First Impressions: Sealskinz Neoprene Overshoes

Hailing from the United Kingdom, the folks at Sealskinz are no strangers to damp, cold weather. To combat those harsh conditions, the company developed a laminated waterproof sock designed to keep heat in, and water out.  Over the years, Sealskinz’s lineup has grown to include gloves, hats, and cycling accessories. For riders who don’t want to hang up their cleats when the weather turns nasty, there’s the company’s Neoprene Overshoes ($50 MSRP).

Sealskinz Overshoe

The Sealskinz Neoprene Overshoes are constructed from a blend of–surprise–neoprene and nylon. Kevlar® reinforcements protect the toe and heel areas, and an extra-wide storm flap helps keep out water and cold air. The locking YKK zipper is secured by a high-viz strap, and the cuffs feature silicone grippers. Reflective logos and heel stripes offer increased visibility during early-morning or evening rides. Stitching and construction is first-rate, and the cleat openings easily accommodate a wide range of cleat styles.

We tested the large size (43-46) overshoes with Mavic road and Sidi mountain shoes (both size 44.5). The fit was snug, but not tight enough to restrict movement or cause discomfort. If you plan on using bulkier, or higher-volume shoes, you may want to size up, however (the company offers four sizes that fit shoes ranging from size 36 all the way up to 49). While we didn’t subject the Sealskinz overshoes to any extended hike-a-bikes, the Kevlar-reinforced heels and toes proved to be more than adequate for general, off-bike use.

Despite their sleek profile and light weight (162g for the pair), Sealskinz’s neoprene overshoes proved extremely effective in frigid conditions, outperforming several competitors’ heavier and bulkier overshoes. While individuals’ cold-weather tolerances can vary, our testers found the Sealskinz comfortable down to 32°F (0°C) with the aforementioned shoes and lightweight cycling socks such as those from DeFeet and SOS. Our autumn and early winter test period proved mild by Colorado standards, but the Sealskinz had no problem fending off road-spray and snow melt.

Sealskinz’s Neoprene Overshoes are perfect for riders seeking warm, yet compact shoe covers. The neoprene overshoes easily fit in a jersey pocket, but provide enough warmth and protection for all but the most extreme conditions. For extended rides in sub-freezing temperatures, the company’s Waterproof Cycle Over Sock offers even more insulation, but without the convenience of the neoprene overshoe’s zipper entry.

Disclosure: SealSkinz Inc provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.

Under Test: Blackburn Design Outpost Bags

Bikepacking is bigger than ever, and Blackburn Design has joined the fray with their Outpost line of bags and racks. The new family of bags includes a seat pack ($99.99 MSRP), handlebar roll ($74.99 MSRP, not shown), and top tube bag ($44.99).

Say tuned…

First Impressions: G.H. Meiser Pressure Gauges

One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions. — Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper, USN, PhD

It’s generally acknowledged that high-quality tires can improve the ride of nearly any bicycle. While superior materials and construction contribute to a tire’s ride quality, tire pressure is an often-overlooked component of tire performance. The ideal pressure is dependent on many variables (rider weight, terrain, etc), and often takes some trial-and-error to determine. Having an accurate, reliable pressure gauge is essential for determining a particular setup’s sweet spot.

Founded in 1906, G.H. Meiser & Co knows a thing or two about pressure gauges. The Illinois-based company offers a wide range of tire gauges and accessories for practically any application. For bicycles, Meiser’s Accu-Gage line covers the gamut with 15, 30, 60, 100, and 160 PSI models. Accu-Gage’s feature polished brass bezels easy-to-read 2″ dials, and bleeder/reset buttons. GRAVELBIKE recently tested Presta versions of the company’s 30, 60, and 100 PSI gauges.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder bicycle tire pressure gauge GH Meiser Accu-Gage G.H. MEISER

With so many different options available, how do you know which Accu-Gage is right for your tires? According to G.H. Meiser, their mechanical gauges are most accurate (± 2%) from 30% to 60% of the maximum pressure, and accurate to ± 3% below 30% and above 60%. The following table illustrates the range of maximum accuracy for Meiser’s bicycle pressure gauges.

Model – Max PSI 30% (PSI) 60% (PSI)
15 4.5 9
30 9 18
60 18 36
100 30 60
160 48 96

To test the Accu-Gages, we compared their readings to values reported by an SKS Airchecker digital pressure gauge. Our testing included high-volume 29er tires (2.1-2.4 inches, 16-26 PSI), medium-sized road tires (32-40 mm, 40-65 PSI), and narrow road tires (23-28 mm, 65-90 PSI). Across the board, the Accu-Gages delivered very consistent results. Even when measuring outside their respective sweet spots, the readings from Meiser’s gauges never differed from the digital gauge’s values by more than 0.5 PSI.

Why not just use a digital gauge? For one, mechanical/analog gauges don’t need batteries. It’s no fun pressing the power button only to have the display remain dark due to a dead battery. Accu-Gages retain their readings until you manually reset the gauge–most digital gauges lose the value when the unit is turned off (which often happens automatically). We also found that the Accu-Gages were far more tolerant of different valve styles (threaded vs smooth) and lengths (including those with extensions). Mechanical gauges such as the Accu-Gage can potentially lose their calibration if dropped, but G.H Meiser offers a $3.00 lifetime warranty program.

The Accu-Gages proved durable enough for home and shop use (one of our testers has a four-year-old gauge from G.H. Meiser that’s still going strong), but not too large or heavy to carry in a seat pack or tool wrap. The Accu-Gages were especially handy on mixed-terrain rides where we adjusted tire pressure to match different surfaces. With maximum pressures ranging from 15 to 160 PSI, there’s a gauge for virtually any type of tire.

Disclosure: G.H. Meiser & Co provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation in exchange for editorial coverage.