Monday, September 15, 2014

Shimano PRO Vibe 7S Anatomical Road Bar Review

Photo courtesy of PRO Components

First off, I have a confession to make.  I really, really hated taking these bars off my trusty Trek 2.3 testbed.  They were some of the most comfortable, functional, durable, and good looking bars I have ever used, I now understand why they are such a hit in Pro Peletons around the world.  However, in the pursuit of knowledge through ceaseless, selfless testing, I had to do the deed.  Courtesy of the fine folks at Tweaked Sports, of Glendora, California, a brand new set of Ritchey Streem II alloy bars dropped into my hands for evaluation (a write-up will be coming on those later, after I get some miles on them).

Pro markets the Vibe 7S as a “Do-All” road bar, suitable for both racing and training, with the durability of aluminum offering peace-of-mind in the event of a crash.  The latter is why so many pro teams prefer aluminum over the lightness (and cool factor) of carbon fiber bars.  With a carbon bar, the spectre of cracks and delamination are always lurking under the bar tape.  With alloy bars, that lack of a sudden, catastrophic failure is negated (for the most part).

I used a 44cm wide Vibe for 10-months (drop 140mm, reach 80mm), and it was tested on local training rides, Century’s, mountains, the coast, river trails, and even some dirt fire roads.  The bars were some of the most, if not the most, comfortable I have ever used.  The tops are a constant diameter of 31.8mm, from the stem to the first bend, and my size-large hands really liked that.  And, that top bend radiuses just perfectly into the Ultegra 6700 shifters I am currently using, tapering to 23.75mm from the drops to the bar ends.  The anatomical portion of the bar was another thing which fit my hands just right, though the balance of comfort while on the hoods and in the drops meant bar angle was a critical factor in achieving a perfect setup.  Additionally, and a quality of alloy bars which I like, is that you can feel the bars flexing over rough surfaces, so they do indeed dampen out vibrations and harsh bumps; A really good thing.

To sum it all up, would I personally use these bars again, and also recommend them to others?  You bet! 

The Pics:

The anatomical bend.

Wide 31.8mm tops for maximum comfort. Nice "PRO" graphics, too.

The upper radius is well-shaped. Combine a Vibe 7S stem, and the control is excellent.
The Specs:
  • AL-7050 construction for increased rigidity
  • Integrated Dual Cable Routing for brake and shift-cables
  • Available in Round, Anatomic or Compact bends
  • Sizes: 38, 40, 42 and 44cm (C/C)
  • Diameter: 31.8mm
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: from 260g
  • MSRP: $99.00 USD

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Welcome To The Wild, Wild, West.

Due to commitments, and that thing called “Life,” I was off the bike for pretty much the whole month of August.  Too busy to get on-board, I did throw quite a few looks of affection her way as I was coming in, and going out, the door.  Well, I finally decided I was MAKING time to go out for a ride and reacquaint myself with my bike, my legs, and some of the local roads.  And in regards to the latter, well, let me tell you, after today’s training ride, it seems I did not miss a thing.

It is time us to face the facts: We now live in a lawless society, with people pretty much making up the rules as they go, and, of course, the rules apply to themselves, only.  Motorists, cyclists, and even pedestrians, plus everyone in between, peeps are pretty much wholly dismissive of one another today.  The real problems arise when we get a whole society of these creatures together, and one can just watch the machine of humanity slowly grinding to a halt.

While my training ride was pretty much “Business as Usual” as far as purposely rude humans goes, there were some real standouts which warrant special mentions from the ride.  They were kinda’ like Kenny Blankenship’s Most Painful Eliminations of The Day, without the brutal impacts, water traps, or being caught on actual video.

The first shout-out goes to Casa Colina Rehabilitation Center, in Pomona, California.  From an organization in business of healing bodies, their employee’s and guests seem determined to put many-a-cyclist in there as patients due to how they ingress and egress from the property.  It is one place to really watch yourself, lest one becomes a guest, Pronto!

Next up, “Johnny Skinhead.”  From the bad haircut, to the dirty, ripped clothing , to the complete beater-car, this guy already had stereotype written all over him, and that was before he blew the light a full four-seconds after it turned red for him.

My next victim of ridicule, “Jose Oldsmobile.”  This creep not only blew through a stop sign, but he almost plowed into me, two cars at the intersection, plus a man simply just opening the door to his own truck.  “Jose” was traveling so fast, and had such a dangerous disregard for others, that both the truck driver and I tried to track him down and get his license plate to report him.  Alas, “Senior Oldsmobile” was gone in less than 60-seconds.

Then, there was “Toni Hawkeye.”  This knucklehead felt it was his job to be hauling ass in the bike lane – Opposite traffic, while astride a skateboard.  And, this moron was not going to move for anyone, including little ‘ol me and my bicycle.

And finally, I present “Chrissie Curbhugger.”  She felt it was her job, after picking up her cretin kid from school, to drive in the bike lane for about 150-yards before making a right turn, rather than merge into traffic with everyone else, as she was legally required to do.  While she was waiting at the red light (I know, shocked me, too) I politely told he that it is illegal to drive in the bike lane for reasons of convenience.  Yes, she actually had the nerve to get angry regarding the situation: At me.

“Ah, the Flowers of Humanity, I used to think.”  Now, all I think I have been experiencing have been the weeds.

Stay vigilant, my friends.