Category: Clothing

Well, I figured I’d jump on the bandwagon and get me one of those dashing Walz Caps that everyone raves about.

Moe’s got one.

Jeff’s got one.

Lance has got one.

Russ has at least one…and probably more, since he’s the one who turned us onto them in the first place!

And now I have one:

Walz front view

The one I got is a lightweight cotton model…too warm here for wool. It’s black with a jaunty grey racing stripe down the middle. It fits like most cycling caps — snug without any binding or pressure. I have bone spurs in several neck vertebrae…as strangely as it sounds, baseball hats or most other headwear (except helmets, oddly enough) create tremendous pain, but I can happily say that this Walz Cap sits on my head like a feather, and I don’t feel any pain.

Where Walz has improved the traditional cycling cap is in the bill. All the vintage caps you see folks wearing these days often have a plastic insert to give the bill its shape, and these crack over time. Walz uses double layers of fabric and tight stitching to maintain the bill’s shape, and this is vastly superior. It also makes washing the cap that much easier (and less potentially damaging).

I also like the way that this cap fits under a helmet without me having to adjust my straps — and the cap helps banish “helmet hair”.

With the bill up or down, this cap is understated and stylish:

Bill up

As I wore this cap around and saw pictures of myself wearing it, I started to realize that I have a little bit of a Brad Quartuccio thing going on. Could we have been separated at birth?

separated

Check out Walz Caps…they’ve got a snazzy cap for everyone out there. They’re inexpensive, well-made and individually crafted in the United States.

I’ve been wearing my Swobo gloves for about a week and thought it was a goodly time to write a review. If you haven’t heard of Swobo (you live under a rock), you’re not alone. I did a quick tour of all the local bike shops in Long Beach, CA and no one carries their gear and when I asked some people if they had heard of Swobo, they thought I was trying to score some wacky tabacky.

In all seriousness, I think their apparel is nicely designed and doesn’t look like the typical photoshop vomit you see on other cycling gear. They’re also big fans of wool which is enjoying a little renaissance with the help of companies like Rivendell, Portland Cyclewear, and EWR (Earth, Wind, Rider). I like to think that wool is the new “high-tech” fabric, it keeps you warm in the winter, cool in the summer, it wicks moisture, it resists odor and it isn’t made from oil. In fact, it’s a renewable resource.

Anyway, back to the gloves.

They’re wool and on the outside of the right hand is a nice square little brown tag with yellow stitching that says Swobo. Understated. Classy. Sweet. Left to a lesser designer and they would have put racing stripes or flames.

On the flip side there are yellow sticky dots and an awesome little design detail, a sticky hand (hanging loose)! How awesome is that?!

Here’s a detail.

The glove fits…well, like a glove. It’s warm and toasty and has been keeping my hands warm on my morning commutes. The thermometer on my computer has been reading upper 40s and low 50s in the morning and these gloves have been keeping my hands warm. Anything in the low 40s and 30s though, I might use these as liners for another pair of gloves.

The sticky dots (and hand) do their job. They grip the Salsa tape on my road bike and the shellacked cork grips on my touring bike with equal fervor.

The nice thing about these gloves are they’re not too “sporty” (although they do have a sense of humor). They wouldn’t be out of place on your hands while you’re hitting the town, unlike some of the funky designs with multiple colored panels and palm implants. These are just great everyday gloves for on and off the bike.

Another great thing about these gloves is that you can wash them without plastic parts getting all weird. I have yet to wash mine, but I do own several articles of clothing that are made from wool. I would suggest washing it with this because it has lanolin which reconditions and softens the wool. Wash it in cool water in the sink and for godsakes don’t wring it! Do a light squeeze to get some excess water out, then wrap it burrito style in a cotton towel and stand on the towel. This will force the water out of the wool and into the more absorbent towel (this technique works for wool shirts and jerseys as well). Then leave it out to dry.

I have been riding with the gloves for a week and love them. The yellow sticky things aren’t so yellow anymore, and no doubt with time they will chip away, but probably not until I’ve gotten good use out of them.

All Swobo products (at least the ones I’ve purchased) have come with this enigmatic tag. On the flip side it says:

We’ve decided that hang tags, in all their dangling glory, are a waste of paper and natural resources. If you’re in need of extra information concerning Swobo products, or do indeed have a hang tag fetish, visit Swobo.com to get product information. Do what you can….when you can. This isn’t hippy banter, this is old school actions applied to real time issues. Thanks for listening.

You got to love a company that’s willing to put that on all their products.

I highly recommend these gloves because it’s a good product coming from a good company. They do what they’re suppose to with style and humor (who knew gloves could be so funny?). A+

Walz Caps


Me wearing the Racing Stripe hat.


Jeff wearing the Unique Cap

The good people from Walz Caps sent us a few samples for us to wear. Although the caps are not really my ‘style’, I dig them because I can wear them comfortably under my helmet and they alleviate the dreaded helmet hair.


Black-Red Cotton Blend


Wool Ear Flap Toasty!

The caps cost from $14.99-$29.99, they will personalize the caps too! So check out Walzcaps.com, they are Russ Roca approved!

I must have been a good boy this year because, after breaking a strap off of my cycling shoe, Santa Claus surprised me and brought a new pair of road shoes from Pricepoint.com: the Sette Elite Carbon shoe (MSRP: $210, PP.com: $89.98).

Here is what Pricepoint has to say about the shoe:

The new Sette Elite Carbon Road Shoes with their ultrastrong and ultralight carbon fiber sole providing excellent stiffness and torque transfer. Not to mention the four air vents in the toe and midsole combined with a breathable mesh upper to ensure your feet remain cool and comfortable all day. The Elite Carbon Road Shoes feature a premium fit and support that is provided by a molded heel cup and two hook and loop straps combined with a quality metal ratchet closed tab with quick release for easy adjustments.

I am young, and not rich, so this is a pretty fancy pair of shoes for me. My only other pair was bare-bones compared to the Sette Elite Carbon, so it might take me a while to get used to a better shoe.

The Sette Elite Carbon comes with a 2 strap and 1 ratcheting strap design, allowing for a nice, snug fit – as long as you are not in a hurry to get the shoe on as quickly as possible (it’s the triathlete in me…). The buckle is easy to manage with one hand, both for tightening and loosening, making it easy to get on and off. It also seems to be really sturdy and I am confident it would hold up to the stress of use as an everyday commuting shoe.

The shoe is incredibly comfortable – with no pokes or scratches on the inside – and good looking. There is a neoprene (or something like it) tongue that provides a really snug yet comfortable fit to the top of your foot. I bet this material makes the shoe extremely comfortable in the summer when your feet tend to get hot and sweaty. I could not get a feel for how functional the air vents are during my ride today because it was a “room temperature” kind of day: not hot or not cold. I am confident I will get to evaluate their cold-weather comfort in the weeks ahead and will report back with more detail!

The carbon sole provides a nice stiff “backbone” for a cycling shoe, which is good for optimum power transfer. I honestly don’t notice a HUGE difference in pedal-efficiency between my old, non-carbon shoes and the Sette Elite Carbon, but then again I have only used the shoes once on my flat commute. The winds were too strong today for me to have a desire to do a little sprinting or climbing…

Cost: $59.99 from www.hossmtb.com.

From the Hoss website:

Features & Benefits

  • Classic boarder short, may be worn with or without included chamois liner
  • Lightweight and durable microsuede polyester shell for quick drying comfort
  • Detachable Cytech multi-layered chamois constructed from high-density open cell foam with permanent antibacterial protection
  • Adjustable micro-fit waist band via Velcro cinch straps
  • 4 functional pockets with secure closures
  • Front zipper and drawstring closure
  • Overall, I was very pleased with how the Hoss Stallion short performed as my everyday commuter shorts (back before it got too cold). The thing I will praise about this short over and over is the fit and the versatility. First things first…

    the Fit
    This short has what I think is the ideal fit for a cycling short, no matter what type of riding you do. The board-short style is made to sit on your hip bones which provides a fit that will withstand the constant motion of your legs while pedaling a bicycle. A zip fly and a tie-string ensure all the security you need in a pair of shorts. If you wear these shorts where they are meant to be worn, there will be no riding up and no chaffing. The short is also cut so that the back comes a little higher, with a little help from a stretchy mesh segment, which prevents the incredibly unattractive “plumber’s butt” that so many girls and hipsters in tight jeans are subject to. Additionally, as I mentioned in my First Impression, the length of these shorts is great – long enough to reach just beyond my kneecaps when I stand up (and I am 6′ 2″) and long enough to NOT show your whole upper thigh that you never got around to shaving (roadies know what I’m talking about there).

    (thanks for the photo, Lance)

    The short is baggy enough to provide plenty of freedom of movement yet not too baggy that it flaps in the wind as you speed your way to work.

    One final detail that really impressed me with these shorts is the velcro adjustment straps located on the waist. There are two straps that allow you to customize the fit of the short by adjusting how snug they fit around your hips. This shows me that Hoss really thinks about their product and how to fine tune it – something I greatly respect in a company.

    As far as the sizing goes, if you are on the upper limit of a size, I recommend opting for the next size up, because the sizes tend to run a little small.

    the Versatility
    The other thing that impressed me with the Hoss Stallion is how it can be used for more than a cycling short. The baggy chamois liner can be removed from the outer shell. While you would not necessarily want to sport just the baggy liner like you would with any other pair of cycling shorts, this feature is helpful because you can rotate through the cycling short you wear underneath and just wear the Hoss Stallion shell everyday. The liner that comes with the short is plenty comfortable but after one day of riding a guy needs to wash these things. After the first week, I never re-attached the liner, but put it into a rotation of a few pairs of cycling shorts that I would change and wash while I showered after each day, and wore the outer shell everyday. I only had to wash the shell once a week and it never showed signs of being too dirty or smelly.

    When meeting a friend for coffee one afternoon after work, I rode my bike to the coffee shop and went into the restroom to rinse off and put a clean shirt on, but was able to leave my Hoss Stallions on and not even worry about cramping my style – which is impeccable by the way :)

    This short comes with 3 zipper-secured front pockets and one rear velcro pocket that are very practical. All pockets are located on the front of the legs, 2 on one side and 1 on the other. The pockets are not big, but extremely functional. They are perfect for dropping your keys, cell phone and a compact digital camera into. On cooler mornings I could actually cram my arm warmers into the larger pocket when I took them off – which kept me from having to unstrap my backpack. The pockets are compact enough that your keys don’t jiggle around or bounce back and forth, which is another nice touch.

    the Technical Stuff
    Hoss advertises that the chamois liner has “permanent antibacterial protection” – whether or not this is true seemed irrelevant to me because as I said, after one ride, it is really a good idea (for you and anyone around you) to clean your bike shorts. Maybe the antibacterial protection keeps the shorts from developing problems in the long term. A simple wash with soap and water while I would shower seemed to do the job every time.

    The outer shell is indeed made of quick-drying fabric. Even if you wanted to rinse the shell off in the evening, it would be sufficiently dry if you hang it up overnight. It impressed me how easy the shorts were to maintain and keep clean, even after I wore them 5 days a week.

    the Drawback(s)
    I really only noticed one flaw with these shorts: they got a bit staticky. As I have said, I would wash the liner by hand after every wear, but I would put both the liner and shell in the washing machine about once a week with the rest of my laundry. I usually hang dry all of my cycling clothing and often times some static would build up when getting dressed in the morning…a very minor flaw in all reality (in fact almost any clothing will do this). There are two very simple solutions for this issue: 1) put them in a dryer with a dryer sheet (even if only for a few minutes) or if you prefer to hang dry your cycling stuff 2) once they have dried, rub the inside of the shorts with a dryer sheet or spray with some sort of anti-static cling product (if you are married, ask your wife, she will have some).

    $60 can seem like a hefty price to pay for a pair of commuting shorts, but I am confident that it would be the only pair of shorts you need to buy. One pair will get you through an entire week – and doesn’t require that you do laundry every night.

    All in all, I was very impressed with the Hoss Stallion short and give them two finger-less-gloved thumbs up for any bike commuter.