Not all shorts are equal when it comes to winter. Race Face’s new Agent Winter Shorts bring a few new features to the table.
Dakine went back to the drawing board and came up with some simple, yet clever, tweaks that make their venerable tailgate pad even better.
Teva Links Mid $120 teva.com When it comes time to bolt flat pedals to my bike I more often than not end up reaching for my Teva Links shoes for their solid pedal feel and Goldilocks’ Baby Bear grip. A few weeks ago Teva sent us its beefed up version of the Links, the Links
By Joe Parkin When it comes to comfort, products like helmets, shoes and shorts have a tendency to show their weaknesses pretty quickly, because ill-fitting models can make an otherwise good ride go pear-shaped in a hurry. I’m happy to report that my first rides in the 260-gram, $100-dollar Uvex XP CC were definitely not
Hydrapak’s Big Sur is big enough to house the essentials (along with its 100-ounce, insulated bladder), yet not so large that it feels like you’ve strapped a Samsonite to your back. The pack is loaded with smart features, such as a fleece-lined pouch for sunglasses, internal pocket organizers that keep your tire levers from copulating with your leftover pizza, a dedicated helmet compartment and a reversible bladder for easy cleaning.
At 100 lumens, Princeton Tec’s Push light ain’t exactly vampire-incinerating, portable-supernova bright. It is, however, a decent commuter light. Plus, the Push runs on AAA batteries and stows neatly in your hydration pack, so it’s also a good back-up light for those moments when your ultra-bright and expensive lighting system fizzles out.
Though the name ‘Unabomber’ might conjure up images of mail bombings and a grizzled Ted Kaczynski emerging from his secluded Montana cabin, these smartly designed gloves were created with a sole purpose: To provide maximum protection, comfort and breathability while bombing descents with relentless abandon. The substantial yet flexible knuckle protectors are an essential feature, while the soft thumb material keeps your nose from getting rubbed raw while prepping snot-rocket shots.
Aptly named after the mythological Greek god of fear, the Phobos is a full-face helmet designed to help gravity riders turn their fear of fast, steep and rocky courses into trail-shredding tunnel vision. Featuring a tough polycarbonate shell and an adjustable visor, the Phobos has ample head and chin ventilation and removable padding that can be washed. And, at $85, it’s head protection that won’t break the bank.
Professional wheelbuilders can debate the pros and cons of different lacing patterns until the end of time, but every one of them will agree that there's nothing like a perfectly true and round wheel. Morningstar Tools' R2.O.C-TECH attaches directly to Park Tool's TS-2 stand, replacing the rigid calipers with needle gauges to simultaneously show exactly how out-of-true and round a wheel is.
SOG CrossCut Tool $21 / sogknives.com Though the CrossCut looks absolutely dainty, the spring-loaded scissors on SOG’s mini-tool easily shear through heavy gauge materials. Props here go to the cleverly designed compound leverage gears and top-to-bottom, stainless-steel construction. The CrossCut packs an additional 10 tools, including a knife, small and medium flat-blade screwdrivers, tweezers, nail
Fox Striker Helmet $120 / foxhead.com Fox’s new brain bucket, the Striker, covers plenty of cranial real estate, without adding excess grams or making your noggin feel like it’s been trapped in a sauna. Twenty-two cleverly designed vents provide maximum airflow and the Detox 2 retention system keeps the swank lid perfectly in place, even
Feedback Sports Digital Chain Gauge $80 / feedbacksports.com What’s the best way to destroy your Gucci-expensive crankset and cassette? Keep running your worn-out chain. Is it time to change your chain? Feedback Sports’ new gauge makes answering that question dead simple: If the digital display reads 0.8 millimeters or more, it’s time to rip that sucker off your bike and transform it into a thoughtful Mother’s Day gift.
Ryders Shore Goggles $50 / ryderseyewear.com Ryders Eyewear turned to the likes of Jay Hoots and Shaums March when they designed the Shore. The collaboration paid off with a goggle that boasts mountain biking-specific air intakes, a shatterproof double lens that’s less prone to fogging and a flexible, slim-profile frame that better fits full-face mountain-bike
Big Agnes Sleeping Giant $80 / bigagnes.com Whether you’re camping in the mountains or just crashing on your buddy’s floor, Big Agnes’ Sleeping Giant adds that extra layer of comfort and warmth to your air mattress. The Sleeping Giant’s “memory foam” molds to the curves of your body, bringing a bit of luxury to otherwise Spartan sleeping arrangements. Close your eyes long enough and the silky-smooth exterior might make you think you’re in a five-star hotel.
Blackburn Toolmanator-16 $45 / blackburndesign.com “Another multi-tool?” you ask. Hell yeah. At least if it comes to the party packing 17 tragedy flouting functions, including a friggin’ shock pump. Crazy, eh? Despite being loaded with all manner of repair goodness, the Toolmanator-3 is surprisingly compact, with a frame crafted out of a single hunk of
Chrome Kursk Pro $95 / chromebags.com If a pair of Converse Chuck Taylors became sentient beings with access to a time machine, they’d go to the future, get all hopped up on technology and return to the present day as a pair of Chrome Kursk Pros. Burly Cordura uppers lend these stylish shoes amazing durability. Beefed-up soles contribute to pedaling efficiency and eliminate pedal hot spots. But the most important aspect of these shoes is the fact that they’re Chrome’s first SPD-compatible kicks.
Thule TRCU-1 Rolling Carry On Bag $290 / thule.com Thule recently branched out into the world of luggage with its smartly-designed Crossover series. The TRCU-1, shown here, is a combination backpack and rollerbag that meets airline carry on regulations. The divided interior keeps funky socks from fouling fresh shirts, plus there’s a locking, crush-proof compartment for sunglasses, iPods and fragile sundries. At 38 liters, it’s the perfect size for day trips and if you’re heading out for weeks at a time, Thule also offers gargantuan versions.
Multi-tools are great on occasions when things rattle loose, but when you mangle your derailleur hanger, you’re generally SOL. Unless, that is, you’ve got this multi-tool in your pack. In addition to sporting allen wrenches, screw drivers and a T25 torx wrench, it also packs a universal emergency derailleur hanger that attaches to any dropout and lets you get back home without turning your bike into a singlespeed.
It’s not often when mountain bikers can feel as if they’re carrying a high roller’s briefcase into a casino. Well, with Park Tool’s Blue Box Tool Case you’re just one pair of shiny handcuffs short of that feeling. This tool case features top-notch clasps and a built-in combination lock. Inside, the case has 35 tool pockets and straps, plus four universal tool compartments to accommodate a wide variety of extra tools.
Cyclists often face a paradox: Dress in functional clothes that make you look like an escapee from a Jazzercize-themed gulag or wear stylish clothes that chafe and pinch things that should never be chafed or pinched. DZR’s new line of clipless-compatible shoes are an exception to the rule: They sport semi-rigid soles that offer plenty of power transfer to the pedals, yet also allow you to walk around, minus the pregnant-duck waddle.