Monday, September 22, 2008

Loeka's Second chance

Caught on my saddle on descents. Grrrr...however, I know two other women who don't have the great variation between hip and waist, who LOVE theirs. And they look good on them, too!

I'm using them now for riding to and from the beach when I swim. They are great for that! Quick drying, soft, and work over bikini bottoms.

Sombrio LA NINA Freeride Knicker

An awesome pal, and superior endurance rider, is moving to Hawaii. Because of this, I was the lucky recipient of the Sombrio knickers, because she said they just would be too hot in Hawaii.

First Impression: Great color, nice stretch, and wow, a huge amount of spandex mixed with nylon. Cool styling, nice lines. I saw them on three friends before I tried them on. They hung well on everyone, but fit me the best! The swirly graphic on the lower leg and printed mesh on the zip vents were a nice aesthetic touch.

Overall Fit: the usual fit issue that I have with the waist, and I was concerned when I saw that Sombrio's solution was to wear a belt. Why, why why do they think we all want to wear belts? However, great fit over the rear, no diaper butt over my Swobo Womens Technical Liner: OS 11. I was super excited to try them out.

Technical Performance: I rode them up to my favorite quick loop on a cool evening . Easy climb, little launches, high banked turns. I did a little photo session along the climb, placing my camera in the back pocket. This pocket protected the camera from my sweat, was easy to access, and never caused a thought. The fabric is giving, the pocket flexible, and I was able to keep the camera on my outer side, never having it interfere with my pack or getting close to the saddle. Before the ride, I was worried that they would catch on my saddle on the downhills like others have done in the past on this very trail, but no problem! The final refreshing surprise was the pull-cord on the legs. They are knee length on me, so I decided to try to secure them tightly over my leg armour. They crept up a little, but stayed over the armor the whole decent, giving me full coverage in case of a crash. They also seem to be water-resistant, as droplets beaded up on the outside of the short. I only was irritated once when I felt my belt buckle rub on my skin.

The Nutshell Love, love love:

  • overall stretch and resilience of the fabric

  • full coverage and protection
  • worked well over my chamois
  • attractive color

  • attractive lines

Things I'd like to see:
better fit for big bottomed girls, but, hey, that never happens in the mass market...maybe an integrated waist adjustment, because I HATE wearing belts when I ride, and so do a lot of my friends.

Overall score: 10 out of 10...because I haven't experienced anything like this fabric - awesome! I can't wait until winter!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fox Racing Womens Sierra Short #26068

We've got a guest reviewer this go-round. She's a friend of mine,

an excellent rider and had an opinion to share. Here it is:

"First Impression

  • Nice light fabric

  • Appealing accents that are feminine without going overboard

  • Available in a very nice grey and a deep brown color

Overall fit

I am a 30” waist and 40” hip and I found the Medium to fit well. As I tested that squatting off the back of the bike position for unwanted draftiness, I was pleased to find these shorts gave no hint of the dreaded plumbers crack. Next I did a turn in the mirror, to make sure I didn’t look like I needed a wide load sign and the shorts earned a extra point for flattering cut. I should have expected as much from a company like Fox. Now down to the important stuff. The length on the shorts was good for freeride shorts, falling just at the knee on my 5’4” frame. The outer fabric felt light enough to not chafe like heavy DH Azonics will on a hot day, but still strong enough to offer some protection. The built in liner short was a light fabric with venting that seemed to promise excellent wicking and had a nice soft feel. The chamois was the only component of the shorts that gave me pause in the dressing room. The chamois was not held in place well by the built in short and was fighting to resume the shape it had been folded into during shipping, it was a bit like a diaper wedge. However, most chamois require a little break in time so I was willing to withhold judgment until I had a bit of ride time into the chamois.

Technical Performance:

I have used these shorts on at least 10-15 rides in areas varying from the somewhat rocky steep and climbing portions of Skeggs to the swoopy, hippy areas of UC with drops, jumps and other fun silliness. I was pleased overall with the performance of the shorts. They did what freeride shorts should do, protect my soft girly skin while staying the hell out of my way and keeping me cool. The fabric did not chafe, and the inner short wicked well. My only disappointment is that so far despite having 20+ hours and 10+ washings in the shorts the chamois is still stubbornly riding up my tukas. Admittedly, I don’t notice it too much while climbing. However, any time there is a long standing DH section or when we stop to regroup, I feel the intense need to pick the chamois out of my butt.

The Nutshell

  • Great fit

  • Good fabric

  • Functional while looking good

  • Not black, ;)

  • Chamois needs tweaking

Things I'd like to see:

These shorts overall are great. The chamois is a bit of a buzzkill, but I suspect the chamois is not at fault. It seems like the wicking material they used for the built in short does not have enough elastic strength to hold the chamois flat and in place the way a pair of road shorts does. In their next revision of this short, I would love to see them resolve this issue with a different fabric or maybe a removable or separate inner short."

Alas, my gal pal gave it no score, so here's my best guess:

8 out of 10, because you should never have to think about your chamois.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

From Loeka:

"Hi Dawn,
Thank you for your review, we really appreciate all the feedback. It helps us improve our clothes for the future. Thanks again. Rory Harmse"

I say, thanks Rory and Loeka for making cute stuff and venturing into this market. I do truly love the fabrics and the styling. Loeka is well on its way...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Loeka update

It was pointed out to me that these are freeride shorts, and they will perform differently than cross country shorts.

Since I took 'em on an XC ride, next time I'll take 'em on a freeride. As soon as my ride gets back from the mechanic, you'll hear back on how they perform in their intended game.

Loeka Tech Shell Short - Digger

While cruising the Sea Otter Classic booths this past spring, my eye was caught by Loeka. The fabrics and design were unique and attractive. I stopped to have a chat with Rory, the owner, about how to find Loeka products, based in Canada, near me. Alas, there are no brick and mortar retailers in Nor Cal, but there are some U.S. online retailers. I eventually chose to risk not being able to try them on, and order from Freeride Foundation because not only are these women retailers, they are active in racing and promoting women's cycling.

First Impression: beautiful chocolate color with nice pink, but not too pink, contrast stitching. The polyester woven fabric is really soft, and feels good on the skin. Cute rear pockets with flap closures and a subtle logo on the left.

Overall Fit: According to their size chart, I'd wear a small. I can't help but wonder in what other universe I'd wear a small. It seems that many of the women's baggies producers have taken the movement toward vanity sizing to an extreme. I could not trust that I was a small, so I ordered a medium and a small. The small fit my waist, but was tight on the upper thighs and lower butt. I'd say the size chart is accurate if you do not have a large ass, like mine. The medium was big all over, but especially in the front waist. The waist size adjustment system is two pieces of black webbing that secure with a buckle in the front, and are about half the width of the waist band. Although this "belt" passes through two belt loops, it rides up above the waist band and cuts into the belly, leaving the waist gaping below. This will not happen if the waist fits exactly, or close to it, but that never happens to me in any garment because my hips and rear far exceed my waist.

Technical Performance:
I took the medium out on a cross country ride on a warm evening, putting them over my favorite chamois, as recommended.Very comfortable and very wicking. Alas, they were a bit big, and friction did occur between the shell and my liner. The inner thighs rode up as I pedaled on climbs. I had a hard time sliding freely on my saddle. At the end of the ride, my girlfriend declared, "Those are too big for you. Give them to me!" which I think speaks to both the crazy sizing and the attractiveness of the design.

The Nutshell
Love, love, love

  • wicking
  • great feeling fabric
  • attractive color

Things I'd like to see:
  • side waist adjustment system, or an integrated belt that matches the width of the waist band
  • a size small-and-a-half OR the big booty version

Overall score: 8 out of 10... because the bizarre sizing and lack of a comfortable waist adjustment system.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Swobo Update

Ah, I love a vendor who responds with such charm:

"Thanks for saying all of the very kind words about the shorts.
They were so compelling in fact, they made me want to be a lady.

Ill link your blog in the next day or so on
so the world knows were not just a boys club.

Again, many thanks,

And, please Mr. Stevil, stay manly. We girls like it like that.