BBB falcon team helmet test
We notice that BBB is more and more developing itself into a brand with a wide portfolio with high quality products. To check this hypothese this cycling friend has testet the topmodel: the Falcon.
Why testing the falcon?
Curious about the reason why cycling cracks like Thomas de Gendt or Johnny Hoogerland are cycling with the Falcon helmet we wanted to test one ourselves. Another reason is that because of the dominancy of Giro helmets every cyclist' head looks the same, and its time for something else.
This shiny white team falcon has been on my head for 2 months, featuring temperature changes from minus 5 to 25 Celsius and landscape changes from the flat polders (minus 10 meters) to the Splugenpass (1908 meter above sea level). First the looks: It looks racey and pretty okay. Maybe less subtile than de giros or less different that the Catlikes, but fresh enough. A nice detail is that an aluminium structure is partially visible on the top of the helm. According to BBB this should enforce the inner cage. The backside of the helmet has a design of sharp fins which give it a dynamic profile.
But how does it fit?
Well, it fits pretty good! the backside of the helmet has a handy wheel which can be adjusted easily, also with thick gloves. Your head is supported by thick cushions and I didn't feel any pressure points. My head has an houtline of 56cm; normally I wear a Giro Atmos in size S, which is a little bit to tight (but giro's M is way to big). This BBB in size M fits me like a glove.
Special features?According to BBB the inside has an open air stream structure which allows fresh air to wave through the cushions and your head. Well, this claim isn't easy to test in a quantitative way, but it do seems like my upper head hair is moving into the wind. It's only the top of my head, but it's freshier than inside my Giro. Another special feature is the carbon and aluminium reinforcement for maximum security. unfortenately we didn't crash ;-) so no verdict on this feature
What should be improved?
Till now the remarks are pretty positive, but of course there is still some space for improvement. During my bike trip in Lombardia suddenly the fixation between the round wheel straps and the helmet suddenly let go. It was easy to fix and it only happended one time but it took me five minutes. Also, the helmet could be more stylish by adding some sparkling colours (for the normal version).
The verdict of Pieter Booij...
In the end one thing is most important with helmets and that is, besides the security ofcourse, the comfort. And the comfort is great. Therefore I rate it a premier category (four out of five). If BBB could improve the looks a litte bit more and have a better solution for the fixation of the straps it could have been five out of five. Considering the price the Falcon is a good deal.
So, well done BBB, you're on the right track.
The price: 149 euro
available in normal and team version
weight: around 270 grams
features: 23 air vents, aluminium and carbon reinforcement; anti-bacterial and washable cushions
verdict: 4th category; 3th category; 2nd category; 1st category, Hors category
For the last 5 years i used the Fizik Arione saddle. I thought it suited me as a cyclist: a longer saddle that made it easy to slightly shift position to the front and back. But after the recommandation in Men's Journal as 'Gear of the Year'
(calling it the 'package protector') and an impressive 5 star review in Bikeradar.com
, I could not resist. Eventhough i thought' i was in a comfortable position i realized i had accepted my lower backpains after riding with the Arione as part of my cyclinglife. Having an old L4-L5 problem i'd never blamed the saddle or position for it, but this test tought me a lot about comfort and position.
Testing the Romin you need to be open to change the old reverences given by your old saddle. The first moment testing the Romin Evo was quite odd. You are radically placed on your two sitbones and for the first 15 minutes that doesn't give a very comfortable feeling. Second i missed the presure (pain) in the middle of the saddle, which used to be a indication of power and speed. These two initial cons were rebuttaled by the immediate feeling my legs had more space and freedom to move. That was strange i had expected my wing frex Arione had given me maximal freedom but perhaps it can be explaned by the size of my saddle: after measuring i got the smaller size 130mm.
With this extra moving freedom for my legs i slowly got used to this new saddle, and after 2 months and about 1200 km i can say: I love it and i don't want anything else anymore. After some re-positioning of the saddle i discovered the benifits of the curve-up at the back of the Romin. The scientist say it allows you not to bend your back so much as you need to with a flatter saddle, and my back really feels it. NO MORE BACKPAIN!!! Last months i cycled twice on my other bike (my Canyon for climbing) and after 40kmy backpain returned. For me the Romin saddle is a delight, after getting used to the pressure on my sitbones. I feel more freedom to move, i sit more tight in the saddle and my back is very happy finally. This saddle delivered more than i ever thought would be possible.
The only negative to mention on the Romin saddle is that we cannot buy the white or Team version of the Romin Pro of Evo in the Netherlands nor the EU. That is grazy and almost unacceptable after these these two great reviews and my personal experience. I need an second saddle (team version) for my climbing bike to save my back, but how do i get one?
Two weeks ago (12/17/2011) I picked up my new RIH at the Westerstraat together with my dad. The store was busy, as mr. Van der Kaaij. Though, always prepared to have a little chat with my dad as they share almost the same age (Mr Van der Kaaij is 75 years old) and some memories. My father mentioned that this bike would propably be the best bike he ever had build, but mr. Van der Kaaij shrugged his shoulders and said, 'tomorrow I'll build again the best bike, but indeed we call this a delicious one (een lekkerbekkie)'.
The bike was posted in the showroom and mr Van der Kaaij assured me he could have sold the bike already several times mentioning the phrase of a man saying: 'this is a bike as it should be'. I hadn't seen the bike while it was being build up, so was positive suprised to see the stunning result! The bike looked even better than I expected, probably also due to some special adjustments: At my request mr. Van der Kaaij wrapped the handlebar tape only half while the cable was routed internally, thanks to the special 3TTT 'paris roubaix' handlebar. Also some days before I had a discussion about the crankset. I tried to save 200 euros by using a second hand campagnolo record road crankset with a special 50 tooth outer chainring from TA Specialites. Stupid idea ofcourse, as my bike was made with a track geometry. The result was that the outer chainring had to be installed on the inside of the crank to keep a straight chain line. I asked mr. Van der Kaaij whether he couldn't solve the problem by using a smaller axle.This was even a more stupid idea, since mr Van der Kaaij this already had done. So his response to me was something like: 'you think you understand some of building a bike, but you don't, like so many people who only search for information on the web'. Knowing he was right I kept my mouth shut and decided to buy a new campagnolo record track crankset ;-).
Mr. Van der Kaaij handed the bike to me, and three proud looking man in the store were suddenly quiet for a moment. I lifted my bike over the doorstep and received an impressive knock on my shoulder by mr. Van der Kaaij saying: 'come back for a service appointment after you reach the first 10K kilometers'. I felt myself a little bit ashamed as I knew this wouldn't happen for the first years but I didn't dare to say. So I grapped the bike and started to pedal homewards with my dad. Already during the first meters a guy shouted: 'hey, what a stunning bike, and it's a RIH!'. This was the best moment of the day, as I still keep in mind that nobody, except my bikefriends, ever made a remark on my new BMC Promachine with Campa record, a carbon dream weighting 2/3 of the RIH and with a 1/3 higher price.
During second Christmans day (26 dec) I made a short trip on the new RIH during a 'Rondehoep' (see 'cycling routes' on this site). Though mid Winter, it was a fantastic day to ride a bike. I was always afraid that my 50 x 18 gear was too heavy for solo biking - as I figured out to need a heavy gear in order to train together with my pals - , but it worked perfect. So even with wind coming from the front I was able to have a good rythm, able to pass all other cyclists. I also passed a BMC Promachine, which owner tried to stick to me during 15 minutes, after releasing my back wheel, NICE!
The nature of the RIH is a pure racemachine. It is built steep so you are continuously in the action mode. The handling in turns is perfect, it just turns and you don't need to work with your body. The old quill stem technique and thin handlebar results in a mild feeling which is quite nice compared to the rigidity nowadays of almost all bikes. Ofcourse, due to the higher weight and less stifness it isn't a bike for huge accelaration and camping sprints (specialty of Bart Man, see 'friends' on this site). But for biking for some hours, whether or not with high intensity this RIH is a dream on wheels. I am sure that my RIH and I will have a superb year, being active mostly in spring to train intervals and high power. I hope to see mr. Van der Kaaij from time to rime since I admire his craftmanship and typical Amsterdam communication. But most of all: people, get off your ass and get yourself a steel racer, a this racing tradition needs to be rediscovered!
Pieter is preparing a retro single speed RIH, but some of you might not know about RIH at all. In this beautiful film you learn all about this famous bikes from Amsterdam.
The Bikemotion 2011 brought a lot of 29'ers, beautiful titanium frames, and E-bikes, but for Stok the most promising product was the Castelli Gabba jersey. A water resistant jersey of nanoflex and windstopper specially designed for rainy and cold days.
The problem of most rain jackets is that you blow up inside by your own heat. But the fact that this jersey was tested and used by the Cervelo test team pushed Stok over the line. Ofcourse we don't have to race in the rain, but if we do we better do it protected and warm. The Gabba seems to be the best thing to do this. It is slim, aerodynamic, it is longer in the back to keep your lower back dry, and with the short sleeves it's not too warm. Obtaining a Gabba was not easy. The production of Castelli seems limited and delivery amazingly slow, but Stok got one, including some nano flex water resistant arm- and kneewarmers.
The first test made clear that the Gabba is warm, but also breaths. One undershirt is most of the time sufficient, and with the knee and arm-warmers the parts that need cover stay warm and more or less dry. The sizes of Castelli are a bit on the small side so you probably need one size bigger than you are used to, or fit another Corsa Rosso shirt to measure your size.
The real test of the Gabba will be probably in spring in some Ardennen-cyclo. Let's see if it was really such a good investment.
Pieter's new RIH under construction.
Suddenly everyone I cycle with is building some kind of retro bike. Both Bart and Wouter are working on a good old classical GIOS, and Pieter gave order to construct a brand new classical RiH single speed with carefully selected old-timer parts.
Knowing Pieter this will become a beautiful eye-catcher, but I still don't understand why this retro trend is kicking in. All these guys have a top of the bill carbon bike!
Is it nostalgia, or are they preparing for a winter training program?
Anyway, looking forward for the final.
Van der Kaay (RIH) met Booij jr.
In most of our boy dreams there are cycling races, lots of finish ceremonies (women) and of course closets full of cycling jerseys. Most of us never enter our fantasy cyclist-heaven due to a lack of talent.
That is probably why most of us respond so eager and uncritical when someone offers you to sponsor some kit or jersey.
Thought be aware, not all of these generous offers bring you closer to your childhood dreams!!!
Let our shirt sponsor of 2010 be a warning for you, and an example of how not to dress on a bike.
sponsor foto for Acer, our wonderful sponsor in 2010