Monday, March 24, 2008

Green Mariachi Monday...

Remembering why I love it -- Even with my new, red El Mariachi in the house, my green singlespeed '07 El Mariachi never disappoints me when I hop on an pedal, as I did to work today -- it was the only riding I got in for the day. If you're pedaling around an '07 and can't scrape up the spare change to get yourself an '08, don't worry -- you've still got a kick ass ride -- it's definitely still one of my favorite frames ever. The '08 is destined to be another classic rendered in True Temper steel, but the qualities that make '07 great are holding up well despite the arrival of the newer frameset/geometry.

New Casseroll in the family -- Check out EP's new ride. Sweet... It's the first 57cm Casseroll I've seen in-person, and it's large and in charge, with plenty of room for big, fat road or even 'cross tires. Those are 35c Panaracer T-Serv tires on there! Super sweet!! I liked EP's setup so much that I ended up pulling the 'cross tire off the front of Laura's Casseroll and put a 32c Michelin Dynamic on the front to match the 28c Dynamic on the rear. It's a pretty nice setup too. The Dynamic is a heck of a bang-for-the-buck commuting/road tire in Michelin's line, and they're available in a huge range of sizes.

In other news, I recently bought a pair of the Pearl Izumi X-Alp Enduro shoes thinking they'd be nothing more than a pair of commuting shoes, but they've turned out to be a new favorite for my feet, which is quite a surprise, as they're more like running shoes than super-stiff racing cycling shoes. That said, they're ultra-comfortable, are stiff enough for long distance pedaling so far, and they're eminently walkable. And notice how the sole stiffening plate (the orange part of the sole) ends about 3/4-way back? Well, that means the running shoe-style cushioning that's built into the sole is actually able to do its job absorbing shock -- pretty cool. The flex groove just ahead of the cleat also gives the shoe some flex in the forefoot, which is the critical element that helps give it the natural feel when walking.

They're good enough on the bike that I'm actually thinking about giving them a run at TransIowa in April. We'll see if I think the sole is stiff enough to hold up for the better part of 320 miles. It might be time to bring out the carbon fiber... But it's possible these might just be enough, and the comfort factor might put them over the top. Plus, at an MSRP of just $109.95, they're a certifiable steal. Two hook-and-loop fasteners plus a ratcheting buckle make them easy to get on and off the feet. For those not into looking like they're wearing space boots will be into the version that looks just like Pearl Izumi's lace-up trail running shoe, but has the same X-Alp cycling sole -- it's called the X-Alp Seek. I bought a pair for my wife, and she's diggin' 'em. Showen has a pair and likes 'em too. They're even a few bucks less expensive, at $84.99.

I have to admit -- Pearl Izumi has made some significant strides with their shoe line of late. I think their new offering is worthy of standing toe-to-toe with the top offerings from the traditional leaders in the cycling shoe market. Give 'em a look --


Guitar Ted said...

Green Mariachi? Sounds like a Judas Priest song, heh heh! Anyway, that bike in that color just rocks. You are right about the ride of it. Classic comes to mind. I think that those will be sought out in the future as vintage ride of worthiness. But I digress...

Pearl Izumi shoes are pretty cool, but alas! My earth pads are of the narrow variety, so I must choose accordingly. Sidi and Lake seem to keep the tootsies happiest in that regard.

Trans Iowa would be a great place to use those shoes. I think you can never go wrong if you err on the side of comfort in T.I. Just my observation there. Others have done very well with minimalist, efficient equipment, but they paid a high price afterwards. Just something to ponder there.

MG said...


Yeah, I can see it. Musically, and as a cycling classic, the green mariachi ROCKS! And it's in opinions like this that I realize you and I have a lot in common, my friend.

But I see where you and I differ, as far as shoes go.. I've got the long, super narrow feet, so PI's slim-fit works just right for me. That said, they have gotten more generous in the width of their most recent models, so it might be worth trying on their '08 offerings to see if they're a bit more to your liking.

Thanks for the thoughts as far as using the X-Alp shoes on T.I. too... As I rode into work this morning, I was thinking the same thing. I think I'm going to try doing the 6-hour Spoke Pony Showdown in them this weekend, and if all goes well there, I'm going to give 'em a shot at T.I. I think you'll very likely see 'em on my feet, and even when I get a "racier" pair of shoes for the more XC stuff, I'll likely go with another pair of PI shoes, based on my good experience with these. Might as well continue what seems like a good trend, 'eh?

Thanks again Guitar Ted.


Bobby said...

Are you running a spacer under your bottom headset cup?

Guitar Ted said...

bobby, Not sayin' I know, but that could be the King extended baseplate there. I have one sittin' here at my computer and it looks similar.

MG: I think you read my comment the wrong way concerning my feet. I have WAY narrow feet. Pearl shoes are even too wide! :>)

Yeah, my Sidis were ratcheted all the way down and I usually have my Lakes velcroed over so far the straps hang off the side a bit. Anyway, just wanted to clear that up.

Thanks for the great posts! Keep rockin' !

Blogstyle said...

Bobby, I'm guessing that is a King crown race that has some more height built into it. They are primarily for Reba and White brother crowns that would normally hit the bottom of some down tubes on 29ers. Matt must be trying some sort of crazy geometry adjustment...or that was all he had laying around.

MG said...

yep... a king +8mm race it is. actually, it's the ventana version for a king hs. i was trying it to get the front end at the same height as a sagged 85mm reba, but in all honesty, i like it better with a stock king race. i just haven't taken the time to change it back out. it worked well in the slick, icy conditions this winter -- slowed the handling down just a touch.

good eyes though.

oh, and thanks for the clarification guitar ted. i haven't forgotten about ya' either. look for a package on your doorstep soon.


CJ said...


I just bought a pair of thos PI's myself. I went into cycleworks the other day and Butch helped me make the decision. That Butch is an endless wealth of bike information and knowledge!!! I think the PI's have way more width then Shimanos. I wear a EU 45 in most shoes. With the shimanos I had to go to a EU 47 to get them wide enough. And then I had a good 2 inches of extra material hanging off my toes.

I have never tried Lake or Sidi. I bet if I do try them in the future I will have to special order the "wide" varieties.

Peace out

MG said...

you know, it's true cj. i think it's just that it's been so cold out that i haven't stopped wearing thick smartwool socks yet, so they're definitely taking up some volume in the shoes. that's probably a factor.

you're also right in that butch is an endless fountain of knowledge... a good egg.