Editor’s Note: as you know, I generally like having a “first touch” review and then a “months later” review on most of the products I share here. Well, when I gave a pair of DZR Marcos (www.dzrshoes.com/marcoblk) to Horse for review, we were (and are) in the middle of a very snowy winter. Not wanting to break rank, however, Horse diligently performed a “first touch” review despite the inability to play polo. Enjoy!
Archive for Equipment
NOTE: Once again, the 30 that Horse had up for pre-sale are now gone. If you’re still interested, contact Horse (Matt Krofcheck) over Facebook.
Horse is Making More WarHorse disc Guards:
for $38.99 USD you get:
- 160mm disc guard
- Caliper guard
- Mounting hardware
It fits most IS front disc brakes, comes in powdercoated black, and sold out the first time Horse did a pre-sale in a matter of a few days. He’s changed the design just a bit to allow for easier mounting, a lighter product, and a bigger caliper guard so you can make adjustments on the fly.
AND YOU’D BETTER HURRY, FRIEND-O: this is a very limited run, so there isn’t much room for dragging your feet.
A Traditional Brooks Saddle–But Not At All
It was with some surprise that Brooks unveiled its C17 Cambium saddle this past Fall. Made of rich thick leather Vulcanized Nature Rubber and copper rivets Organic Cotton Canvas with tubular stainless rails on a die cast aluminum frame, the C17 greatly departs from standard operating procedure in the Brooks lineup.
With headline points like ‘Naturally Flexible’ and ‘Immediately Comfortable’ the C17 is perhaps aimed at someone with a bit too much ADHD to ‘waste time’ with the break in period of their standard version.
So I ordered one for around $169~ depending who you ask. The saddle came in a cool box with a copy of the Brooks newsletter and some neat info on the C17 model. That’s all well and good, but I’m sure you don’t give a damn about the literature that came with my fancy seat as much as its saddle-esque traits.
I bolted it to my Thomson post, adjusted it, and threw my fat ass on to see what I thought. The seat is comfy. My previous saddle was a Specialized Phenom 143mm, which is minimally padded and minimally ‘there’, and pretty stiff. The Brooks by comparison felt like a hammock for my taint. The nose is stiff, if you’re forward on the saddle you’ll notice just how stiff it is, but slide back an inch and you feel like you’re in an amazingly broken in, built just for you, basket. It’s almost hard to explain. I’ve heard a lot of people say that a well broken in leather Brooks molds to the contours of your sit bones, and I imagine what Brooks aimed to accomplish with the vulcanized rubber was sort of a ‘memory foam’ type effect. I’d said they succeeded.
The cotton cover on the saddle (which is weatherproofed via a Brooks Numac treatment) feels a little rough to the touch, but you can still move around. It’s not slippery like a leather Brooks. At the same time, it’s not so rough that you’ll worry about wearing through your jeans. The rivets are cool looking and you can’t feel them when you’re on the saddle.
Saddles are a difficult thing to review. What I love you might hate, or more specifically your body might hate. But I’ll say this, the C17 is cut a lot like the B17, is super comfy right out of the box, is built incredibly well out of really awesome materials, and is fairly trick. I’ve had it on my polo bike for over a month and it’s taken abuse in stride. I’ve actually been swapping my seatpost/saddle between my polo bike and my commuter until I can get another one. Its just as comfy on longer rides, and having been caught in the rain once already, the Numac seems to work just fine.
If you like the b17, give it a try. There is also a C17s ladies version that is modeled after the B17s, as well as the upcoming C15 which modeled after the B15 Swallow and is designed for you 150lb racer types. (my fat ass will never see the likes of the C15)
The C17 comes in Slate (shown) and Tan. Retail is 145 euro (197USD) but seems to sell for closer to $175 stateside. Check it out here http://www.brooksengland.com/cambium/
The very first bicycle cap I got came from Horse, who bought it online from some place far, far away from where we lived at the time (we lived in the same building, not the same apartment. Though that would be a pretty spectacular Odd Couple situation). It pretty much became a part of me until I lost it/got other cycling caps.
The thing about a well made cap is, simply, that you can’t imagine riding your bike or going to a tourney without it. It sets your tone, as it were, and when you get one that is just right, it makes you feel like a million bucks.
Well, for a considerable amount less than that, you can get a Gunk Hat made by polo player Annie.
I first encountered her caps (well, more appropriately, I first realized she made them) at the recent Philly A/B tourney. She had a few with her and I was impressed both with how good they looked, and how customized she was able to make them, based on want. I then asked her for an interview, which she was super happy to do:
Who are you, and what are you selling
How can someone get in touch with you to buy?
How did you learn to make them?
This is a contributed post by Ron Hayes. Thanks for the great info, Ron!
If you are like me, you may have worried about getting knocked in the grill by one of those over dramatic windmill slappers that we often see. There may be other times where you are less interested in finding out what a hockey ball tastes like. Thanks to Fixcraft providing a facemask that hooks up with the Bern Watts helmet, at an affordable price, I picked one of these bad boys up for far less than the “No Insurance” discount from the ER.
During Fixcraft’s Black Friday sale, I purchased the facemask without checking compatibility on my specific Watts helmet. The result of my itchy trigger finger purchase was that the original hardware and installation video are set up to suit the “Hardhat” version of the Watts helmet. I have the “Sink-Fit” version. Perhaps you were excited about keeping your head the same shape it was in before you became addicted to polo and ordered a mask with out checking up? Maybe you knew the helmets were a little different and pulled the trigger anyway? Good news for the “quick to order and ask questions later” and “hopeful” types, I am going to do my best to explain to you on how it can be done!
The difference in the Watts Hardhat and the Sink-Fit is not too distant in reference to the mask installation, aside from the Sink-Fit having an interchangeable liner for different weather conditions. I say interchangeable and not removable because you must have a liner installed for the helmet to fit correctly. This liner throws a wrench in the works of the old installation process. Odds are that if you have continued reading this far, you probably already know that.
In the original “Hard Hat” vid, you must remove the rivet that holds the neck straps to the helmet. When installing the “Sink-Fit” version you DO NOT remove the rivets and must drill slightly behind the rivet. The rivet on the “Sink-Fit” model doubles as a snap fastener to hold the interchangeable liner in place. Unless you are well experienced in snap fastener installation and have all the tools, I will suggest the method that I used. I will further suggest that you watch the installation video that Fixcraft provides if you are not already experienced with installing the face mask.
You can watch the original vid here:
Overall installation can be done with only minor surgery and an additional cost of less than $3. I chose to use 3/8” 10mm (Wire) Clamps with ¼” holes and rubber insulation. These clips worked remarkably well. You can find these clamps at your local home improvement store in the electrical hardware section.
I will start with the original list of items needed, integrated with a list of new items at the end of the list. Following the list will be a step-by-step abridged version to complete the retrofitted helmet. Read more
Editor’s note: as it turns out, Google did indeed trick me into thinking these were brand new. According to my sources (you know, comments on Facebook), this has been out a while and isn’t really used. So just enjoy this for what it is: me being way behind the curve. horray!
I just had a Google Alert pop into my inbox with the header Two Piece Shaft. So, like any good reporter looking for the scoop, I followed the link out to see that indeed, EighthInch is now (editor’s note, here: this may have existed for a long time. Google isn’t always right with what is “new”) offering a two piece shaft to help you carry around your mallet without it sticking out of your bag like a war axe.
The natural concerns are, I think, whether it’d stay screwed together and how well that point would take a hit (or, more appropriately, how well the spots just before and just after the screw would take a hit). All the same, it’s an interesting concept and one that I know I’ve seen around here and there. Point in fact, MalletHeadz has been offering this very solution for quite some time. No, really. The have.
A write up of the description is below, full of the traditional bullet points we’ve come to expect from bike polo equipment manufacturers:
Does anyone have any experience with this shaft yet? I’m curious as to how it holds up/the weight brought on by that attachment system.
The price is about 25 dollars before shipping, so it’s rather expensive for a shaft–but then again, if the thing can be twisted apart and easily stowed, maybe that price is worth it for a travelling polo player?
Probably not for Robocop, though, as his mallets are already 1/2 the length of most mallets around.
Take a peek right here: http://www.eighthinch.com/55358-eighthinch-bicycle-bike-polo-2-piece-shaft.aspx
Frankly I don’t understand folks who can play bike polo without a helmet on. Whenever I forget to, I feel like naked, and pretty much ignore the game until I can protect my melon with the Bern Watts helmet I’ve come to see as a necessary piece of equipment.
And I think that most people are like that these days in our sport. We’ve seen so many times where the lack of a helmet would have caused a world of pain, and few, thank the elder gub, that demonstrated what happens when someone doesn’t wear a helmet.
So it’s no stretch to say that helmets are going to become (or have become) a standard piece of equipment in bike polo–but because we started out as smelly bike messengers and other hipster stereotypes, the type of helmet, much like the type of bike, is not a specific directive. It can be anything and everything. This is good, I think, but should there be certain standards?
One thing I believe in quite strongly is that people ought to start wearing face cages on their helmets. I have seen so many people get caught in the face/teeth/jaw/facebits in general that I really don’t care to listen to the complaints from people who say they don’t want to wear them. It’s dumb not to, frankly, and if you feel as though your game can be limited by a face cage, you’re probably just not that good of a player yes that’s a personal attack on your ability no I don’t care if you’re offended.
Let’s look at some of the helmets that people are using right now, the pros and cons, and so forth. I’m going to be working from these following premises of judgement:
1. Can it protect the noggin?
2. Can it have a face cage?
3. How much does it cost?
4. How long will it last?
5. Coolness factor?
Face Cage: Yes again, though it’s through a DIY effort on the part of the polo player. Fixcraft sells face cages specifically for the Bern Watts, and you can also buy them pre-attached, I believe. Though, to be honest, you can go to a re-use sports store (Play it Again in our case here), and buy a batter’s face cage for anywhere between $4.00 and $10.00, and just mount it yourself.
Cost: This is another place where the Bern fluctuates. I bought mine from Ebay for twenty bucks brand new (it has a black mark on the helmet), but you can generally find them around 60 bucks direct from Bern.I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than 50 on a Watts, though, so dig around a bit.
Longevity: My first Watts lasted for about a year and a half before the insides began to fall apart and smell horribly. I bought another (the 20 buck find), and so far it’s been holding up very well.
Coolness: Well, it has that brim to it, and that pretty much makes it awesome. It’s also the standard for bike polo players, though, so you’re losing out on that ever desirable individuality factor.
Bicycle Helmet (Road/Mtn) Read more
From the site:
Handcrafted in New York by FBM Bike Co. the Ballista is a tig welded, 4130 chromoly frameset designed for the specific needs of hardcourt bike polo players.
We started with the original FBM Sword frame geometry and tube set, and, with input from Evan George and Koyo Maeda of Seattle’s The Assassins, designed the Ballista. We increased the height of the headtube for a more upright riding position, decreased the height of the seat tube for more standover clearance above the top tube, used a bulge butted seat tube for more strength in the top tube / seat stay junction, and added optional front and rear canti mount brakes and optional front disc brakes. Check out the complete specs below.
Evan and Koyo, who rode prototype Ballistas in the 2013 Worlds, where The Assassins took 3rd place and Koyo was named MVP, have this to say about the frameset: “It’s the jam saucy, real buttery” – Koyo, “This is the dopest bike, it’s super fun to ride, I love it” – Evan.
So if you’re looking for a buttery sauce dope jam of a bike, head on over to the FBM pre-order page and put down your deposit.
I’m not going to say I had anything to do with the development of the new Modifide ARC 4 mallet head, but…
Okay, I had absolutely nothing to do with it–though I’m pretty sure it addresses my concerns with the original Modifide ARC, and let me tell you why.
The original ARC was fantastic out-of-the-box, as you can tell from this review I did initially on it. The mallet head had a great flat surface for striking, the hourglass design held in the ball and made ball movement feel more intuitive, and it made me want to say things like I was a Viking (really this just made me sound like the Swedish Chef, but whatever).
My month later review was a bit more reserved. The mallet head had “egged” on the open end (meaning it lost it’s shape and began collapsing), and it was getting frustrated with the hourglass shape sometimes ramping the ball up and away instead of capturing it on particularly wild passes. I assumed that the shape of the ARC put additional pressure on the ends when putting pressure on the head, resulting in a collapse of the open end and, overall, a poor design.
My final suggestion was this: wait for a newer version.
Well, lemme tell you: a lot of people came after me after that point. A good amount explained how every mallet head “eggs” after a period of time, how the design was well though-out, and how much they loved their own ARCs. I saw a number of them being used at tourneys and when we visited other clubs for pickup, and I reconsidered my position. I put the ARC head back on my mallet and used it a bit more, and yes, even though it had partially collapsed on the side, it was still fun to use. I found myself steering away from it again, however, as I had grown so used to using the Unibody from Fixcraft
And then I met Steve (of Modifide) at Worlds, and he had a few of the ARC 4s for sale, and my own desire for cool shit won me over. so I bought one.
The ARC 4 is a stout little fellow, coming in at 4 inches (as the name would imply) but weighing in just under a full sized 90 grams. I resisted the temptation to drill it out, as I was concerned with such a small space to do so (between the middle ridge inside and the built-up walls along the outside). So I didn’t drill, and honestly I don’t think you need to. It’s heavier than my drilled out Fixcraft Unibody head/shaft, but not so much that I’m hurting my wrist.
Visually, the ARC 4 looks well constructed and beefy. It barely squishes when pressure is applied, and seems like it could easily be used for home repair if not for the bike polo court.
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RYB Denim, a fledgling company who hopes to make denim bicycle jeans for ladies, is tapping into the intrinsic need of having comfortable, fashionable & functional active-wear for the growing market of female cyclists. I managed to snag this interview with Chandel Bodner recently:
So who is RYB Denim, and how did you come about?
RYB Denim, Ride Your Bike Denim, is me, Chandel Bodner, designer and founder, and Steve Sal Debus, admin and marketing. We play polo together in Toronto. Not long after I returned here in May, Steve and I quickly realized that our personal strengths and experiences complimented each others in a way that would really make this project a success. Passionate about business and marketing, Steve wanted to explore more crowd-funding platforms, and I wanted to create and distribute the jeans I’d been designing and considering for years. It was the perfect storm to get this going, and to get it done quickly, with confidence, and with quality.
We are also a part of a community of cyclists the world over and they are also all RYB Denim. We’ve been fortunate enough to look to our friends, family, and community for support in getting this project off the ground. We’ve worked with great industry professionals, videographers, photographers, cycling enthusiasts, and more.