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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Boreas Bolinas Day Pack


BOREAS
Bolinas Pack
http://boreasgear.com/products/bolinas/
Boreas Bolinas pack, 30L


This 30 liter pack touts its versatility that it is a bike pack that can convert to a long-haul day pack.  The goal of this pack is pure function.  Where other pack offer big padded shoulder and hip straps, the Boreas crew knows this can be over-kill.  The secret is in the suspension system.



30 Liters of storage, water resistant, expansion segments, 3 external zipper pockets, hydration bladder compatible, daisy loops tucked into access pockets, and most important the trampoline suspension system that adjust to fit the contours of your back for hiking or cycling.

The key to the packs versatile function is the internal wire frame that also serves as a spring.  The ends are aluminum for light weight, wile the center is spring steel.

By tightening the tension straps you can have the pack flat on your back for hiking, or more rounded for cycling.  Finely tuning the curve ensures a perfect fit.





The frame sits behind a trampoline mesh which provides ample air flow on the users back.


The frame is not meant to be removable, but is possible as we found out for purposes of showing you how it works.
The pack opens by unrolling the top, which holds its shape thanks to a semi-rigid plastic strip in the seam.
Rolled inside out to show the water bladder pocked with velcro strap, and a side pocket.





I first took this pack out on an overnight bike packing trip.  One complaint is the corners of the mesh trampoline did rub my hips the wrong way and eventually became uncomfortable.  A more upright position might prevent this. Also, accessing anything in the bag during a quick stop was not easy. It is one big compartment, and everything disappears when you want to find it.  Some side pockets would make storage more organized, but at the same time would also add weight.

The pack was comfortable riding all day, and the minimalist design kept the work space clutter-free.  Strap adjustments are easy to make.

The big downside is the lack of external zipper compartments.  The pack is intended to haul your stuff into camp and then be unloaded.  If you want to have quick access to little items all during your trek this pack might not be right for you.

Overall, this is a great pack for day trip hiking or cycling, and even for light-weight camping trips.







From Boreas site:


  • COLORS:Farallon Black, Golden Gate Red, Marina Blue
  • FABRICS:210D nylon ripstop with UTS impregnated silicone coating
  • SUSPENSION: Our variable suspension, aka SUPER-TRAMP (patent pending), lets users adjust their pack with the tug of a strap. Tighten the strap and it’s a trampoline suspension, perfect for biking and hot weather travel. Loosen the strap and the pack reverts to a standard suspension, moving the weight closer to your back for more stability while hiking or climbing. And because the tension setting is infinitely variable, you can pick a spot somewhere in the middle for the best of both worlds
  • BODY: Rolltop lid, waterproof  side pocket, stretch panels allow the pack body to expand and curve depending on load and suspension setting, hydration or laptop sleeve with two hydration ports, hidden daisy chains, removable hipbelt and adjustable sternum strap

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

THOMSON Carbon Road Bar


THOMSON Carbon Road Bar
I have had the chance to put some serious miles on the Thomson carbon road bar.  It is a carbon bar, what makes it better?  Well, any carbon bar will have the desired ride characteristics of damping road vibration while maintaining strength and light weight.

What sets Thomson apart is their fine quality and exact specifications.  A nice touch is that the bar is exactly 31.8mm diameter under the clear coat.  The clear coat compresses when clamped, so mated to a Thomson stem that is exactly 31.8mm you get a perfect fit, and a reduction of stress to the bar as well as a tighter fit.

The bar comes with a tiny tube of carbon application lube, that is a gritty gel to increase friction between the stem and the bar. This reduces the clamping force necessary to hold the bar.  A torque wrench should be used to 4Nm when tightening the stem bolts to avoid over-clamping and crushing the carbon.


Thomson found that the sticky goo other bars have at the clamp area only cause the bar to slip easier, especially in the drop test.

The bar comes in different widths, and there is also a CX version for the winter racer.

The Thomson website reports:

Our road bar features a mild wing shape on top, clamping area wide enough for aero bars, mid-compact reach and drop. This is the modern bar for the modern road bike. Our Road bar wing section is small enough not to restrict hand movement when riding on the top and allows bar angle adjustment with out “locking out” your wrists. Shaping on the bottom side of the wing allows housing to be taped out of the way without the use of narrow housing channels or internal routing, both of which shorten bar life. Certified to EN, tested to DIN+.

For Cyclocross we present the KFC-One, Katie Compton Signature ‘cross bar. Katie brings her multiple National Championships and European racing experience to give you a bar built her way for cross. The natural transition from your Thomson road bar for the ‘cross season. Twin flats on the bottom of the bar allow taping your housing to create a completely round bar when wrapped. Top profile is round and as wide as possible. This allows auxiliary brake levers to be safely used and still leaves lots of room for your hands. Certified to EN, tested to DIN+.

Layup uses 3 different fiber types with different tensile strengths and tensile modulus, including High Strength carbon fiber. This helps allocate stiffness and flex where needed.

All carbon fiber is produced by Toray and uses tailor made Nano Epoxy Resin for very high impact resistance. Toray is the main supplier of carbon fiber for Boeing and Airbus.

Both the Road and Cross bar are made in one piece, not three pieces co-molded and glued together.

Bars are molded over an EPS mandrel to avoid wrinkles inside the layup during molding. Most other bars are molded over inflatable nylon bladders.

Reach for the Road and Cross bars is the same at 78.5mm. Drop is proportional. Road drops are: 40CM 137mm, 42CM 140mm, 44CM 140mm, 46CM 143mm. Cross drops are: 40CM 131mm, 42CM 133mm, 44CM 135mm.

1.5K woven impact ends help prevent damage to uni-directional fibers from impact

Model NumberHandlebar DescriptionWeightRetail Price
HB-E10440cm center to center-Road x 31.8188 g$249.95
HB-E10542cm center to center-Road x 31.8190 g$249.95
HB-E10644cm center to center-Road x 31.8192 g$249.95
HB-E10746cm center to center-Road x 31.8194 g$249.95
HB-E11040cm center to center-KfC-One-Cross x 31.8202 g$249.95
HB-E11142cm center to center-KfC-One-Cross x 31.8204 g$249.95
HB-E11244cm center to center-KfC-One-Cross x 31.8

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Two-Fish Bottle Cage Mount

Here is a little product that should be in every one's arsenal for that special occasion.  No, not your sisters wedding anniversary party, but for that time when you will need extra water, but do not have extra space for it.

Simply, this is a water bottle mount that can be put almost anywhere.  It has a rubber half-circle backing and a big velcro strap.  The back side of the seat post is the most common placement, but for my one-cage bike, I sometimes use it under the top tube while racing long events.

I have ridden a few hundred miles with no issues, but finally lost it in the woods with it strapped to the post.  I found the bottle a month later, but someone decided to keep the Two-Fish.


It straps on in seconds and is usually pretty secure.  With it under the top tube I have never had any issues.  Access to the bottle is fairly easy and did not interfere with my other bottle on my size large frame.  Smaller frames might require only using the smaller bottles.

Here is my old race bike set up for a summer camping trip.
 This model came with an alloy cage, but can easily be changed out to your cage choice.

The rubber backing molds to any shape or size application and is tacky enough to stay in place.
The velcro is wide and strong.  I only experienced a little wobble with it mounted, but was not an issue - not until I lost it.


Two-Fish has many other products for bottle placements.



Update:
Since the review I have continued to use the mount.  Mostly it is used on the back of the seat post, but it fell out on a not-so-bumpy trail.  I found the bottle a month later, but someone kepis the Two Fish. I now use a modified bottle cage and hold it in place with an automotive hose clamp.  If you are worried I suggest using a hose clamp in place of the velcro.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

MTB National Championships Video Interviews

Clips from the event.  More footage on the way will be added into this page as they upload.
Juniors, Pros, Women, U 23...


Pro Mens Highlights

Stephen Ettinger takes the win in this 6-lap race, Todd ins, JB 3rd.

Junior Sport Nationals

Highlights from the Cat II Jr XC race.

Junior Expert Nationals 

Highlights from the race

U-23 Nationals

Highlights from the race

Pro Men before and near start


pre-race with JB and Todd and a few race clips

JB


JB after the race and a few clips


Mary McConneloug

pre-race interview

Georgia Gould

pre-race interview on the start line

Carey

post-race interview with women's single speed national champion.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Carbon full suspension BMV


Cheap carbon options from China


Their business practices are shady, their English worse, but they almost own manufacturing in the World.  Already making bicycle parts for name brand cycling companies, now these factories have turned their expertise to making their own in-house bicycle parts for much less money.

These parts have all the technology behind them as workers already make parts for their high-end customers.    What is lacking is all the media hype and research and development seen in brands you already know.


The above bike frame is a near replica of a Scott Spark, their high-end full carbon race bike. The geometry is identical, but they take design tips from other brands and incorporate them, such as the "handle" at the seat tube/top tube junction seen on many Specialized bikes.


This bike was purchased from a China seller.  The main difference is in the price as the ride and weights are near identical to their near-cousin name brand versions.

Already this test frame has been put through the paces on some of the southeast's most demanding trails and has put smiles on the riders faces.  The frames are offered in 29 and 27.5 inch wheeled versions as well as hard tails.

In a time where carbon bicycle components and frames are seeing sky-rocketing prices riders still want to protect their wallets.  The name-brand frames are not US made; the money goes over seas anyway, but these cheap alternatives are cutting out the middle man and giving the bike shops a source of reasonably priced bicycles.

I call it BMV because the ride is so sweet you will want it to be your Valentine too.

Update:  I have well over 7,000 miles on this frame and with no issues.  I have serviced the pivot bearings once, and the ones lower on the frame needed it, as is common to all frames.
My only complaint was in the initial build I could only arrange the front derailleur high enough to fit a 38 tooth ring, but this is no longer an issue with 1x11.
I have just replaced the chain stay portion with a new thru-axle chain stay, and this has stiffened up the rear end a little.

The cable routing is wrong.  When will frame makers realize that the cables from the right side of the bar route around the left side of the frame, and the ones on left to the right?  This also has the rear brake as an internal routing through the frame and the derailleurs external.  I do not route the brake internally because that requires disconnecting the hose and finding new parts to re-connect. Instead I routed one of the derailleur cables through, and this is not the smoothest of routing lines, but works just fine.  I then attach the brake hose externally where the shifter housing went.  It works, but smart riders have been routing cables smoothly around the other side for over 20 years now.  Come on guys….

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mountain Bike US Nationals 2013

July 20, 2013, Bear Creek resort, PA

Stephen Ettinger National Champion
Across the cycling world mountain bikers are contesting their one-day national championships to crown the national champion in cross country, short track and super-d.  The mountain bike race changes locations every two years encompassing all the diversity the US has to offer mountain bike racers.

Pennsylvania's uniqueness consist of very technically challenging terrain, mostly lots of cabbage-sized rocks sprinkled on the trailed. Locals know this as just a trail, visitors see an impossible series of obstacles that they must learn to navigate before they can race.

The real story is the athletes, as Todd Wells of Specialized puts it, "the same riders always seem to surface to the top no matter what the course is like".  Todd was the favorite going into this event, but a very technical course would have favored Jeremiah Bishop of Sho-Air/Cannondale.  The location and technical, very technical, nature of the trails seemed to give Bishop an obvious advantage, but the governing body of road cycling had the race course re-surfaced to bring it in line with the average western-style course.  Bishop was hoping for rain to come in and make a mess of the course to favor his east coast style riding, but his rain dance efforts were of no use as the rain did come, but the dry course absorbed it overnight.  In the end it was the 90 degree heat and high humidity that played the protagonist.

During the 6-lap race both Bishop and Wells traded off the lead as they distanced themselves from the pack.  Not too far behind were a group containing Mike Broderick, riding a great race, but who flatted out to 8th near the end.

Todd Wells, who is a former national champion, looked like he had command of the race with a healthy lead of near a minute over challenger Bishop.  The humidity was working on the fast charging lead riders though; Todd was suffering and Bishop was suffering.  Their charge off the front at the start was catching up with them.  Meanwhile, back in the main group of followers, StephEttinger had been pacing himself well.  By the 4th lap Steven was close enough to see the dust trails and would soon be sitting in Bishop's then Todd's draft.  That order would not last long before Steven passed and dropped everyone and looked comfortable doing it.
en
Steven had hoped for a good finish, so a win was not totally unexpected, but he was ecstatic in the light of his celebrity competitors.

Friday, May 10, 2013

PMBAR Race

Pisgah Mountain Bike Adventure Race

I have ridden all over this area of Pisgah National Forest, just North of Brevard, but not competed in this race until now.  I got the call from Garth Prosser, Garth is a laid-back dude of the same vintage as myself and we get along well. I can pour on the smack talk thick, and he can dish it right back, and we have fun with it.  I had planned to do a 6-hour solo race at home on a course I didn't care to ride multiple laps on, so the beckoning of the Pisgah single track gave Garth the 2nd half of his team.  

PMBAR is a race where teams of two, 100 teams of two, must reach 5, 6 or 7 check points to complete the race.  Checkpoints 6 and 7 are optional, but offer a 1 hour time reduction for each.  They each will add just under an hour to your total time, so the time gain bonus is marginal, but the fatigue level might neutralize the gains.

As my first year, the rules were still fuzzy, but our plan was to hit all the checkpoints.  Previous year's winners had hit all the check points.  The rules are, and I'm more clear on it now, that you need 5 checkpoints, and who has the fastest time wins.  The 6th and 7th checkpoint reduce your ride time by an hour each.

The checkpoints are a secret until the start of the race, although the promoter set up tents a day or two before for the officials to have, or for seriously over-extended racers to take a nap. Some racers might have gotten drift of the locations.  There seems to always be a checkpoint  on Laurel Mountain, somewhere near Turkey Pen trailhead, and on Black Mountain.  This knowledge is of no help as racers want to make the most efficient route to hit all of their targeted checkpoints, not just the known ones.

At the start we have just minutes to open the race passport and lay out a route.  Every team takes their own route.  Some wait until the first intersection to open their map, opting to get ahead of traffic, but in years past you had to perform a task before leaving, so everyone was franticly scanning for the strange.


Well, there is the basics, now the race:



Ready, Set, Go!

We open the map and decide to study a route before leaving, that cost us a lot of time, but we hope it pays off as taking the wrong route can cost big time.  We decide our route, or I decided.  Garth has always been with a team partner that knows the woods, so he had no opinion, and he said his navigation skills were limited to being able to follow the other guy. 

In general, the quickest way to the top of a mountain is straight up, even if you have to hike, not bike.  We decided to get to the top of Laurel Mountain via way of Pilot Rock - one of the most rugged descents in the forest, so not the best ride-up trail.  It was quicker though.

Bradley Creek trail was also a factor.  It has 15 deep stream crossings at least; ankle biting rocks, and strength sapping cold water.  Going down that trail made more sense than going up as cold muscles don't like to work.  Skipping it altogether seemed the best choice.

I know the trails, but not well enough to know which route is quicker than the other in my head.  I came pretty close.  Our route sent us clockwise, opposite from the majority of the racers.

Oh, before I forget, we had to be self-sufficient.  No feed zones, no sag drops, no water.  I had a Steri-pen, the one I reviewed in another post, which enabled me to grab water out of any stream with just a 45 second treatment per bottle.  I carried several doses of drink mix and about a dozen food items. [insert picture of un-used food stuffs here]  We didn't drink much water because it was pretty cold and our pace was slow enough for a predicted 7 hour ride.  As it turns out every checkpoint had energy bars to share.  Garth drank directly from the stream.

Our time spent mapping put us at the back going up a long single track climb, and passing a lot of teams walking.  That always make you feel fast!  Once at the first intersection we parted ways with the majority of the racers who were going in the opposite direction as us.

Gart had competed in the Cohutta 100 just 7 days before, a 100 mile off-road race in the rain that you don't recover from in a week, so we knew the other teams would have a fitness advantage over us.  Only a better course choice would gain us the advantage back.  I was also not fully recovered from a big block of training, so we each were less than ready.  Hopefully our route would work, but we had nothing to lose.

To the first checkpoint at Avery Creek (about mile 10), we could go down and up, or up and down to hit it, there was no clear choice. I think up and down would have been 5 minutes quicker than our down and up route, but I could not remember where those nasty sections were in relation to the CP.

The quickest way to CP 2 (~mile 18) was up and over Club Gap, then down hwy 276 and out the forest service road.  This is about a 40 minute round trip out and back. The Garmin said 30 when I studied it after, but I am not sure it is right.  On the gravel road we probably talked too much rather than raced, but Garth was at his limit.  As it turns out the winning team would push each other in such a situation as to maintain their speed.  I wasn't up for that.

On our way back from CP 2 we started second-guessing our route. Something I do not like to do, I tend to trust map-in-hand Andy above riding-and-thinking Andy. By now we had figured out the rules of getting just 5 CP's and skipping the bonus ones.  There were 3 mandatory CP's, but which ones were they again?  Was Turkey Pen one?  Garth didn't remember Turkey Pen was one, but it was never called that in the passport, it was called Bradley Creek, the same area.  If we skip Turkey then we have a kick-butt route, yes, we like that. We talked on and on about that.  However, what if Turkey is mandatory:  We need plan B, we need to pull out the passport and check, but no need to stop and lose time as we will stop before we need to tun anyway, so we decided to just make Plan A and Plan B.  I finally asked another racer and he confirmed that it was, whether we call it  Turkey Pen or Bradley Creek, we had to hit it.  We looked at the passport later to confirm again.  Much of the early race mileage was spent pondering the route.

Rolling into Laurel Mtn CP
Our next plan was to hit Pilot Cove, then Pilot Rock CP's, then roll down Mills River.  Both of these involve super steep technical uphill efforts.  We did the bigger one, Pilot Rock, first.  After descending  to the CP Garth figured it would take too long to backtrack as planned.  The CP was placed right where there was no clear fastest way back down.  But, by continuing straight we would miss Pilot Cove CP.  That's fine, it's just an hour time bonus that would net us maybe 15 minutes, but fatigue us further.  This also means going down Bradley Creek, something we decided not to do.  The other route would have been fast paced riding on easy trail.  Bradley has many slow spots and more stream crossings than any trail should ever have.  My ankles are still sore from the bashing the rocks provided.

At the bottom of Laurel Mtn trail, below the Pilot Rock CP (~ mile 32), Stephen Janes was there with grilled cheese sandwiches and chips. I resisted at first knowing what greasy food would do to a racing stomach, but by this point our pace had slowed enough that it doesn't matter.  That tasted good as I shoved the whole thing in my mouth before my speed picked up on the downhill too much.

Our Route
I told Garth that I had never ridden Bradley Creek to the end, so wasn't sure where the trail popped out, the normal route was off-limits to the racers, but the trailhead should be at the bottom of the hill at the stream.  It's more of a river than a "creek".  There were two racers filling their bottles at the trail, so we just asked them.  Then down we went, not too long, about 50 feet, and we crossed one of many deep rain-swollen stream crossings. We kept seeing the road up to our left and the many short-cut trails we could have taken to quicken our route, oh, well.

We cruised along uneventful knowing it was good we did the clean trails first and not these muddy mucky ones turning our bikes brown, and our chains to sandpaper.  Bradley Creek trail was at around the 40 mile mark - see elevation chart below, all downhill.

After the Bradley Creek CP (mile 44), aka Turkey Pen, it was off to one of my favorite trails - Mulinax and Squirrel (CP at about mile 48).  I kept Garth close on my wheel on the downhills as he was riding a little faster in my flow than he would alone.   We chatted it up the whole way.

By now it was raining, so the chains were getting gritty, I stopped to rinse some muck off mine, I let Garth go ahead.  The bike is working flawlessly and the shifting still spot on, I think it must be around the 7 hour mark by now (~ mile 55).  I finally needed to stop and fill a bottle; I had only consumed two bottles thanks to the cold and wet.  I was getting a little dehydrated too.  Garth squirted some Pro link on the chains as I treated the water and off we went.  Though the KMC chain had been treated with Prolink before the race, it never hurts to add

The next and final CP was the top of Black Mountain (~ mile 59).  At the start line we tried to determine which side was easier to ascend, the North or the South.  This affected our route decision.  I still don't know as each has a fair amount of hiking, but the North side ascends only 600 feet from the trailhead while the South 800 feet.  The South has more rideable sections so might have been the better choice.  Either way we were ascending the North face now.

We walked a lot anyway, my legs were getting tired.  Garth has long legs and can walk uphill faster than anyone I have seen.  Now I was the one getting dropped on the climbs. He had the passport so he could arrive at the CP a little bit earlier and have it all taken care of.

Elevation profile of our ride
Now the rain was coming down steady.  All we had left was the big mountain downhill down Black Mountain back to the finish line.   Someone told us that Sam's team had hit their last CP and were headed back.  I figured that must have been two hours ago, as she was a good distance from where she could have seen them, that would put us 2.5 hours behind them given we still had 30 mins to go.  They had to have only hit 5 CP's, and not gone for the bonus.   If they are 2.5 hours ahead then there will be other teams ahead also.  Our slower pace and bonus CP's did not help, but my math was spot on as it turns out; we were 2.5 hours back at the finish.

We still hate not getting that last CP in, maybe just for bragging rights, but we were ready for civilization again: hot showers, and cooked food.  I kept Garth on my wheel as we sped down the hill.  My rear brake started to fade, so Garth took the lead.  Finger frozen.  Temps dropped to 36 degrees on the top of the mountains, so that explains the numbness.  Now the brakes were fading and the fingers could not pull any harder.

We finally reach the finish! (mile 62.8) Garth was amazed at my smooth riding, then I showed him my Vee Rubber tires. The tread is a dry conditions semi-slick design, not intended for mud.  It is a super fast tire, but made the muddy turns and climbs a challenge.

Hot burritos at the finish line greeted us, and Eric, the promoter, was all smiles as he sees racers come in smiling also.  I normally would not spend 8 or 9 hours in the rain and mud, but this was a fun ride. We ended up taking 6th place somehow.  All but one in front of us just did the minimum - slackers! lol. This was a fun event.


Time:7:40:09
Moving Time:7:11:59
Elapsed Time:8:52:45
Avg Speed:8.2 mph
Avg Moving Speed:8.7 mph
Max Speed:34.9 mph
Speed
Pace
Elevation Gain:17,233 ft
Elevation Loss:17,230 ft
Min Elevation:2,152 ft
Max Elevation:4,862 ft


Double Dare is in October, the same kind of race, only a little shorter, but over two days. Now I am a wiser man so would not be going into it blind.  We'll see....




Friday, February 15, 2013

Speed Sleev Seat Sleev

Speed Sleev Seat Sleev Saddle Pack for the minimalist
http://www.speedsleev.com/seatsleev.html




The Speed Sleev Seat Sleev is a simple device at first glance, but is actually an advanced retention system for your carry goods.

Able to hold as much as you can stuff in it, thanks to the wide elastic band with different size "pockets" for different size items.  

The pockets are actually sleeves open at both ends that allow you to access your items without opening the whole system.  

There is also a cover that protects from mud and flying debris.  This is made out of super light-weight ripstop nylon, and surprisingly has not gotten lost yet.


Pictured above is a comfortable amount of items to carry in the Speed Sleev. Adding more tends to compromise the load and could lead to lost items.  You have to be brave to store your tools in the sleeves at first as there is nothing but the elastic to keep them secure.  The shape of the CO2's and the Fix It Sticks multi-tool seems to work best.  They each taper on the ends which help the elastic cup around the ends.  The rubber tube never slips as the rubber provides enough friction.

With no empty spaces to fill this is the most compact saddle pack possible.

Care should be taken that the inner tube does not touch the bolt on the post as shaking could rub a hole in the tube eventually.

The pack did not rattle or give any evidence it was there.

On my maiden ride I tried to stuff a nylon tool pack in with the tube, and promptly lost the tool bag.  Everything else stayed put, and to date there have been no other issues.  The trick is really to only carry items that fit the selected pocket, and that are not prone to slip.  

As long as the item fits within the sleeve, or tapers smaller at the end of the sleeve, there seems to be no issues.

The hook and loop fasteners are more than ample to hold the contents.

To secure to the saddle: pass the fasteners between the inside of the rails from underneath, then over the rails and around and under the Speed Sleeve to connect on the bottom.  Where the straps are sewn to the Speed Sleev should end up directly under the saddle between the rails (as the top of the Speed Sleeve), not on the bottom side of the Speed Sleeve.  This is identical to the strapping method for any saddle bag, but most people get it backwards.

The Speed Sleev Seat Sleev is a cool little inch item that will satisfy the minimalist riders and give quick access to tools for racers in a hurry.  Sleev, not Sleeve, spelled with 2 "E's", not 3.

Edit:
Response from Speed Sleev:
Thanks for the review, pretty spot on.  We have made a few changes, including a stronger strap so it will truly hold whatever you can jam in there, and the tube holder section is hinged for easier loading and better retention of different size objects (like the tool you wanted to put in there).  
We are also using some new materials in [the second] edition [of] the original, the new bag is made mostly our of carbon fiber sail cloth.  We are also releasing a bigger size that will carry two road tubes and more Co2's or 1 29er tire for MTB application.

I look forward to trying the new version.  I do not use the Speed Sleev much, as for me, it is not that speedy, and high risk of losing items.

Update:  I have not used the SS at all.  I lost a few items out of it, so it is really not working for my needs.  I have seen their new version that holds items at 90 degrees to what I had, so maybe this retains them better.  I just feel safer with things zipped up and secure.
The SS does fine holding a tube with a CO2, but adding other items could lead to trouble.
I look forward to trying their new improved version soon.