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Liked a comment on the item Undisputed - Clementz Continues Dominance in the Opening round of the Enduro World Series. 4/21/2014 7:50 PM

Dominance? Bit if a stretch if you look at the stage wins and total times?
Oh wait. Press release....

Liked a comment on the item Jerome Clementz and Anne-Caroline Chausson Win EWS Chile 4/20/2014 3:37 PM

Dangit Jared!

Added a comment about photo Prototype 4-Piston Magura Disc Brakes - Sea Otter Classic 4/17/2014 6:37 PM
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The Gustav's had one of the lightest lever feels and most powerful brakes I have ridden to date, and that was back in 2003. These new ones will hopefully bring that back in a smaller package!

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Added a comment about photo Lemonade and Ducktape Stuffs - Sea Otter Classic 4/17/2014 6:29 PM
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LOL. Waxing up his shark biscuit ay! Is he a sponger?

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Added a comment about photo Prototype Marzocchi 350 NCR Fork - Sea Otter Classic 4/17/2014 6:06 PM
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Looks like a great fork. If the 55 was the benchmark, it should perform as well as it looks too!

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Liked a comment on the item How-To: Mountain Bike Suspension Set Up with Art's Cyclery 4/14/2014 10:15 PM

Agree 100% with Sababike, I don't want my forks blowing through on the steep stuff and sending me...

Liked a comment on the item How-To: Mountain Bike Suspension Set Up with Art's Cyclery 4/14/2014 10:15 PM

Hi Adam,

I understand your point, however I would still recommend setting up sag while standing....

Liked a comment on the item It's in the Bag - A Look at the Photography Gear Sven Martin Uses at the UCI World Cup and Enduro World Series 4/8/2014 8:30 PM

How does Mark Morrison really feel about all that gear taking up his Duvel space?

Liked a comment on the item First Look: 2014 ENVE M-Series Carbon Wheels 4/8/2014 8:17 AM

You know the rule with LB rims- buy 3 when you buy a pair!

Added a product blog First Look: 2014 ENVE M-Series Carbon Wheels 4/8/2014 1:55 AM

ENVE Composites have been producing high quality carbon cycling parts since 2007. Just a few...

This blog post has 13 comments

Added a comment about feature Vital Power Rankings, Pietermaritzburg World Cup - The 15 Fastest Racers Going In 3/30/2014 6:17 PM
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Agreed, Troy will at least be up further, but there is a good chance for some box…

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This feature has 24 comments.

Liked a comment on the item Vital Power Rankings, Pietermaritzburg World Cup - The 15 Fastest Racers Going In 3/30/2014 6:17 PM

Id really like to see Mick take the win. I have a feeling Troy will be on the box.

Added a product review for Royal 2014 Esquire Shorts 3/30/2014 8:48 AM
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Tested: Royal Racing Esquire Short

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by A.J. Barlas // Photography Jon Anthony & A.J. Barlas

Riding apparel over the last number of years has changed. Gone are the long, baggy items, replaced with more form fitting clothing, a move that we feel is an entirely good thing! This isn't to say we should ride in skin tight clothing, in fact, I'm an advocate for the 'no lycra necessary' movement, but wearing gear so baggy that it would catch on your bars, seat, and tree branches as you whiz by is not only ridiculous, it's highly impractical.

Having said that there are still baggier fits available, if you so desire. There are also close to lycra tight cuts available and then there are the items that fall in the middle. Royal Racing's Esquire short positions itself right in this category, with a comfortable, functional fit that will appeal to the majority of riders, not because they're boring, but because it makes the most sense. We've been rallying the trails in the Esquire for the entire BC winter and have now had more than enough time in it to share our thoughts.

Esquire Short Highlights

  • 4-way stretch water repellent
  • Sweat wicking polyester fabric
  • Spandex lower back expander panel
  • Mesh vents for maximum air circulation
  • Dual 'hook and loop' waist adjusters
  • DWR coated
  • Non rattle snap lock zippers
  • 2 open hand pockets
  • Waterproof stash pocket
  • Heat transfer logos
  • Detachable padded pro-level pant liner
  • Bar tacked stress points
  • MSRP: $119.95 USD

Initial Impressions

The Esquire short is a high tech piece of apparel. The materials are top tier, with 4-way stretch fabric making for an incredibly comfortable fit. The vents are well placed down the legs, with some finer exhaust vents appropriately positioned around the back of the short. The lightweight mesh material used for the vents together with the 4-way stretch polyester fabric over the rest of the short result in a very lightweight item - very close to the weight of modern boardshorts (surf or swim trunks to some).

The stash pocket is well placed on the side, up by the waist, and is waterproof (which presents its own problem, more on this below). Unfortunately, this is the only sealable pocket in the short, with the other options for stashing things being the regularly positioned open hand pockets. We've mentioned in the past our issues with the lack of ability to secure anything in these and though very nice for standing around with your hands in your pockets, they're perhaps not the most functional in cycling.

Sizing on the Esquire short is good. The very flexible qualities of the short can leave you wondering if perhaps a size down would be better in some cases. This will depend on the fit that you seek, though generally if you are on the lower end of the size range it may be more desirable to jump down. The waist adjusters are great, they don't get in the way nor do they create pressure points and they allow you to fine tune the fit quickly and easily.

On The Trail

The lightweight materials and flexibility of the short make for one heck of a comfortable item to ride in. We can't comment on breathability in warm conditions, as we were riding it through the winter months, but it certainly seems adequately vented and should not present any issues when the mercury rises. In the wet the short performs well, postponing the dreaded full soak thanks to the use of light polyesters and the (temporary) DWR coating. The 'spandex lower back expander panel' is the only part of the short that presents an issue when riding in the rain. The panel soaks up moisture and starts to sag under its own weight when it gets saturated. For me personally this type of panel is not and never has been a selling feature on shorts, and could easily be left out.

The stash pocket was made a little larger this year (compared to the previously tested Signature short) and now easily fits your phone, your multi-tool, or even both items together! The pocket is also waterproof, which keeps the elements from affecting your valuable piece of digital technology; however, with the heat generated from the body, condensation forms within this space, effectively wetting your phone anyway. It may not be as bad as pouring rain, but it is something to keep a close eye on.

The short is comfortable enough for hours in the saddle and can be worn for trail riding or DH, with the fit being just right for all disciplines. We never had the Esquire short get in the way on technical sections of trail that required awkward moves, and it most often went unnoticed, an indication that it was just doing what it was supposed to.

Long Term Durability

The Esquire short has seen a full winter of riding in BC and still looks as good as new, after rolling around in the mud and countless wash cycles. The only weak point where we see this short potentially breaking down is the spandex back panel, which could lose its elasticity over time. Otherwise, short of snagging it on something (due to rider error/hack skills) the rest of the short will no doubt charge on for years.

Things That Could Be Improved

As mentioned above, the expandable back panel is a waste of material. Shorts without this panel remain equally comfortable in the dry but shoot straight into the lead when comfort in the wet is thrown in the mix. The panel adds weight, soaks water quicker and in our opinion is a weak point in the short's design. The waterproof pocket is a great idea, addressing the fact that many riders will want their phone on them while out on a ride (after all, we can't post blurry photos to Instagram without it). We're interested to see if there is a way to retain the waterproof aspect without creating a pocket full of condensation, once the rider has warmed up. Also, the waterproof waist pocket being the only sealable pocket is a shame, leaving little room to stash items securely when out riding. If you ride with a pack, this is no big deal, but for those that find packs uncomfortable, it could be a problem.

In summary, there are a couple of items that could be improved; however, none are issues that we see as reason enough not to pursue this product, we are merely being picky, OCD, mountain bikers.

What's The Bottom Line?

We're big fans of the Royal Esquire short. Its flexibility and light weight make for a very comfortable item to ride in and we see many hours of saddle time in its future. When being picky, it is not without its flaws, but these are very minor gripes and to this day we have yet to come across the perfect riding short. Simply put, if you require a comfortable short with a small amount of storage, the Esquire is something to include on your wish list.

For more visit www.royalracing.com


About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.

This product has 1 review

Added reply in a thread 2015 Rockshox Monarch+ RC3 DebonAir Shock 3/27/2014 7:14 PM

Very interested to hear more about this shock. By nothing but pure coincidence I also came across it on the same site as you bjenson. Read somewhere it was a "hybrid between the Monarch+ and the Vivid Air"… Tell me more!

Added a new photo album Tested: Magura TS8 R 150 Fork 3/15/2014 3:57 PM
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Added a product review for Royal 2014 Stage Jersey 3/10/2014 8:58 PM
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Tested: Royal Racing Stage Jersey

Rating:

The Good:

The Bad:

Overall:

Review by AJ Barlas // Photos by Jon Anthony and AJ Barlas

Royal Racing has hit the trails with more new apparel for 2014, and a number of these items are targeted specifically at Enduro. Input from Enduro racers around the world, including Justin Leov, Neil "the Don” Donoghue and Steve Peat, has resulted in the birth of items like the Stage jersey. But don't worry if you're not racing Enduro, this collection is really well suited to general mountain biking use, or trail riding as it was commonly referred to prior to the Enduro craze. We've spent the winter riding in some of this gear and have had more than enough wash cycles to give you our thoughts on the jersey.


Stage Jersey Highlights

  • Active moisture management T-Dot fabric
  • Large micro mesh vents
  • Zip neck
  • Lycra edged push up cuffs
  • MSRP: $59.95

Initial Impressions

The Stage jersey is a pretty good looking number! The cut is simple, but the off axis split in colors on the body and the sleeves gives it a dynamic look that has its own identity among the other lines available from Royal. We found the fit to be quite good, with just the right length in the arms and body, without being overly baggy. We did mention in our review of theStage jacket that the overall length on this jersey was longer than the jacket, and we feel that it's the jersey that is bang on (the jacket could be longer).

The jersey features mesh venting down each side and under the sleeves, keeping the weight down and the airflow high on those warmer days. Materials are fairly standard, and in a similar fashion to the Stage jacket, the jersey is a no frills item focused on value. Taking some stylistic cues from the XC trail riding scene, it includes a zip down the front, enabling it to be opened right up when overheating - useful on those long transfer stages. One point we found interesting was the lack of pockets on the back, and while it isn't something we would personally look for, jerseys with a front zip do commonly include this. Maybe it's not deemed “Enduro?” Either way, some trail riders may find the lack of rear pockets a problem on a jersey such as this.

On The Trail

The jersey's sizing and cut strike a good balance. The fit allowed us to move around freely when riding while still being tight enough for the jersey to remain in place even when things got a little wild and exaggerated body language was required to pull the reigns back in. The somewhat tighter fit also reduces the risk of tagging a passing tree branch, something we have experienced in the past, unfortunately with pretty new items as well.

The back panel of the jersey is a tad longer than the front, providing perfect coverage when hunched up over your bars during those painful climbs, but is not so long that you end up with a beaver tail flapping away behind you as you blast your way down your favorite trail. Dialed!

Things That Could Be Improved

We don't see any real need for improvements when considering the price point Royal Racing targeted with the Stage jersey. Sure, some more technical materials could be utilized, but they would only increase the price while potentially still going unnoticed in the performance category. The lack of a pocket of any sort on the rear panel is a little bit of a surprise considering the overall styling of the jersey, but while some may find it frustrating that it is not there, we actually enjoyed the clean look sans pockets.

Long Term Durability

After a full winter of riding almost exclusively in this jersey, we can quite confidently report that there have been no issues. It has been washed a lot, with the mucky conditions resulting in a filthy jersey almost every time we were out on the bike. It has taken it all in stride and still looks as good as the day we pulled it out of the packaging, ready for more of the same.

What's The Bottom Line?

The Royal Stage jersey is a fresh take on a common trail riding garment from Royal. The comfortable fit, edgy graphics, and good choice of colors should appeal to most riders. The zippered front may throw some riders off, but you really don't notice it once in the saddle and riding, and it's a welcome addition when you get hot under the collar. For the money, you can't go wrong with the Stage jersey, and you will stand out from the rest of the pack too - unless they're wearing the same kit.

For more details visit www.royalracing.com.


About The Reviewer

AJ Barlas started riding as most do, bashing about dirt mounds and popping off street curbs. Not much has changed, really. These days the dirt mounds have become mountains and the street curbs, while still getting sessioned, are more often features on the trail. He began as a shop monkey racing downhill since day zero, only to go 'backwards' and start riding and racing BMX later on. He then came full circle once moving to Whistler. AJ loves riding everything from 8 hour mountain pass epics (bonking) to lap after lap in the park and 20 minute pumptrack sessions at sunset. Driven by his passion for biking and exposing people to the great equipment we ride, AJ started and maintains the Straightshot MTB blog. So long as wheels are involved, and preferably dirt (the drier and dustier the better), life is good.

This product has 1 review

Added a comment to Nooge's bike check 2/28/2014 11:01 AM
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How are you finding the BOS Kirk? Do the Pike & Kirk work well together, balanced, or is one still outperforming the other? How did you go about finding a tune for the Kirk, or did it come from BOS setup for your bike?

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This setup has 4 comments.

Liked a comment on the item Game Changer: Introducing the YT Capra 2/28/2014 9:09 AM

He said "a franchise model".

Liked a comment on the item Game Changer: Introducing the YT Capra 2/28/2014 9:09 AM

Expensive? Its a Carbon bike with top of the line specs for 4K. You aint getting them cheaper...

Added reply in a thread Specialized 650b tires 2/20/2014 9:20 AM

Been waiting on this ever since bumping up to the tweener size! Hand those Butchers over.