Gear Review

Ode to ye old Motodivas

In October 2012 I decided to step up to “big girl” mountain bike shoes from my Pearl Izumi hiking shoe styled ones.  A quick look around my local bike shop left me leaving with a pair of Specialized Motodiva shoes, and I quickly fell in love.  I wore them on the bike, I wore them to dinner, I wore them to the store, I played hacky sack in them.  They became one of my most comfortable pairs of shoes, and I was never in a hurry to take them off after a ride.

Through mud, dirt, dust, stagnant swamp water, snow, rain, cow poop, cactus, and rocks they went.  I ripped a chunk of the upper off the right toe.  I smashed the left toe against a rock at 20mph.  A week of Midwest/Eastern humidity let the perma-stink set in.  Cross season left the black shoes a familiar color of brown.  And yesterday I finally did them in… the ratchet handle on the left shoe snapped off as I was tightening it for my gravel grinder ride.  I knew it was coming, but when it finally happened I was sad.  I could still yank the strap through the mechanism to tighten it down, which made me realize how stubborn I am about giving up these shoes.

The ’14 models of Motodivas now have a  BOA dial and come in black/pink, which tickles my heart.  My feet are two different girths, so ratchets are a bit different for me as one foot is loose and one is tight.  I could go with fancier (aka wimpier) carbon fiber shoes, but I like the fact I’ve put my current Motodivas through the wringer and they’ve survived quite well (and so have my toes after 20mph strikes).

So now a photo memorial to the shoes that have treated me oh so well!

Ready to ride yesterday after a week of snow snow snow
Cyclocross gave them a new paint job every weekend
Grass and dirty water just added to the mix!


The week the perma-stink set in thanks to humidity and nastiness
Sunbathing awaiting an awards ceremony


Enjoying a 60 degree day in January ’13
Brand spankin’ new!

And the debilitating injury to the ratchet…


So the good news?  Specialized sells replacement ratchet mechanisms for a fairly cheap price, so I can revive these shoes!  Still getting new ones, but at least I’ll have a back up pair 😀

Gear Review, Uncategorized

Gear Review: Specialized Women’s Podium Jacket

2014 Specialized Women’s Podium Jacket in Carbon/Light Teal

This is a product from Specialized that caught my eye a few months ago, and I was eager to get my hands on one.  Oddly enough, the Specialized website offers up no product description, so I really had no idea what the jacket was like until I could see one at my local bike shop, the Bicycle Station, that the owner had ordered in.

My own product description:
A hoodie jacket that has a knit sweater-like fabric along with nylon-y type shell.  Features two large front pockets, and a small zippered pocket on the upper left sleeve.  Sleeves are extra long in length and have thumb openings.  The hood is lined in either hot pink or teal material and wraps around to a high collar.  The inside of the jacket has fuzzy lightweight thermal material.

Note, this is a VERY different design than the Men’s Podium Jacket, which is pretty much a standard zippered hoodie of the same fabric and price point.

My initial reaction is that once I put it on, I didn’t want to take it off!  It was warm and cuddly, and the fit was spot on (I had to special order mine, so I had to guess on size).  I ordered a Large.  As a reference point, I am 5’8″ with long long arms, 34″ bust, and about 150 pounds.  The jacket is not meant to be skin tight naturally, and I feel like it has enough of a relaxed feel without being tight or baggy in the wrong areas.

I especially like the high collar, which is something not found on any other hoodie-type items that I own.  However, this is not the warmest jacket out there!  Then again, I don’t think it’s intentioned to be a winter jacket.  I have worn it in some 20 degree (with wind chills in the single digits) weather and the wind cut right through the fabric and didn’t leave me too warm and cuddly feeling.  I think in milder spring/fall temperatures it will be quite perfect, along with perhaps chilly summer mornings (I suppose this just comes down to where a person lives!).

I don’t necessary anticipate wearing this jacket while riding a bike, though certainly the sleeve length and fit would work well in the riding position.  So far I’ve worn mine to a Christmas party, out running errands/shopping, and nonstop around the house.  I can see it in rotation with most of my other light weight jackets for every day use, and maybe wearing it to bike related events when not in team gear.

The main downfall: Retail price: $130.
Ouch.  I cannot really say this is worth anything near $130.  My favorite Columbia shell jacket only cost me $20 at an outlet store, and is actually waterproof and windproof, and my full on poofy winter sub-artic jacket was only $140.  Then again, I may be missing the point of this Podium Jacket.  It is a cute cuddly jacket that has some nice features.  And no one ever said Specialized’s clothing was reasonably priced, though it is better priced than other cycling brands.  If you’re a brand loyal cycling nut, or have a big preference for teal or pink items (like me!), this might be for you!

Front view of Podium Jacket in Carbon/Pink
Back view of Podium Jacket
Hood and thumb holes!
Inside thermal fabric and print on inside of hood

(Sorry for photo quality… I decided to do this at night, and my house is pretty dark)

Disclaimer: I purchased this item at a discounted retail price (due to team sponsorship)  for my own personal use.  All comments and opinions are my own and I was in no way compensated for the review.