Bicycle Product Reviews-Testing

As the riding season gets fully underway now, I will be making
a few small purchases of gear and accessories for my bikes.
I am very frugal (read: cheap!) when it comes to bike parts.
Typically I buy from online retailers, due to financial constraints.

Road Bike Parts:

Like most and many riders, tires and brakes are the most common
parts used/replaced. I have just bought a pair of Hutchinson
Quartz 700×23 wire bead tires that I will be mounting in the next month
or two. I purchased the pair from nashbar, from a ’10 hour’ sale last week.
Total price w/shipping was $27.15.

Currently, I am using CST Czar 700×23 wire bead tires. To date,
there is 1,091 miles on these tires. I had bought them from an
ebay bike seller/shop for $30 inc., S/H. The dual compound rubber
offers good cornering grip and durability, with no issues so far.

Though a bit on the heavy side with a moderate amount of rolling
resistance. For me, these qualities are not a concern, but rather
durability and puncture resistance is what matters for my riding.
I would buy these CST Czar’s again without question. Solid tires.

The other product I am reviewing is my Selle Royal Lookin Gel
saddle. Purchased in September of 2011, I have sat in it for about
3,500 miles now. Compared to the specialized alias saddle I had
prior, it is a bit more compliant and forgiving on my boney ass.

Prior to the Alias saddle, I rode on a WTB Speed V, which is
better suited for my mtb. A bit too soft for high mileage rides.
(the padding proved to be insufficient to support constant sitting
for the longer journeys

I find the Selle Royal to be firm enough, yet compliant enough to
be tolerable for riding anywhere between 1 and 4 hours. I have
ridden a few 5, 6 hour tours and by that time the butt and the
middle region is a bit sore…but to be fair, I have not sat on any
seat in 8 years that has been 100% comfortable. It always seems
to be a compromise. I purchased this from the same ebay retailer
my tire came from. Cost- $17.54 inc., S/H.

Conclusion: For the money both the saddle and the tires were
good buys and I would purchase them again if I needed to replace
those parts. I am giving the Hutchy’s a try, since the price was
extremely low and the reviews were mostly positive. I have read
reviews that stated the tires are a solid training/club rider choice
with good puncture resistance. Hopefully they prove to be a
reliable tire.

Mountain Bike Parts

The Ironhorse HT Warrior I ride came with mediocre stock disc
brakes and pads, which for recreational use are probably just fine.
But for an avid rider or terrain that is hilly (descents) more stopping
power is required. so to that end, I upgraded the front caliper, disc
and pads in 2011. I installed an Avid BB5 caliper and a Galfer
‘Wave’ rotor with Galfer green pads.

The performance was instantly noticeable and much better.
Inspiring confidence on the downhills. The front lever lost its
spongy feel and braking was more sure-footed. The initial bite
of the pads is very good and gradually gets better without any
sudden grab. The Wave rotor dissipates heat well and there is
very little fade from the pads. So far, pad wear has been minimal.
My grade for the set up is a A-. If I were strictly a downhill
rider/racer, then upgrading both front and rear would be in
order without question.