Review: Giro Insulated Vest

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Since receiving the Giro Insulated Vest, it’s become a staple layer for me on both city and mountain bike rides. Even when I wasn’t wearing the vest I carried it along, as its small pack size makes it a great option for these days of unpredictable weather.

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The vest is nylon with a water-repellent finish and a very light, synthetic insulation. On high exertion rides, I wore it in mid-30 to mid-40 degree temps with a wool baselayer and into the 50’s for everyday hanging out. Overall, it only adds about a quarter-inch of thickness, but considerable core warmth, and its close-fitting nature makes the vest a great layering piece. When temps dropped below 35 degrees I layered it under a lightweight jacket. A grippy front zipper makes it easy to take the vest on and off with gloves on.

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All of the exterior pockets—two front hand pockets and a rear pocket—have low-profile zippers, which are integrated in the vest’s side panel construction. The rear pocket is accessible from both sides of the jacket and is compartmentalized into three smaller pockets within a full, mesh back lining. This allows you to use the vest zippers for ventilation without losing anything from the pockets.

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While $160 is a bit of an investment, the Giro insulated vest is a well-constructed and versatile piece that I’ll wear for years to come. giro.com

 

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Giro’s new Chrono line adds style to speed

Giro’s New Road line of clothing has offered a different take on the all-lycra-all the time status quo of road cycling. But lycra has its place too and the three-tiered Chronos line is a less garish way to dress for speed on a bike with subdued style and lots of options for women as well.

Chrono Pro: All-­out Road Performance

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The Chrono Pro Bib is the result of over two years of exhaustive design, research, and testing. All-­day comfort comes from a host of performance features, including the custom Chrono Pro chamois, custom bib straps, and a unique lumbar support panel. The Chrono Pro Jersey pairs lightweight and breathable fabrics for the best fitting performance jersey possible. Subtle design benefits include a tapered collar and secure zip pocket that features a moisture barrier for your valuables.

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  • Chrono Pro Jersey/ Chrono Pro Women’s Jersey: $180
  • Chrono Pro Bib: $250
  • Chrono Pro Women’s Short: $150

Chrono Expert: Make a Statement on the Pavement

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The Chrono Expert Bib utilizes premium Italian materials to ensure the right blend of compression, comfort, and durability. Also available as a short, this bib features a custom Chrono Expert chamois, developed in partnership with Cytech. For women, the Chrono Expert Halter bib pairs the performance of a bib with the convenience of a short, with a unique breathable mesh halter that can easily be pulled over the head for nature breaks. The Chrono Expert Jersey features stretch wicking polyester in a contoured, race fit.

  • Chrono Expert Jersey/ Chrono Expert Women’s Jersey: $100
  • Chrono Expert Bib/ Chrono Expert Women’s Halter Bib: $150
  • Chrono Expert Short $120

Chrono Sport: Elegant and Affordable Essentials

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The Chrono Sport Bib is an affordable option with many of the design features of its higher end companions such a custom chamois developed with Cytech, mesh shoulder straps, and a radio pocket, while the Chrono Sport short is priced within reach of every enthusiast. The Chrono Sport Jersey has a more forgiving performance fit with a mesh back panel for ventilation, three cargo pockets, and features 90 percent polyester and 10 percent elastane for a comfortable fit..

  • Chrono Sport Jersey/ Chrono Sport Women’s Jersey: $80
  • Chrono Sport Bib: $120
  • Chrono Short Short/ Chrono Sport Women’s Short: $80

The full line can be found at Giro’s website.

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Field Tested: Giro Alpineduro winter SPD boots

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Giro may have made the perfect “shoulder season” footwear with the Alpineduro. Seriously. These are amazing boots.

Looking more like a pair of Italian hiking boots than the typical tech-y bike shoes, the Alpineduro fits in perfectly with Giro‘s New Road ascetic of performance riding wear without the typical racer influenced design cues. At $200 they slot in below Lake’s winter boots, and right around the same price as Shimano and Specialized winter boots.

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The upper is synthetic leather, with very few seams or panels, meaning less entry points for water. A seam-taped waterproof bootie inside the shoe keeps out any water that might find a way past the outer materials. Insulation is provided by Primaloft, and Vibram contributes the sole. The toe and heel have minimalist rubberized protectors to protect these high wear zones.

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Between the rockered sole and not-too-stiff nylon shank, these boots are very walkable, and the cleat pocket is just the right depth for grind-free walking and easy clipping in. I never have issues with traction on any surface, and are they comfortable enough to wear all day off the bike. I wouldn’t recommend taking a really long hike , but for rambling about, climbing over rocks, or just hanging out at the bar or campsite, there are few cycling footwear choices that are better for all around use.

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My feet stay warm down until about freezing, and after that they start to get cold, but that mostly seems to come from the cleat. A thicker pair of socks might help, but between the typical narrowness of Giro’s uppers and the general snug fit—even after going a half size up from my normal 43.5—I could only fit a mid-weight hiking sock without cutting of my circulation. In the 20s and teens I prefer the Lake MX303’s, below that I usually just switch to standard winter boots and platform pedals. You mileage may vary, as my feet seem to get cold easily.

I like the lace closure, but the little elastic lace keeper pulled out of its stitching after a few weeks. Giro caught an early production run issue having to do with a newly trained employee. It is a minor issue that should be corrected now, and seemed to affect only a few pairs. I just tucked the loose ends of the knot under the crossing laces. When I think about it, I’ll just resew the end of the elastic myself, should be a 5 minute job.

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While most of my riders this time of year are pretty short, I did spend about 22 hours straight in some awful weather during a 175-mile trip in early December, including a good bit of wet rail-trail, getting lost, and a lot of riding around in rural Pennsylvania in the middle of the night. The weather ranged from high 50s at the start, to high 20s. There were at least eight hours of rain in there as well, and a pretty serious sleet storm. All in all, a real test of a pair of shoes.

I didn’t bring rain pants on this trip, so eventually the water stared running down my legs and into the boots, but up until that point, my feet remained dry and comfortable. The low back on the boots prevents achilles tendon rubbing issues, but it is so low it may cause some issue with rain dripping of rain pants and into the boots. Giro is working on a pair of gaiters to go with this boots for riders looking for more coverage. I look forward to trying a pair out.

After my feet got wet, my wool socks and the insulation did a fine job keeping everything warm even as the temps dropped. I changed socks once, and expected to shove my now dry foot back into a swampy mess of a boot, but after only a few hours of rain free riding it was only slightly damp inside. Impressive, considering how waterproof they are.

Other than adding some arch support, I’ve been comfortable in these shoes, but I do wish for more toe box space. Some wiggle room for my toes is always appreciated. If there was some way to allow for some volume adjust to compensate for thick or thin socks, I’d be ecstatic. Maybe if the laces ran down further towards the toe? That seems to work on my non-cycling winter work boots.

If I was planning to do a lot more mountain biking in these, I’d want more aggressive lugs at the front of the boot, or maybe even a couple of screw in lugs. But really, there are already plenty of winter shoes like that on the market. I’m digging these for all around mixed surface use.

And finally, I am glad to see the synthetic leather outer. As much as I love leather, riding around these parts in the winter exposes footwear to a lot of road salt. Without regular care, that road salt will mess up a pair of expensive leather boots in a hurry. The outer material shows no sign of being affected by the salt, and clean up quickly with quick wipe with a paper towel.

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I’ll admit I’m a big fan of how these shoes look. Simple, understated, classic. But theAlpineduros aren’t just all show. With the type of riding I like to do, and the amount of cool and damp weather I see, these boot may get worn more often than anything else I own.

 

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Eurobike 2014: BRG Sports Invests in MIPS

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Multi-directional Impact Protection System (MIPS) helmet technology has been in existence since 2001, and the Swedish company just received a minority investment from California-based BRG Sports, parent company of well-known helmet makers Giro and Bell. The announcement was made at the 2014 Eurobike Show in Germany yesterday.

Not only will BRG Sports introduce several MIPS-equipped helmets under its own brands, it will continue to license the technology to several competitors, including Scott, POC, and Lazer Sport, among others.

Read the full story

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Big brands unveil new aero road helmets

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Now that bikes have become incredibly light and stiff, the new frontier in bicycle product design is aerodynamics. After all, a bike is only as aero as the rider on it. Helmets are one of the biggest factors in a rider’s aerodynamics on a bike, and you’ve likely seen those enormous time trial helmets that look like the villain from the movie “Alien”.

Three major players in the helmet market, Giro, Bell and Smith, have unveiled new aero helmets in the past few weeks.

Get the details here.

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Giro New Road expanding women’s line for 2014

We’re big fans of the Giro New Road series and for 2014 its expanding its collection for women. Let’s face it, women’s cycling apparel is usually several years behind its men’s counterpart, both in terms of technology but also design. Now they can enjoy the same quality as the dudes.

But don’t take it from me.  Hear it from the women who use it.

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