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Archives for the day Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Finis XtreaMP3

Finis XtreaMP3

An MP3 player that works under water! Finis is not an MP3 player manufacturer. They are a swim equipment manufacturer. That being said, you need to read the instructions to figure out how to work the MP3 player. It is not too hard to operate the MP3 player but it is not intuitive.

I turned on the player, strapped it onto my arm, stuffed the ear buds in and jumped into the pool. I suppose I should have had some faith that it would work. I expected a total failure and I was happily surprised that it worked. It has quality sound under water.

I started swimming laps and immediately noticed a pull on the wires for the ear pieces. I tucked the wires up under the strap for my goggles and that helped for a while. Clips that support the ear piece wires to the goggle strap would be nice.

After a couple of laps, I had to stop and adjust the arm band as it got too tight for an arm that is working. This happened two more times during the swim. A bit of elastic on the arm band could go a long way towards improving the comfort. I am sure that I could figure out a way to attach the player to my goggles but I won’t go through the effort for a loaner.

It is hard to find music to match a swim pace. I swim at about 36 strokes per minute, the music I had was running at about 120 beats per minute. The pace was a bit awkward but it was really nice having music while I swam. After about ¾ of a mile one of the ear buds pulled loose and did not work any more because there was water in my ear. I took the player off and really missed having the music. Something like this MP3 player will be great for long, timed swims and I am not counting laps. The music really helps keep me distracted. I haven’t tried it in the bay yet but I am not too sure about open water swimming with an MP3 player in my ears. I like to be able to hear boats in the water.

This is a demo unit. I wonder if I will buy one when I see it in my local swim shop.

This is a two year old review that wound up in the archives.  I don’t know what happened to the review or demo unit and I have never seen the swim MP3 player in a swim shop.  I might add that I have a lot of swim stuff so I don’t venture into the swim shops very often.

Sella Italia Flite Gel Flow Saddle

I am a reluctant cyclist who likes to ride up a big hill every now and then and survive the middle leg of a triathlon.  For me, a bike saddle is nothing more than a fancy term for a bike seat.  Sella Italia heard about my feelings when we did an interview with them recently so they sent us a couple saddles to review.

I wound up with the Flite as my test saddle.  I put it on my titanium frame with semi-stiff Aksium wheels and never looked back.

I understand there are various renditions for the Gel Flite saddle.  I have the latest and greatest with titanium rails.  There was something about the geometry of the saddle that confused me during the installation.  I wound up putting the seat a little bit forward and tilted down slightly.  I rode like this for over 100 miles when I decided to try riding without cycle shorts.  My old saddle often felt like the seat was loose because of some weird wobbly feel.  The Flite never gave me that sensation.  I rode with spandex shorts and I was comfortable for an entire 50 or 60 mile ride.  With that test out of the way, I decided to put aero bars on my bike and try it like that.  I kept the seat on a slight angle and slightly forward.  My bike is setup for a single purpose, to survive the Vineman triathlon.  The way the saddle is configured, I am up on the nose when I am in the aero position and in the middle when I am on the handle bars while climbing and descending.

The feel is pretty good when I am down in the aero position.  After an hour or so of aero, I am ready for a hill so I can get into the middle of the seat.  Riding in the middle of the saddle offers a unique feel.  It is not a soft ride, it is comfortable.  Soft gets squishy while comfortable feels like it is formed to my body and it absorbs a lot of the shock from the road.  I could tweak the setup some more but I am not going to mess with something that works until after my triathlon next week.

What I like about the Sella Italia Flite

  • It is comfortable
  • It fits my butt when I sit on it
  • The flex from the carbon fiber base or the gel give it a molded feel when riding
  • It is the only visible bling on my bike
  • The long rails give the nose a firm feel
  • No two seats are exactly the same
  • The shock absorbing action from the middle of the saddle
  • I can’t really say what I don’t like about the saddle as it is the only high end saddle that I have ridden but I can say I like it.