Brisker and Hydromatic—$30-$40
Not new, but a newfound value to me. 100% packs quite a lot of punch for between $30 and $40 for waterproof (Hydromatic) and windproof (Brisker) form-fitting gloves. Can’t decide between the two? Then opt for the Hydromatic Brisker, also $40, combining the moisture-wicking insulation of the Brisker with the laminated shell of the Hydromatic. The Hydromatic forgoes the Velcro closure of the Brisker for an extended cuff to sneak further up a jacket sleeve, preventing water ingress. Neither glove is bulky, nor appears as though it would impair any sensation of braking or shifting. These might not be gloves for sub-zero Minnesota conditions, but for cool fall and spring mixed conditions, they look to be an excellent option with a conforming, tailored shape. Not bad for $30-$40 when it seems most wind-resistant and waterproof gloves go for $50-$90.
The Speedcraft Air is made for two things: breathing hard and winning, and we just eliminated breathing hard. Yes, it is what you think: adhere a magnetic, breathe-right-esque strip to your nose (non-oily, mind you—use one of the 10 included moist towelettes if otherwise) and then gently lay the Speedcraft Air over the bridge of your nose so that the magnets align. Then, adjust the rotary crank to manually modulate the flair of your nostrils.
It’s not for me because it involves breathing hard and winning, two things not part of my riding repertoire, but it could be just the ticket for those seeking an extra performance gain while scanning an elevating horizon. Who’m I to criticize—inhalers do wonders—why shouldn’t people be able to dilate their nostrils? I’m told it’s far superior to mouth breathing, which reminds me, I should do less of that, mouth breathing.
Did I try them? Of course not, these boogers are for my consumption only. I don’t want any spares unnecessarily falling out, and nobody gets to see my nose hairs up close. But for those looking to increase air flow—correct, not figuratively, physically—$15 will buy them an extra 20 nasal strips and the whole system runs for $330, available now.
More info at ride100percent.com
Versa Cage – $20
Yes that’s on a drop-bar bike, no you don’t need drop bars to run a Versa Cage. Here’s why it’s sweet: It’s $20 and will work on a suspension fork and the rubberized straps (that arrive much longer than shown, mind you) won’t dig into stickers and mar lowers. Before you disembark, you’ll first have to ensure clearance when fully compressed with the dry bag packed by letting all the air out of your fork and fastening all various doodads for bikepacking to your bars. Don’t put heavy things in there, unless you’re packing your friend’s bike. Then put very heavy things in there. Available July.
Shuttle Gauge Digital—$65
Pump through it with a gaugeless tire pump, also with a shock pump, or use it as a standalone meter for either. It weighs 102 grams, costs a fair amount of money and tells you the future in half psi increments. Pretty sweet that you can pump through it.
Mountain TT Twin Turbo – $33
Small enough to fit into a jersey pocket (eh, whatcha got against Jersey?) big enough to do some damage against a plus tire, courtesy of 90.9 CCs. Twin Turbo transfers the large volume of air stored in the main, big chamber to two thinner chambers surrounding it while pulling the handle back, simultaneously filling the big central chamber in the process. This means the pump sucks hard but blows easy—exactly what one looks for in a good pump—it pulls air in deeply, yet still easily forces a large volume of air into a tire, due to the dual, thinner staging chambers. And it fits in a wicked, jersey pocket while weighing 192 grams. Not too shabby. We shall have to test. We’ll be fist-pumping like a champ.
Turacio Bottle 500 ml—$22
Stick a cork in it, we’re done. That’s what Elite did and it seems to have worked out well. Cork reportedly has the highest insulating properties of any natural material. It also grows on trees. Bonus. And it’s only the bark, often a misconception. The cork bottle is claimed to insulate for three hours, is dishwasher safe and has a handy-dandy sliding lever called the Membrane valve that modulates how freely liquids flow. It’s flexible and BPA free.
Toro Koloss 27.5×2.8—$80
Plus tires offer a smoother ride, encouraging riders to throw themselves headlong into rock gardens. It’s all fun and games until you trash a sidewall, and it can happen quickly with weight-conscious plus tires. Hutchinson believes it has solved the problem while retaining the voluminous waterbed ride quality of plus. With SpiderTech, Hutchinson provides an extra layer of casing on the tire’s sidewalls, reinforcing them. A single layer beneath the tread keeps things supple and an additional puncture protection layer is laid between the casing and tread rubber. This adds up to a claim of 900 grams for the 2.8-inch tire. It definitely sounds like a nice balance but the extra puncture protection layer could make or break the conforming ride quality of the contact patch. Some puncture protection layers ride like wood, some ride as though they’re not there. Either way, it’s an interesting approach to considering the advantages and disadvantages of plus tires and designing around them. Also interesting, the Toro Koloss above appears to be using a similar side knob design as Vittoria’s progressive siping. Are they in cahoots?
If you’ve made it this far, I commend you. You have stamina. This was a very long Roundup that may or may not have contained DDT, thought to be largely responsible for almost forcing bald eagles into extinction. You can achieve many things in this life based on your perseverance.