Embro Edition Butter B1

By: Brandon Mar 4

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Tools are very important to us here at Embro HQ. Sure, they help us build some absolutely beautiful bikes, but tools also give us the power to maintain them as well. Some of our tools are very basic: a bent spoke to help fishing out internal wires or some kitchen shears to leave a perfectly cut end to our bar tap.

Not every tool we covet is simple. The Wheel Fanatyk Digital Tensiometer, the P&K Lie wheel truing stand, or our Chris King hub tools come to mind. Tools that had extreme care and thought put into them to create a perfectly functioning piece. In our eyes, when a tool reaches these levels of design and functionality, it becomes more than just a tool, it's now conversation piece, even art.

The guys over at Butter have taken what used to be a very basic and boring tool from the bottom of your toolbox and created a piece of art, crafted in Boulder, CO, to their exacting specifications. The B1 is not brand new, it's been available from Butter for some time, but they've stepped up their laser etching game for Embro and kicked out these limited-edition versions for us.

The B1 is a simple tool, it clamps into your drive-side dropout when your rear wheel is removed to keep your chain off of your frame. Be it for travel or repair, the B1 functions perfectly and looks beautiful.

A pre-order will be coming soon enough for these. If you have interest, contact us here and we'll put you on the contact list do you can be at the head of the line when these come available.

photos and words by Brandon Elliott

 

Search and State S1-J Jacket: Out of the Box

By: Brandon Feb 18

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I’m no stranger to the level of quality that Search and State provides. I’ve been riding in their S1-S riding shorts and S1-A riding jersey nearly a year now. The level of quality, fit, and features rivals all of the top labels. When you pair that with the fact that every piece is made in New York City you tick off all the pertinent boxes.

It was hard to contain my excitement when Embro HQ received the new S1-J riding jacket ($245 USD). Out of the box you can see the attention to details: Two-way waterproof zipper, large rear pocket, overlock seams. To us, pride and presentation can also heavily impress us, and Search and State did not disappoint. The weight is light, yet not flimsy, and it easily packs away into a jersey pocket. But perhaps the most interesting part of this jacket is the fabric. Search and State describes the C-Change fabric as "a bionic climate membrane that independently reacts to changing temperatures, closing when exposed to cold and opening in response to warmth."

That's a big claim, but what does it mean for you? They have that covered as well: "The S1-J traps heat when you need it, vents moisture as it's produced and will be the most versatile piece of technical apparel you own."

We were also happy to find a pair of S1-AW Arm Warmers ($48 USD) in the box. Though not as thick as some others, the material is exceptionally soft and, we're guessing, provide an excellent base layer.

Suffice to say I can’t wait to wear it on a few rides to see how well this space-age softshell performs. Big claims have been made, we fully intend to find out how well they've done. Over the course of the spring we'll be checking in periodically as the jacket and arm warmers make their way through the Embro staff and we share our thoughts on the pieces as well as comment on how they stack up against the claims from Search and State. Initial impressions are very positive.

photos by Joshua Alexandre Haines, words by Joshua Alexandre Haines and Brandon Elliott

 

Garmin Vector: Out of the Box

By: Brandon Feb 5

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Yesterday we received our test pair of Garmin Vector pedals. We've been eyeing the progress of Metrigear for what seems like a decade. The pedals have gone through multiple progressions, changed brands, even changed platforms.

After who-knows-how-many delays, the pedals are finally out and ready for public consumption. But, are they right for you? Of course that's a question we each need to answer for ourselves, but I can share some brief, and somewhat obvious input. If you plan to use a power measuring device on your cyclocross bike, this one isn't the right one for you. The Vector pedals are easy enough to swap from bike to bike, but you will need to calibrate them after a swap, and have a torque wrench available to install them.

On the flip side, let's say you're a one-road-bike kind of rider. You have training wheels and racing wheels. You want left/right balance measurement. Maybe the Vector setup is for you.

At $1700 it's not the cheapest power option out there. But keep in mind, your budget for pedals is in there, and a good set of Keo Blades will run you nearly $300 alone.

Out of the box, the pedals aren't as sexy as the Blades they are replacing from my Gaulzetti, but at least I get to keep my cleats installed. My set ran 348g for everything (pedals, pods, washers), which is 2g less than claimed, pretty darn accurate.

Installation was pretty simple and straightforward led with good directions. Of note: you'll need a 15mm crowfoot adapter, which isn't included, to properly torque the pedals. I highly recommend getting one, Grainger has them in stock, because without proper torque applied to the pedals your power readings will suffer.

Once installed I was surprised how unobtrusive the pods were visually. I have become accustomed to seeing batteries on cranksets, I assume these pods will be much the same with time. Another point to note: my Garmin 810 needed a firmware update to properly calibrate the pedals. Without doing so, I wasn't able to set pod angles. If you're planning to grab a set of Vector pedals, use the Garmin Web Updater in advance to just be prepared.

Over the coming months I'll be testing the pedals on the trainer and out on the road. I'll keep an eye on consistencies between the Vector pedals and a Quarq, but I'll leave drilling deep into the data to someone like DC Rainmaker. What I'll be looking for are consistent numbers, quality, durability, drift, and data drops. I want to feel confident when riding with only one power meter I can know I am getting reliable and consistent readings, or what's the point?

Feel free to CONTACT US if you have anything to add. We love to hear from our readers, in this case especially if you've used the pedals. What have you found?

Follow along, we have high hopes for Garmin's Vector pedals.....

 

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