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John Heineken

John Heineken

San Francisco (North Bay), CA

John Heineken's Passions

Snow Skiing
Road Biking
Mountain Biking

John Heineken's Bio

Riding road bikes since I was 16 years old (1981). Thank you Greg Lemond!

John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on July 27, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Really, why pay more? Tifosi is a cycling-specific optics company that designs great cycling sunglasses. This is a US company, by the way, based in Atlanta, GA.

To clarify Tifosi "Podium" models. The regular Podium is designed for large faces. The "S" model for large to medium faces. And the "XC" model is designed for medium to small faces.

Ok, on to the glasses... I've used Tifosi "Podium S" glasses daily/weekly for over a year. The frames are really strong; the bike specific shape stays put on your face; and the nose piece is strong and very well designed. These stay put!

Three different lenses are included: a sunny day lens (smoke), an overcast lens (ac red), and a clear lens for night time use (or very cloudy winter days). I take advantage of the ability to change lenses frequently! Also included is a really nice zip-up case for the glasses and extra lenses.

By the way, if you break a lens, replacement lenses are only $15 from "pro-lens" dot com.

*Tifosi "Podium" are great cycling glasses!

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on July 19, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Yes, it's just a mason jar. You could buy any same sized mason jar, at say Target or Walmart. But it's cool and it works. It is very effective at keeping moisture/humidity out of your bag of hydration mix. And the jar makes it easier to scoop out your mix. This is good. I like it.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on July 19, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

I test rode this saddle and the SMP 209. Bought the 209. But I wish I had tried this one longer. My impressions of the SMP line of saddles:

First, gentlemen, it is really important to protect the soft tissues around the perineum while riding 2-3 (or more) hours in the saddle. Urological problems can develop (ouch!) if the perineal area (including the pudental nerve) is compressed for long periods of time; especially if you ride in an aggressive forward position. Hence, the Selle SMP line of saddles.

That said, saddle choice is extremely personal. Variables such as specific physiology (sit bone width), position on the bike, fitness level, and BMI result in... no size/model works best for everyone.

So, SMP makes a lot of models. Check out the SMP website (or google Steve Hogg) for fit and correct model info. It seems the "Dynamic" or the "Lite 209" (inexplicable name) are the models to buy for most fit male riders of average pelvis width.

PROS: As the box says, 100% hand made in Italy (and beautifully so), real leather (in black), huge cutout for the perineal area.

*Important note: Setting up this saddle properly on your bike (usually nose down 2-5%) is essential to this saddle working properly. So check out the SMP website (or google Steve Hogg fitting) for proper set-up advice.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on July 11, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I wrote one of the first reviews here of the awesome T.Cento bibshorts in February 2014 (shortly after release of this model). I've ridden in these bibshorts several times per week for a year and a half. Here is my update.

By the way, Mike Nelson's review of the T.Cento's below is one of the best reviews on this site. You should definitely read it.

For me, the T.Cento's have become the favorite 'distance' bibshort in my rotation. The "KuKu Penthouse" is the main reason probably, but these bibshorts are great for a number of interconnected reasons.

Quality/durability after 18 months: Very impressive. The fabric used in the leg panels is very strong and of very high quality. No thinning of the material, no sagging, no wear (at all). Impressive. The stitching and seams have been perfect. The shoulder-straps are still elastic and strong. And the thick chamois pad is still functionally perfect, though the purple color on the top of the chamois pad (inside the shorts) has faded a bit (who cares).

The Kuku Penthouse: incredible name but it works. Tuck your package in and go ride! You can basically forget about any pinching or adjustments or discomfort for the whole ride. It's quite a revelation.

Other PROS: The shoulder-straps lay perfectly flat. The leg grippers work perfectly. The chamois pad is thick (and ventilated) for long hours in the saddle. The shorts are cut short in the front/abdominal area for ventilation during hard/warm weather riding (also beneficial for better "access" during the occasional front pit stop). Both shoulder-straps feature a loop for your sunglasses during steep climbing; a really nice detail that I use frequently.

CONS: Not many except the price. The cost is pretty steep.

Tweaks needed, in my opinion: (1) The chamois pad is 10 mm thick everywhere. That is great under the sit bones (esp for high mileage use). But the pad is not progressively variable (thinner) under the perineal area. This slightly compresses the perinium and interferes with the "cutout" function of my saddle (a Selle Italia SLR Flow). Maybe this is an issue of pad/saddle interface. Anyway, this is not a factor with the other Assos models (e.g., Equipe, Campionissimo); they use a thinner chamois. It's not a deal breaker yet I hope Assos will refine this in future updates. (2) An area in the upper back (at the shoulder strap connection) causes distinct itching unless I use a baselayer (I usually do). I thought it was a stitching issue, but upon closer inspection it appears to be a sharp/hard edge caused by thermal fabric cutters. This was probably an early production run issue.

FIT: True to size. I am 5'9" and 185. The L fits me perfectly; both in the leg and the shoulder straps. If you are 10-15 lbs lighter, the medium will fit better.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 18, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

These are new, so here are my first impressions. I had been using Shimano's top-of-the-line road shoes for the last three years. First the 315's, then the 320's. Both were/are favorites in the pro peloton (look closely at photos). There are a couple of reasons behind this.

(1) An unrivaled Ventilation system. The 321's feature four subtle "grill" inlets in front combined with breathable upper inserts, and one in the sole, to facilitate flow-through ventilation. This feature keeps your feet drier, cooler, and less clammy. It makes a very noticeable difference, especially during strong riding in warm weather.

(2) The 321's also feature a very roomy, wide toe box so that you can power down without constriction or pinching of your toes or forefoot. I can wiggle my toes fully; yet the heel and midfoot is totally locked in.

In sum, I can pedal down with full power -and- my toes aren't pinched -and- my foot is cooler and drier. Fantastic.

(3) Beautiful, super stiff, dual-channel-hollow, carbon sole.

Let's face it, a top-of-the-line road shoe from any of the big names is usually a really good shoe. But, IMHO, I think there is nothing out there quite like the Shimano 321's. If they are in your budget, buy them. You won't regret it.

CONS: You will need toe covers or aero covers in weather under ~55. And winter booties in weather under ~40.

FIT: Shimano 321's are certainly wider in the forefoot than regular SIDIs (non-mega); which for me really pinch my feet. The 321s will fit an average to slightly wide foot very well.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 12, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

3T is arguably the most famous manufacturer of cycling cockpit components (posts, stems, handlebars) in the cycling world. Lots of experience and expertise here.

3T stands for Tecnologia del Tubo Torino (or Turin Tube Technology) and was founded by Mario Dedioniggi in Turin (Northern Italy) in 1961.

I have used this seatpost in the 27.2 diam/280 mm length on my road bike weekly/nearly daily for the last year -including on the sometimes very rough and mountainous roads here in Northern California with zero problems.

In sum: This 3T carbon seatpost looks great; is strong and lightweight (only 195 g in the 280 mm length); and the clamping mechanism works great.

PS. - I use a $20 Ritchey 5 Nm torque key tool to tighten the seat post clamp down per spec. I highly recommend that you do so also.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 12, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

First, gentlemen, it is really important to protect the soft tissues around the perineum while riding 2-3 (or more) hours in the saddle. Urological problems can develop (ouch!) if the perineal area (including the pudental nerve) is compressed for long periods of time; especially if you ride in an aggressive forward position. Hence, "pressure relief channel" saddles such as this superb Selle Italia "SLR Max Flow."

Yes, saddle choice is extremely personal. Variables such as specific anatomy/physiology (sit bone width), position on the bike, fitness level, and BMI result in... no size/model works best for everyone.

That said, this SLR Max Flow is a great saddle for riders with ave (to ave+) hip width from arguably the most renowned road saddle maker in the world (Selle Italia). The SLR Max Flow is certainly a very high quality and well thought out saddle. Made in Italy.

The rails are now made of Ti 316 not "Vanox" (look closely at the photo). This is a lightweight titanium/stainless steel alloy.

I found that the cutout on this saddle works *really well* to decrease pressure on the perineal area (unless you use a bib short with a super thick chamois pad under the perineal area -not recommended). Next: Despite the Selle Italia website saying this saddle has "extra padding," the seat is certainly not excessively padded. Indeed, it feels rather firm at first. But then feels very extremely comfortable when riding (if it fits you) because of the proper shaping, and the fantastic cutout.

FIT: I'm 5'9", 180 lbs. I think this 145 mm wide saddle should work well for most fit cyclists over ~5'8". More petite or super-fit riders may want to check out a 131 mm wide saddle from Selle Italia like the "SLR Flow."

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 11, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Saddles, and saddle fit, is very personal. That said, this is a great saddle from arguably the most renowned saddle maker in the world . Very high quality, very well made, thought out, and engineered. Made in Italy.

The cutout decreases pressure on the perineum. This is *really* important for urological health and decreases numbing in the region (and interestingly all the way down the leg). Despite the Selle Italia website saying this saddle has "extra padding," the seat is minimally padded and it feels rather firm at first. But then it disappears underneath you when riding. Because the shaping is so well done, and because of the cut out, the comfort is fantastic!

FIT: I'm 5'9", 180 lbs. I think this 145 mm wide saddle should fit most reasonably fit, serious cyclists over ~5'7"-5'8" very well. More petite/fit riders may want to check out a 131 mm wide saddle from Selle Italia like the superb "SLR Flow."

I've tried multiple 'pressure relief channel' saddles trying to find the best (such as Spesh "Romin," Selle SMP "Pro," and Fizik "Antares Versus X"). This Selle Italia "SLR Max Flow" is my favorite!

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 4, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Vittoria has been manufacturing pro-level bicycle tires for 60 years. It shows. Their range and R&D is pretty amazing. These Pave EVO CG III's were specially designed to be used on the cobblestones (pave) in the hotly contested and highly demanding UCI "Spring Classic" races in Europe like the Tour de Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

This is one strong and tough tire. Yet with 320 tpi a very supple one! And, somehow, fairly light (257 g in size 25 mm) -especially given the strength and excellent puncture protection.

The grip, braking, cornering, and road "feel" is fantastic. The latter, especially, set these Pave III's apart for me.

I use Vittoria "Corsa" race tires in 23 mm size for race or timed runs on clean, dry, smooth roads. Otherwise, I use these Pave III's in the 25 mm size as my general fast training and riding tire (especially in the winter) because I have terrible roads in my area.

In summary: Great fast training/riding tire for the rough (chip & seal) roads in my area -and yours.

By the way, the puncture protection is really exceptional with these Pave's. In 6+ months of near daily use, on crappy roads strewn with glass and debris (in town), I have experienced exactly one flat! And that was from a large industrial staple. That would have flatted any tire.

Vittoria Pave CG III's are great tires!

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 4, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Really, why pay more? Tifosi is a cycling-specific optics company that designs great cycling sunglasses. This is a US company, by the way, based in Atlanta, GA.

I've used my Tifosi "Slip" glasses weekly for over a year. The frames are really strong; the bike specific shape stays put on your face; and the nose piece is strong and very well designed -these stay put!

Three different lenses are included: a sunny day lens (smoke), an overcast lens (ac red), and a clear lens for night time use (or very cloudy winter days). I take advantage of the ability to change lenses frequently!

By the way, if you break a lens (I sat on one accidentally); replacement lenses are only $15 from "pro-lens" dot com.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on June 3, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Road saddle choice is extremely personal. Multiple variables affect saddle fit and comfort including individual physiology (e.g., sit bone width), position on the bike, and BMI.

That said, the Antares Versus X (made in Italy by renowned saddle maker Selle Royal) is a great saddle -one that features a "center relief channel." This is really important.

This feature decreases pressure on the soft tissues around the perineum (and the pudental nerve). This is really important for urological health and decreases numbing in the region (and interestingly all the way down the leg).

I have found the cutout in this saddle works extremely well; providing relief to the perineal area while the rest of the saddle maintains enough support for the sit bones.

In sum: Great saddle. Very fine quality. Light at only 209 g. Saddle fit is personal but I think this 142 mm wide saddle should work well for most reasonably fit, serious cyclists over ~5'7"-5'8". More petite or super-fit riders will probably want to check out a 132 mm wide saddle like Fi'zi:k's Arione Versus X .

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Pearl Izumi USA, based near Boulder CO, designs great cold-weather gear. But even in the Pearl Izumi lineup, these P.R.O. Barrier shoe covers are special. "WxB" means: W = waterproof and B = breathable. This is a very hard combo to pull off yet these shoe covers do. Nice!

Application: Medium-weight booties for keeping your feet warm and dry while riding in 38*-65* weather -even in the rain!

Note: The material is med weight (and nicely fleeced on the inside), but these shoe covers will -not- insulate much below 40 degrees. Use heavier booties for riding below 35*. FIT: Follow the size chart. I wear a 45 euro in Sidi and Shimano. The XL is the perfect size (right in the middle).

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

They stay cool -and- protect your arms from sunburn during mid-day rides in the Summer.

Also: great QC and fabrics from Pearl Izumi -per usual. Fit: I'm 5'9" 180 lbs. The M fit great (the L was too long). These stretch to fit circumference-wize. Don't buy ones too long (they bunch up).

In sum, these sun-sleeves look great, stay up, and really work. I love them.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

One of things I like most about this cap is that it fits over the ears really well.

Otherwise, it is high quality (!), good looking, breathes really well, fits great for small to medium size cabezas (I wear a Giro med helmet, 57 cm head). Made in Italy. A steal at this price!

Medium weight Roubaix fabric. Best for cool weather riding (40-55*). Buy something like the "Castelli Windstopper (WS) Skully Cap" for riding in true freezing or subfreezing weather.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 28, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

This jersey is simple but really good looking, breathes well, and fits great.

Personally, I like it in pink in honor of the Giro d'Italia but it looks great in the other colors too (color is obviously personal). I own a lot of De Marchi gear. De Marchi makes classic (almost retro) bike clothing in Italy (unlike Castelli), superfine quality and sewing QC, with obvious pride by the De Marchi family since 1946. It shows.

One caveat. This fabric will snag on Velcro. Be careful if you have velcro on your gloves!

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 24, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

The real deal. A lot of UCI pro riders in Europe wear Santini -including Alberto Contador who wore Santini en route to winning the 2015 Giro d'Italia. Look closely for the "sMs" logo (Santini Maglificio Sportivo) on the chest of the riders, for example on the 2015 Bianchi/Lotto-Jumbo team.

Application: Mesh base-layer for Summer use.

This garment is designed to keep you cool in warm and hot weather by holding your jersey off your skin. I think every serious rider should own a garment like this for riding in warm weather.

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 24, 2015

3 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Giro, based in Santa Cruz CA, typically designs great cycling gear (i.e., great helmets).

PROS: Very well ventilated, real Pittards leather in the palm plus no gel pads provide the ultimate in bar feel. If you have your bar wrapped in Cinelli cork tape (or similar), you don't need gel in your gloves. Very good looking. No velcro to snag on your jersey or shorts!

CONS: The black leather may "sweat." I have the white version; no problems with the dye here. But I am starting to experience some stitching QC problems on the fingers.

BOTTOM LINE: These used to be my favorite road gloves for use in warm-weather. Now, I'm not so sure. Perhaps check out Pearl Izumi's "PRO Pittards gloves." They are a very similar short-finger road glove with no gel inserts (great bar feel).

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 24, 2015

4 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Part of Castelli's "rosso corsa" top-of-the-line. A super-light, super-ventilated, summer race/climbing jersey meant to be worn race fit (tight).

PROS: Light, well-ventilated, good looking. And love the wide, comfortable arm bands. A great summer climbing jersey depending upon your storage needs (see below).

CONS: No silicon gripper on the rear hem to save weight. And the jersey really is light. So, it doesn't hold heavy items (like a large cell phone) in the rear pockets super well if you unzip the front zipper past 50% while climbing (as many of us do in really hot weather). The rear pockets *will* hold a shop towel, leg/arm or sun warmers, or an extra tube or two just fine.

Sizing: I'm 5'10 and 180. I usually wear an XL in Castelli tops (size up +1). But here I was sort of in-between L and XL.

*Important note: This fabric will snag easily on velcro (like many jersey fabrics). Be careful if you have velcro in your gloves!

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John Heineken

John Heinekenwrote a review of on April 18, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions

Buy this jersey and it's like you are at the Giro d'Italia!

All Santini clothing is made in Italy by the Santini family since 1965. A lot of UCI pro riders in Europe wear Santini. Look closely for the "sMs" logo (Santini Maglificio Sportivo) on the chest of the riders. For example, on the riders of the 2015 Bianchi/Lotto-Jumbo team or on the leader at the Giro d'Italia!

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