Tag Archives: First Impressions

First Impressions: SunRace Wide-Range Cassette

Until recently, riders seeking cassettes larger than 36 teeth had two options: aftermarket extender cogs or SRAM’s XD-based freehub/cassette system. Now, there’s a third option with SunRace‘s line of wide-range cassettes. The company’s cassettes fit standard Hyperglide-compatible freehubs, and are available in 10- and 11-speed versions.

My first exposure to SunRace‘s wide-range cassette coincided with the arrival of a Gestalt 2 demo bike from Marin. The aluminum-framed Beyond Road model featured an 11-42t SunRace cassette paired with SRAM’s X7 MTB rear derailleur controlled by Apex DoubleTap levers. That combination performed so well that I was inspired to install a SunRace wide-range cassette on one of my personal bikes.

SunRace offers their wide-range 10- and 11-speed cassettes in two versions: the all-steel CSMS3, and the CSMX3 which features an alloy 40t or 42t cog. The aluminum large cog saves approximately 60 grams, with my sample 11-42t MX3 cassette weighing 389 grams (two grams over the claimed 387-gram weight). SunRace doesn’t specify a retail price for the MX3 cassette, but they can usually be found online for less than $70.

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First Impressions: Magellan Cyclo 505 GPS

Not so long ago, there weren’t many choices for GPS-enabled cycle computers. In the past couple of years, however, more companies have thrown their cycling caps into the bicycle GPS arena. One of the companies looking to capture a piece of that pie is Magellan, a 30-year-old company which boasts more than 200 GPS-related patents.

Cyclo505-2

The 505’s main menu. Image courtesy of Magellan.

Designed for road, mountain, touring, and training, the Cyclo 505 is the company’s flagship cycling computer. Magellan offers the 505 in two flavors: the basic head unit ($379.99), and the HC bundle which includes heart-rate and speed/cadence sensors ($449.99). Both versions include out-front and pad-style handlebar mounts, and come preloaded with detailed road base maps and OpenStreetMap (OSM) crowd-sourced maps.

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First Impressions: Cirrus Cycles BodyFloat Seatpost

While most recreational cyclists will never compete, racing drives a significant percentage of the bicycle industry’s product development and marketing. Terms like lighter, stiffer, and faster are all used to describe the latest and greatest products. But what about comfort? Are comfort and performance mutually exclusive? Not according to Cirrus Cycles. The company’s BodyFloat™ seatpost is designed to improve comfort and performance by isolating the rider from high-frequency vibrations.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder BodyFloat Cirrus Cycles Specialized Power saddle Body Geometry

A late-afternoon test ride on Cirrus Cycles’ BodyFloat seatpost.

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First Impressions: iSSi Clipless Pedals

How does a new company stand out in the sea of off-road clipless pedals? Well, if you’re iSSi, you do it by offering SPD-compatible pedals in a variety of sizes and colors. In addition to their original XC-style pedal, the Minneapolis-based company now offers a mid-sized Trail model. iSSi pedals are available with your choice of sealed bearings and bushings or with three sealed bearings. For maximum pedaling efficiency and comfort, spindles come in standard (52.5 mm), +6, or +12 widths. And for those fashion-conscious riders, iSSi pedals are available in eight colors.

I tested the minimalist iSSi II pedal ($75.00 MAP) in the bright silver colorway. With so many colors available, you’re probably wondering why I chose the plain silver finish. To be honest, I originally requested some of iSSi’s other colors, but due to their popularity, they happened to be sold out. So whoever said that cyclists don’t care about their bikes’ looks was either wrong or lying. At 308 grams for the pair, our sample pedals with 52.5 mm spindles came in under the advertised 312 gram weight. The Shimano SPD-compatible cleats weighed in at 52 grams including mounting hardware.

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