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Monday, October 31, 2011

DZnuts Chamois Cream

Andy Johnston, top master mountain bike racer of the Southeast, tested DZnuts chamois cream and shares his experience with Examiner:
One of the many wonders of our spandex cycling gear is that it acts like a second skin to protect from chaffing.  The chamois pad, however, does not, and can be a source of skin irritation for cyclist.  Many solve this by simply using a lotion, cream or petroleum jelly to reduce friction.  Yet, none of these can stop the skin irritation caused by sitting on sweat soaked fabric for long hours of training, and trying to medicate the area after can be more painful than the irritation.

Introducing DZnuts, a buttery, medicated chamois cream that heals while it protects. DZnuts says:

Treating and preventing saddle sores is accomplished by a four point strategy.

1.    Eliminate chaffing, the precursor of saddle sores.
Anti-inflammatory action soothes irritated skin.
3.    Wound healing actives heal existing saddle sores. 

4.    Anti-fungal and anti-bacterial reduces chance of infection.

For any cyclist who has ever experienced the stinging pain of the un-savory monkey butt this product brings new hope. While no amount of chamois cream will reverse the chaffing effects of those poorly made team shorts we all wear at times, DZnuts will protect you from the irritation and skin rash that usually comes after.

I was fortunate enough to have DZnuts to test during a 5-day mountain bike stage race.  16 hours of racing over some of the areas most brutal terrain meant I would be suffering saddle sores and irritated skin for most of the event, or so I thought.  The DZnuts has a refreshing menthol fragrance to it, the consistency was a light fluffy cream, and the squeeze tube keeps your friends from double dipping.  It is a water-based product, but feels more like an oil based product that will stay on longer.
In the bicycle world, these small things can make a huge difference on the over-all experience. DZnuts has improved my enjoyment on the bike, and will stay in my chamois from now on.

  After the first day’s stage the normal stinging down there while showering was gone.  I felt like a normal person.  In fact, I had no saddle rash issues during the entire stage race, and even the issues I had coming into the event were starting to dissipate. DZnuts erased the negative effects of riding all the time.

In my 20+ years of racing and training I have tried many remedies for soothing the saddle discomfort.  From Noxzema, to Vasoline, to hand lotion, to Bag Balm, to assorted varieties of cycling specific chamois creams, but none had the healing properties of DZnuts.    The key ingredients in DZnuts are Tea Tree Oil (Anti-Fungal/Bacteria component), Evodia (anti-inflammatory component) and Masterwort. (anti-rash).  

Continue reading on DZnuts chamois cream review - Atlanta Atlanta Sports Gear |

Monday, October 17, 2011


EVO Briko T-One Grips

by Andy Johnston
These were among the top ten cool things I spotted at Interbike 2011.

I have been looking for a "winged" style grip, but the popular ones are so heavy and I want something light.  These feel very similar to the silicone grips I use made by ESI.  With my 3 degree bend bars on long rides I develop pressure points after 3 or more hours of off-road pounding.

These are lock on grips, but still remain quite light.  I did not weigh them, but just by feel I was satisfied they were light enough.

A very cool bonus is the Lego-like interlocking part of the design to allow the grip to be bolt-on on each end.  Ingenious!  Just add or remove sections to customize the length of your grip.  I have twist shifters so need a shorter grip so removed two on each grip.

Set up is easy, and the position I first put the grips in worked well for me. I am able to put more pressure on the heel of my hand and take it off the palm where I usually develop pain.  They feel great in my hands while riding, and even when standing do not feel odd.  These are just big enough to

 do what I need them to do, nothing more.                   .

I was able to rotate the bolt portion of the grip to the least handled area of the grip.

Grips also come in other styles without the wings. This model comes in black or white.

These are available through any bike shop that purchases from the distributor HawleyUSA.
They are sold under the name Evo Bricko II (adjustable length) with or without bar end attachment.

These barend style grips are on the bike now and being tested.  They have the same comfy grip that the white one has, and a built in barend.  The barend swivels to any angle independent of the grip so can be adjusted to your taste.

The barend is comfy and fits the hand nicely with a smooth shape that allows for easy and sure grip, even on rough singletrack.

After a few weeks:

Although the barend grip is not interchangeable with the non-barend grips they both have the exact same grip design.  The barend cleverly integrates with the grip through what would look like a bar plug. The bar plug interlocks with the grip and the barend rotates around both.  When you tighten the barend it locks everything solidly in place.

The transition from grip to barend feels seamless and smooth, and my hand felt natural resting partly on the barend while holding the grip.

The barend has a natural inward curve that my hands did appreciate and the shape offered a few different ways to grasp the bar - depending on how I wanted to hold them.

As with the Briko II grip above the barend model was very comfortable and made long rides much easier on my hands.  I liked the barend model for the different hand positions since I like to get on the barend for climbing, especially while standing.

Monday, October 3, 2011

homemade pannier bags

Homemade Wachovia soft cooler mtb panniers photo set:
 click image to enlarge

Finally got the panniers done. These are soft coolers I made into panniers. Involved putting a thin aluminum plate inside the material and making hooks to mount to the rack. The cooler is meant to hold ice so the main part is waterproof, or at least the inside compartment is, the fabric is not, but cooler bag is a plastic, and the top has plastic so water will not get into main compartment, but will get between the interior and the outer shell, but nothing is stored there.  outer pockets will get wet so I use ziplock bags for items that need to stay dry.

I loaded it full and remembered how odd the bike handles with weight on the rear. now to get some weight up front for balance. might have to buy a bar bag for that.
Edit: here is my dis-satisfaction , see the bottom of bag curling around the rack frame? not good. need to raise the bag higher so bottom is against bottom of rack. ugh! Im taking those zipper pulls off too, too heavy ad too noisy.

I was not happy with the mtb panniers. so redid it all. the aluminum sheet is to stiffen up the side that attaches to the rack. In a perfect world I would use a high grade aluminum that was not flimsy, but this thin sheet I had (a lot of), and used in first attempt. It needs help.

and put this shape into the metal to make it stiffer using this tool

All the shaping and bending yielded this. it goes inside the green bag. seems to work and is very stiff now. hooks and attachments bolt through the plate and outer bag.

Finally figured it out. I needed a way to quick release the bag without getting complicated and without tools.
Requirements are to hold the bag from popping up and from swinging out, and to lock it into place tool free.
I want to b able to pull up to camp spot, remove bag and have it in tent, or by camp spot for cooking or whatever. It's a pain to have it stuck to the bike all the time. I used a thin steel angle piece, bent up a flap - it keeps the bag from swinging out and keeps it from bouncing up (since the top brackets are just hangers).
It is very secure and easy on/off, even with gloves.
I had a feeling that whatever I figured out would be stupid simple, and it is. I know it looks simple and junkie, but this took many many hours of thinking to resolve. All my other ideas were good, but too complicated.

Two reflector brackets hold a corrugated plastic sheet to the bar. The weight rest on the brake levers and stem faceplate, and the straps go over the bar so no pressure on the brackets, and no interference with the brake or shifting lines. Christmas straps go through the plastic so they don't slip.
bar bag: sleeping bag and pad. It's a down bag, and with this set-up I dont need to use the compression straps to shrink the bag, but just have it to help secure the bag to the system.
edit: bike handles bad with any weight up front. for dirt roads its fine, or sorba trails, but anything technical and I do not want anything up here. I fold the sleeping pad to replace the back support pad in backpack and strap sleeping bag to rear rack, or in a pannier.


Showers Pass Hydration System

by Andy Johnston
Always a fan of new bike inventions or applications I spotted this little water dispenser quickly. OK, the first thing that intrigued me was the string reel that holds the water tube. Currently on my water pack I have a magnet that holds the tube to my shoulder strap so it does not flop around while riding. At times, and especially on rough descents, it can be hard to get the tube to mate up with the magnet. This is why the string got me so excited, constantly attached all it has to do is reel the string back to home position. No more flopping tubes when the trail gets demanding.

The Showers Pass dispenser is a big plastic saddle mounted bottle inside a nylon saddle bag that also has a compartment for your tools or tube, so you don't entirely lose use of a saddle bag for your stuff. There is a hydration hose that runs over the seatpost and back down to the top tube and up to your bars where the mouthpiece sits. It is all attached via the string reels and one magnet.

First question you may ask is, why? Well, I am reviewing this as a mtb rider, but can see it being very useful for triathletes and even road events, but will let you use your imagination for that. When I saw this I first thought, 'where can I use this?'

The mtb rider who regularly sets out on long adventure rides may not be asking that question. Water is important and when it runs out the ride is near an end. My answers are bike packing (camping trips made on bike), super long epic rides, team relay races and races that will require 42 oz of water and have no place to refuel.

Bike packing may not be familiar to most, but know that holding enough water is something almost impossible, so an extra 42 oz on the bike is always welcome. There are many inline water filters that work with the hydration tubing and one could easily be mounted to this system allowing dirty water to be stored in the Showers Pass unit, filtered and used for drinking and cooking. The tube easily unclips from the string reel so gravity filtration would be very easy at the camping spot. This would be ideal for the bike packing I do but I am not able to fit the rear rack and the shower pass on my full sus camping bike together.

Of course on long rides the additional water storage is welcome. With many mountain bikes offering only one or even no water cage, relying on the hydro pack for water has its limits.

Team relay races usually offer short laps that riders do one at a time, and time for drinking is limited when trying to maximize every opportunity to pedal faster. While the SP might be overkill for a short lap it does allow you to drink hands free the same as a hydro pack, and take the weight off your legs. Any coach will tell you that by taking weight off your body you reduce the weight your legs have to carry when standing, and this translates into less fatigue. Over the course of a 12 or 24 hour event this might be worth considering.

If you have a race that require 42 oz of water (or less) and no feed zone, then why not try this unit? You will not lose this bottle, and the hands free drinking might mean you stay more hydrated.

These are all just the thoughts I had when looking into this product.

After riding it I have no complaints. The container attaches very securely and there was no rattle, wiggle or other annoyance. Drinking out of it is slightly different from a backpack because the string reels are pulling slightly on the tube. Yo need to hold it firmly in your mouth so some bite-valves might work better than others. This stock one did fine.

Only standing up on pavement rocking the bike could I feel it back there. I'm used to having nothing on my bike. On the trail I did not notice it at all. I tried to notice it but could not. The tube is constantly there, but it stayed put. If you drop it out of your mouth it may not always reel back in place, but that is nothing a little nudge wont fix. I used a 3rd reel to hold it to my bar, but I think the tube can be cut at the headset and still be plenty long to reach my thirsty mouth.

I am preparing for The Pisgah Stage Race, but do not think I can use this. Later in the event I may give it a try. During the stage race we have access to 3 or 4 feed zones each day so only want to carry enough liquid to make it to the next feed zone. The SP is attached so would be dead weight after it got emptied. Having a pop-top lid rather than the screw on lid might make quick pit stops possible (or better yet, a screw on lid that has a pop top built into it). If your a more laid-back racer and don't mind taking a few extra seconds at the pit then this is ideal as you can just refill it and head out.

This unit will be invaluable for my bike packing and my epic training rides.
Check back for updates as I take it to the races for a trial by fire.