What?! Another blog entry so quickly? I know, it’s amazing and also a thing called scheduling. I’m trying it out, so don’t think I’m just going to start posting on here every day or something like that 😉
Alright, so we talked about rear derailleurs in my last post. Rear derailleurs seem to be the majority of the cause of shifting issues due to the whole pesky derailleur hanger and the fact that rear wheels seem to get a lot of things caught in them. Also, bikes tip over pretty easily or get placed on their drive-sides way too often in transport.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t a fair share of front derailleur issues. Ever have a chain fall off mid shift or mid ride? Yeah, that was likely your front derailleur misbehaving. Those pesky buggers are what keep the chain from going too far inside or outside on the crank’s chain rings. There’s also this new way that Shimano has you setting up much of the newer road and mountain bike front derailleurs that make mechanics want to tear their hair out when doing new bike assemblies or doing a drive train update on a bike.
Ever try to place a 1cm square piece of metal with an even smaller piece of double-sided tape on the back of it on a very specific spot on a bike frame in a very tight spot? Yeah, it sucks. I have tiny hands and I still have to use a tweezers, a 2mm hex wrench, and sacrifice a gallon of cold brew to the cycling gods to hope I don’t drop the damn thing for the 1000th time.
Needless to say front derailleurs are not my favorite. LONG LIVE 1x! Well, unless you live in an area with mountains or in the Driftless region of Wisconsin like I do, then you learn to love your double chain rings, no matter how many times you swore when you were assembling your new bike.
Luckily I’m not the one doing the educating on how to set up a front derailleur, I’ll leave that up to our friends at Park Tool and trusty Calvin. The man I’ve had to utilize on many a tricky repair to get me out of the weeds.
This video goes over how to properly set up and adjust a front derailleur. I should advise that this video doesn’t go over the newer installation of the Shimano front derailleurs with its evil tiny metal squares for frame protection, but they do have a more in depth guide that they link to in this video if you are in need.
Hopefully this will help you in order to keep your chain from falling off mid ride or at least get you to ride safely until you can bring your bike to your favorite mechanic for further diagnosis or repair.
I’ll keep posting resources like these for additional common bike issues that can be tackled by even the most novice of cyclists.
Derailleur adjustments and knowing how to do brake adjustments are great places to start in your D.I.Y. efforts to become a better bike mechanic. Stay tuned for more awesome resources on how to keep yourself riding!
Stay safe and sane everyone and…EAT WELL, BIKE OFTEN!
I’ve heard it thousands of times from patrons walking into my bike shop. “My gears are messed up.” or “I can’t shift into my ___ gear.” or “My chain shifted into my wheel.” Usually it’s some complaint about gears not working on the bike and the person not knowing what to look for, how to fix it, or even understanding how gears work on a bike.
I figured it would be a good time to share some of my favorite resources on how to do a little D.I.Y. maintenance to save riders from a trip to the bike shop or at least be able to do a quick adjustment while out on a ride until they can visit their favorite bike mechanic!
Park Tool has one of THE most comprehensive repair guides they print annually as well as an amazing YouTube channel that covers almost any problem a cyclist can come into contact with on a bike.
This particular video shows the famous Calvin of Park Tool explaining in depth on how to properly set up and adjust a rear derailleur on a bike. The rear derailleur is in charge of moving the chain up and down the rear cassette or freewheel on a bike for the smaller, incremental gear changes that happen on a bike.
The shifter located on the right hand side (if you are located in the US at least) is what is connected to the derailleur via a long cable that is enclosed in a length of housing on the bike.
I’ll just go ahead and save you some reading and post a link to the video as it is incredibly helpful for the budding mechanic.
Part of me posting this is that I’ve been considering hosting one on work basic mechanic workshops this winter to encourage more women-trans-femme and BICPOC (black, indigenous, people of colour) folx to learn mechanical skills.
The cycling industry has traditionally only catered to cis-gendered white men, which has not only been represented in much of the cycling marketing, but also has been the primary base of employees found at bike shops.
The world is finally catching on that just as many women want to ride and that cycling is an activity that all folx can enjoy. Representation at the shop level is important and fosters a greater community of riders.
With the off-season rapidly approaching I hope to share more in this series and continue some of my reviews of mass produced cycling bags as I think it’s nice to have information out there on more commonly found products as there’s a lot of info on high priced-niche market bags.
Nothing wrong with those options, but not everyone has access to them! Stay tuned and I hope everyone is staying safe and sane.
As a bike shop manager it would be sacrilegious if I didn’t adhere to the N+1 methodology of bike ownership. That’s why when I saw the release of the Topstone Carbon line up, I knew I had to get one.
My shop already had been selling the Topstone Alloy models like hotcakes, so it didn’t surprise me to see Cannondale’s take on an all carbon gravel/any road machine. When the bike first dropped it was hotly debated on a lot of the bike blogs and YouTube channels I follow. I wanted to give the bike a fair chance before writing any sort of review on it. Read on knowing I’ve hit the 500mile mark on the bike just a couple of days ago.
It’s easy to play keyboard warrior about a product without having actually spent real miles on the bike. Snap judgements on the suspension, geometry, tire size, and some of proprietary components seemed to get people all worked up. I’m not sure why, because all of those are fairly minimal issues. This is my first ever Cannondale I’ve owned and was excited to try something new!
Originally I was settled on the “women’s” (I put women’s in air quotes because Cannondale actually uses a unisex style of geometry between the men’s and women’s bikes with the women’s bikes starting at smaller sizes. They also have a wider saddle, shorter stems, and narrower handlebars.) Topstone RX 2 model, but our rep had told me how happy he was with the upgrades of the Ultegra RX model, so I took his advice. It doesn’t hurt that the colour scheme of the RX model also reminded me of the British Racing Green Jaguars I always loved.
The bike has a classic, clean line aesthetic with a modern twist. Adding the skin wall tires with some of my added accessories I think it looks rather smart as the Brits say.
Integrated, 1.5″ lower to 1-1/8″ upper w/ reducer, 25mm Alloy top cap
HollowGram Sealed Bearing, straight pull, 12×100
HollowGram 22, 22mm deep, 25mm ID, tubeless ready
Stainless steel, 14g
WTB Riddler TCS Light, 700 x 37c, tubeless ready
Changes I’ve made:
Stem- swapped to a lighter and shorter Cannondale take off we had at the shop. I went from a 100 down to an 80 (I think, haven’t confirmed that- going off memory.)
PRO TIP! If you are looking at the women’s models, note they come with a shorter stem than the men’s/unisex models and Cannondale has not put what stem lengths they use on their spec sheet for some reason. (It could be buried somewhere and I just haven’t found it yet?)
Handlebar- Took off the flared 40 drops and put on a 40 Giant Contact SL road bar with a shorter reach and drop with no flare. Flared bars just aren’t my jam really. I like this particular bar as it came stock on my Liv Avail Advanced Pro 1 and I love the fit and feel of that bike. I’ve been happy with my decision thus far and would consider upgrading to carbon down the line just to dampen the front end of the bike a bit.
Bar tape- Stock bar tape is usually pretty crap, not always, but often times it’s cheapo and I end up swapping it with something more cushy as I’m not a fan of wearing gloves when I ride all that much. I went with the Brooks Cambium Rubber Bar Tape in the tan colour that matches the skin wall tires.
Saddle- I have to have a cutout in my saddles and I found a Specialized Ruby on eBay for a good price. That’s historically been my favorite road saddle although Ergon and the new 2021 Liv & Giant saddles are also pretty damn awesome. I’ll keep this on for now, but may experiment if I can get my hands on something else to try.
Pedals- I took the Crank Brothers Candy’s off my Krampus and swapped them on. They still remain my favorite walkable cleat/2 bolt style pedals. They are just easy to use and maintain. Shed mud like champs and look good as well.
Bags- I transferred my Blackburn Outpost Elite seat pack to this bike and use the Topeak Fuel Tank Large on my top tube, although I am testing the Blackburn bolt on top tube bag, stay tuned for that review in my production bag review series!
Cycling computer- Giant Neostrack as a back up if/when Strava may fail. I haven’t paired the Cannondale made by Garmin sensor as of yet. TBH it’s not really a feature I care too much about. Maybe if I didn’t already have a bunch of sensors and computers and stuff, it could be a cool option. I just haven’t seen the need to use it.
The changes I made to the bike helped me dial in the fit to just about perfect for me. I’ve used the bike for everything from commuting to work, riding easy single track, bike packing, gravel grinding, and medium distanced road rides (30-40 miles).
I’ll admit that the bike did take some getting used to. At first the addition of a rear suspension element with the Kingpin design felt odd. Now it almost feels strange to ride a bike without it as I’ve come accustom to it smoothing road noise and chatter out for me.
I can say with confidence that if you are looking for an absolutely stiff carbon racing machine, this isn’t that bike. That’s ok though. It’s still impressively responsive and I’ve hit multiple Strava PR’s on this bike. It climbs well, it has amazing traction on just about any surface you throw at it, especially going down hill on sketchy gravel, grass, or dirt trails.
That’s really what I feel the Kingpin excels at, keeping your rear wheel under control. You can’t really tell that you are getting activation of the Kinpin until you realize on other bikes that riding that same line would feel sketchy without it. It’s greatly confidence inspiring and I feel that if someone were looking for a bike that could pull double duty as a cyclocross race machine, this bike would be a great option.
For someone who is newer to off road or multi-surface riding this bike would be a great option as the components are so well spec’d on it that you wouldn’t feel the need to upgrade to something nicer/lighter down the road.
Shimano’s new Ultegra GRX is stellar. The shifting is crisp, reliable, and responsive as always and the new clutch on the derailleur keeps the chain from popping off even on the roughest patches of gravel or dirt.I’ve really enjoyed the Hallowgram carbon wheels set up with the WTB Riddler tires tubeless. I’ve run a myriad of tire pressures and have yet to have any issues. I have been considering putting a 40c smooth tread tire on to replace the Riddlers, but they’ve been performing well and I loved the Riddler on my full suspension MTB, so it makes sense that I’d like the gravel version as well.Smooth enough to ride roads and just enough tread to rock some loose dirt and gravel. Cornering on pavement has felt great with them as well. I’ll likely continue to beat the heck out of them until they’ve given up the ghost and then likely swap to a smooth tread to gain a little more speed on pavement.
The Hallowgram crankset feels great as well. Shifting has been flawless and the gear ratio feels great. Obviously on flats or downhills I could stand to go a little bigger on the larger chain ring, but then I realize I’m able to climb more with the existing ratios and in the Driftless region of Wisconsin we all know how important climbing gears are to get up steep rollers.
Going back to some things I mentioned at the top of this post in regards to the internet trolls bashing some of the design features of this bike, I really haven’t had any issues with the proprietary designs.
When building the bike I did have to pull the crank and re-assemble it (following the guidelines of washer patterns and such) and had to torque things down a little past recommended spec to get everything to tighten up with no play, but so far it’s not been an issue. Loctite is also your friend when it comes to pressfit bb’s, just saying.
I made sure to double check the torque spec on the Kingpin as it is a bearing system and it did need a little more oomph than how it came out of the factory. So far I have 500 miles on it with no noise.
The thing I think upset most people was the asymmetrical drop out design. The rear wheel is not hot swappable with other wheels because it is dished 6mm to allow the drive side to be pushed over. This means that technically you have a stronger wheel as each spoke is evenly tensioned in the center of the rim.
Heed the warnings and just make sure if you want to use a different wheel set or say a 650b wheel that you get it custom laced and built so it has that proper 6mm dish. Generally a factory built or pre-built wheel isn’t going to have enough threads on the spokes to just be able to simply take a pre-existing wheel and make it work. That’s not to say that it absolutely can’t be done, but it likely won’t work, so just work with your local bike shop or professional wheel builder to talk about your options.
In relation to the wheel issue, many people complained that 700x40c wasn’t wide enough for a gravel bike. This bit kind of blew my mind because it wasn’t that long ago that everyone was riding 700x23c on their road bikes and 32c was considered a wide tire!Oh how things have changed. I suppose if you want to go monster cross/ultimate back road adventure machine, sure. A wider tire would be nice, but you can put 650b wheels on the Topstone Ultegra RX and run up to a 48c width, which is damn near close to what people are riding on the Great Divide Race these days.Personally I’m fine with 40c being the max width. If you really want that much clearance there are plenty of other bikes on the marketplace or just buy a 29er hard tail and call it a day.Much of what people have been complaining about or judging on this bike is just rubbish. Many people who probably have never even swung a leg over one and just want to complain because Cannondale uses a proprietary bb. So what, you can always order a spare as a back up if you are that worried about it.
Yes, it would be nice if all bikes came with threaded bottom brackets, but standards are ever changing and that’s because bike design is ever evolving and pushing the limits of geometry and fitting wide tires on without the bike riding like crap.
I find myself grabbing my Topstone Carbon Ultegra RX the most often out of my fleet because it’s just so fun to ride. It’s the bike that if I’m not sure where I want to go, I take it because there’s a good chance I’ll end up on some gravel or crappy rural roads that need repaving. I know the bike will provide a smooth and comfortable ride no matter where I go with it.The fact that the bike has three bottle mounts, fork mounts, and plenty of room for gear storage is also wonderful. It makes setting up things for a bike overnight a breeze.
If you were to pick one bike to have in your garage, it should be this one or something damn near like it. With smooth treaded tires you can easily keep up with a road group ride, you can do a gravel or rail trail ride, you can do some singletrack or urban cross on it, you could race a ‘cross season on it, you can adventure with it, and be comfortable while doing all of that.
My one sort of note on single track is that it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to invest in a dropper post if you are planning on trying to do more of that style of riding on the bike. Rocks, roots, etc. as I found that I get caught on my saddle a lot on this bike on single track and generally have had to slam the seatpost down to make it easier to clear that sketchy stuff.
Obviously there’s a weight penalty with a dropper, but it would make this bike legendary. I am also excited to see about trying the 2021 model with the lefty front suspension. I’m sure it’s an absolute blast to ride.
Personally I think the Cannondale Topstone Carbon line has been seriously underrated and I think it’s because people seem to hold a grudge against Cannondale for pushing the limits of bike design and technology. They aren’t doing what other big brands do where they are copying designs, they are focusing on doing what they do best in pushing the limits of what we expect a bike to be or what a bike should look like.
I fully acknowledge that Cannondale wasn’t the first nor will they be the last brand to adopt a rear suspension design on a bike, but I like their take on it more than say T*** as it’s not just an elastomer that ends up changing the actual reach on the bike.
Now I’m going to sound like a hater, but I’ve not been impressed with how some of their gravel/any road type bikes have ridden. Granted I’ve only ridden the alloy versions, but it’s still a valid opinion.
That’s one thing I’ve always appreciated about a brand like Cannondale. They aren’t afraid to be a little different, but still hold mass appeal and well known lineage with their brand.
Riding down the Badger State Trail
Another view of the updated handlebars.
Getting that lactic acid buildup out of my legs mid-ride.
Pit stop in Cross Plains, WI
Specialized Ruby Saddle
First commute home.
Assym chain stains
More fun on the Badger State Trail
At $4200 retail the Cannondale Topstone Carbon Ultegra RX holds a wealth of value. Full carbon frame, carbon wheels, Hallogram crank, tons of mounting options, a carbon seat post, built in rear suspension, tubeless ready, dropper capable, and great aesthetics to top it off. The price point is a little higher than some of the other competitors in the market, but the ride quality and weight of the bike really sets it apart.
I fully think the purchase price is worth it when you look at comparable bikes on the marketplace. The level of technology and design that went into this bike is impressive and am happy to say as a first time Cannondale owner, I’m happy with my decision to buy.
As always I was not in any way, shape, or form asked to write a review about this bike from Cannondale or anyone else. I do not benefit from the writing reviews other than hopefully helping other folks make informed decisions.
I plan on doing a follow up review once I’ve had the bike for a full year and some additional mileage on it to update on any issues that may arise. Hopefully there won’t be any as so far, so good.
In a land of seemingly endless options of independent makers and custom bag companies, why would anyone want or need a stock production bag?
I’m here to dive into the world of production cycling bags including top tube bags, seat bags, and handlebar bags. Starting with one of my all-time favorites, Topeak’s Fuel Tank (large).
Topeak has been in the cycling game for nearly 30 years. They’ve been known for their iconic Joe Blow series pumps, but have since branched out to everything from bike repair tools to bags to cycling computers, saddles, repair stands, racks, lights, and more.
I had to do some background research Topeak as it’s not apparent where they are based. A little search engine sleuthing brought me to a profile on Bicycle Retailer’s website stating that Topeak is a Taiwanese based company.
It makes sense. Taiwan is the world’s hub of cycling manufacturing. State of the art facilities with both factories and design firms are sprinkled throughout the country. If you’ve ever purchased a bike or cycling product, it was likely either manufactured or designed in Taiwan.
Based off the design and aesthetics, part of me assumed Topeak was German based. Maybe it’s the fact that Topeak and Ergon (saddle & grip company) have been so closely linked as they have co-sponsored professional cycling teams.
Anyway, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here because every time I post a photos of one of my bikes with the Fuel Tank I’m asked by someone what type of bag it is.
The Fuel Tank is a masterfully designed bag. The outside texture is a rubberized finish with a carbon like pattern. You can see in the above photo the texture and stitching is high quality.
The bag is made in two size options. I opted for the large as it can fit even the largest of phones with loads of room to spare. The size specs are below courtesy of Topeak’s website:
Topeak states that the bag is made out of a 420 denier nylon and PVC combination.
While the outside of the bag is a sleek matte black, the inside is Topeak’s signature yellow. I’m always a fan of bags that have bright interiors so you can actually see what’s inside. The bag has an included padded hook and loop divider. You can see on the left side of the bag I utilized that to create a little holder for my lip balm. This makes it easy to find and be able to grab it one handed while cruising along while riding.
The right hand side of the bag has a large mesh pocket, Topeak suggests a battery bank or something similar can be placed here on their website. All of my battery banks are too large to fit in there, but I stash things like my minimalist wallet or nutrition gels in there. It also works well for stashing a mask since we are in COVID19 times as I write this.
To provide a bit of the scope of size for this bag I can comfortably fit the following:
iPhone 8 with case
Rav Power 20k milliamp battery bank
usb micro cord
Apple lightening cord
several hydration mixes (I usually carry either a tube of Nuun or 3-4 powder packets)
2 nutrition bars (RX Bars or Clif/Luna)
a portable peanut butter packet (RX nut butter or Justins)
a packet of chamois cream (Hoo Ha Ride Glide)
portable hand sanitizer
+ more room to spare
You can fit a TON in this bag and then some. It’s one of the largest top tube bags I’ve seen on the market without being a custom product.
One of my favorite features of the Fuel Tank is the fact that you can pass a charging cable through the bag on the left hand side. This means that if you use a GPS, smartphone, or need to juice a light on the go you have the option to run a cable up to that devise while your battery bank stays safely tucked inside the bag.
I’ve only had to use this feature once on a bike camping overnight as I forgot to charge my cycling computer before I left home and it was awesome to be able to have that option without having to leave the zipper of the bag slightly open at the top.
The cable pass-thru placement allows you to tuck the cable out of the way and not jiggle around on the bag.
Another feature I love about this bag is it’s essentially waterproof. The rubberized material around the entire bag paired with the thickly padded, structure, and the waterproof zipper with a zipper garage ensures your electronics and other sundries stay dry.
I can attest to this as I got absolutely drenched last summer on my bike camping outing with Bell Joy Ride Madison. You can read my write up or watch my vlog about the trip in earlier posts on the blog.
As far as attaching the bag to a bike. I’ve been able to successfully attach it to every bike in my stable, including my large carbon tubed Topstone Carbon, which is notoriously difficult to put a strap style bag on- hence their top tubes have drilled attachment points for direct mount bag systems.
There’s a small bit of wear on the bottom of the bag, but it’s still in wonderful condition!
The retail on the Topeak Fuel Tank Large is around $50 depending on where you purchase it. I’m sure you can find some sale prices online, but always recommend checking with your LOCAL BIKE SHOP to support them.
I purchased this item with my own money via my bike shop employer. I was not asked by them or Topeak to write this review and don’t receive any monetary compensation from writing said review.
Honestly, this is one of the highest quality production bags I’ve owned and used during my many years as a cyclist. I’ve had the bag for going on two years now and it has yet to fail me or let me down.
I’m always impressed by the amount of items you can carry in the bag and have never had one returned for any reason at my place of work upon recommending the bag to customers.
Topeak has a home-run on their hands with the Fuel Tank and hope they continue to keep making the product for years to come!
That’s all for this write up. Be on the lookout for write-ups on some of Blackburn’s production bags! I’ve also been plugging away at a video review for my Cannondale Topstone Carbon RX, but have had some issues with audio. Stay tuned as I’ll likely release a write up prior to the video.
Gear hording is something I feel is inevitable once you start getting into any hobby. This has been the case for me with cycling primarily, but as of late I’ve been re-assessing my camping and bike-packing gear as well.
I used to bike camp with heavy tents, a heavy cook pot that could be used on top of a fire, a heavy inflatable mattress, and a sleeping bag that barely fit inside my panniers. It was fun at the time because I was 23 and my body could recover from putting in lots of miles fully loaded over a weekend.
I’m 34 now and while I’m still very active, it’s more difficult to have the enthusiasm to lug 20-30 lbs of gear, food, and water on my bike. With age has come experience on nice, lightweight bikes and more disposable income to invest in lighter gear.
The other reason for my foray into ultralight gear comes two fold. The first is that I’m limited by the size of my bike. I ride a small or 51cm usually across the board on most bikes, so space is an issue. I don’t have the luxury of being able to have a large inner triangle bag or even a large seat bag because I often fun into tire clearance issues.
I have to pack intelligently and make use of every cubic inch I can get, while making sure I have all the amenities to stay safe and comfortable on a trip.
The second is that I’d like to get into section and thru hiking. A bucket list goal for me is to hike the JMT (John Muir Trail or as indigenous folx call Nuumu Poyo) which is 500 miles of grand, challenging beauty off of the Pacific Crest Trail.
My gear would serve double duty and carrying gear on a bike is a much different experience than carrying it on your back and own two legs.
This is where the Klymit Inertia Ozone comes in. I’ve been a fan of Klymit since purchasing their insulated Static V pad a few years back. It was much more comfortable than the previous pads I had used. The shape and design of the baffles provides a good night’s sleep and you can sleep in just about any position and be comfortable.
The downside of this pad is it’s bulky and HEAVY. It works well for my car camping excursions or even as a temporary bed when crashing at a friend’s house, but it’s not something I want to lug around several miles on my bike or back.
I actually have ditched sleeping pads pretty much all together as a hammock camper, but I had heard that the Ozone was a pretty decent alternative to carrying an under-quilt.
What makes the Ozone unique compared to other sleeping pads is the strategically removed material on the pad. The holes provide a way for bags to loft and fill the void for a warm and comfortable sleep. The mat also features an integrated, inflatable pillow!
I’ve always been a fan of the Thermarest camp pillows with their shredded memory foam. Super soft and cozy, but they do not stay in place well when you’re tent or ground camping.
Klymit’s website claims a 12.2 oz weight for the Ozone. I weighed mine with stuff suck and the included repair kit and it came out to an even 14oz. I haven’t taken the time to weigh it on it’s own as I’m not going to go full weight weenie about it. A sub 1lb. pad is pretty damn good.
The Inertia Ozone also caught my attention because of the price. Thermarest’s widely loved ultralite pads are pricey, even if you can find them on sale. I’m sure for as much use as they get on a long distance trip, the cost is actually not all that bad. I just knew that I wanted to stay within a certain price point and Klymit fit the bill.
Full disclosure, I actually found out that Klymit sells refurbished products through eBay at a fraction of the cost of what they sell for on their website. Now I’ll say that for something like electronics or a high dollar purchase, I’d almost never go the refurbished route because the warranties on them are pretty bad.
I’m sure people have had perfectly good experiences with products like this, but I just can’t afford to not be able to buy something for several hundred or even thousands of dollars and know the company may not back it because it’s a refurb.
Since this was a $40-45 purchase, I was willing to take that risk. Klymit is very transparent with their refurbished product process. It’s items they often get on return either from retailers or individuals who purchased from them directly. They could be absolutely new in packaging still, but they test every product that comes back and if there is an issue, they will fully repair it, test it again, and if it passes it goes on their eBay site.
Normally I’d try to purchase either from a local retailer or from the company directly via various channels, but with COVID19 and the fact that I wasn’t able to find a local retailer that had it readily for purchase on their websites, I went the eBay route.
The stuff sack of the pad actually has a stamp on it stating it is a refurbished item. Which goes to show they at least took the time to take a look at the product. A little peace of mind goes a long way.
When I received the pad I first disinfected the mouth pieces with some Lysol and a dose of iso-alcohol. Can’t be to careful! I blew up the body of the pad, which only took maybe 5 full breathes. I then inflated the pillow, which also only took a few full breathes.
I discovered it’s actually better to leave the pillow slightly under inflated as it cradles your head a little better and is more comfortable.
The body of the Ozone has an ergonomic shape to it. You can see in the photos how it has almost a wave in the body. I found this to be quite comfortable. One of my primary complaints about sleeping pads is that when on my back, I get some lower back and hip pain as I have a anterior pelvic tilt. Usually side or stomach sleeping is more comfortable for me because of this, but I actually didn’t feel that usual twinge of pain while on this pad. I actually slept on the pad in one of my tents for two nights and had successfully fell asleep on my back and stayed there for several hours before changing positions.
I used the pad in two different ways. The first was laying my sleeping bag (a Marmot Trestle Elite 30 degree women’s bag) on top of the pad. The second night I put the pad inside the bag and slept that way.
Both options worked, but I did feel cramped having the pad inside the bag. I admittedly don’t like sleeping in mummy bags. I’m a warm sleeper and like to sleep in several different positions depending on how my body is feeling. I only really like mummy bags for when the temps drop and I need to warm up quickly in the middle of the night.
Because of this, I’ve decided to invest in a quilt from a big name outdoors brand, but I’ll save that for another post!
The length and width of the pad felt good for me. I’m 5′ 5″ and usually weight anywhere from 175-185. My body has always hovered between those two weights pretty consistently over the past few years. I’ve been down to 169, but had to really work on tracking everything going into my body and working out 4-5 times a week to maintain that. Which was pretty exhausting on top of my already pretty taxing job.
For me the pad feels comfortable. I don’t know how it would be for someone larger or taller, but have seen reviews from folks in the 6ft range saying they enjoy it as well.
In addition to sleeping on the pad in two different sleeping bag configurations, I also slept on the pad one night with the pillow just as is and the next night actually doubled the pillow over to add more loft to it and position my head up a little more. I actually ended up even sticking my puffy jacket under my head and then using a long sleeve camp shirt under the pillow as well to add more loft. I snore if I sleep on my back and my head is too low, so I have to prop my head up a little more to help avoid that. It worked well and I was comfortable.
I tried to simulate how I would sleep if in a tent or had to set my hammock up in a ground configuration. I have not yet tried the pad in an actual hammock. I plan on doing that soon to see if it will work for me. I have used my old Static V before, but it usually slides around too much, so I’m usually a just sleep with a bag, a pillow, and the hammock kind of person.
To test the level of deflation I left the pad out for an additional two days after the two nights I slept on it. The pad still was holding air, but I did need to puff another large breath in the body of the pad to get it firmed back up, but that’s to be expected when you are breathing warm air into something that is getting exposed to cooler air temps at night and also left unattended for a couple of days.
So far I’m happy with my purchase and am excited to field test it beyond my living room. I think Klymit does a good job with designing their products and offering something unique to what other brands are doing on the market.
They seem to have great customer service based off the interactions I’ve seen on YouTube and Instagram. They also shipped my pad to me almost instantly after I made my purchase through eBay.
Once I’m able to give the pad a try in a hammock setting and get some more nights of sleeping on it, I’d love to do a video and another update!
I was not in any way approached by Klymit to write this review of their product, nor was I paid to write about their products. Any links in this post are for consumer research purposes, I’m not getting any affiliate kickbacks for linking out to eBay or Klymit’s own website.
I paid for this product with my own money and was not given any product for free to review.
If you like this overview, please check out the rest of the blog on the site. I have other reviews and overviews for camping and cycling products.
I also have some videos on YouTube.com/spokehaven for your viewing pleasure. Content has been a little slower to produce at the moment as I’m working for an essential business (a bike shop) and we’ve been getting absolutely crushed by the demand for tune ups, repairs, and new bike purchases. An awesome problem to have, but we’re all pretty exhausted at the end of our work days.
I’m trying to utilize my couple of days off to just have a little mental health breather, but miss putting out content. I’ll work on finding a happy medium.
As always you can see what I’m up to in real-time on Instagram @spokehaven
Thanks for reading as always and I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy!