Bikepacking is pretty damn cool. Extending out rime in the outdoors so that we move beyond the brief, impersonal rip through the countryside? I’m all for that. The gear that’d let you extend your stay, however, has been lacking. That’s where the Osprey Escapist series comes in.
A good knee or elbow guard review really could be as simple as, “they work, they’re comfortable and they haven’t fallen apart – done.” In that respect, my first impression is that Race Face nailed it with the Ambush knee and Indy Elbow guards.
During a two-hour period of the BC Bike Race last year, I repaired seven chains, making two bikes single-speeds, fixed a broken shifter and a shoe, and evacuated a pneumothorax. I was working for the race as an Ambassador/Bike Patrol so needless to say I put a lot of emphasis on the tools I carried with me. In fact I have always put a lot of emphasis on the tools I carry. For example, I’ve always carried a full size shop quality chain tool, however, the Lezyne V10 has me possibly rethinking that decision.
I got this imbued sense of quality the first time I picked up the Specialized UHP Air Tool. Constructed from cast aluminum, it has a solid feel, a big 350 PSI gauge and a burly oil-resistant hose attached to a beautiful two-stage valve. This clever new valve allows you to evacuate the air from the hose—but not the shock—before removing the pump. The air bleed works especially well at making finite pressure adjustments.
Last week a few people questioned why I reviewed an $18 solution to many of your bike woes. Apparently $18 is just way too much to spend on having peace of mind. So, just to give those same people something to whine about, I thought I’d find another $18 product to evaluate.
Whispbar Rack System with WB200 Fork Mount. A stylish and aerodynamic approach to roof racks.
The Transfer-9 is a trickle down of the Full-9, which benefits from technology afforded by its older motocross brother, the Moto-9, but was designed exclusively for downhill and BMX, and is compliant all bicycle helmet safety standards. Actually, ‘trickle down’ isn’t entirely telling the whole story. This helmet is very feature-packed at just half the cost of Bell’s own Full-9 or other high-end full-face helmets.
The two-piece design of the Mallet body comprises a composite half that helps lower the overall weight of the pedal and an aluminum outer half which is more durable against strikes, abrasion and wear and tear. The forged chromoly axle is designed to be stronger than previous models with an improved sealing to keep out unwanted mess and prolong the life of the pedal between service intervals (I couldn’t find and strip down an older version to compare them directly).
Since the point-of-view camera took off in popularity, I wondered when and how the big electronic brands would enter the market. With Sony and JVC both recently joining the market with competitively spec’d and priced cameras it’s clear, at least on paper, that the long-monopolized market has some competition. I tested the JVC Adixxion Action Cam to see if it could hold a candle to the tried-and-true POV brands like GoPro.
A lot of gear moves through the warehouse at Bike HQ. The opportunity to test the latest helmets, apparel, bikes and various other bits related to pedaling on dirt is a part of the job that keeps us editors going when the deadlines, late production nights and the ever increasing pressure to create more content bogs us down. Inevitably, one or two pieces of gear rises to the top and wears more than the rest over the course of the year. These were a few of our personal favorites in 2013.
A pilfered IV-bag, a clothespin and a tube sock; these were the raw ingredients for the first hydration pack--a product every mountain biker has since used at one time or another. This is the story of how one man's attempt to fend off heat exhaustion in a west Texas century led to a device which has saved everyone's bacon at one time or another.
While no one ever intends to over-tighten their bottom bracket or cassette lock ring, these sorts of things happen to the best of us. Thus, I was excited to get my hands on Lezyne's CNC-Rod, which provides the more ham-fisted amongst us with a bit of extra leverage.
I used to think body armor was for park rats and professional freeriders. I wouldn’t be caught in the stuff anywhere outside of a lift-accessed resort. Sporting pads on a trail ride? It was, to my way of thinking, a bit like slapping a “Tap Out” mixed martial arts bumper sticker on your pick up or, getting “No Fear” tattooed on your neck or riding a unicycle in public—all just desperate cries for attention.