Under Test: J.Paks SnakPak

Need to carry some extra supplies on those epic rides? The SnakPak, from J.Paks of Denver, Colorado mounts to your bike’s top tube, and offers quick access to snacks, camera, or other essentials.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Genuine Innovations Tubeless Ready Kit

The term tubeless ready is sometimes open to interpretation. For some wheel-and-tire combo’s, converting to tubeless is as simple as installing the proper valves, adding some sealant, and then airing up the tires. Most of the time, however, the process is a bit more involved. In addition to the aforementioned valves and sealant, tubeless-ready wheels usually require special tape or rim strips (and sometimes, both) to make the rim air tight and provide the proper tire/rim interface. Gathering up the necessary bits and pieces can often be time consuming and expensive, but Genuine Innovations eliminates the hassle with their new Tubeless Ready Kit.

GRAVELBIKE.com gravel grinder slime ghetto tubeless co2 inflator

To help insure that your tubeless conversion goes smoothly, the Tubeless Ready Kit includes the following items:

  • Slime Pro tubeless sealant (8oz, enough for 4 tires)
  • Gorilla Tape (1 roll, enough for 4 rims)
  • Genuine Innovations Microflate CO²  inflator
  • 20g CO² cartridges (2x)
  • Removable-core Presta valve stems (2x)
  • Presta valve adapter & core removal tool
  • Tire levers (2x)

Having used most of the Tubeless Ready Kit’s items in previous conversions, I was already familiar with their use and performance. The Slime Pro sealant has proven effective in Colorado’s semi-arid climate without requiring frequent refilling or topping off. Gorilla Tape’s 26mm-wide tape is compatible with most popular rims, and the tape’s increased thickness makes seating loose-fitting tires easier. And should you not be able to seat your tires with a floor pump, the 20g CO² cartridges offer enough air volume for all but the fattest tires.

At $60 (MSRP), the Genuine Innovations kit is on par with competitors’ bundles. Other kits, however, typically don’t include tire levers or CO² inflators and cartridges in their conversion kits, which makes the Genuine Innovations kit an outstanding bargain for the home mechanic.

Disclosure: Genuine Innovations provided review samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.

Things I Like: Thomson Stems & Seatposts

While it may sound like a cliche, the best components are the ones that you don’t notice. These components are not unremarkable because they don’t meet our expectations, but rather, they excel because they outperform lesser parts that require frequent adjustment and maintenance. For me, nothing epitomizes set-and-forget status like Thomson‘s stems and seatposts.

Stems and seatposts may lack the sex appeal of 11-speed drivetrains or aero wheels, but they’re essential pieces of the bike-fitting puzzle. Many of Thomson’s competitors offer only a handful of sizes. Not Thomson, though. Need a 25.4mm seatpost? They’ve got you covered. With stems that range from 50mm to 130mm in length, chances are there’s one that’s right for your particular setup.

Other companies may offer a similar range of stem lengths and seatpost sizes, but few–if any–can match the reliability and performance of the Georgia-based company’s products. Thomson’s stems and seatposts don’t slip, are easy to adjust, and remain silent without the aid of anti-slip goop or cheater bars. While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, Thomson has elevated the industrial aesthetic to high art. If the monochromatic thing isn’t your style, you can add some bling to your X4 stem with the company’s Dress Up Kit.

Because I spend a significant amount of time evaluating and reviewing components, I place a very high value on parts that don’t require any additional babysitting. Thomson’s stems and seatposts are two items that I can count on to be trouble-free, freeing up more time for enjoying the ride.