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Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt Review

The Showers Pass Apex Merino Wool Tech is an extremely comfortable performance t-shirt. They sent us one to test and it’s been the perfect companion on many rides and hikes.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is made with 87% Merino Wool and 13% Nylon blend.

Merino Wool is a powerhouse of a fabric. It provides antimicrobial protection from odors and natural breathability. This makes the Apex Merino Tech the perfect shirt for long activities. When testing Merino Wool products, I always like to see how long I can go between washes before the stink sets in. I did a nice sweaty five-mile run, two 15 mile bike rides, and a four hour hike before I felt that I needed to put it in the wash. Given this performance, I am planning to take this on an overnight backpacking trip.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The Apex Merino Tech is also designed to reduce chafing. The sleeves and side panels have flatlocked stitching to reduce chafing. During testing with backpacks or hydration packs, I found that the shirt moved less than other performance fabrics, reducing the movement that my packs typically did.

I also appreciate that Showers Pass shirts have a longer back to keep the shirt from riding up. This is a great feature while cycling, reducing back exposure as you’re bent over the handlebars.

Unpacking the shipping box, I was immediately impressed by how light and soft this shirt was. You can tell how much thought and care Showers Pass put into this shirt.

Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt
Showers Pass Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt

The fit is on the slimmer side, but is perfect for the types of activities I’ve taken it on.

It was also comfortable when paired with their Cloudburst Jacket.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a performance t-shirt this summer, Merino Wool and this shirt from Shower Pass is a must buy.

I am 5’11” and 185 pounds and wear a size large.

You can purchase the Apex Merino Tech T-Shirt on their website for $75. Well worth it and it will last for several seasons.

COROS VERTIX 2 – Full Review

When COROS debuted several years ago, it was a disrupter in the field of GPS watch categories. It’s impressive out-of-the-box features and battery life threatened to push Garmin and Suunto off their pedestals.

Three years ago, when I was researching the best GPS running watch I stumbled upon COROS on Instagram and decided to purchase their Apex watch.

This was after using the Apple Watch for a majority of my training. My biggest frustration with the Apple Watch was that I would have to charge it every night and for longer GPS excursions, it would die halfway through.

What made COROS stand out more than anything else was their battery life. And the Apex delivered. Even on heavy training weeks for ultramarathons, I could still go 15 days before I needed to recharge it.

And while it lacked some features that I missed with the Apple Watch (like being able to track non-GPS workouts), COROS’ team of developers started to deliver on those features with firmware updates.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The new VERTIX 2 landed last summer with a ton of new features, including music playback, dual GNSS functionality, full-color topographic mapping, ECG functionality, WIFI connectivity for updates, amazing battery life, and Insta360action cam controls. Externally it boasts a larger screen and titanium alloy bezels and case to survive any adventure.

I’ve been using the watch all day, every day for the past three months. It has been with me on trail runs, bike rides, ice climbs, gym rock climbing, road runs, backcountry skiing, indoor cardio workouts and indoor bike rides.

So, let’s dive in on why this watch is the best gps watch on the market.

VERTIX 2 Overview

The VERTIX 2 is a massive watch. I have skinny wrists and was a bit uncertain wearing this monstrosity 24/7 over the course of our testing period. And it did take some getting used to: both size and weight. But after the first week, it was as comfortable as the APEX.

On the right side of the watch (if you’re wearing it on your left wrist) there are two buttons and a separate digital crown (which rotates and can be pressed in).

The top button is used to turn the backlight on or off.

The bottom button has a number of functionalities. On the main screen, outside of a tracked activity, it can be tapped to cycle through metrics on the home screen or held to jump to the settings folder.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

With the digital crown, if you press and hold, it will unlock the screen. This is much better than the unlocking function on the APEX. With the APEX, I had to turn the dial to unlock which was especially frustrating when in the middle of an activity, especially in the wintertime when I was wearing gloves.

With the VERTIX 2, I found the crown easy to use, even when wearing gloves. When I was skiing in the backcountry, it was easy to shift between uphill and downhill tracking, as well as pausing for a snack break.

While in the middle of an activity, the digital crown can be used to cycle through your activity metrics. This is great for some activities (like indoor cycling or GPS cardio) when I am focused on duration and heart rate (trying to keep it in the fat burning zone).

While the touchscreen isn’t a new feature for COROS or GPS watches in general, it is still worth highlighting. It is primarily used outside of workout mode. You can click into widgets to slide through your metrics. Or pull up a map and move around easily.

I haven’t found myself using the touchscreen too much outside of the widgets. It is a much easier tool that the dial to cycle through and look at a particular time frame of data.

The watch bands connect using a quick release system. Again, this is a step up from the APEX. The tabs to pull and release are much easier to use, allowing you to swap out bands or remove them all together to connect to the COROS Carabiner so you can climb without the watch attached to your wrist.

On the back of the watch is the charging port and optical heart rate sensor. The heart rate sensor is the set of LED’s and optical sensors (bright and vibrant red and green lights) that measure your heart rate, but also blood oxygen levels and ECG data.

ECG / HRV Feature

To access the ECG feature, navigate to the settings menu and click HRV test. It’ll ask you to place your hand on the bezel.

And it’ll start the ECG, lasting for 60 seconds. Throughout you’ll feel a vibration, similar to a heartbeat. At the end you’re given a HRV value, not an ECG value. Which is confusing.

I’m unsure if this is a feature that will continue being developed.

The HRV value does show up in the app and you can watch the trend over time. The value is scaled from 0-100.

  • 81-100: Superior, relaxed

  • 51-80: High, under minor physical or mental pressure

  • 21-50: Medium, under medium physical or mental pressure

  • 1-20: Low, under significant physical or mental pressure

Widgets for Days

When you’re on the home screen, you can move into the widget menu by unlocking the screen and moving the dial.

Widgets include everything from steps, KCAL burned, workout duration, recovery data, to sleep.

With each widget, you can click into with the dial and scroll through the data with the dial or your finger on the screen.

I have found that most of these widgets are pretty accurate. With the exception of sleep. I think it’s because of the size of the watch, but I have found that if the watch isn’t centered on my wrist that I will miss out on sleep data; viewable as large gaps of “awake” time during the night. Additionally, if I get up in the middle of the night for a bathroom break or to help an awake child, it will register that as the moment I awoke—not counting when I went back to sleep a few minutes later.

I slept like a rock, but COROS is registering a lot of awake time. More than likely because of the way the watch was positioned.

Notifications and Settings

One of the reasons I hated using the Apple Watch as a primary fitness watch was all the notifications I would get. Anything my iPhone received, so did my watch. Ping, ping, ping, ping, ping.

With Coros, I have the ability to be in the same predicament. But I am very conscious about the impact all those notifications have on my mental health, so I have a majority turned off. Right now, phone calls is the only notification I receive. Anything else can wait till I’m at my phone.

But it is fully customizable when you first setup the watch on the COROS app.

If you hold the bottom button, you can also access the settings menu. Here you can access the above mentioned ECG function. But you’re also able to connect to Bluetooth devices, WIFI, Insta360 action cam control, alarms, the compass, and music.

Music and Insta360 Cam Controls

The VERTIX 2 is COROS’s first watch to feature music. Bluetooth headphones are paired through the headphones menu in Settings. You can pair multiple Bluetooth headphones, which is a great feature for ultramarathons when you might burn through a pair or two.

Pairing is easy and once setup, they are easily accessible. When powered on, the watch will connect to them. When tested, it would take over the connection from my iPhone easily.

For music, the VERTIX 2 supports loading MP3 files to the device using a USB cable from your computer. Drag and drop the files you want to the “music folder” and you’re ready to start jamming by selecting the music menu from the settings menu.

You can use the touchscreen to play, pause, skip tracks, etc.

It should be noted though that you can only load MP3 tracks. Services like Spotify or Apple Music isn’t compatible and probably won’t ever be.

Now, at the time of testing, we couldn’t test the Insta360 controls. But to give an overview, if you have the Insta360 Go 2, One X2 and One R), you can control the camera with the VERTIX 2.

Using the dial, you can alternate between photo and video mode, then press the dial to take a photo or start recording a video.

Battery Life

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 lasts up to 140 hours of standard full GPS tracking and 60 days of normal use. With light GPS usage, daily workouts tracked, and with wearing the watch 24/7, I have gone 35-40 days between charges. During heavy usage periods, using GPS daily, I have gone 25 days between charges.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

Some features, like the ECG/HRV test, music, and Insta360 camera control will drain your battery faster.

It should be noted that the VERTIX 2 uses a proprietary charger, so don’t lose it!

GPS Activity Tracking and Maps

During our testing period we took the VERTIX 2 everywhere: hiking, trail running, road running, road biking, trail biking, back country skiing, ice climbing, and most recently, paddle boarding (yay! spring has sprung!).

GPS accuracy can make or break a watch.

One of the biggest challenges I had with the APEX was that when I was doing trail races with a lot of vertical gains, the watch would think that I wasn’t moving and stop tracking.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

The VERTIX 2 has improved on this by offering Dual Frequency GNSS. This allows the watch to locate the best GPS frequency available from all five of the major satellite systems at the same time.

Additionally, navigation features include topographic, landscape, and hybrid global mapping. You can load a route by transferring it to the COROS app and loading it directly to the watch from the app. I used this feature in the backcountry and part of the challenge is that on the map there aren’t any labels or turn-by-turn directions. So it was challenging navigating back when I got off course and lost the trail.

COROS VERTIX 2
COROS VERTIX 2

When I looked at the routes tracked, I did find the VERTIX 2 to be pretty darn accurate, including in heavily wooded areas or terrain that had more vertical climbs.

I highlighted a few examples to showcase the accuracy of the GPS data.

In the middle image, this was a point on my run where I transitioned from trail to sidewalk. While it didn’t show me directly on the trail, throughout it caught every little turn and pivot I made, including where I ventured off the paved trail onto a single track.

For the Ski Touring tracking, when I zoom in, you can see all the switch backs I went up.

What I am most impressed by is the fact that the watch is more accurately picking up trail runs on steep inclines. No longer is the watch auto-pausing because it can’t register movement. And that in itself is a huge winner for me as I continue training for ultras this Summer.

Conclusion

Throughout the testing period of the VERTIX 2, I continue to be impressed by the leap forward COROS has taken with this watch.

There are a ton of really awesome features with the music and Insta360 features.

But more than anything, the feature that is worth shouting about is battery life. There isn’t another watch on the market that can match COROS on what they were able to accomplish with the VERTIX 2.

Sure there are some improvements I’d love to see (especially with maps), but if there’s a company I trust to get it done, it’s COROS. Their developer team is amazing and based on what they have done in the last few years, I’m fairly certain they will keep the VERTIX 2 ahead of the competition

If you’re an endurance athlete or avid explorer, I have no doubt that this is the watch for you.

The COROS VERTIX 2 is available online and at several different retailers. It retails for $699.

Tifosi Optics Launches New Rimless Eyeshield

When I first started running, I slowly began to build my running gear closet. And Tifosi were the first running sunglasses I bought.

So I was really excited when Tifosi reached out for us to test out their new rimless eyeshields: The Rail.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

Typical shields can offer superior coverage, but can ultimately be heavy and restrict airflow to the face. This can make shields uncomfortable to wear over long periods of time and cause fogging.

“As an avid cyclist I enjoy the coverage of a large shield like the Rail,” commented Joe Earley, Tifosi Optics CEO. “However, the drawbacks that come with larger shields – increased weight and restricted airflow – were the impetus behind creating our next rimless shield. The Rail provides Tifosi’s community with another great option to add to their collection,” Earley continued. 

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

When designing The Rail, Tifosi removed the rim from around the polycarbonate lens; shaving down significant weight. But this design choice also breaks the restrictive seal that the rim could create around the face. This allows for greater breathability and comfort on long rides or runs, but I also found in testing that these glasses don’t fog.

That right: no fog.

Even when I took them into the backcountry for snowshoeing, I didn’t have any issues.

The Rail weighs only 32g. And total lens coverage is 131mm x 59.5mm with scratch-resistant polycarbonate lenses. It also has adjustable nose and ear pieces for customized fit, hydrophilic rubber nose and ear pieces that improve grip as you sweat.

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

You can choose between two separate lens combinations: an interchangeable model that includes lenses for bright, low, and no light scenarios, as well as their Fototec lens that adapts to changes in ambient light, making it perfect for mountain bikers or trail runners.

During our tests, I grew to love these sunglasses. They were light and comfortable and they looked great!

Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield
Tifosi Optics New Rimless Eyeshield

One of the core reasons I chose Tifosi as my first pair of running sunglasses was because of it’s affordability. And that brand promise still remains true, even with The Rail. No matter which lens or color combination riders choose – including the stylish Midnight Navy – the Rail costs a highly affordable $79.95. The Rail will launch online and through retailers on March 15, 2022. For more information, please visit: http://www.Tifosioptics.com 

Swiftwick FLITE XT® TRAIL Sock Review

Swiftwick recently launched their new FLITE XT® TRAIL line of socks and sent our team of product testers a couple pairs to test.

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

Previously we had highlighted the Swiftwick VIBE™ and Swiftwick PURSUIT™, but this new sock line was built for the trail and built for speed.

The FLITE XT® TRAIL combines Merino wool and Swiftwick’s proprietary GripDry™ Fiber that is incorporated into the heel and forefoot of the sock to provide traction and grip inside the shoe. When tearing down the steep terrain of Mount Sanitas, the sock stayed in place, not sliding or bunching as my foot shifted in my shoe.

Around the ankle, Swiftwick uses their AnkleLock™ Technology with strong elastic to make sure that the sock stays in place, but also provides a sense of stability on rocky terrain.

Over the course of our testing, we wore them in a variety of conditions, including trail-running and snowshoeing. During these colder activities, we found that the Merino wool performed as expected. During these activities, we never felt like our foot was overheated or too cold.

“After the release of our original FLITE XT® socks, designed with advanced stability technology, we heard growing feedback from our hike and trail running customers on their love for the line’s performance features,” said Joanna Mariani, Chief Marketing Officer of Swiftwick. 

“Using that feedback, we set out to combine the FLITE XT’s signature stability features with the natural wonders of Merino wool to provide the best-performing outdoor sock on the market. FLITE XT TRAIL was inspired by our customers and ardently crafted by our team– we’re excited to see what adventures our customers take these socks on.” 

Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL
Swiftwick® FLITE XT® TRAIL

These socks are a welcome addition to our gear closets. We’re looking forward to ultra season and being able to put more miles on these.

The FLITE XT TRAIL sock line launches in a Two and Five cuff height. Learn more about the FLITE XT TRAIL line at : https://swiftwick.com/pages/flite-xt-trail

Showers Pass Launches The Eco-Friendly “Century CC” Jacket

Portland, OR – Showers Pass today introduces the Men’s and Women’s Century CC Jackets, adding to their growing line of sustainably manufactured cycling apparel. Waterproof and windproof, the Century CC Jacket is built using 44% recycled materials with fully seam-taped Artex™ 2.5-layer breathable performance fabric. The cycling-specific fit and features like 360° degrees of 3M™ reflective trim, riding accessible pockets, longer sleeves, and drop tail make this a great choice for a not-so-basic bike jacket. The Century CC Jacket is also part of Showers Pass’ Clean Color collection, garments made with eco-friendly dyes that keep harmful chemicals out of the manufacturing process.

Showers Pass Century CC Jacket
Showers Pass Century CC Jacket

The Century CC Jacket is loaded with features, and built using the same standards and attention to detail that have made Showers Pass jackets trusted and sought-after by cyclists for 25 years. “When you need a jacket that just works, and is specifically designed for on-the-bike comfort and performance, the Century CC is the perfect choice,” says Jeremy Rider, PR Director at Showers Pass. “We couldn’t be more excited to kick off our 25th year in the cycling industry with this reliably strong, versatile jacket that also takes it easy on your wallet.” 

Showers Pass Century CC Jacket
Showers Pass Century CC Jacket

See the Century CC Jacket and the full collection of Showers Pass rainwear, active apparel, and waterproof accessories at http://www.showerspass.com.

#AllElementsCovered 

Product:

  • Showers Pass Century CC Jacket
    • MSRP: $139 – Men’s Color: Leaf Green

Men’s sizes; Small, Medium, Large, X-Large, XXL

  • MSRP: $139 – Women’s Color: Leaf Green

Women’s sizes; X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large

Available February 22nd at  http://www.showerspass.com 

About Showers Pass 

Showers Pass was born in 1997, from the desire to develop clothing and gear that would get people out on their bikes no matter the weather. The brand’s reputation is built on the use of high-performance materials in combination with innovative functional design. Originally specializing in waterproof-breathable outerwear, Showers Pass now offers industry-leading baselayers, active apparel, waterproof socks, and waterproof bags. The Portland, Oregon based company is made up of a team of outdoor enthusiasts who bike, run, ski, hike, climb, fish, and play in the outdoors.

COROS VERTIX 2 Unboxing, Setup, and Interface/Menu Walk-Through Video

Today we are doing an unboxing and initial setup and thoughts on the COROS VERTIX 2

I am a big fan of COROS. When I was looking for an outdoor adventure watch three years ago, I did a ton of research; looking at the top brands, trying to decide which would be the perfect watch for me.

COROS was new to this category in 2018, but was already shaking things up in an industry that was dominated by Garmin and Suunto. In 2019, I purchased their Apex 46mm watch. What won me over was their unmatched battery life and their developers. They were churning out multiple firmware updates a year—building on an already impressive design—and really engaged with their community; listening constantly to feedback from users.

And three years into it, the Apex is still a solid watch. I can still go between 10-14 days between charges and the firmware has only gotten better with their major releases.

COROS sent me their latest watch, the VERTIX 2, to put through our testing protocols. Their goal with this watch was to make the ultimate adventure watch. Check out our video and let us know your thoughts.

Did they succeed?

We’ll dive in further in a later video.

Showers Pass Men’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie Review

Showers Pass sent us their Men’s Basecamp Merino Hoodie to test and it couldn’t have hit at a better time.

Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie

In between days of snowfall, we had 30ºF+ days that were perfect for taking this out on the trail for some runs and bike rides.

The Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie has been a great addition to my collection of baselayers. While it was nice to wear on a cool run and bike ride, it also paired really well under a fleece on colder days on the slopes, making this one of the most versatile pieces I have in my gear closet.

This hoodie is made with all-season 230 gsm fabric that is 95% merino wool and has UPF 40 sun protection.

Sliding it on, it is light and cozy, but highly functional.

Merino Wool, by its nature, is perfect for the outdoors. It keeps you warm, but when things start to heat up, keeps your core temperature regulated so you aren’t constantly shedding layers with its moisture wicking capability.

What makes the Basecamp Merino Hoodie stand out from it’s competition is the thoughtfulness and intentionality of its product design.

Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Showers Pass Basecamp Merino Hoodie

It has zippered kangaroo pockets that are easily accessible in the front, but, did I mention: they are zippered. I have hoodies that don’t have zippered pockets and they aren’t good at holding much; they are just a convenient place to put my hands. But with Showers Pass’s design, I can stash anything into these pockets, zip them shut, and not have to worry about bouncing my keys, wallet or phone out of them.

Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Basecamp Merino Hoodie

I love the hood, as well. There’s a few hoodies in my closet with hoods that just don’t fit right. They are too small or sit to far back on my head. I love how spacious the hood is on the Basecamp Merino Hoodie. It provides adequate coverage, but because of how light the fabric is, it doesn’t weigh me down.

Basecamp Merino Hoodie
Basecamp Merino Hoodie

The final feature I’ll highlight is the fit in the back. Showers Pass designs their shirts and jackets so that there’s a little swoop going past your waist. This is a great feature for cycling so that your shirt doesn’t ride up.

Overall, I love the Basecamp Merino Hoodie. It’s another great product from Showers Pass. The overall fit is great. It’s one of the most comfortable hoodies and baselayers in my gear closet. I am looking forward to taking this piece out on more advetures.

The Basecamp Merino Hoodie is available online. I am 5’11” and 185 lbs and I wear a large.

Vvolt Begins ebike Sales and Deliveries

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

Following June’s brand launch, Vvolt e-mobility has enjoyed strong pre-orders of their value-oriented line of ebikes. With the arrival of their initial production of ebikes at their Oregon warehouse, they  are now fulfilling those pre-orders and opening regular sales. Pre-order bikes are shipping now, with the brand working toward a one-week shipping time on new orders as the initial order backlog is cleared. 

“It’s amazing to deliver our initial orders after we’ve had such great feedback on our pre-production units from consumers and media, but one of my favorite parts about this is that we finally get to debut our packaging,” says  founder Kyle Ranson. “We’ve designed a fairly unique box enabling our riders to receive their bikes 97% assembled, only needing to install the front wheel and pedals before topping off the battery and enjoying their first ride.” 

All models and sizes are now in stock at Vvolt.com. Both existing and new order customers will have the option of taking free home delivery, or having unboxing handled by one of the independent bike shops in Beeline  Connect’s nationwide network for an additional charge. 

Stellar Series Offers Clean Designs with Rider-Friendly Technologies 

The Stellar Series comprises four ebike models sharing technologies designed to make the riding experience simple and rewarding. All bikes use clean-running Gates Carbon Drive belts, hydraulic disc brakes and motor systems  selected for durability. The $1399 Alpha and Alpha S models deliver motor assist via 350w rear hub drive. Premium Sirius ($2699) and Proxima ($2799) models are equipped with 250w MPF mid-drive motors, delivering 80nm  of torque through Enviolo’s unique CVT internal gearhubs. All bikes meet common Class 1 pedal-assist requirements, adding motor assistance up to 20mph. Mid-motor models can be upgraded to Class 3 with an alternate handlebar computer enabling motor assist to 28mph.

Stellar Series ebikes Are Built for Utility in the City and Beyond 

Vvolt e–mobility announces their debut product line– a series of four electric bikes offering exceptional ease of use, delivering lifetime value to riders from the moment of unboxing. The Stellar Series of ebikes all feature belt drives for  mess-free durability, hydraulic disc brakes for powerful and consistent stopping, and electric assist systems selected for durability and reliability.  

Balancing portability and power, Vvolt ebikes use mid-sized electric power systems to keep overall weight down, because lifting and carrying your ebike shouldn’t require herculean strength. Furthering practicality, all models are  designed for semi-upright riding positions that blend comfort with predictable handling on pavement, paths, gravel and trails. Frames are equipped with fittings to carry cargo, water and mount optional fenders for riding in damp  conditions.  

This versatility gives the Stellar series more ways to inject more fun into your day from 9-5 and beyond. 

Alpha / Alpha S: The Simplest Solution is Often the Best 

Vvolt’s entry-level models are the Alpha and Alpha S. With simple, one-speed gearing it’s all about the ride; amplified by the 350w hub motor and silent-running belt drive. These models feature wide 27.5×2” tires to tame any surface  and excel on dirt roads as well as around town. At $1399, Alpha models are the most affordable ebike in the US market to feature the combination of belt drive, clean-lined internal battery and powerful hydraulic disc brakes. The  diamond-frame Alpha presents a traditional look, while the Alpha S offers a lower step-through frame, making it easier to hop on and off – especially when loaded with cargo.

Proxima and Sirius: Incredible Durability and Extra Power 

Proxima and Sirius models step up to a more powerful mid-drive motor from Taiwan’s MPF drive with torque and speed sensors to deliver up to 350% of rider power. Vvolt is the first brand to offer the MPF system to the US in  commuter and fitness-oriented ebikes, having made the selection due to their reputation for quiet operation and durability based on the self-lubricating, full-steel motor gearing. 

Vvolt pairs this super-resilient engine with the toughest transmission on the market: Enviolo’s CVT rear hub that runs for tens of thousands of miles without requiring service. As with Alpha models, Proxima and Sirius drivetrains are  linked by Gates Carbon Drive belts that run clean and silent without oil. 

Made for long commutes and sporty weekend riders, the Proxima runs on gravel-bike style wheels to deliver speed and versatility across multiple terrains. 

Riders who seek unpaved paths, dirt roads and singletrack will enjoy the wider 27.5×2” tires on the Sirius, which also features an air-sprung suspension fork to tackle rougher terrain.

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

The Bluetooth-compatible handlebar computer syncs to an upcoming mobile app for mid-drive models, with integrated speed/distance/range info and GPS navigation. Riders in hilly locales can also use the app to make their bike  more responsive for tackling steep grades while riders looking to maximize range can reduce motor sensitivity to add an extra layer of battery conservation. All Vvolt ebikes come standard with 20mph top pedal assisted speed for  compliance with Class 1 standards (the most widely-accepted ebike type across the US.) Mid-drive models may be upgraded to “Class 3” 28mph top pedal-assisted speeds with the purchase of an alternate handlebar computer. 

Vvolt is primarily selling consumer direct, so particular care has been taken to create packaging that delivers a rewarding unboxing experience for riders with any level of mechanical ability. Arriving in an oversized box, new owners can  easily slide the 97% assembled bike out of the end of the box, rather than lifting it up and out. The only parts needing installation are the front wheel and pedals, both easily attached using the included multitool. Unlike most bikes that arrive swaddled in layers of foam, cardboard and zip ties, Vvolt is able to package their bikes with minimal in-box protection due to the oversized envelope, cutting down on single-use plastics while making for a  faster and more satisfying unboxing. To further plant their flag as a customer-centered company, Vvolt is offering a three-year warranty on all new ebikes. “It’s important to us to stand behind our products, and that includes taking on  some additional responsibility when it comes to warranty,” says company founder Kyle Ranson. “We think the fact that most of our suppliers offer two-year warranties speaks to their quality, but we’re also making the additional  commitment to our customers to say ‘Hey, we’re going to be here to help you out in the future should the need arise.’”

Vvolt ebikes
Vvolt ebikes

About Vvolt e–mobility 

Vvolt is a new electric vehicle brand founded to solve the challenges of human transportation through creating innovative electric mobility products and advocating for people-safe streets. 

Based in Portland Oregon, we’re drawing on our decades of experience in consumer electronics, bicycles and fashion to make rider-friendly ebikes and vehicles, and back them up with a company that delivers the kind of service we want as riders  ourselves. 

We’re imagining a future where more people ride more often, reducing the number of cars on the street in favor of a mix of electric and human-powered mobility vehicles. This human-scale future is one where we move efficiently from door-to-door,  with less time spent in parking lots, or traffic jams. We’re here to change our streets and shared spaces from being dominated by cars to places where more riders create safety in numbers for one another. This future is for everyone, where ebikes and other EVs are easy to ride and easy to own. 

It’s our purpose to get more people out of cars and into riding e-mobility. It’s a friendlier way to travel, and with the ability to sidestep auto traffic, often the fastest way to get door-to-door. 

We’re also here to promote safer infrastructure in our cities, towns and beyond. It’s our goal to bring together our public agencies, advocates, media and other brands to make it easier for people to integrate electric mobility vehicles (bikes and beyond)  into their lives. 

Learn More at vvolt.com 

Sport Nutrition Can Be Gnarly

Gnarly is a funny word.

It can mean something good or bad, but also used to describe something challenging.

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate and BCAAs

When Gnarly Nutrition sent me samples of their product to try, it landed on my doorstep at a challenging time. I just gotten back from my first physical in many years and learned that I had topped the scales at an all-time high. Based on the BMI chart, I was now “overweight.”

Fitness has always been a priority for me, but as life changed, so has my fitness priorities. The COVID-19 presented challenges around my fitness and I fell out of my normal routines, including running (something I have been devoutly fanatical about for 13 years).

The balance between home learning, work, and making time for my wife to have to herself put a lot of my fitness to the side.

And now I showed the evidence of that. Since my first child was born 10 years ago, I had put on 47 pounds. Since COVID, I had put on 20 pounds.

It was a lot and I knew I had to do something different. Something challenging. Something… gnarly.

When these samples arrived, I decided that it was time to kick my own ass.

I started a high-intensity-impact-training program, increased my frequency and mileage running, and started flipping a tractor tire in my garage. Along with that, I started intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours a day and cold showers in the morning to activate my brown fat cells.

These supplements from Gnarly Nutrition have been a welcome addition.

Gnarly Hydrate

Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate
Gnarly Nutrition Hydrate

Thirty-minutes prior to a workout, I’ll down a serving of Gnarly Hydrate.

Typically, I’m working out in the late afternoon and the B-Vitamins are a nice energizing pick-me-up to motivate me out of my office and into my workout space.

Each serving is super-packed with electrolytes to help aid performance and stave off muscle cramps and burnout. 250 mg of sodium, 100 mg of potassium, 90 mg of magnesium, 125 mg of calcium, and 135 mg of chloride.

What I appreciate about this product is that it doesn’t have caffeine. Since I’m working out in the afternoon, I don’t need extra caffeine in my system.

Additionally, this product mixes really well. There’s another brand (that shan’t be named) that I’ve used that is always clumpy and feels heavy in the gut. Gnarly Hydrate mixes well enough that I’ve replaced the Nuun tablets in my Hydropak.

Gnarly BCAAs

Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs
Gnarly Nutrition BCAAs

I’ve never used BCAAs as part of my recovery. If you don’t know, BCAAs stand for Branched Chain Amino Acids.

You have 20 different amino acids in your body and three of those (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are branched chain amino acids.

By supplementing BCAAs, you’re helping your body build back better (sorry, Biden). BCAAs can help with muscle growth, decrease muscle soreness, reduce fatigue, and prevent muscle wasting.

When I’ve gotten on these ass-kicking routines, my ass has gotten kicked and I have fallen off the wagon quickly.

But since supplementing Gnarly BCAAs I’ve found significant improvement in my recovery time.

I’ve been able to hit the same level of intensity the next day after an intense workout.

I’m a week into my journey and I’ve already dropped a couple pounds, which I’ll take as a victory.

Gnarly BCAAs has several flavors to choose from including caffeinated and decaf options. I’m using the caffeinated version, but with only 35 mg of caffeine per serving, it hasn’t negatively impacted my sleep routine.

Gnarly Vegan Protein

Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein
Gnarly Nutrition Vegan Protein

Finding the right vegan protein has been hit or miss. Especially when it comes to how well it mixes. There are many out there that are grainy and clumpy.

Thankfully, Gnarly Vegan Protein is one of the best I’ve had. Their protein is a blend of pea protein isolate, cranberry seed protein and chia seed protein.

Since using it, I also haven’t had the gut issues I’ve had before with other proteins. I think it’s in part due to their forms of protein, but the fiber content (7 grams per serving), and the pre and probiotics to support digestion and gut health.

Gnarly Vegan Protein is intended to also be a meal replacement.

When I’ve been breaking my fast, I’ve turned to their vegan protein versus running to the local sandwich or fast food shop. Each serving, when combined with water, is only 200 calories.

Out of the two flavors I samples (vanilla and chocolate), chocolate was my favorite.

Bottom Line

As I’ve gone on this journey of better health and fitness, I couldn’t be more happy to have Gnarly Nutrition in my corner. It’s definitely been a bit gnarly. But gnarly is a good way.

My hope is that I’ll be able to get to a point where I’m able to do ultras again and have Gnarly on all my training runs.

It’s worth noting that Gnarly Nutrition products are NSF certified and the three products above are all soy free, gluten free, and vegan.

Tasc Performance Apparel Review

When I stopped at the Tasc Performance booth at Outdoor Retailer, I knew I had stumbled onto a pretty special and unique brand.

Tasc Performance clothes are made from a bamboo fiber blend, which is great for any type of activity due to its moisture-wicking, anti-odor, and wrinkle-resistant properties.

At Outdoor Retailer, it was immediately noticeable how lightweight and comfortable their clothing was. The bamboo fiber blend made it extremely soft and I knew I had to try them out on the trail.

Field Testing

Tasc sent me a handful of products to review. In this post, we’ll break down two products: the Carrolton Tee and the Recess Short.

The Recess Short

Tasc Performance Recess Short

With the Tasc Performance Recess Short, the softness of the bamboo fiber blend was immediately apparent. It might TMI, but I have been have some chafing issues in the nether region. During the field test I took them out on a mountain hike and several runs and I never experienced any redness or soreness down there. I also through in a handful of home workouts and yoga sessions.

When comparing them to my other go-to running shorts, they also weighed in 2 grams lighter.

The shorts have several pockets for storage. I was able to easily hold a few gels and a flexible water bottle in the side pockets, and my keys in a zippered side pocket. On the bamboo liner, it has a cell phone pocket that easily held my iPhone 12 Pro.

The pockets kept things secure enough so that there wasn’t too much bouncing, but ideally on longer runs, I would store a majority of those things in my running pack.

Not getting chafed by itself made these shorts a winner. But I’ve also just lounged around the house in them. The liner isn’t too tight or constrictive. It kept everything in it’s place while giving me room to stretch out.

I also found that they are suitable to nearly every workout activity I could think of. While doing jump squats or downward-facing dog, I never felt that the shorts were slipping in a way that would expose my butt crack. But I also didn’t find myself constantly adjusting the liner.

The Carrolton Tee

Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee

To say that the Tasc Performance Carrolton Tee is as smooth and as soft as butter may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not. I wish all my shirts were this soft.

While on my mountain hike, I had my go-to running back slung over it, and what I noticed was that I really liked the collar.

The collar sits a bit higher than my other running shirts. And what’s great about it is that I didn’t experience the normal chaffing I would get around my neck from my running pack. It’s the little things that make a difference.

The bamboo fiber also lays a bit different than a normal running shirt. It is heavier and because of that, I didn’t experience the typical riding-up I normally would have during yoga or HITT workouts.

The Bottom Line

Truth be told: I’m a big fan of Tasc Performance.

Not only were they really comfortable during my activities, but I put them through the ringer to test out the other bamboo proprieties: moisture-wicking and anti-odor.

I spent around 15 hours of heavy activity in them and they passed the smell test. I mean, it was a little funky towards the end, but it didn’t have the normal funk of my workout and running clothes.

If you’re looking to upgrade your running apparel or needing something that you just want to be comfortable in, look no further than Tasc Performance.