Few bike upgrades—if any—comes close to the value of great tires.
It was one of my main reasons to get myself WTB Byway, two years ago. And, for the most part, I was happy with the tire. Granted, it has few quirks; it was occasionally losing grip when wet, and it was nightmarish to install, especially when I had to deal with it in the dark, under the rain, alone. But the high-volume carcass provides extra comfort, and the slick centerline rolls smoothly on the road. It must be one among the fastest allroad/gravel tires out there, too, I had thought.
And then, I learned that—based on few independent testings—WTB Byway was consistently one among the slowests.
Should I push forward to test my limit, or should I take it slow and savor the trip?
Bikesystem Rides 500 was the cycling event I was looking forward to the most in 2022; it was the perfect event to test my ultra-endurance capacity. In 2021, the same event had revealed my weaknesses and mistakes as a newbie. In 2022, I looked forward to see if I had improved.
It’s no doubt that cycling jersey has evolved into the most optimized outfit for the sport. The skin-tight fit reduces aerodynamic drag more than aero frame and aero wheels, combined, could ever achieve—allowing us to go faster and cover more distance with the same power output. Combined with quick-drying material, its front zipper allows optimal thermal regulation in wide range of temperature, while its back pockets allow us to carry the essentials without messing with smooth pedalling movement. Cycling jersey is, therefore, a must for a competitive ride.
But most of us are riding for fun, not for competition.
“What makes a good allroad/gravel cycling bag/pack?”
That was the question @cycling.cub asked me when we set out to collaborate. It was raining that night; we were sitting on a café, talking about what each of us could bring to the table—and what we could offer to the market.
To me, the pack should offer distinct and clear value instead of just another pack of another brand, which competes only through low price and discount. It should be optimized to perform its core functions well, instead of being loaded with list of gimmicks. Based on my personal experience, I came up with five basic principles: practicality, versatility, durability, stability, and—of course—aesthetic.
That was my attitude toward cycling-specific socks for years. Sure, cycling-specific apparels like jersey and padded short improved both on-bike performance and comfort considerably. But a pair of socks? I’ve been using standard cotton socks for years, feeling just fine even on 200+ km rides—until I gave compression socks a try recently. While perhaps not as significant as cycling-specific short and jersey, I must admit, they do make difference—especially on hours of constant, continuous pedalling motion.
It started with a surprise: a direct message from the guy behind Racmmer’s official distributor here in Indonesia. Apparently he had just stumbled upon my previous review of the brand’s jersey, and decided to hand me a gift as a sign of appreciation—an offer I’m not dumb enough to turn down. I was given full freedom to choose whichever model I’d like, but he suggested me to give their newest model a try: the top-of-the-range IDR 260K / USD 19 Racmmer Elite jersey, updated with new, claimed-better, cut and fabric. With the possibility of writing another review, following his suggestion and choosing the model was a no-brainer option for me.
Disclosure: while the product reviewed here is provided by Racmmer, the content is based on my honest judgment and opinion.
Can I get a decent cycling helmet for around IDR 300K (USD 20)? That was the question that popped in my head when I set out to buy a replacement—the previous one I had was comfortable, but after 5 years of use, it had crumbled into an ugly blob of black polystyrene on my head. Apparently, the choice was limited to either cheap, garish multipurpose model, or famous brand’s Chinese knock-offs with doubtful quality; apparently, until I stumbled upon Polygon Speed, the road helmet from Indonesia’s most famous cycling company.
Finding a proper cycling jersey in Indonesian market was tough. There were only two basic options available on the market: either you get yourself baggy MTB jersey full of texts, logos, and colors that practically turn you into a rolling dorky banner on two wheels, or you spend a fortune for sleek, stylish jersey from established brands. I was contemplating going on the third route—the full custom-printed jersey—when I stumbled upon Racmmer, a cycling apparel brand which offered the style and elegance of the established brand’s, for fraction of the price.
As someone who rides all road, I preferred the comfort and freedom of tight-fit road short instead of the baggy MTB one, but also wanted pocket for extra space to carry things. Reading through the budding trend of gravel-specific clothing, I realized, I wasn’t alone. Yet even in developed worlds, road short with pockets is still a rarity. It was, therefore, surprising to find that in Indonesian market, one local brand—Singletrek—had been making such road short for a while.
Just recently, my cycling mitts finally crumbled after years of hard use. I was thinking about getting myself a simple Decathlon’s cycling mitts when I stumbled upon Avelio, a budding local cycling glove brand, currently running an aggressive online marketing campaign. I thought to myself, why not give them a go?