I plan on giving it another go once the temps really start to drop, if I can pry it away from my kids.

The best part? It's kinda cheap. Single serving packets are under $2, a box of single serving packets are $35 (spread the love!), and a resealable bag can be had for under $20, which is my recommendation.

Don't forget the glass jar for the person you give the resealable bag to. It's a touch of class and under $12.

Coffee - $10-20/lb

Another drink, this one meant for off the bike (I tried coffee on the bike once, don't do it). Everyone has a favorite, but sometimes trying something new is a welcome change. My personal favorites are Unicorn Blood from Dark Matter and Black Cat from Intelligentsia.

These two taste vastly different, so you'll need to decide if you want to risk it and surprise the person or search their cabinets in secret to find out what they drink. I'd be thrilled with either, and am always game to try a new blend.

Cycleops PowerBeam Pro Trainer - $999

Winter is rushing over the northern hemisphere, and predictions of severe cold are here again. Many of us will resort to riding inside, and a huge portion of the people I know riding indoors hate it. What do we do to make it more fun? Fun is tough, but manageable is easier with the Cycleops PowerBeam Pro.

I have a couple of seasons of riding Computrainers, so I have a bit of a basis to place my opinion on this one. First, it works really well. Wireless connectivity is HUGE, no clunky PC program here. There are two versions, ANT+ and Bluetooth, I have the Bluetooth version to works flawlessly with my iPhone.

When compared to my Stages powermeter, the PowerBeam does read about 20w higher no matter the output. After approximately a month of use, it's 20w all the time, so I feel confident it's at least consistent, though I don't know is more accurate.

Stages Powermeter - $700-900

Speaking of Stages, they are next up on my list. There was a time that all powermeters were exceedingly expensive, or outrageously inaccurate, or both. Competition has drove prices down and accuracy up, but Stages is truly pushing the envelope these days.

Comparison tests have shown Stages to be just as accurate as other meters over and over again and now with their production catching up with demand, wait times are now minimal.

Embrocation Subscription - $100

So I'm biased, sue me. ECJ is a labor of love and our print publication carries stories that shape the reason we ride. Want to justify the purchase this holiday season? Grab an ECJ combo subscription for yourself and a friend and everyone wins.

Other ideas to follow, hopefully these plant a few gifts under the tree for my buddies, though......

photos and words by Brandon Elliott

 

Hands On: Fizik's 2015 Road Shoes

By: Brandon Nov 11

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Today we were lucky enough to take delivery of a number of samples from Fizik's 2015 line up. Road and mountain shoes, road saddles, and even a "29er specific" saddle".

Up first we're going to eyeball the road shoes, we have the Men's R3B Uomo, Men's R5B Uomo, and Women's R5B Donna.

Each of these were sent to us with one thing very much in common: Boa. Fizik started their shoe line touting their sail cloth straps, which I was personally very much a fan of, but not everyone is me, right or wrong.

First, some specs:

Men's R3B Uomo: 265g (size 42.5), Microtex laser perforated upper, UD Carbon Fiber sole, $300 MSRP USD

Men's R5B Uomo: 270g (size 42.5), Microtex upper with reflective heel cap, Carbon Reinforced Nylon sole, $185 MSRP USD

Women's R5B Uomo: 225g (size 38), Microtex upper with reflective heel cap, Carbon Reinforced Nylon sole, $185 MSRP USD

As with everything from Fizik, the finish is top-notch, all the way through the line. While I find myself in love with laces currently, soon enough I'll have some on-the-bike impressions of Fizik's footwear and their last shape.

I scored some of Fizik's Gen 1 shoes a few years ago. Made of kangaroo leather, they were probably the softest uppers I have ever touched to this day, cycling shoes or otherwise. But the fit was very narrow and the sizing was a bit off, so they spent more time being ogled than pedaled. Fizik has made some changes, done some updates, and they're using some new materials.

Fortunately Fizik has stuck with the sail cloth straps on some of their shoes. Lightweight and incredibly strong, that feature remains one of my favorite touches. They have done away with the kangaroo upper and have gone to a synthetic Microtex, which should allow much better ventilation.

Stay tuned for a lot more to come from Fizik's new gear.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott

 

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