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


Bespoke Builds - Parlee CX with 9070 Di2

By: Brandon Nov 10

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Velosmith certainly isn't unfamiliar with the pages of Embrocation, but this one belongs to Tony, the guy fitting up some of the most beautifully understated bikes on the road. More amazing than just this custom build is that it's going on it's 3rd season of CX racing. Back from a refresh from Parlee and off of a dirty gravel ride, Tony let me nab his bike long enough for some quick pictures.

Built with nothing less than Shimano's top-tier Dura-Ace 9070 Di2 and ENVE Smart 3.4 wheels. A full ENVE cockpit keeps it tidy and matching perfectly.

This is one hell of a build coming out of one hell of a shop. If you're ever around the northern suburbs of Chicago, Velosmith is a can't miss stop.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


A New Perspective on Riding

By: Brandon Nov 5

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Get comfortable, this is going to take a minute.....

Coming off of an injury, riding has changed a bit for me. Mid-summer I broke my foot and sprained my ankle. Now, this wasn't my best spring/summer of training, so it's not like I was throwing away a ton of fitness for 'cross season, but bikes aren't just for racing to me. You see, I commute by bike to a neighborhood that offers really no parking to be had in one of the most densely populated areas in one of the largest cities in the country.

With a broken foot I was forced into driving for weeks, fighting traffic, searching for parking. I wasn't pleased. Luckily I am finally back on the bike, albeit without any sort of fitness.

Being forced off of the bike for nearly 2 months changed the way I look at riding. I started riding based out of my love of competition and my passion for gear. For years I did commute by bike, but primarily to get the miles in on my training. Not having to deal with traffic on the highway or fight for parking was an added bonus, but my bikes were tools for racing.

Missing my first 'cross season in 5-6 years has me looking at my bike very differently. The last two weeks have found me searching for new routes not based on where I can get intervals in, but seeing new things. Exploring. Getting a bit more rad than normal.

Being off of the bike for a a couple of months reminded me what I could be doing with my weekend mornings. Pancakes with my kiddos, Saturday morning cartoons, taking those same little goons of mine to the park.

Racing my bike had become not-so-much fun. Sure, dropping friends on group rides was a great time when it happened, and spending time with good friends on bikes is great for your soul. But I had gotten so enthralled in racing that I was missing some balance in my life.

"It makes me sad when I see someone turn their hobby into something not fun."

When I heard that as I was getting back into riding a couple weeks ago it sunk in. Sure, I'll still probably go out to do some hammerfest-type rides. But for the first time in years I'm riding without a powermeter. Let me tell you, it feels great. Stopping to take pictures, turning around to check out spots I may have missed, more coffee breaks.

Now, rather than planning carpools for every Sunday to head out to a 'cross race for the day, I'll head out during the kids' nap time. I'm planning some adventure rides with friends, exploring new roads and trails.

No, I'm not as fast as I used to be, but I never was all that fast anyway. I haven't stood on a podium this year like I used to, but I'm quite fine with that.

These days, rather than checking my power numbers and planning intervals for tomorrow, I'm trying to remember where that trail head was that I saw last week, wondering where it leads.

Get rad, guys. Have fun on your bikes. If nailing a 20 min interval makes you tingly inside, do it up! Remember the thing that got you riding, remember why you do what you do. Being off of the bike for a while has reminded me why I love this sport.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott


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