REVIEWS AND DEALS WORTH KNOWING ABOUT – BLACK FRIDAY PERIOD 2016

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There’s been a lot going on and a lot more coming this time of year that I wanted to tell you about.  Seems like I’ve been doing a lot of hard pulls at the site of late just to keep up with what seem to be good breakaways happening in front of me.

Adding gear reviews and new posts, switching kit and riding styles for changes in the weather, a lot of new gear that I’m trying to do a comprehensive and unbiased job of reviewing, upcoming holiday deals I don’t want you (and me!) to miss out on, responding to all your great questions and comments, and putting together the site’s first amazing giveaway are all keeping it interesting here at In The Know Cycling Enthusiast Headquarters.  

All this in the midst of keeping my priorities focused on my amazing wife and kids, working, a little procedure to remove old screws from a once broken leg, tending to the yard, and doing some epic rides.  Ah, the life of a road cycling enthusiast.  I imagine yours is just as crazy.  That’s what makes riding all the more satisfying!

Anyway, here’s what’s going on.

This Years Best Really Big Cycling Giveaway

Too many modifiers? Probably, but I’m just really excited about what we’ve been able to put together for you, dear reader and fellow enthusiast, in our first ever cycling giveaway.

In addition to being the best and really big, it’s really great and quite easy to win.  Basically it goes like this:

  • Buy something through one of the links on the site on Black Friday, November 25 and a portion of what you spend (at no extra cost to you) and all of what the site earns from those links that day will go to World Bicycle Relief and Bikes Not Bombs, two great charities that deliver bikes to people in developing communities around the world.  Really big, right?  Thank you.
  • If you buy through the links to Competitive CyclistWiggle, Chain Reaction Cycles and ProBikeKit on Black Friday, you will be entered for a chance to win a gift certificate, aka voucher worth between $250US/£200/€225 and $500US/£400/€450 available just to In The Know Cycling readers.  Each store will give away one voucher of that amount.  So if you are one of the 10 readers that buys something from one of the stores on that day, you’ll have a 1 in 10 chance of winning a gift voucher worth from $250 to $500 and all their currency equivalents. The best, right?  Thank the stores who agreed to this. They too want to support the cycling charities and believe in you and this little online road cycling enthusiast community we have here.  Amazing!
  • And, if you want to win without spending anything at all, hop on the paceline.  Just make sure you have signed up to follow In The Know Cycling before Black Friday ends by clicking the button at the bottom right of your screen and you could win a $100US/£80/€95 gift voucher to the store of your choice.  Sure, the odds are longer but it won’t cost you anything to get in.  Get the word out to your Facebook and Twitter peeps and your odds will improve 3X.  #CyclingGiveaway my friends.

More about all of this here.

Recent and Upcoming Reviews

Since you last received one of these Reviews and Deals posts, I’ve posted the following reviews:

Mavic Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Clincher – A Strong Performer At A Good Price – Mavic has finally joined the all-carbon wheelset peloton with their 40mm deep Cosmic Pro Carbon SL Clincher.  Here’s my review.

Zipp 404 NSW – A Top Pick For Flat Road Races, Crits, TTs or Breakaways – Despite the similarities in name, the new Zipp 404 NSW and Zipp 404 Firecrest are quite different wheelsets.  Read about how the 404 NSW performs.

Prime RP-38 – Capable Carbon All-Arounders For The Budget Minded – When the Prime line of carbon and alloy wheelsets for rim and disc brake bikes in shallow through aero depths were introduced in the summer of 2016, it got my attention.  I don’t remember such a wide range of products becoming available from a new brand all at once.  This is my review of the brand’s carbon all-arounder.

Some Of The Best Summer Cycling Kit – You know when you have a lousy kit, but do you know when you are wearing a good one?  And do you know how good it can get and how much difference it can make, especially on those hot days when we spend so much of our time riding? Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, those days may be far from memory now but some of this gear will be on sale this holiday season.

Which Bike Stores Should You Shop At This Holiday Season – Every few months or so I do a complete review and update of my Best Online Bike Store Ratings.  Seeing that we are heading into the crazy holiday shopping season, I thought it would be good to do an update now.

How to Win This Years Best Really Big Cycling Giveaway – Would you enter a cycling giveaway where you win just by participating and where the prizes include hundreds of dollars/pounds/euros of gift vouchers and bikes?  See above.

Phew.  See what I mean.  A lot of going on.  Thanks to my cycling club friend and fellow tester Nate who has been reviewing some of these wheels along with me and adding an A level (really, really fast!) enthusiasts perspective to mine (uhhhh…. not nearly as fast).

We’re working on some really exciting reviews now, at least judging from what they’ve felt like on the road and as I’m writing them up.  Here’s the list, roughly in order of when they’ll come out.

The Best Power Meters for Enthusiasts – Finally, long over due, before Black Friday (unless I get run over), I will publish my review to help you sort through all that’s out there and pick a road cycling enthusiast suitable power meter.  I’m nearly finished writing it so I know it’s coming and I like how it’s coming together.  Thanks for your patience.

Prime RP-28 Disc – A carbon disc brake wheelset for under $1000.  What performance do you get when you buy a low priced wheelset in this new category?

Stans ZTR Avion Disc Pro – The high zoot carbon disc brake wheelset from the tubeless pioneering shop Stans No Tubes.  Looks great; how do they perform?

A Cycling Club’s Approach to Cycling Safety – A look at what one cycling club is doing to respond to a very serious bike-car crash involving a club member and several fatal ones to other riders in the area.  Perhaps something that your club can learn from?

A Few Of My Favorite Things 2016 – My annual review of the best of the best cycling gear from all of this year’s reviews.

Zipp 303 NSW – We’re riding it now and so far…. The question is, will Nate and I ever finish riding it and be willing to write a review, which means we’ll have to send it back (: ?

The Best Spring and Fall Kit – It’s been a great couple months to test out some of the best kit for riding in the cooler weather before and after the summer.  We’re putting kits from Assos, Castelli, Gore, Santini and Sportful through their paces now and we’ll have some recommendations for you at the end of the winter.

Cycling Gear Deals

Starting around now and going through the end of the year you’ll see a lot of bike store promotions and “deals.”  Hard to know sometimes whether you are getting a great deal on first rate gear or a it’s a faux deal – a store just trying to get rid of inventory on meh stuff that didn’t sell during the year.

My task is to sort through all those deals and share with you the best ones around.  In this post I’ll share with you the best deals on great gear or gear you can choose from the four stores that are showing In The Know Cycling readers a lot of love by giving you the chance to win some of the huge gift vouchers I wrote about above.

If you keep an eye out on the home page just under the rotating photos in the area called “Current Deals from Recommended Stores,” you’ll see updates to the list below and good deals from other stores as the calendar moves forward to the end of the year.

For now, check these out:

Competitive Cyclist has new Castelli clothing at 25% off, all Mavic wheels at 20% off, 25% off on current season POC and 20% off on Giordanna kit, 20% off on Sidi shoes and an extra 10% off on Shimano and SRAM components.

Wiggle has started a Christmas competition where you can win your wishlist of gear by finding Santa’s hat. Sounds like a good deal and a bit of fun to me. Go here to join in.

Chain Reaction Cycles is putting out new weekly deals each Thursday that range from lights to waterproof jackets to Dura Ace chainsets to DT Swiss wheels. There are some good deals in there if you need some of this gear.

Because of the already discounted prices during the Black Friday period at ProBikeKit, the ITK10 code is temporarily suspended.  It will soon return with 10% off everything in the store up to USD-$60, CAD-$80, GBP-£45, EUR-€60, AUD-$80 exclusively for In The Know Cycling readers.

Of course, you can always find the best deals on gear I’ve recommended from stores with great customer satisfaction ratings by clicking through the links in the column to the right.  You’ll also find the best deals on all the gear I’ve reviewed in the posts themselves.

As a reminder, when you click on and buy at many of the stores with red links on the site or click on and buy anything at all at eBay Cycling or Amazon, a small amount comes back to support the creation of reviews you see on this site. You can also support the site by making a contribution here using your credit card or Paypal account.

If you click the follow link on the bottom right of your screen you’ll get an e-mail when new posts come out.  You can also get posts sent to your RSS reader and follow In The Know Cycling updates on Twitter and Facebook by using the buttons in the column to your right.

That covers it for now.  Thanks.

9 comments

  • I know I am getting old so perhaps you have posted something and I am not seeing it, but quoting from above:
    “The Best Power Meters for Enthusiasts – Finally, long over due, before Black Friday (unless I get run over), I will publish my review to help you….”

    Just checking in to ask if you are OK ?

  • No worries Steve, its a busy time of year!

    I spent the summer and fall reading the power meter reviews on DCRainmaker’s site, and had narrowed it down to:
    – 4iiii @ $500
    – Stages @ $580
    – Garmin Vector 2 pedals @ $800-$1000 (wait for REI sale)
    – PowerTap P1 pedals @ $1020-$1200 (on sale now $1020)
    – Pioneer crankset @ $1000 (kinda useless without Pioneer bike computer)

    After reading your 2015 power meter review, I decided to stop overthinking single versus dual-sided and picked up the Stages for my Ultegra 6800 crankset. A couple of reasons for choosing it – low price, mature product, easy install (swap out left crank arm). The kicker for me – only $80 more than 4iiii and I’m really interested in Stages’ announcement of Dash bike computer and Link training platform, built on Today’s Plan (TrainingPeaks competitor). From the looks of it, really shaping up to be a better training platform than TrainingPeaks and Edge 520. Bonus points that our gym has the Stages SC3 stationary bikes with the same power meters.

    Very happy with the Stages power meter after 5 weeks of riding with it, and no issues at all.

  • Dear Steve,

    I see the FLO 30 Wheels are now available again. I created an account and put two wheels in my shopping chart. I still have to conform the order but this seems easier then I read before. Is this an issue that is now in the past of do people still have a lot of trouble ordering them?

    Kind regards, Jeroen

    • Jeroen, Apparently it’s not an issue for you today! I don’t follow them closely but I’m not aware that they have changed their pre-order model. You may have just gone to the site during a period when they have a little inventory of this wheelset. Steve

  • Ok. Great! Thanks. And in the meantime your opinion about their quality has not changed? It will cost me about 200 dollar extra to get them here (the Netherlands) because of tax and shipping. But I think it is worth it, don’t you?

    • Jeroen, I don’t recommend them anymore because of how difficult it can be to buy them. I haven’t reviewed them in a couple years so, assuming they are being built the same way, my view of their performance and quality would not have changed. I think there’s more options now (the ones I review in my Upgrade post) but they are still a good value without the added shipping cost, if not the best performers. I think the Bortola are a better value if you have to pay extra shipping for the FLO. Steve

  • Hi Steve. Thanks again for all your great work here. I just wanted to let you know that I was searching for some Zipp wheels today on ProBikeKit.com and came up empty. Apparently, if you are in the USA, you can no longer purchase any more Zipp brand products from any UK online retailer! I confirmed this on Wiggle, Merlin and ChainReactionCycles. (FYI, Merlin still has Zipp products that you can search, but you can’t check out with them from your cart. Wiggle, CRC and PRK have NOTHING on any Zipp search.) Do you know the reason? This is a real bummer, since I have gotten some great prices on Zipp products in the past from UK retailers. Thanks! Steve

    • Steve, SRAM, parent of Zipp began enforcing or newly established geo-specific agreements with distributors and stores carrying their product. This evens the playing field somewhat as UK/EU residents have to pay a 17% value added tax on top of those low prices.

      So as you dicovered you can’t buy Zipp from UK stores now. I recently began listing recommended stores for Zipp and other geo-restricted products by region in the sidebar for recommended products and in the reviews for others.

      Steve

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