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#1597 of 3 points

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4 5

WAIVER: I don't own this helmet, but I thought my research might help others, as I tried this on several times at various local bike shops. The look, light weight, and ventilation intrigued me and I was ready to shell the big bucks for one. I am a mountain biker who rides some suburban trails from time to time, so I was considering the Octal in one of the hi-vis colors.

First, I tried one on at a local bike shop and it felt light. Comfort was ok. Neither weight nor comfort was a real wow factor, but it was nice. The straps are like ribbons; every detail about this helmet seems very modern and lightweight.

I tried on my Radarlocks with it on, and I had the same problem that I did with my Trabec. The area of the helmet that comes down and protects the temples pushes down on the earpieces, which in turn puts pressure on my nose bridge. No go.

With my Trabec, the straight stem Radarlocks slide in between the helmet and my temples, so I tried it with the Octal. It worked, so that was an option. My Racing Jackets do the same. So the Octal was still on the table as an option.

The following week, I went to my bike shop of choice and tried on a few more lids. In doing so, the Giro Xar immediately felt super comfortable and stood out from all the rest. I tried on the Octal again there, and with the Xar as a point of comparison, noticed that the Octal felt more round than oval, and put pressure on my forehead, even with the correct size and fitting adjustments being made.

I ended up buying the XAR, which they had in the hi-vis yellow I wanted, and since it was my shop and missing its box, I got a deep discount.

My take on the Octal: I love the styling, the purported safety benefits and ventilation, and the very light weight. If it fits you, your shades work, and you have the means (and can justify it), go for it.

I wore the Xar today on a very hot So Cal day in the Santa Ana mountains, doing a 21 mile ride with 3,500' of climbing. I really dig this helmet!

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5 5

I am a self-admitted addict when it comes to cycling glasses. Radarlocks have been my favorite style, for several reasons. The fit is perfect, they are the lightest weight (and most well-balanced), the frameless (mostly) and single-lens design provides the best field of view, and they fog less than other glasses I own.

I do a lot of early morning rides, and coastal So Cal is typically either foggy, overcast, or you have a bright morning sunrise in your eyes. Or a combination of all of those as the ride progresses. Most of my favorite trails are a combination of shade, canopy, and exposed sunny areas. The soil is light in color and ruts and other hazards can be difficult to identify.

So I went for a pair these, mostly for the Clear Black Iridium Photochromic lens, and also to try the XL style (not these, I realize), which provided an unmatched field of view when I tried them on.

I tend to prefer lenses in the 15-18% range, and these are a 10%-66% lens. They never get too dark for me, but always provide enough coverage. The tint itself is pleasing and comfortable. It also really helps with identifying terrain (I am a mountain biker, but I road ride on my MTB to build my base and to avoid muddy trails in winter).

The bad: I felt like a total spaceman wearing the XLs. Yes, that is a fairly pathetic (and vain) complaint. So I bought these in the standard Radarlock models, and tend to wear them more frequently (again, strictly a vanity issue). The XLs are better glasses, though, just by virtue of the field of view.

All said, if I could only own one pair of cycling glasses, these or the XLs would be the pair. They do it all, and do it well. I am very happy with these, and recommend them highly.

These are the stars in my starting rotation, which right now consists of my TdF Radarlocks with the +Red Iridium lenses, my aforementioned Clear Black Iridium Photochromic XL Straight Stem Radarlocks, and these.

0 Comments

5 5

I have two pairs of these and use them primarily for cycling. I have mixed feelings about them. I am a mountain biker, but I road ride on my MTB as well, to build my base and as an option when the trails are muddy in winter.

They look great on and provide great protection from wind and debris, even at higher speeds and on the fast descents. They don't leak light, and are pretty comfortable. The lenses are super easy to swap out, probably more so than any of my other shades.

All glasses, however, get compared to my benchmarks, my Radarlocks. The Racing Jackets feel heavier, tend to move around more, and definitely fog more, especially on long, sustained climbs when the weather is cool and damp (typical for the mornings here in coastal Southern California). I also find the lower portion of the frames to be somewhat distracting in my field of view. Sometimes it bothers me, sometimes it doesn't.

All said, I rotate them in and out of my starting lineup as my mood changes. They are solid shades, but the Radarlocks are still my favorite style.

0 Comments

5 5

I am a self-admitted addict when it comes to cycling glasses. Radarlocks have been my favorite style, for several reasons. The fit is perfect, they are the lightest weight (and most well-balanced), the frameless (mostly) and single-lens design provides the best field of view, and they fog less than other glasses I own. These being XL models provide an even greater field of view, protection from wind and debris, and never "leak" light. The tradeoff is that I feel like a total spaceman wearing them, even more so than the standard Radarlocks.

The straight stem is billed as being more "helmet friendly" than the standard stems, but I have never had a problem with any of my Oakleys fitting with my helmets, and honestly do not notice much of a difference.

I had previous XL Straight Stem experience with my Photochromic models, and love those, so I went for these, mostly for the VR28 lens, which is a great trail lens, second only to the VR28 Black Iridium lens in my opinion. I suspected that the Black Iridium lens would be too dark for my taste; I tend to prefer lenses in the 15-18% range, and they are a 10% lens.

The good: Everything above. The VR28 is a great lens tint and really helps with identifying terrain (I am a mountain biker).

The bad: The Black Iridiums are pretty dark, although I have used them on sunny days and on rides where I knew there would be a considerable stretch on the road.

These did not make my starting rotation, which right now is my Troy Lee Racing Jackets with the VR28 Black Iridium lenses in, my Custom Racing Jackets with my Jade Iridium lenses, and rounding out the starting rotation are my aforementioned photochromic Radarlocks in XL straight stem.

I am still very happy with these, and recommend them highly. I bought in winter; I may be more impressed with the Black Iridiums next summer.

0 Comments

5 5

I recently made the decision to go without a hydration pack on my MTB rides. I carry a tube, levers, a multi-tool, and my keys in my under-seat bag, and rely on a frame-mounted water bottle for my juice. The Podium Chill is a huge improvement over the standard model; I have all but abandoned those. Colder liquid, a slightly bigger bottle that fits my hand better, and a little more pliable feel that makes it more comfy in the hand and easier to manipulate and use.

I have been quite happy with the setup, but finding a good water bottle is tougher than it seems. Many of them don't stay open, and others leak. The Podium is always open (in open mode), and hasn't leaked on me yet. The bite valve is easy to use, and it seems (for the most part, anyways) to keep trail dust out of the bottle.

I went with the 21-ounce bottle over the 24 because the shorter bottles are easier for me to get in and out, and don't interfere with the CTD switch on my rear shock.

I am very happy with this bottle; zero complaints after a number of rides. I will pick up a couple more, because there are new colors coming out, and we all know that these things have a way of dying premature deaths...

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5 5

I use this for mountain biking, and it works better than any other drink I've used, especially when I'm doing longer rides and tougher, sustained climbs. I pair it with the GU Roctane gels as my fuel of choice.

Expensive, but worth every penny. Compared to what I spend on gear and components, and even gas, it's a completely reasonable expense.

Taste is fine, I guess. Who cares? it's not a meal, it's an energy drink. I prefer the caffeinated models (Lemon-Lime & Tropical Punch), but I rotate them out so I have the option of going decaf (Grape), and so I don't get burned out any one flavor.

The Tropical Punch and the Grape are both better than the Lemon-Lime in my opinion. It has a sort of artificial taste to it that's not the best, but again, I need variety sometimes. It helps if it's cold, so I run it in a Camelbak Podium Chill bottle preloaded with ice, even in the winter (I'm in So Cal, so hey...). The ice melts during the ride and keeps things pretty cold. I just shake it before taking a drink, and it keeps it well mixed and chilled.

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5 5

I just throw a dab of this on when I'm getting dressed before a ride to reduce friction. I'm a MTBer, but on some of my longer rides, especially the long, sustained climbs, it helps. I've never felt the need to apply a bunch of it, apply it to the chamois itself, or to reapply it during a ride, but I can see where the roadies might need or want to.

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5 5

I have big hands and Pearl Izumi is really the only brand that fits me well. In other brands the XL is too small and the XXL fits across my palm, but the fingers are too long. I wear these in an XL. They are my all-time favorite gloves.

These are great gloves for all but the coldest weather here in So Cal, which isn't that bad and isn't that often. So for most of the year, these are my go-to gloves. I've beaten the heck out of a pair and they are still going strong.

I actually lost that pair after leaving them on my bike rack a couple months ago, and went out and bought a new pair. I found the old ones, miles apart, on the roadside on the way back from the trailhead the next day. So now I have two pairs; I'm all set.

Love the fit and feel, and appreciate the thin gel padding. It provides a little insulation when the going gets rough, or on the long, sustained downhills, but doesn't numb my trail feel. And I prefer a full-fingered glove for MTB. These vent heat enough to allow me to wear a full-fingered glove even in the hot So Cal summers.

All told, highly recommended.

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5 5

I use these for mountain biking, and they work better than any other gel I've used, especially when I'm doing longer rides and tougher, sustained climbs.

Expensive, but worth every penny. Compared to what I spend on gear and components, and even gas, it's a completely reasonable expense.

Taste is fine. Who cares? it's not a meal, it's an energy gel. I prefer the caffeinated models, but the mixed box is great because I have the option of going decaf, and I don't get burned out any one flavor.

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5 5

I have big hands and Pearl Izumi is really the only brand that fits me well. These are great gloves when the weather gets a little colder here in So Cal, which isn't that often. But when it does, these are my go-to gloves. I have beat the heck out of a pair and they are still going strong.

Love the fit and feel, and appreciate the thin gel padding.

0 Comments