Author Archives: gravelbike

First Impressions: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch II Shoes

It used to be that choosing cycling shoes for off-road riding meant one thing: compromise. Stiffness and efficiency often came at the expense of traction and walkability (and vice-versa). Rarely could you have your proverbial cake and eat it, too. Thanks to Pearl Izumi’s X-Alp Launch II shoes, however, gravel and adventure riders don’t have to sacrifice performance for off-the-bike comfort and durability.

At first glance, the X-Alp Launch II ($160 MSRP) may not look that different from many other recreational cycling shoes. Don’t let the subdued graphics and clean lines fool you, though, because the Launch II shares technology found on Pearl Izumi’s more expensive X-Project 1.0 shoes. And in case you’re wondering if the X-Alp can handle your local trails, the X-Alp just happens to be the shoe of choice for world-champion racer Brian Lopes.

Continue reading

Under Test: Smooth Operator Lube

smooth op

Smooth Operator‘s Premium Lube is a low-toxicity, environmentally friendly lubricant that repels water and prevents rust. Suitable for either wet or dry conditions, the bottle’s specially designed applicator tip puts the lube only where you need it (which also makes it ideal for brake and derailleur pivots and cables).

Stay tuned…