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.

First Impressions: Road Runner Burrito & Drafter Bags

Words and photos by Aaron VanDerlip

Be prepared. There are still plenty of places where riding means being out of cell phone coverage and far from the nearest services. Keeping yourself out of trouble involves carrying a few extra items such as a toolkit, tube, food, and maybe some extra clothing. One school of thought is to put everything into your jersey pockets. The other strategy is to store these items somewhere on the bike.

Road Runner Bags is small company based in Los Angeles, California. Their product line consists of domestically produced, made-to-order bike bags. They sent GRAVELBIKE two bags for review: the Burrito handlebar bag and the Drafter saddle bag.

The Drafter
The Drafter is a compact saddle bag made of Cordura nylon and velcro. It’s available in a variety of colors and retails for $35-$40 depending on material choice. The bag attaches quickly to the rails of the saddle via a single strap. It’s a simple but effective design–there are no extra straps or zipper pulls flying around in the wind. The bag fits snug against the rear of the saddle, with no swaying or rattling of the bag’s contents. Since the flap does not fully enclose the top of the bag, it’s for larger items only. Tubes and a multi-tool are fine, just no house keys or small parts. The semi-open design means the contents can get wet or dirty eventually. For tubes and tools, however, this shouldn’t really be an issue.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

Burrito Handlebar Bag
Road Runner’s Burrito handlebar bag follows the same streamlined construction as the Drafter bag. The cylinder-shaped Burrito is constructed from Cordura, and attaches to the handlebar using two straps secured with small cam buckles.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

Because of the shape and placement, the Burrito bag resembles a miniature bedroll that one might see on a motorcycle. A sturdy, water-resistant zipper keeps the bag’s contents secure. Like the Drafter, the bag had an easy attachment story. It would be nice if the bag included slides so you could tuck the extra strap length down. Even though the zipper was on the stout side, I was able to access the bag’s contents while riding.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

You might be able to stuff a lightweight shell in there, but Road Runner’a Burrito bag is best used for storing some food, a phone, a pair of gloves or other small items. I definitely prefer the placement of the bag on the bars over the bento-style bags I see attached to riders’ top tubes. If you are looking for a similar amount of storage as a bento box, but want to keep your frame uncluttered, the Burrito bag is an alternative worth considering.

Why would someone choose these Road Runner bags over the dozens of similar products on the market? There are quite a few bags that exist at the same price points that will perform the basic task of carrying your stuff. I think the biggest differentiator for these bags is color and material choice. Black is the default–and often, the only–color available for bike bags. And when there is a choice, you’re usually choosing from a very limited set of conservative options. Road Runner has more than a dozen color and pattern options, as well as alternative materials such as salvaged road sign reflective. With the Burrito you can even customize colors for the main body and side panels. The fact that the bags are sewn in Los Angeles will appeal to those who want to purchase MUSA products.

Both of the bags had areas where the stitching overran the seams. This did not affect the function of the bag in any way, nor did it give me any durability concerns.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder Road Runner Bags Drifter Burrito Brooks Cambium Ritchey Logic

The overall construction of the bags appeared very solid. I should note in regards to the stitching, Road Runner provides the following warranty:

If your RR product ever has a problem with the stitching on our part, we will fix it! If we cannot fix it, we’ll send you a new one free of charge.

The bags have a simple, streamlined aesthetic to their construction that I found pleasing. You should consider another product if you need multiple pockets or need internal organizers as these bags had neither. When added together, a semi-custom, MUSA bag for the same price as a bag from the big companies is a heck of a deal. For basic storage needs, I think it’s one of the stronger products out there.

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