Category Archives: Reviews
For those of you who hold an interest in the evolution of the bicycle over the ages, this book is for you. Bicycle Design: An Illustrated History is a publication by the MIT press that breaks down each of the innovations that have brought us to the modern machines we use everyday…
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While my favorite go-to bibs for MTB riding are the Giro New Road bib undershorts, my new favorite non-bibshorts are the Kitsbow Merino Base Shorts.
I wore them every day on the Oregon Outback and I’ve begun using them exclusively during short and sweet MTB rides. Because the main material is merino wool, they dry fast, feel soft, keep you cool in warm weather / warm in cold and don’t get super funky like synthetic blends tend to. They’re great for camping or touring as well, because they’ll dry faster than synthetic shorts.
When you ask Jon from Skratch why their “Lemons and Limes” flavored drink mix is pluralized, he’ll tell you because it takes more than one lemon and one lime to make it. Now, the concept of sports drinks or hydration mixes containing fruit shouldn’t be that foreign to most of you, but the reality is, a lot don’t. Instead, they’ll contain “natural” flavors, which may be natural, but in reality aren’t fruit.
I love raspberries and the Skratch Raspberry mix is a favorite of mine, but it always tasted a bit different than my other raspberry flavored drink mixes. It wasn’t as overpowering. The main reason being, Skratch is actually made from raspberries and my *gasp* other mix is from other “natural” flavors.
As I quit using other hydration mixes, the actual, real, raspberry mix tastes worlds better and the other mixes started to taste like ass. Coincidentally, that’s where “natural” raspberry flavoring comes from. Ass. A beaver’s ass. No shit. Well, yes, shit. Well…
Castoreum is an all-natural additive used in perfumes and food flavoring. It’s the anal gland of our flat-tailed friend, the beaver. You’ll actually find it e-v-e-r-y-w-h-e-r-e. In fact, unless it says “raspberries” in the ingredients, you’re *definitely drinking beaver ass. Pucker up baby!
I know this sounds like an advertisement. It’s not. I buy my Skratch from my local shop and have never taken a dime from them to say any of this. I just don’t want you sucking down the butthole of a beaver when you hydrate.
Drink Skratch, don’t drink beaver butt.
*maybe not definitely, but most likely
When it comes to a touring bike, the randonneur bag or Wald basket will reign supreme for front-end portage, but not every bike has rack mounts. In the case of a classic road bike, or MTB, strap on handlebar bags are the simplest solution to carrying extra cargo around town.
There are countless options, ranging from cordura, to cotton, but for those looking for something a little classier, check out the Tanner Goods Porter Handlebar Bag. I’ve been keen on trying one out since the line was first launched and since using mine for around a month, I’m loving it…
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Two Years on a Bike With the Fuji X-Pro1
Words and Photos by Kevin Sparrow
A follow up to: Kevin Sparrow Discusses the Fuji X-Pro1 and Cycling
It has been over two years since I switched over from Canon DSLR to the Fuji X-Pro1 and I haven’t looked back. I’ve traveled all over the world with this camera. I rode from Paris to Lausanne with her slung around my back. I’ve shot photos for commercial clients and for publications. This little camera has more than met my expectations as a professional use camera.
I’ve used a lot of camera bags and honestly, they each have their own place. For instance, right now I’m using one of F-Stop’s Loki packs. It’s great for a strictly-photo trip, but as I’m packing for the Amgen Tour of California today, I broke out my Poler Excursion camera insert once again.
Why? Because it’s modular! This thing is so clever and even though it’s sold as a set with the Excursion backpack, I’ve used just the insert for over a year.
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At this point in the MTB game, probably one of the greatest inventions in the past few years has been the narrow wide chainring. Sure, there was a patent from a century ago, that called out a similar design but at a much larger scale but it was SRAM who first applied that technology to the cycling industry.
Later, companies like Wolf Tooth and Race Face adopted the narrow wide ring design, making it applicable to a wider platform. Basically, any system can use this ring design and work.
Anyone who hangs their cross bike on the wall when season ends is missing the point. A cyclocross bike is one of the most well-rounded rides you can own. I’ve said countless times before that my Geekhouse Mudville is my favorite bike I own. If only because I’ve made so many fond memories while riding it, in pain, covered in sweat, hating life, on a ride, not racing it.
For some reason, I never once thought to beef up my bike post-season. Well, I did, but I couldn’t fit my Bruce Gordon Rock and Road tires on it – the derailleur hanger clamp gets in the way. That was well over a year ago however.
Ok, the real reason why I never monster cross’d my cross bike is because there aren’t a whole lot of 40c cross tires on the market. In fact, just the other day I was planning on buying some of Surly’s 41c Knard tires when these 40c WTB Nano tires showed up in the mail.
These days, I’d rather test ride new bikes than travel with my own, especially when flying into remote locations. That was the case at the Whiskey Off Road with Blackburn. Prescott ain’t exactly an international hub, so rather than pack up my bike and risk it getting lost, Marin offered to hand over a Rift Zone 29’r for me to rip on while at the event.
48 hours is by no means enough time to do a thorough review, but I’d like to go over a few points, with hopes that an extended product review will take place in the future.
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Last year, Giro introduced their new Terraduro shoe at Eurobike. This was a heavy nod to the growing enduro crowd, salivating for “enduro specific” products. For the rest of us, who don’t enduro, bro – these shoes offered a new Vibram sole to a tried and true MTB platform.