Under Test: Silca Impero Ultimate Frame Pump

Silca’s $450 SuperPista Ultimate award-winning floor pump caused quite a stir when it was introduced last year. Not content to rest on their laurels, Silca has redefined the frame pump with their Impero Ultimate model. This ain’t your daddy’s Impero, either–the Ultimate features 100% metal construction and a 2-stage elastomer head that eliminates the need for fussy levers.

Stay tuned…

Under Test: Paul Component Quick Release Skewers

While thru-axles may be all the rage, there are countless frames and forks that still utilize conventional quick-releases. For those frames and forks, Paul Component Engineering offers CNC-machined skewers that feature internal cams for smooth action, stainless steel rods, and 7075 aluminum ends. Paul skewers are available in 100 mm, 135 mm, 170 mm, and 190 mm sizes.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Lizard Skins La Sal 2.0 & Monitor 1.0 Gloves

Lizard Skins has come a long way since the company was founded in 1993. In addition to the neoprene headset seals and chainstay protectors that put them on the map, the Utah-based company’s product line has grown to include grips, handlebar tape, and gloves.

Whether you prefer short- or long-finger gloves, Lizard Skins has several models to choose from. We tested the company’s La Sal 2.0 ($30 MSRP) and Monitor 1.0 ($42 MSRP) gloves, putting them through the wringer over a six-month period.

Lizard Skins La Sal gloves GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder

Image courtesy of Lizard Skins.

The La Sal 2.0 gloves sit in the middle of Lizard Skins’ short-finger lineup. Padded Clarino palms are paired with breathable mesh backs, and the cuffs feature hook-and-loop closures. Reflective highlights offer increased visibility, and the unobtrusive thermoplastic rubber logos complement the three colorways. Sizes range from Small (8) to XX-Large (12). We found the La Sals’ sizing to be a bit roomy, so you may want to size down if you’re in between sizes.

For improved dexterity and breathability, the La Sals feature strategically placed pads and an otherwise unpadded palm. The gloves’ thin, dense padding does a good job damping shocks and road buzz whether you’re riding on the tops, hoods, or in the drops. We tested the La Sals with a variety of handlebar tape (Octto, Zevlin, and Zipp), and found the synthetic leather offered plenty of grip, even during rain showers or when soaked with sweat.

Lizard Skins Monitor gloves GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder

Image courtesy of Lizard Skins.

Lizard Skin’s top-of-the-line Monitor 1.0 gloves combine seamless Clarino palms with mesh backs. The Monitors’ articulated fingers are touchscreen compatible, and have rubber imprints for slip-free shifting and braking. Like the company’s short-finger La Sals, Monitors are available in sizes ranging from Small (8) to XX-Large (12). Because the Monitors have a semi-relaxed fit (and will stretch with use), you may wish to size down if you’re in between sizes.

The Monitors’ thin Clarino palms and minimal padding provide a very direct interface between bike and rider. Between the palms’ textured pattern, and the fingers’ rubber grippers, we never experienced any slippage or loss of control during our testing. That tenacious grip doesn’t come at the expense of ventilation, as the Lizard Skins gloves kept our hands cool and comfortable. Despite the gloves’ light weight and ultra-thin materials, our sample gloves showed very little wear after months of testing.

Lizard Skins recommends hand washing the La Sal and Monitor gloves, but our absent-minded testers reported no problems when the gloves were tossed into the washing machine. We did notice that the cuffs’ hook-and-loop closures had a tendency to snag the gloves’ lycra trim, and irritated some testers’ wrists when not fastened all the way. The biggest shortcoming, however, was the Las Sals’ lack of finger pulls–making it difficult to remove them quickly from sweaty hands.

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