Tag Archives: First Impressions

First Impressions: Delta Axlerodz Skewers

According to legend, Tullio Campagnolo was inspired to invent the quick release skewer nearly a century ago when he was unable to loosen his bike’s wingnuts during a race. Some may argue over the authenticity of said legend, but it’s generally acknowledged that Signore Campagnolo’s invention was a major technological advance. If you’re not racing, though, you may not need–or want–quick release skewers. For riders who prefer added security and simplicity, Delta Cycle offers Axlerodz bolt-on skewers.

Priced at $14.99/pair, Delta’s Axlerodz feature Chrome-Moly axles, stainless steel springs, and aluminum end pieces (with threaded steel inserts). Installation requires a 5 mm Allen key (not included), and the bolt-on skewers fit dropouts with outside measurements of 95-115 mm (front) and 128-148 mm (rear). Untrimmed, Axlerodz weigh just 69 grams (per-pair). By comparison, a pair of Shimano Deore XT skewers weighs 123 grams.

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First Impressions: Bell Gage MIPS & Stoker MIPS Helmets

It’s no secret that bicycle helmet technology has improved dramatically over the past 40 years. Today’s helmets are lighter, more comfortable, and look a radically different than their predecessors. Some of the more recent technological advances aren’t so obvious, though. Since 1996, Stockholm-based MIPS has been working on improving how helmets protect against rotational trauma and angled impacts. In 2014, MIPS partnered with Bell Helmets to bring MIPS technology to a wider audience.

Bell currently offers sixteen MIPS-equipped helmets, which range in price from $60 to $240. With MIPS-equipped helmets available in road, mountain, lifestyle, and gravity models, Bell has something for any type of cyclist. I split my riding between pavement, dirt, and gravel, so I opted to test the company’s Stoker MIPS ($95 MSRP) and Gage MIPS ($195 MSRP) helmets.

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First Impressions: Five Ten Kestrel Shoes

Five Ten‘s sticky-soled shoes are renowned among flat and platform pedal users for their tenacious grip. If you happen to prefer clipless over flats, don’t fret though, because Five Ten offers ten SPD-compatible shoes for both men and women. And in 2016, the company’s top all-mountain shoe–the Kestrel ($180 MSRP)–gets some company in the form of the Kestrel Lace model ($150 MSRP).

As you might expect, the original and new Kestrel Lace models both feature Five Ten’s Stealth® rubber outsoles. While the two shoes’ soles may look similar, the original Kestrel features a dual-compound outsole that utilizes the company’s Stealth® C4 and Mi6 formulas (the Kestral Lace is spec’d with the company’s Stealth C4 rubber outsole). Despite the different compounds, both soles have the same dotty pattern for off-the-bike traction, and stitched toe caps for improved durability.

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