When it comes to cycling shoes, there is a wide variety on the market today. Everything is covered, from SPD sandals to the more exotic Italian leather $400 race shoes. Normally, I believe that you get what you pay for with cycling gear. Fortunately for us frugal folks, when it comes to shoes though, that is not the case.
Mainly in the protective gear buisness, 661 offers a wide variety of products for cycling and motorcross enthusiasts. Out of all of their products, their Expert shoe stands above the rest of the crowd, especially in terms of price and durability.
For starters, I bought these shoes for $50 in 2008. Yes, the shoes above are from 2008. I mentioned durability above, remember? These shoes have been everywhere, west coast to east coast, and places in between. I cannot even begin to think of how many miles are on them. Everything feels like it should with this shoe: Light enough for serious cyclists; a solid, mud shedding tread pattern; options for different cleats and pedals. For $50, this is one of the best deals that I have ever encountered.
A few things that I have found in my four years with them:
First, they are marketed as a SPD style shoe. This is correct, but with a small fault. The tread pattern needs to be shaved away to give proper clearance with the pedal. Nothing that a sharp object and 10 minutes can’t fix, but it does need to be mentioned. Another thing that I found myself wanting was a ratchet strap across the top to tighten up the fit. Again, nothing major, the two straps on my model hold the shoe to my foot quite nicely, and I have never slipped out of the shoe on a ride. It appears that 661 has added another strap, to give the shoe three on the newer model, probably tightening that issue just a bit. Those are my only gripes though. Not bad for a $50 shoe!
Sure, it is not the flashiest shoe on the market and also an entry level shoe, but for $50 it is definitely worth the price. Check them out at the links above, I dare you to find a better deal! I am still wearing mine after four years!
While waiting for a certain rear rack to come back into stock, I turned my consumer attention towards saddlebags for my Brooks B17. Saddlebags seem to be a great option for commuting, and they also seem pretty handy for bike camping. Unfortunately, not too many companies throw out a decent, large quality bag without breaking the bank. That was my thought, until I stumbled onto Banjo Brothers.
Banjo Brothers carries quite a variety of bicycle related bags, including their Minehaha line, which focuses on the older style, canvas bag. This is their “medium” model, which holds 650 cubic in. or 10L if you prefer the metric system. Large enough for a couple spares, my camera, some tools, and some spare clothes. With room for more. I feel that this bag with my small, front panniers on a rack will give the Troll a great bike packing setup for some overnight trips this summer. Now if only I can figure out what to do with my tent…
What sets Banjo Brothers apart from other companies in my opinion though, is their customer service. After receiving my bag in just a couple days, I realized that I was missing the seatpost strap. After a quick “tweet” letting them know the issue, I had my missing link practically the next day. Super fast! You normally don’t get service like that very often.
If you are in the market for a canvas bag, check them out. Quite a bit cheaper in price, but way above and beyond in customer service and quality. They definitely have my business in the future!
Just keep spinning…
After using Blogger for quite some time, I finally hit the point where I needed to move on. With their new layout, I could not get into the flow of things, and since I have been contemplating using WordPress for a while, the time seemed to be right to make the switch. Thankfully, it has been a bit easier than I thought it would be.
Thanks for the start Blogger, it’s not you it’s me. Well, actually, it is you. But anyway…
Thanks for reading this far, please bear with me as I learn this new system.
Just keep spinning…