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John K

John K

Seattle, WA

John K's Passions

Road Biking

John K's Bio

Cycling for me started off as a weight loss effort which blossomed into a full fledge love of the sport itself. I dropped 50 pounds in 10 months and rediscovered the athletic prowess of my 20s.

I'm 45 years old and live in the Seattle area with my family. I work in the tech sector on the business development side. Cycling has helped me keep stress levels under control while managing the challenges of teenagers, work, family, etc.

I also have family in Los Angeles and periodically escape the Seattle winters by spending a long weekend there riding with friends.

If you read my reviews, you can expect they're based on real world experience with products. I'm pretty uncompromising when it comes to cycling gear and consider myself a minimalist cyclist. I like to ride fast and make big climbs, always looking to improve my physical condition and riding skill. I take cycling seriously and get excited about gear that works and am highly critical of gear that sucks. I like gear that makes me faster, lighter, safer, or more comfortable (in that order). Any gear that helps me accomplish all of these becomes part of my 'cycling essentials'.

I primarily ride an SWORKS Tarmac Disc and also have an SWORKS Crux for trail / rain riding. I'll be experimenting with a TT bike soon though ;-).

Feel free to ping me if I can help answer any questions or find me on Strava https://www.strava.com/athletes/johnkaiser

John K

John Kwrote a review of on September 28, 2018

Cyclocross? Time Trial? Road?  YES!
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

This suit is not exactly so dedicated to cyclocross as the description would suggest. This suit is EXACTLY the same as the Sanremo 3.2 Speedsuit, but with long sleeves and a slightly higher collar. The full sleeves are made from the same light weight material as the short sleeve version, just full length. This makes it great for time trial, keeping sun off your arms, or taking off a slight chill. I've ridden this suit in temps from 60F to 80F and was totally comfortable. It is supremely breathable and keeps me plenty cool. The best part is that, because nobody really understands what this suit is, it's on sales for way less than the Sanremo 3.2 or time trial suit. Still has the three pocket back that you're used to, which supports real riders vs. supported racers. It's a great suit and a unique piece of kit.

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John K

John Kwrote a review of on June 19, 2016

Warm & Cool - Perfect
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What an interesting and cool product. The Castelli Cross Sanremo suit fills a critical void in my cycling kit. When it's too cold for traditional kit, but too warm for full winter gear, this suit is the go-to piece of gear.

First, a little about me. I don't actually use this suit for cyclocross at all, I use it for road riding. Also, I tend to get cold very easily. Which is to say, my body cools very effectively. So for me the problem usually isn't staying cool, it's staying warm - especially here in the Pacific North West. Lastly, I've been steadily increasing my enthusiasm for riding suits vs. jersey & bibs. For me and my body type, speed suits are simpler, more comfortable, fit better, and have improved aerodynamics.

In the Pacific North West we have A LOT of days with intermediate temperatures / conditions and I find that 65F in the sun is one thing; 65F with cloud cover, a breeze, and some spiting rain is completely different. Now go hit the road for 3-5-7 hours at 20MPH and the cold becomes intolerable.

The Sanremo Cross suit has a 3/4 length sleeve and a very light fleece lining to the material which adds just enough warmth without causing overheating. The suit makes use of awesome arm pit vents that really work. Next time I plan to use a mesh base layer that I think will help with temperature regulation even more. Other than that, there's not a lot of gizmos to this suit. What makes it so great is the combination of materials and form factor that create a unique piece of gear.

I recently wore this suit on a 125 mile, 15K ft ride over North Cascade Hwy and it was perfect for the conditions. It was in the low 60s and sunny when I started but the weather report showed clouds coming in with a chance of rain. The initial climb was warm and I partially unzipped my top to allow more air flow which was fine (again, mesh base layer would help even more). By the time I hit the pass at 5500ft, temps had dropped into the mid 40s and it started spitting rain. I just added some Thermoflex arm / leg warmers and I was totally comfy. There's just no way I would have been able to finish this ride in traditional cycling gear. Take a look at the attached photo and note the amount of SNOW in the background, I did this ride on June 1st!

How can Castelli improve this suit? Make a version more oriented for road riding vs. cyclocross. The suit comes with the KISS chamois which is good but I'd prefer the Progeto X2 for longer rides. Also, the suit has two large pockets on the back, the traditional three would be better. The arm and leg grippers could be made more aero for road riding as well. These are all nit-picking issues though and I'm glad to have this product available. It works amazingly well considering I'm using the suit in a way it was never intended. I've looked at a lot of suits from many manufacturers and I've never seen anything else like this on the market. I bought another one just to make sure I've always got this base covered.

I'm 185lbs, 6'3 and I wear a size large, which is consistent with all the other Castelli products I own. The suit fits snug without bunching up in the crotch which is sometimes the challenge with speed suits.

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John K

John Kwrote a review of on May 23, 2016

There's a reason the pros wear these
5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

Can't say enough great things about the Oakley Jawbreaker cycling glasses, they are very well thought out. First, the open frame design affords riders a great view of the road, especially when in the tuck position where other glasses obscure vision with the frames. The large lenses do a great job of protecting your eyes both from debris and from sun light. They fit close to the face so sunlight reflected off the road doesn't slip past. Despite their size, they vent extremely well. How many times have you hit a big hill climb only to have your glasses start fogging up from heat and sweat accumulating behind the lens? Not a problem for the Jawbreakers. Don't let their size fool you. I've had no problem with the glasses moving around on my face, even while wearing headphones that go around the back of the ear. The nose piece does a great job of keeping the frames in place and also acts as a lever for the interchangeable lens system. The interchangeable lens system is simple and elegant which actually encourages you to pickup different lenses for various conditions. These glasses are part of my cycling essentials and I have two pairs now.

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John K

John Kwrote a review of on March 21, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

Either way, the Flanders Merino wool base layer is awesome. It fits like most Castelli stuff, snug but comfortable. It is relatively thick compared with a lot of synthetic base layers but it also brings the heat. I've taken to wearing mine under my Sanremo Thermosuit for even lower temps. It's proven so effective that I no longer use a jacket at all but simply use the Flanders base layer.

Oh yeah, and it also makes a great casual sweater like top with jeans. On cold evenings in the northwest a Flanders goes a long way toward warm and comfy.

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John K

John Kwrote a review of on March 21, 2016

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I've used these shoe covers now for about 200 miles and they work great. Kept my feet warm in temps ranging from 39F to 63F and even in light rain. The fit is excellent, like a lot of Castelli stuff. I wear a 47 S-Works road shoe and bought the XXL covers, right off the CC sizing chart and they fit perfect. Not at all tough to get on either, which helps.

One additional benefit was the breathability. After one particularly long ride I took the covers off and had some moisture accumulation between the cover and my shoe but my feet were completely dry. On another ride I was getting light drizzle for about 50 miles and the shoe covers kept it off my shoes. In fact, my feet really only got wet because my tights became saturated and then ran down my leg into my shoes. I don't think the covers really let all that much moisture through themselves.

I have had no difficulty with the zippers and I'm not even sure how some of the previously noted issues would occur. I'm wondering if Castelli redesigned the zippers at some point. In any case, they're completely fool proof. Simply zip them down, put them on, and zip them up. Piece of cake. Highly recommended.

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John K

John Kwrote a review of on March 21, 2016

Racing fit in a winter suit, awesome!!
5 5

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

The Sanremo Thermosuit 2 is an elegant solution to the challenge of performance / race fit cycling gear that is insulating as well. I just completed my first ride in the suit, 9 hours, 138 miles, and 11,500ft with temps ranging between 63F and 39F. This type of weather is common here in Seattle and can account for 3-5 months of the cycling year so it's worth gearing up for it.

The suit performed flawlessly and the fit is terrific. FINALLY, no flapping upper body or loose chest which is not only more aero and comfortable, but also far better insulating. The fit is like its painted on, but stretchy in all the right places. While you can see the red lining through the outer layer on the legs (as noted by other reviewers) it was still warm. I loved it! The only challenge was trying to cram enough nutrition and spares for a 100+ mile ride in the pockets, which are also fairly snug fitting. Given the temp range I experienced I was happy to note that I never got overheated. I warmed up and sweat a lot on the uphill climbs but that moisture evaporated quickly on the descents, which was perfect.

In any case, I can't say enough great things about this suit, it's fills a critical role now in my kit and one I'll use a lot here in the Northwest. In fact, I like it so much I bought a second one (50% off, thank you CC) so I can rotate them. Even at 39F I was still warm and I think, with a base layer, could go much lower. In fact, I had bought an Espresso 3 jacket but sent in back in favor of layering under the Sanremo for colder temps.

I'm 6'4" and 190 and the large fit perfect using the CC measurement chart to calculate sizing. One thing to be aware of, this is a performance / racing fit. It's SUPPOSED to fit very snug. It's designed for high intensity rides in cold temps. If your riding is more casual you may like to have more options for tops & bottoms, etc.

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