Editor’s Note: Of late, we’ve been running a regular feature – providing a rundown from RBR Contributors on our favorites across the spectrum of components, nutrition, clothing, accessories, you name it. As we do these pieces, we’ve been compiling the various reader comments and emails with your own favorites of those various pieces of gear. For the past two weeks and next week we’re offering your feedback in the form of recent reader favorites. (Here’s a link to the gamut of RBR Favorites.)
If you want to read all the comments on any individual article, just go back through past issues of the Newsletter. Use the Search field (upper right corner of every page) to search the term you’re looking for: pedals, seat bags, groupsets, gloves and helmets are topics we’ve done so far. We actually started with tires, in March 2016.
We will plan to run a different “favorite” each week for the next several.
We also want to hear from readers on your favorites! Join in the fun either by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites (you can always find it in the Talk to RBR section on every page of the site.) We’ll gather up your submissions and run them as a follow-up to this article (and future RBR Favorites pieces).
Enjoy, and keep letting us hear from you about your own Favorites. We love the feedback and find it super interesting the different way roadies go about their business!
Finally, thanks for this great comment:
Andy LaCombe wrote:
That “RBR Favorites” section is awesome – thanks for the great addition!
– John Marsh
I’m using an earlier model from Dux Helm and I’m quite impressed with the flip up visor and the manufacturer support.
I loved my Catlike Whisper helmet that my wife & son gave my for Father’s Day about 10 years ago. So comfortable, light and very well ventilated. Then in 2012 I hit a pothole, flew over the bars, landed on my head and then on my side and fractured my pelvis. My head was just fine.
Catlike was still only in Spain then and did not have a crash program. And the $250 cost was steep. I finally settled on that Giro Savant MIPS which I find comfortable, breezy and hopefully, safe!
Concerning helmets and visors. Another option exists – traditional cycling caps…. A cycling cap’s shape and size satisfies a bicyclist’s unique needs remarkably well. I am currently using a Giro Synthe MIPS, however my previous helmet lacked the MIPS function, but I wondered, if in an accident, my cycling cap might have provided a surface for the helmet to rotate and dissipate rotational energy. Thankfully, I never had the opportunity to find out.
Richard Zimmer wrote:
As far as visors go, how about the old-fashioned short-billed bicycle cap? Fits under the helmet nicely and does the job.
David Frost wrote:
I’m surely a “Fred” in so many ways, including my beloved helmet-mounted mirror and sunglasses inside the straps. I’ve found the visor on my helmet to be very helpful when riding into the sun (or the occasional oncoming headlight beam at night) and reducing rain on my glasses. But I’m also old (almost 68) and far from fast, so it hasn’t been a vision impediment. During a long fast descent in the (higher than when I was young) drops, my visor can be pivoted upward slightly to reduce that problem. I violate so many of those “rules”.
Jeff vdD wrote:
Is there any evidence yet that indicates that the MIPS technology results in a safer helmet? This article is skeptical … and so am I. That said, happy to follow the data.
John Marsh replied to Jeff:
After my crash last April in which I broke my clavicle into 5 pieces and smashed up a MIPS helmet (my head was perfectly fine), I wrote this in the Lazer Z1 MIPS helmet review:
“While I cannot say for sure that the helmet definitively kept me from suffering major head injury, and that the MIPS technology was an added benefit, I walked away without any head trauma. (I did severely fracture my clavicle.) I certainly would have suffered at a minimum a contusion and abrasions to my head, if not far worse. And I’ve reached the point in my cycling life – after suffering two significant crashes in which my helmet broke apart, but my head did not suffer at all – where I don’t need “definitive” proof of the helmet’s responsibility in the outcome. If it gives me a shot at protecting myself, and it takes the brunt of an impact that obviously would have hurt my head to any degree – I’m a proponent. A helmet is insurance, and why not insure your head to the extent of the available technology?”
What it comes down to is this: MIPS is certainly not LESS safe, and it has trickled down into most makers’ lowest level helmets. So why not? The real issue behind the lack of “evidence” is that there are no government agency tests for MIPS efficacy (that I’m aware of) — as there are for the ages-old tests on regular helmets (which only provide “evidence” that they can withstand certain impacts).
Richard Zimmer wrote:
It is true that MIPS is unproven but it also true that it can’t hurt you and may help. I also use the Giro Savant MIPS. I chose the helmet primarily because it comes it a great “see-me” color and got the MIPS version because it cost only $10. For me spending $10 on something that can’t hurt and might help is a no-brainer.
Jack Hohag wrote:
My Madone 7.9 came with DA 50×34 compact and 11-28. 2 years ago I had my first experience going from rollers to the mountain grades of Mt. Diablo in northern California, averaging 6% with many double-digit stretches up to 16%. This year, due to all the rain in California, I didn’t ride Diablo, but I did replace the 11-28 with a 11-32 andhave noticed not only the obvious benefit of the 32 cog for the toughest grades, but the difference in the gearing sequence has given me better options for more power output on the rollers and flats as well. Looking forward to see how it impacts Diablo next year.
Next Week in RBR Favorites: Readers’ Favorite Seat Bags & Gloves
Big Jule from Chicago wrote:
Jamis Eclipse: Campy Record 52×39 – 12-26
Colnago Superissimo: Campy Record 52×42 13-26 – six speed friction
Kerry Irons wrote:
Obviously gearing is very personal and dependent on the terrain you ride, but I am always confused by “regular” folks with an 11 tooth cog. With a “compact” 50t that’s nearly 36 mph at 100 rpm. At that speed on a downhill you will go faster in a tight tuck. Far better for the vast majority of riders to ditch the 11 and fill in a cog higher up the cassette to have closer spaced gears.
My bike has a Campagnolo mechanical group set. There are several reasons – I will limit myself to two. One has been hinted previously – being able to sweep-shift multiple gears. Sweep shifting is a function that I use repeatedly on every ride, (as far back as I can recall), and frankly, a function I value. Another reason has to do with lack of a viable alternative. Shimano’s specific shift/brake control is to me is a safety compromise to be avoided. At the edge of the performance window, when actions are primarily instinctive, brake control, in particular, needs to be reliably fixed in a specific location. Explaining why this is an issue, at least for me, would occupy too much space to develop here. However, suffice it to say that it comes from a background that includes motorcycle racing, rock climbing, kayaking, and bicycling. Each discipline emphasizes performance and safety (in different proportions), and each informs my outlook. When I see those dual function brake levers, I automatically hear a little voice that says, “No, this has the potential to be an existential problem”. Experience supports this conclusion. I’ve been in more than one situation on where it was all I could do to get even a marginal grasp on critical equipment, such as brake levers, and where I would have been willing to pay the entire purchase price of a bicycle for one more second of control. Fortunately, such situations have been very rare, and thankfully, I’ve survived, hopefully a bit wiser.
John Klever wrote:
Ultegra or Dura-Ace, depending on the sales and what is available. 52, 39, 24 with an 11-28. We have a lot of hills in Denver, so I can spin it out on the downhill or leisurely chug over the interminable rises. I spend most of my time in the 39.
Tom in MN wrote:
Just regeared a stock 50/34 11-34 compact 10 speed Cannondale Touring to 42/34 11-23 to give nice small steps in the rear and a usable large front chain ring. I’ll put the 11-34 back on if I travel to any mountains. I’m old school used to running half step in the front, but now with twice as many cogs the half steps are in the rear.
26-36-46 x 13-30, 7-speed cassette
Rivendell Silver bar end friction shifters.
Tell us about your Favorites by commenting below the Newsletter version of this article or or using the form at Tell Us About Your: Favorites.
I just buy whatever helmet I can get at the largest discount at the end of the season. What I don’t understand though is why most helmets now use very thin padding inside, the only one I could find with good padding was Mavic, my last helmet, a Lazer, had really nice padding but it’s 8 years old the newer ones.
As far as gearing goes I suppose my set up may seem a bit extreme but I live and ride in the Sierras near Carson City NV. I ride an older steel Colnago with Campy Super Record 10 speed triple group. I have replaced the Campy crankset with an IRD 48-34-24 and an IRD 12-32 cassette. This set up works great for me riding up the many climbs between Reno and Lone Pine.
I’m with Kerry on this one. How many recreational riders can really push an 11 tooth cog at the rpm it’s meant for? Not many, 36mph??? I’ve always wondered why virtually all bikes for the general market come with this gear. I run a 12-25, 50X34. I’m thinking of going to a 50X36 because sometimes I’m cross chaining in the 13 & 12 X 36, but if I go to to 50, then I’m cross chaining the other way with the 23 or 21. I just haven’t gotten around to looking at gear inches to make sure I won’t have too many duplicate gears. Plus, inner rings are way more $ than outer because manufactures know most people are in the small ring most of the time & wear them out vs. the big ring. Overall, I’d rather have close ratios rather than high & low gears that are rarely used.
John Marsh says
Fred, this is obviously another “to each, his own” sort of thing. I actually prefer helmets with less padding. To me, they fit better, and the padding lasts longer. Thin padding doesn’t soak up as much sweat and thus tends to get a bit less stinky, too. (Though I use a Stuffits helmet liner to keep it smelling OK, anyway.)
John Marsh says
Michael, I found early on with a 50-34 that I could spin out a 12-tooth cog in sprints and downhills. So I switched to an 11, which has always worked great for me. Different (pedal) strokes for different folks. Much of it has to do with the rider’s musculature and natural abilities at certain aspects of riding. (I’ve never been much of aclimber, but once I get the RPMs up, I’m a decent sprinter. And I use the 11 a lot in top-end efforts.)
I love my Lumos helmet for the visibility it provides during my work commutes. Can’t wait to try it on a cycling tour.