Reverse Components grips (pictured above) and Angle-Spacer crown race
If you’re picky about your grip diameter, you probably know your exact favorite brand and model. But chances are, you don’t know that brand and model’s exact diameter. You get what you get, and if you don’t like it, you keep looking. So, to serve those with various sized hands or maybe just those with various tastes, Germany-based Reverse Components offers a series of grips with diameters ranging from 28 to 34 millimeters. The larger-diameter options are in the Seismic model, with its softer silicone-style material and smooth surface, while the smaller ones are the more traditional diamond-siped Classic model. Pricing and availability are still TBD, but Bike’s one grip snob will be getting a pair in for test soon and we’ll keep you posted.
Do you wish your frame had a geometry-adjusting flip chip? Or does the flip chip you have not flip far enough? Reverse has your back with the Angle-Spacer, a tall-profile lower headset race that will bring up your front end and slack it out by about a half degree. It works with just about any fork and with the majority of 45-degree headset bearing rings. Pricing and availability are also not final, but early this summer, any bike shop that orders through U.S. distributor BTI will be able to lift you up with one of these clever little rings.
Granite Stash tire plug kit and chain toolSome tools aren’t needed as often as others. A couple times on your ride, you may want a quick adjustment to your brake lever position or a few extra clicks on your Float X2’s low-speed compression damping knob, especially if either is brand new. But hopefully, you can go several rides without the need for a tire plug or a chain repair. That’s why Granite Designs is offering its Stash series, tools for each occasion that hide inside your handlebars and happen to double as bar plugs. Have closed-end grips? No problem. Stash kits also come with a smaller-diameter outer plate that can fit underneath your grip. You’ll need to slide your grip off to access the Stash tool, which itself needs a 3-millimeter Allen wrench to remove, but again, hopefully you won’t need them that often. The Stash chain tool includes a spot to keep a spare master link and is far closer to a shop-quality chain breaker than anything you’d find on a folding tool. And the plug kit includes a reamer to rough up the surface of your puncture for better adherence, and can hide as many strips of bacon as you’re likely to need on a ride. Each individual tool goes for $25 and will be available this summer.
Ride Concepts Wildcat, TNT and Transition
The flat pedal shoe market is exploding, but the blast radius is much wider than it is deep. In other words, plenty of brands offer one or two options, but few offer any more. We wondered if the newborn Ride Concepts may have been yet another entrant to the shallow end of the Vans pool, with its debut Livewire, Hellion and Powerline models that launched just last year.
But the brand showed up at Sea Otter with yet another three options of subtle but significant variety. The Wildcat, the TNT and the conspicuously SPD-compatible Transition were on display, directly challenging Five Ten, just a few aisles over. The brand touts its high-tech approach to flat feet, even though its products seem as casual as Hawaiian shirt Friday. Men's, women's and youth shoes are each built around category-specific shapes instead of simply scaled versions of the median popular size. And beneath those shapes are soles with age-specific flex. Farther beneath those shapes is something called a Strobel board. Essentially, Ride Concepts uppers are stitched to a durable mid-sole structure, and the shoe is built around that instead of simply being stitched to a cupped sole structure.
There are other nerdy features like various-durometer outsoles and D-30 protective pad material in strategic spots to soften blows to the bottom of your feet and your ankles, but all of RC's offerings combine those features in a way that keeps their high tech low-key.
The $150 Powerline (not pictured) is a slightly more affordable version of the broadly appealing $150 Livewire. It uses Ride Concept's signature D30 panels inside the ankle protection and inside the heel and ball of the insole. Seamless synthetic uppers promise better water resistance while the size-specific toe coverage offers support, protection and comfort.The $160 TNT is Ride Concept's no-nonsense DH offering. It's got all of the structural advantages of the rest of RC's line, but adds its softest durometer outsole yet, a thicker, more protective mid-sole, an also-thicker Velcro strap over the laces and (you guessed it) a thicker, more protective mid-sole.The $160 Transition is Ride Concept’s first clipless shoe, combining the brand’s painstaking approach to fit and protection (including the D-30 panels in the sole and ankles) into a package more traditional pedalers will enjoy. The Transition outsole is Ride Concept’s less-grippy DST 8.0 material to offer better durability and keep from binding on pedal surfaces during entry and exit.
Tasco Recon Gloves
At the time of its introduction, San Diego-based Tasco was mostly a fashion-forward brand. Its matching socks and gloves happen to do the trick on the trail quite nicely, but they don’t boast a lot of techy construction, and the brand doesn’t have the broad range of options in fit, form and finish of some of its better-known competitors. The new Recon gloves are taking a step in that direction. Ultra light and ultra breathable, the Recons offer a seamless palm, a reinforcement panel on the thumb, conductive threads for when you need to swipe right, generously ventilated material between the fingers and a breathable nylon back. It’s all held together with a strapless neoprene wrist cuff. And the gray graphics are as muted and minimalist as the construction. The Recons go for $38 and are shipping April 30.
Bontrager Bat Cage
If you’re an aging and/or nostalgic mountain biker you remember the Pedro’s Milk Lever. Not only was it a well-designed tire lever, it was made of recycled plastic milk jugs. And that was long before we knew there were giant islands of plastic forming in our oceans. Now, the need for those kinds of products are greater than ever, and could probably address needs even greater than what to do in the post-milk-gallon-challenge era. One plastic product that’s most likely to end up out in that acrid archipelago is fishing nets, and that’s exactly what Bontrager is now using to make its popular Bat Cage bottle cage. For $15, you can stay hydrated and help ensure that a few dozen more grams of waste won’t end up out at sea.