Real World Reviews – Buckler Arenberg Embrocation / Creme Fraiche Chamois Cream
Disclaimer: I’ve never been much of an embrocation guy.
At least I never was.. in my short riding “career” I have been an admittedly fair weather rider. This changed last year when I purchased some winter gear at an outlet for a fraction of the price. With winter gear in hand, I had little to no excuse to not be out. But what about those in between days where a base layer/tights is too much and you’d be freezing otherwise? Well that, as we all know, is when you reach for embrocation. Belgian Knee Warmers. I had tried a couple products in the past (Chamois Butt’r Eurostyle, DZ Nuts) and was not impressed. However, after our weekend at Providence ‘Crossfest, the fine people at Buckler hooked us up with not only their Buckler Arenberg Embrocation, but the Creme Fraiche chamois cream as well. Thus, here is our long overdue review:
Arenberg Embrocation: first off, when you open the jar you get a huge whiff of tea tree oil, rosemary, spruce and other comforting scents. Embro is one of those smells you either love or hate. Personally, I love it. There is something so…Pro about it. Named after the brutal and unforgiving cobbled sector in Paris-Roubiax, Arenberg is a medium heat embro meant for weather under 75 degrees. Even though we are in November, the weather has been unseasonably warm (forecast today calls for a high of 70..no joke). Compared to the other 2 embro’s I had used – which were both creams, this is oil based and has more of a hard butter consistency. The color is like a deep brick orangey/red, and when applied it will make your legs look like you’ve been training in the Amalfi coast all winter. One slight downside to this is that a little of the color got into my socks, so I am not sure as to how it would play with a lighter colored kit.
So how does it work? In a word…great! The heat this stuff kicks off is much better than the other embrocations I have used. Rather than a hot chemical tingle, this provides a consistently enjoyable warming sensation like wearing a layer of wool socks. This heat is intensified when washing it off, and there is a little more “after glow” with the Arenberg than other embro’s, but this just makes excel when things get wet.
Quick story: I kitted up for a ride with 50% chance of a shower in the forecast. I decided to lather up with the embro just in case, and I am glad I did..while the weather was mild (warm even) the rain was freezing cold. Luckily the embro kicked in and I had a nice warming barrier between the elements and myself.
Overall, this is an incredibly versatile product. I used it on warmer but breezy days when the temp was around 60, and then this past weekend at Shedd Park when the temp at the starting line was 37 degrees. On the website/bottle Buckler says “it provides 4-5 hours of warmth and is our go to embrocation for those cold, damp, foggy rides or races.” and that’s pretty spot on.
Nick moving up the field in the Cat4/5 Shedd Park Race
Final word: I am a huge fan, if you had to buy 1 “do it all” embro, this is it.
Crème Fraiche Chamois Cream: I’ll be honest. I wish I never used this product, because now I can’t picture myself riding without it – Chamois cream is another one of those things I have used before, but never had a strong opinion either way. But after using the Crème Fraiche I’m adding this to my stable of cycling products.
I spent a lot of time in the saddle this year, and as the calendar year comes to a close, I started to have some real uncomfortable rides, ultimately finding myself in the market for a new saddle. It was right around this time we got the crème fraiche, and since using it, I’ve all but forgotten my saddle woes. The cream isn’t greasy and provides plenty of lubrication. Friction is a thing of the past and being a staunch promoter of using Gold Bond spray in the summer (the best $6 you can ever spend) the menthol tingle is a welcomed bonus. It’s made with anti-fungal ingredients, vitamin E and vegetable butter for moisturizing. What’s not to like?
Buckler hit a home run with these 2 products and I really mean that. Both Buckler products stood above previous Embro & Chamois creams we’d tried, enough so that I’d strongly recommend them to anyone in the market.