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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewart

Somewhere Land, Earth

Jeff Stewart's Bio

In no particular order, my life revolves around cats, words, boxed wine, and bikes. However, the rap enthusiast in me wants to say that Bikes Rule Everything Around Me. BREAM?

I have a passion for words, which is why being the Managing Editor of Competitive Cyclist was a dream job. Now I write words for someone else, but either way, if you like what you read, there are people you can still contact to get a gift basket to me.

Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 28, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've taken the liberty of reading a host of the complaints above, and honestly, I haven't experienced many of them myself. Granted, I've only been using this CPU for about a month, and I'm also not pairing it with a powermeter, but I haven't had any connectivity issues when pairing it with an iPhone 5C. The closest that I came was after a software update on both devices at the same time, but they simply had to find each other again and that was that.

In terms of connecting to Garmin Connect, the pairing has been relatively seamless. Getting my rides to Strava, however, took some creative, outside the box thinking to pull off. But now, I just went with the set it and forget it approach and have the two accounts synced to upload every ride to the Stravas. Getting courses onto the 510 is a bit of a jigsaw, though, but again, some creative thinking managed to get around this. I'm setup to create on the laptop, which syncs to the Garmin Connect app, which then syncs with the 510. Riding the courses in real time does not always work, though, and when it does, the amount of notice you get before a turn on the road can be very abrupt or even late. On the trail, it's completely absurd. Every bend or switchback is prompting a direction, and the experience really borders on intolerable. And on a side note, I have had some jamming on the various GPS and Acquiring screens upon startup – a little annoying, but not terrible.

Now, you're probably assuming that I hate this damn thing, but in actuality, I really do like it — especially after breaking my no computer ride policy that lasted nearly a decade. The battery life is pretty good, and I haven't had it take a dump on me during a ride yet. For my commutes, I've been running the backlight at about 50%, and after 10 miles each way, I arrive home with about 3% dissipation in the battery life. Not bad. During daytime rides, with normal backlight settings, the battery is totally fine.

The onboard metrics work well, and the customization of screens is a nice feature. The size is also really good, for both the unit as a whole and the screen. Post-ride analysis features are also pretty good on Connect, but the community isn't engaged enough to make it as interesting as Strava. An example is the variance in segments. My daily commute has no segments on connect and about 14 on Strava. Oh well, I'm not reviewing Connect. The touchscreen is also pretty intuitive, and works pretty well with gloves — even non-EIT iterations.

When it all comes down to it, the computer works really well. The GPS features are pretty dialed for the price. Onboard metrics are cool. And all of the weird stuff from the commercials, like Vaughters tracking your every move, is just stuff that hardly anyone uses, let alone actually needs. I haven't gotten it wet yet, so maybe my opinion will change whenever it decides to rain. For now, however, I give it a solid four stars with room to improve.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 28, 2015

Smart Design, Excellent Fit
4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

All in all, this is a pretty smart jacket and holds the precise fit that you'd expect from Santini. It's comfortable, packs pretty damn well, and it's surprisingly pretty warm. That's the high-level summary, but like all Italian designs, the devil is in the details.

As you can probably see, the lining of the jacket resembles an emergency blanket, with those little metallic looking hexagonal weave. Now, from appearances alone, you wouldn't expect these to lend themselves well to breathability, but you'd be wrong. In fact, like the Castelli Alpha, the Guard jacket is extremely versatile, and pretty close to waterproof.

But this is where the Guard only gets four stars from me instead of five. When I started riding in this jacket last summer, I took it for a spin in an absolutely insane, ice bucket challenge kind of wet of rainstorm in the mountains. And while the body actually kept me almost entirely dry, the different fabric on the cuffs took on water like a sinking ship. Inevitably, think of those paper towel commercials, this led to the water slowly soaking into the rest of the arms. It's a near fatal flaw to an otherwise impeccable design, but all the same, it was a little frustrating.

Outside of this, the fit is awesome, and it's true to Italian sizing. There was a tiny bit of seam overlap at the Acromion of the shoulder, however, that seems to flap to a slightly annoying degree at speed. We're talking the sound of maybe a half-inch of fabric, though, so I'm probably just being picky.

Now if you're like me, you're probably wondering how the Guard stacks against the Castelli Alpha and Gabba? In price, there head-to-head, so it's hard to tell. My recommendation would be that if you're small, need a race cut, and you're not buying it to ride through all conditions, the Guard is on point. If you're riding in wet weather, the Gabba or Alpha would be a good choice. Honestly, though, I own an Alpha and a Guard, and I've been splitting my time pretty evenly between the two.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

You name it, and I've done it in the Alpha Jacket — well, almost everything. Nordic skiing, commuting, cyclocross, mountain biking, road riding — I've been using this piece in the rain, snow, and cold in temperatures from 25 to 65 degrees. The fit is spot on (wearing a Small and I'm 5'10", 140lbs), and it truly feels more akin to a jersey than a jacket. There's absolutely no bulky spot to the piece, and the attention to detail in the ventilation points, seams, and other small accouterments add up to a phenomenal, versatile jacket.

The double layers have made all the difference for climbing, too. Where I am now, riding through the redwoods equates to upwards of 20-degree temperature swings in short stretches of road, so having the multiple options of thermoregulation has really changed the way that I can layer for rides. The Alpha's sleeves also interface extraordinarily well with gloves, and the pocket storage is more than ample.

There are some things that I'd change, however, namely including a waterproof zip pocket for electronics and keys. But given that this isn't a "true" waterproof jacket, only water-resistant, I understand Castelli not electing to include them. Outside of this, though, my complaints are trivial at best and really not worth including in this review.

In terms of warmth, this jacket is more than ample. But if you've read my reviews in the past, you know that I'm a big proponent of light outerwear with strong base layers. For extreme cold on the skis, I've been pairing it with a Castelli Flanders WindStopper base layer all the down to just shy of 25 with wind. Where I'm currently residing, I've been pairing it with a Craft summer-weight base layer for rides varying from 40 to 65 degrees. Moral of the story: if you know how to layer, it's hard to justify spending more on the jacket iteration of the Alpha.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on September 10, 2014

You Won't be Disappointed
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If you're looking for a bike with every bit of new tech on the market, you came to the right place. 15mm thru-axle, hydraulic brakes, full carbon fiber, seatpost-mounted Di2 compatibility — check, check, and so on. Along these lines, it's basically fail-proof through any dirt condition, albeit with the right tires. This is furthered through its handling characteristics. It's geometry lends itself to being snappy and agile, while its wheelbase keeps things just smooth enough for the rough stuff.

The frame is relatively light, but if you're a complete weight weenie, the 17.6lb (size 53cm) weight out of the box might be a little off putting. In my view, though, in the dirt, it doesn't take away from the overall speed that's on display when this bike hits the dirt.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The first thing that caught me with the DMT Lynx is that they look incredible, striking really. Next, was that their claimed weight was really low, like Empire MTB kind of low. In fact, I only found one or two pairs of mountain shoes that are actually lighter than these, and the weight difference was negligible at that.

I'm using these primarily for 'cross and gravel riding, albeit I'm riding a good deal of singletrack on the 'cross bike. They've been very stiff, but the little fangs on the toe box have already fallen off. These are replaceable anyhow, but honestly, I never really felt them to be useful in the first place.

If I were to register a complaint, it's the sizing. There's no have size (I'm normally a 42.5), so I opted for the 43 over the 42. If I had it to do over again, I would have gone down a size. Overall, though, the rigidity, look, and weight of these shoes rival just about anything on the market.

Read my full review:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/learn/dmt-lynx-mountain-shoes-product-review

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If you're riding in low-light conditions, and you're looking to pair safety with performance, you've come to the right place. The high-vis technology works impeccably well, and the fit and feel of the shorts is nearly identical to the standard Padrone bib shorts. However, if were to register a complaint, it's that the high-vis material is a tad bit stuffy. It's not nearly as breathable as the rest of the fabrics, leaving you a little sweaty, or clammy if you're riding in cold weather.

For this reason, I wouldn't recommend wearing these on all-day rides, but for evening riding & training, it's hardly a compromise.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

OK, there's no doubt that Capo's new high-vis technology works. It works incredibly well, actually. So, if your intention is to have a high-vis jersey for low-light riding & training, this is the right, and only, jersey for you. However, it's worth noting that this isn't the most breathable piece that you're going to have in your wardrobe. The points of high-vis fabric application are a little heavy, and these panels don't breathe as well as the rest of the jersey. But if you're riding in low-light conditions, you'll be riding in lower temperatures, so it all balances out.

The fit is standard Capo - somewhere between race & club, but at 5'10" 140lbs, I found it a little boxy in the chest. However, it's completely fine given it's application, low-light riding & training. Overall, this is an interesting piece, but I wouldn't consider it a "go-to" jersey for hot conditions.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

There's no doubt that the high-vis aspect of this jacket is astounding. Even in the sunlight, it's possible to see the effects of the technology. The fit is standard Capo - somewhere between race & club, but at 5'10" 140lbs, I found it a little boxy in the chest. However, it's completely fine given it's application, low-light riding & training.

If I were to have a gripe about this jacket, it would be that it's not the most breathable piece in my wardrobe. The points of the jacket where the high-vis fabrics are applied are tad bit heavy and propagate sweat a little more than I'd prefer. However, the venting system is quite nice, so it nearly cancels out. I'd recommend this for anyone that rides in low-light conditions in a temperature range of 45-65 degrees F.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I've been riding in these since December of 2013, and if you're wondering what they replaced, I was riding in Northwave Extreme Techs prior to these. First off, the aesthetic is obviously awesome - it doesn't get more "pro" than an all white shoe. But secondly, and more importantly, the performance of the LS-100 stands toe-to-toe with shoes that are far more expensive. They breathe very well, the stiffness of the outsole is totally on point, and the BOA L4 retention is quite nice. If you pair these with some heat-molded insoles, you have a shoe that feels truly expensive, only at half of the price. I highly recommend these, even if you're running a more "spendy" shoe.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

With most bikes, you're sure to make some compromises - descending for climbing, climbing for instability, stiffness for comfort, etc.. This is not the case with the Merlin Empire, however. It climbs better than the BH Ultralight and descends with confidence, not far off of the TMR01. In other words, it's sprightly up the mountain and fast as hell coming down.

The construction is flawless, and the possibilities of making this into a weight weenie bike is super high, considering that this featured bike build 14.30 pounds without pedals or cages (size 52cm). Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this one out ? it's carbon with soul.

Read my full review here:

http://www.competitivecyclist.com/learn/reviewed-the-merlin-empire

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on July 8, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

With most bikes, you're sure to make some compromises - descending for climbing, climbing for instability, stiffness for comfort, etc.. This is not the case with the Merlin Empire, however. It climbs better than the BH Ultralight and descends with confidence, not far off of the TMR01. In other words, it's sprightly up the mountain and fast as hell coming down.

The construction is flawless, and the possibilities of making this into a weight weenie bike is super high, considering that the current build that I'm on is 14.11 pounds without pedals or cages. Seriously, do yourself a favor and check this one out ? it's carbon with soul.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this bag right before Interbike 2013, and I've been using it ever since. The shape is low-profile and unassuming, which is good, and the strap design is pretty comfortable under load. Honestly, it has a few more bells and whistles than a really needed, but after using the same Citizen Metropolis bag since 2001, it was time to change it up.

The roll top feature is pretty good to have in a pinch when you need some added volume, which brings me to a couple of drawbacks. This bag doesn't expand very much considering it's maximum height, which can make packing for an international trip a little difficult. When fully-loaded, the inside can be a bit like a pit of despair. But for everyday trips, it's no big deal. My other complaint is that the internal Velcro closure strap for the laptop compartment is a little too long. A weird complaint, sure, but when it hangs, it's chewed up a few expensive jerseys in my bag.

Overall, this isn't the be-all-to-end-all bag, but it's perfect for the slightly-demanding commuter.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

Perfect for Real Winters
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

If your winter consists of only a few days below 45 degrees, these aren't for you. However, if you're like me, and half of your year is below 40 degrees, it's hard to do any better these tights. The fit is exceptional, especially behind the knees, and the uppers provide a nice added touch of warmth. I agree with the comment below that the FI.Mille chamois is a bit overkill for those of us who prefer a more minimal feel on the saddle, but regardless, it's still really comfortable.

My only complaint would be that the stomach zipper is a little finicky, and admittedly, it has run off of the teeth a couple of times. This is me looking for a fault, though. So, if you refuse to let the cold confine you to the trainer, I highly recommend these tights.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on January 23, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

The Yeti SB-75 represents the latest iteration of the Colorado brand's Superbike platform. Intended to be the ultimate mountain bike, the 27.5-inch wheeled SB-75 employs five-inches of Yeti's Switch Link suspension in order to create the ideal blend of small bump compliance and pedaling efficiency. The burly aluminum construction keeps the SB-75 stiff when cornering, and helps it stick to lines on rough, high-speed sections. As with the rest of the SB lineup, the geometry is characterized as progressive, given its low bottom bracket, roomy cockpit, and relaxed head tube angle. A tapered head tube is compatible with the latest forks, and Yeti's replaceable dropouts allow the use of either a 12x142mm thru-axle or a 9x135mm QR. Meanwhile, the 30.9mm seat tube accommodates just about every dropper seatpost on the market. In other words, whether you opt for a complete bike, or choose to go with a custom build, the SB-75 accepts the latest components, which enhances its character as a premier new-school trail bike.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on December 3, 2013

4 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

My winter consists of five months of wet, freezing temperatures. Accordingly, my preference for covers is that they're waterproof, windproof, and slightly insulated. However, when the temperature gets between about 45 and 60, the DeFeet Slipstreams are awesome. The cut-your-own cleat opening makes them compatible with nearly every cleat configuration, and the fluoro colorways are bold to say the least. If I lived in a more temperate area, these would get five stars, but given that I need a little more UMPH, these will get four.

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Jeff Stewart

Jeff Stewartwrote a review of on December 3, 2013

Amazing as a liner or solo glove
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

In terms of construction, these are the same as the standard DeFeet DuraGloves. However, where the standard fare features a more predictable composition, these are made from Merino wool. Accordingly, they're warm, highly breathable, and quite efficient at managing moisture. On runs, I've been wearing them independently, and on rides this winter, I've been using them as a base layer with the DuraGlove ET gloves on top. These have quickly become my go-to for all things cold?shoveling snow, running errands, and of course, riding. A long story short, you need these in your life.

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