John Watson picks up this series we began with Ryan Wilson during the pandemic. Consider this a shout out to our favorite small businesses in the cycling industry. Here are some of John’s personal picks.
Small businesses are the foundation of the outdoor industry and many have been seriously impacted by the pandemic over the last couple of months. While money is understandably tight for a significant portion of people, if you do have the means and are dreaming up your next bike trip or local ride, I wanted to offer up a few suggestions for gear that I believe is worthy of investing in from some of my favorite small businesses in the industry.
I can’t tell you how many times this little device has saved my ass on gravel or MTB rides. I even use Dynaplug’s bar-mount to keep it on hand nice for quick deployment as soon as I hear the hiss of a bad snake bite. When you develop a hole in your tire, simply jam one – or five! – of these into the hole to stop the sealant leak. These little saviors are machined in Chico, California by a magical meerkat with a pretty mouth and a heart of gold. Beware of imposters the cycling industry is trying to plug your tires with! These are legit.
There are a lot of custom frame bag options out there, yet I’ve really fallen in love with Rogue Panda’s! These custom bags are made in Arizona and fit like a glove into any frame. Simply send them a photo with a ruler along your top tube and a few other dimensions and that’s all they need. With plenty of fitment options, customized colors, durable materials, and lightning-fast delivery – pending queue length – you’ll never want to take these bags off your bike!
Powder Coated King Cage by Myth Cycles
There are no cages like King Cage. Period. These stainless or titanium cages are made in Durango, Colorado by a small shop of talented fabricators. One of which also works for Myth Cycles and powdercoats these resilient cages for those of you who have to have it all-black. They also offer other limited colors as well…
Bigger is better, especially when it comes to bicycle bags! The Fab’s Chest has sparked a revolution in bag design with its Carradice-inspired design with a few clever details like a massive, roll-top closure, big side pockets, molle-straps, easy to use hardware, and ease of install. There are two sizes available and they pop up from time to time as a pre-order.
Ringtail “Buffalo Turquoise” Desert Hat
These “Desert Hats” by Ringtail are great for keeping the sun off your neck, ears, and even face. While they currently have a tie-dye version available, we’re releasing a special collaboration I’m dubbing “Buffalo Turquoise”, named after a white and black turquoise found in Austin, Nevada. Keep an eye out for these soon!
Wide bars mean more real-estate for bags and better control in sandy or rocky trails. The Tumbleweed Persuader bars are my go-to for dirt road and singletrack touring. These steel bars have a nice back sweep and are available in a 800mm wide package. I can’t see myself ever taking them off this bike!
This bag changed my life! I’m not exaggerating either. I finally had a bar bag that would hold a small camera securely, without bounding around, and best of all, it installs in seconds. Swap it between your bikes with ease. They’re available in multiple colors and are in stock now at Outer Shell.
Some people say CBD products are a placebo but I’ll swear by this iKOR warming rub. Whether it’s on a big bikepacking trip, a long road trip, or after a day of yard work, this rub melts away aches and pain in a non-intrusive scent and this big stick lasts for months of heavy work. CBD might be a miracle drug or just snake oil but this stuff just works!
You know that space in your steerer tube on your MTB? That space can actually hold quite a few items. From an emergency blanket, to a patch kit, keys, or even some cash. The problem is, the bottom of the steerer tube is open, so before the Miles-Wide fork cork, it would just fall out. These little caps are a genius way to put more stuff on your bike and off your body!
You don’t have to spring for one of their beefy tool kits to benefit from Abbey Bike Tools’ offerings. Their tools are made in Bend, Oregon, with a lifetime warranty to the original owner, and best of all, they work damn well! Abbey makes these killer tool kits where they select other manufacturer’s products that compliment Abbey’s construction and attention to detail. With one of these kits you can do just about anything to your bikes.