Adding to John’s longstanding tradition of sharing a selection of favorite products from the year, today Josh shares his list. This diverse list includes bags, apparel, components, riding gear, and more. Let’s check it out below!
I often get asked how I carry my camera gear. Not only on rides, photoshoots, and tours but just generally. I used a Peak Design Everyday Backpack for years because I liked its compartmentalized storage for various cameras, lenses, and accessories. But it kind of fell apart recently, and it was never adequately stable or comfortable on bike rides. I’d been looking for a replacement, and, on a trip to San Fransisco earlier this year, I stopped in at Mission Workshop’s retail location and was immediately drawn to the Integer Camera Pack. It has an ample interior compartment for camera gear, modularity to work with any MW Arkiv-equipped accessories, and thick padded shoulder straps that remain comfortable even after long hours of carrying a heavy load on or off the bike.
Fab’s Abs $106.66
The Fab’s Abs from Ron’s Bikes has become one of my favorite handlebar bags. It sits low enough so my Outbound Lighting headlight has room to shine over, yet it’s expandable to hold plenty of snacks, extra clothing, lanolin, flasks of Australian Gold, and other small items. Mine is made from X-Pac, which is burly and waterproof, but it’s often available in other fabrics like waxed Cordura. And it’s made in Connecticut at Nutmeg Needleworks, just like the rest of Ron’s Bikes bags!
Bell XR Spherical Helmet – $225
I have a relatively large head (currently with a lot of hair), making it challenging to find helmets that fit around, rather than on top of, my dome. With the XR Spherical from Bell, I finally found one that has a comprehensive fit while accommodating a cycling cap when I want a visor on sunny days. The fancy safety features like MIPS-powered Spherical Technology ( a ball-and-socket design to redirect impacts) and rear coverage like that of an MTB helmet are standout features. It’s lightweight and airy like a road helmet but has enough protection to wear on long tours and my favorite mixed gravel/singletrack rides.
Shimano Saint and Wolf Tooth Waveform Pedals for Touring $160/199
When I sold my full-suspension bike earlier this year, I swapped the Shimano Saint pedals I had on it over to my touring bike. Thinking I’d use them for one or two rides before buying a lighter/svelter set of XT Trails or something, the Saints have remained my preferred clipless touring pedal. While this might seem odd, the wide platform is noticeably more comfortable on longer rides, while the beefier axle provides peace-of-mind with pedal strikes or the dreaded loaded bike drop. I typically don’t like riding with flat pedals. Sometimes, though, platforms are a necessity with trips I know will have plentiful hike-a-bikes. The Waveform Pedals from Wolf Tooth have been my favorite flats thus far. Like all other WT products, they are machined in-house and completely rebuildable. They are light, thin, and have a concave shape that I can feel cradling my foot when paired with the FiveTen Trailcross shoes. And they come in two sizes and four colors!
We received quite a few questions about the rear light in my Amigo Bug Out review. The KoMa from Blue Lug is a great little rechargeable light that bolts onto forks, dropouts, seat stays, etc. They come in white and red, in addition to various body colors. I bought mine from our friends at Hope Cyclery, and encourage you to do the same!
Bailey Newbrey is one of the most experienced mechanics and riders out there, which is reflected in the gear he stocks at his bike shop, Sincere Cycles, in Santa Fe. While passing through SF earlier this summer I got out for a long ride with Bailey and, when he sat still long enough for me to catch my breath, I noticed him wearing the Trailbuilder Glove from Giro. The next day I stopped by Sincere and picked up a pair for myself. An iteration of my longtime favorite DND glove, the Trailbuilder is a burlier version designed for both trail work and riding. The Microsuede palms and fingers are surprisingly breathable while the reinforced stitching makes them great options for general cooler/shoulder-season riding or bike tours where you might want one glove to serve multiple purposes. They’re best in temperatures below about 85°F, so for those warmer days, I still prefer the original Giro DND or POC Resistance.
PAX 3 Vaporizer $200
Vape cartridge devices are one of the most efficient ways to transport and consume smokables, both on and off the bike. But, I haven’t been interested in them due to uncertainty with additives and chemicals in most brands. That was until a few friends recommended the PAX 3 rechargeable oven for concentrates or flower. Loading it yourself, you know exactly what’s going in it. The small unit is packed with features like a smartphone app interface, temperature adjustments, lip sensor, and, best of all, it can last weeks of moderate usage on a single charge. And, if you accidentally order the wrong color as I did, you can pick up colored “skins” to wrap the PAX and make great surfaces for custom designs using our sticker packs!
I’m a big fan of titanium handlebars and currently have them on all of my MTBs. While the bars offer comfort and compliance benefits, they are a pain in the ass to mount accessories, as most standard mounts are designed to interface with more common bar diameters like 31.8 and 35mm. I found the K-Edge TT Garmin Mount to be a helpful solution. Originally designed for time trial aero bars, the CNC-machined aluminum mount is right at home on my Oddmone bars and with the Garmin to Hammerhead adapter securely holding the Karoo 2 computer. Forager Cycles makes CNC’d shims for 12.7mm handlebar crossbars for attaching this K-Edge mount to even thinner diameter tubing.
And last but not least, my wife saw I was creating this list and wanted to be sure I mentioned the Gravity Pants from Australian apparel brand Dharco. No, no, those aren’t my legs. She’s been searching for a pair of women-specific MTB pants for the past year or so and finally discovered these pants after seeing a few riders with them at a recent AllRide clinic in Sedona. Their most important feature is fitting as if they were actually designed for women! They’re made with durable Blue Sign-approved fabric that’s innately stretchy and water-resistant. Articulated knees have plenty of room for pads and leg material tapers toward the ankle. They’re available in five sizes and nine colors, including Leopard!
What about you? What were some of your favorite goods from 2022? Or do you have any experience with these products? Drop your notes and questions in the comments!