Product Picks May 2016 - feature

May 2016 Product Picks: Easton, Edco, Gore Bike Wear, Rudy Project, Just Enough Tools, and Ass Savers

by James Huang

May 5, 2016

NEWS SUPPORTED BY

It’s back! After a one-year hiatus, we’ve resurrected our monthly product showcase where we highlight gear that has landed on our doorstep, providing firsthand impressions of their performance — good or bad. This month, we’re featuring some parts and accessories from our new U.S. office in Boulder, Colorado.


Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:

Easton E100 handlebar
Edco Monoblock cassette
Gore Bike Wear One Gore-Tex Active Bike Jacket
Rudy Project Tralyx sunglasses
Just Enough Tools JET Roll III tool roll
Ass Savers Fendor Bendor fender


The Easton E100 handlebar is fantastically light at just 176g for a 40cm (c-c) sample.

Easton E100 handlebar

by James Huang

Easton reserves its ‘E100’ badge only for its most premium products and in this case, it refers to an ultralight carbon fiber drop handlebar that weighs just 176g for a 40cm sample — in line with company claims. The 80mm reach and 125mm drop is in keeping with other compact-style bars, although the ‘Maximum Contact Drop’ shape is especially flat so as to provide more surface area for your hands. Double grooves are molded in for use with all current Shimano, Campagnolo, and SRAM levers, and markings on the drops are included for faster setup.

As impressive as the E100 is, the drops still feel shorter than the numbers would suggest given how they angle so sharply rearward just below the hoods.

As impressive as the E100 is, the drops still feel shorter than the numbers would suggest given how they angle so sharply rearward just below the hoods.

Our Take:

The E100 may not seem that light in terms of total grams saved, but it’s more impressive when viewed in terms of percentages with a substantial 15% decrease as compared to an Enve. Those missing grams don’t result in an overly flimsy feel when sprinting or climbing, either; the E100 is quite stiff with the notably damped feel typical of good composite handlebars. Don’t just take my word for it, though — independent lab testing by Fairwheel Bikes has confirmed my subjective findings, too.

Easton is no stranger to carbon fiber technology and it's applied its know-how to good effect here.

Easton is no stranger to carbon fiber technology and it’s applied its know-how to good effect here.

As good as the E100’s structural attributes are, I unfortunately never quite got on with the MCD bend. The drops are very comfortable with lots of surface area for your palms but they angle rearward unusually abruptly and feel more cramped than other compact bars of similar dimensions, which is exactly the opposite of what I usually look for in a high-end handlebar aimed at the racing crowd. The tops are pleasantly oversized for a sure grip and the transition to the hoods is appropriately flat, though, so the E100 seems like a good choice for riders with deep pockets that don’t necessarily need or want an aggressive position.

Price: US$350 / AU$579 / £300
www.eastoncycling.com


  • Ross

    Good honest reviews

    • James Huang

      Thanks! That’s the idea.

  • Legstrong

    IMO, Rudy Project always plays catch-up game with Oakley. That Tralyx is their answer to Radar? Having said that, I own a pair of RP Agon. I like RP’s adjustable nose piece. My small asian nose bridge and wide face cannot fit any Oakleys correctly, even their asian fit.

    • James Huang

      My wife has the same issue. Oakley’s Asian Fit nosepiece does the trick for me but my bridge is closer to European/American averages.

      In any event, I might recommend trying on the new Oakley EVZero Range. There’s an alternate nosepiece available as usual but the upper portion of the lens also extends up really high to help close that gap. I just switched my personal go-to choice to the Radar EV and find that model’s modest upper extension to work really well.

      • donncha

        Wow! Thanks for that. I had a pair of the original Zeroes and loved them. Hadn’t realised they’d re-introduced them. Time to go shopping :-)

  • Sean parker

    The jacket is interesting. If it performs as the review states it would be better (for breathability) than the gore windstopper garments of previous years.

    I have a pertex AP (air permeable) waterproof jacket that is better as a wind layer than windstopper; which is showing how far waterproof jackets are coming as true aerobic layers.

    • James Huang

      It’s honestly incredible in that respect. I originally was trying to shoot a short video showing how much steam was coming up through the fabric when covering a mug of boiling water but I couldn’t get it to show up well enough. It’s like the jacket wasn’t even there.

    • Albert

      And when you consider comparable offerings from Castelli and Rapha, the price is about right.

      But I will never understand the obsession with making rainwear from the least visible colours.

      • Spider

        I agree – price is fair and comparable with what other opiutdoor sports are paying for top technology in rain protection.

        My Gore Tex (active GT) jacket is still going strong – and it’s at least 5 years old – so I’m impressed with the durability.

        I also bought their Rain Cap – and was really impressed with that…much better than the Assos one I tried (beak broke within a few washes and didn’t vent well enough). comfortable, impressive breathability and made riding in the rain quite enjoyable (with a good jacket)

  • Mick

    Welcome back. Love it

  • Dave

    The Edco Monoblock is a good concept, but the review makes it sound like a classic case of a company using paying customers as beta testers.

    I’ll wait for version 1.0 before considering it.

    • James Huang

      I don’t think it’s so much a matter of Edco releasing an unfinished product as it is a by-product of the patent landmine of cassette design. It’s difficult to design such a thing without infringing on another company’s intellectual property.

      • Dave

        I call BS on that. There are other ways to ensure you don’t violate IP than simply doing such a shoddy job that the ‘original’ owner would not want to be associated with it.

        So long as the development process is properly documented to show that they didn’t just make a copy, there’s no infringement in developing a compatible replacement for another company’s product and doing it well.

        One thing that is for sure – at least in Australia where consumers have rights under the Australian Consumer Law – is that a customer who gets landed with a noisy cassette that doesn’t shift properly would have the right to a full refund including original shipping costs.

        The owners of Edco should consider either hiring better talent or cashing out before it gets any worse if this is the way things are going there.

        • James Huang

          There actually is a lot of IP that goes into cassette design, with the shape and placement of the upshift and downshift gates being the most important. It’s one reason SRAM’s early road cassettes used that goofy OpenGlide setup where some teeth were missing entirely.

          This Edco cassette does shift; it’s just not as smooth and seamless as options from any of the three major manufacturers.

          • Dave

            So long as you’re doing your own development work and documenting the process to prove it is your work and not just a derivative of the original product design, making your own designs that are compatible with products from another company (e.g. a cassette which will shift well with a Shimano chain and Shimano derailleur) is fully legal.

            Doing a really good job at it is also legal, as most notably shown by K-Edge producing GoPro-compatible mounts which are so good that even the GoPro-sponsored cycling teams use them instead of the sponsor’s product. This is what Edco should be aiming towards.

            If the actual development is handled independently, the only remaining IP concern would be to ensure the product packaging discloses that the Shimano/SRAM/Campagnolo names are trademarks of the companies which own them. This would be no different to when SIDI sells shoes which will work with SPD cleats, or when Zipp sells a rear wheel with a Campagnolo-compatible freehub.

            • Sean Doyle

              But if you developed something independantly with no influence from anywhere and came up with exactly what Shimano has in design of tooth profiles, where do you stand?

              • Liam O’Dea

                That’s a valid defence in copyright law, not so much in patent law. Unless the independent design was developed before the patent.

                I think, but I’m no lawyer!

                • Anon N + 1

                  I’m not a patent lawyer either (just a paralegal working for a patent attorney) but I disagree with you on the copyright portion of your comment (see “The Wind Done Gone” 2001 case, Sunburst v Houghton Mifflin) and I think you are right on the patent portion.

                  • Liam O’Dea

                    I can’t see any relevance sorry. I agreed with Sean that if you develop something independently with no influence from anywhere then copyright law is unlikely to apply

                    The Wind Done Gone is entirely based on the storyline and characters of Gone With The Wind. It surely is an original work, told from a completely different perspective, but developed independently? I don’t see that.

            • Anon N + 1

              Dave, are you a patent attorney registered to practice before the US Patent & Trademark Office? If so, please explain how your independently developed product does not infringe under the doctrine of equivalents. Also remember that even if 99% of the new product is different from parts covered by patents belonging to others, you can still infringe if one single element in you design is covered by some else’s patent. Finally, if the new product is sufficiently different and not derivative from existing products (patented or unpatented — in the public domain), then the company would be wise to file its own patent application to cover the inventive aspect of the product.

  • bigdo

    Jesus, how awful is that tool roll? lol.. Those Rudy glasses are sick and so is that Goretex jacket, but both are WAY overpriced… super wanky.

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