Gear Review: Effetto Mariposa

The Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza II torque wrench lets me breath easy after bike assembly and adjustments, especially with all the carbon bits and pieces

The Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza II torque wrench helps me breathe easy after bike assembly and adjustments, especially with all the carbon bits and pieces

Small details matter in mountain bike racing. Racers spend countless hours training their bodies, tweaking their bikes, scrutinizing the course, line selection, tire selection, tire pressure, race strategy, nutrition, on and on.

Small details can make all the difference between a perfectly functional bike and a race ending mechanical. With this in mind, I was thrilled to join Effetto Mariposa’s athlete team in 2014.

I was mainly drawn to Effetto Mariposa due to their Caffelatex tubeless sealant. Caffelatex stands apart from standard latex sealants in that it has a unique foaming action that fills the entire inside of the tire, staying wet longer and offering better protection from sidewall punctures.

The first thing I pack for a bike trip is EM Caffelatex sealant and their Espresso air+sealant CO2 cannisters

The first thing I pack for a bike trip is EM Caffelatex sealant and their Espresso air+sealant CO2 cannisters

EM also stands out in the bike industry as being one of the few companies to offer air cannisters that inject fresh sealant as they fill the tire.

Enjoying a very scenic pre-race recon at the XTERRA USA pro championships. Never wish to use it, but Espresso sealant is at the ready.

Enjoying a very scenic pre-race recon at the XTERRA USA pro championships. Never wish to use it, but Espresso sealant is at the ready.

While Caffelatex sealant piqued my interest in Effetto Mariposa, their torque wrench just might be the most clutch piece of bike equipment I own. Prior to using a torque wrench, like most riders, I just turned the hex key on all the bolts until it “felt right”.  As a first-year professional rider, the frequent travel and requisite bike disassembly and reassembly for each trip warranted a change in mechanical practices.

All of the bolts on modern race bikes have narrow torque tolerances, especially on the stem, fork crown, seatpost collar, and saddle clamp. When dealing with carbon components, it’s especially important to stay within the narrow torque specifications. Using the Effetto Mariposa Giustaforza II torque wrench, I check the recommended torque for each bolt, adjust the torque wrench to match it, and tighten until I hear and feel the click.

This 3T Arx Pro stem recommends a maximum torque of 5 Nm. Without a torque wrench, it's nearly impossible to tell when you've tightened to this level. The consequences of overtightening, namely a caststrophic handlebar failure should not be overlooked.

This 3T Arx Pro stem recommends a maximum torque of 5 Nm. Without a torque wrench, it’s nearly impossible to tell when you’ve tightened to this level. Over tightening can result in a catastrophic handle bar failure. Clearly, this mechanical detail should not be overlooked or left to chance.

With the EM torque wrench, I simply set the torque setting to match the spec

With the EM torque wrench, I simply set the torque setting to match the component specification, tighten until I hear (and feel) an audible click, and rest assured that the equipment is properly installed.

Even with everything bolted down properly to the frame, the frame itself needs safeguarding. Like the discovery of EM’s torque wrench after my initial interest in their sealant, I was very impressed by their  Shelter Tape. The thick, multilayered tape is engineered to absorb impact and quickly return to its original form. I use it to protect my frame from trail debris, as well as cable rub and chain slap.

The clear tape offers covert protection. The width is perfect to cover beefy down tubes on modern bikes.

The clear tape offers covert protection. The width is perfect to cover beefy down tubes on modern mountain bikes.

Shelter tape also works great as a clean, nearly invisible chain stay protector.

Shelter tape also works great as a clean, nearly invisible chain stay protector.

At the end of the day, most mountain bikers just want to get out and ride, and experience a state of flow on the bike, absorbed only in the present and the trail ahead. Effetto Mariposa helps take care of all the details of keeping your bike working properly so you can experience a state of flow more often.

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