Author Archives: gravelbike

Under Test: Clement X’Plor USH Tires

 

Designed for mixed conditions, Clement’s 700×35 X’Plor USH is ready for almost any adventure. Featuring a firm center ridge and diamond-shaped side knobs, the USH is ideal for dirt roads, touring, and urban use.  And if you’re wondering what USH stands for, it’s the airport code of Ushuaia on the island of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina. Ushuaia just happens to be the southernmost city in the world.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Crankbrothers f15 Multi-Tool

If there is one bike accessory that absolutely defines the Goldilocks condition it’s the multi-tool. Too big and you don’t want to carry it. Too small and it doesn’t provide enough leverage. Finding a tool that balances size and functionality can be a real challenge. Crankbrothers hopes to snag that elusive just right ranking with the company’s new f-series of multi-tools.

Thanks to their sleek, folding design, Crankbrothers’ f-series tools fit easily in your backpack, pocket, or seat bag. All three f-series tools share the same basic design, but the f10+ and f15 feature magnetized outer shells designed to hold everything together and provide additional leverage. Prices range from $29.99 (f10) to $42.99 (f15), and all models come with a 5-year warranty. I spent the past several weeks testing the top-of-the-line f15 model at home and in the field.

Continue reading

Under Test: Marin Four Corners Bicycle

Marin Four Corners Utilitour

Marin’s Four Corners bikes are equal parts responsible adult and youthful explorer. Whether you’re commuting during the week or exploring back roads on weekends, the Four Corner’s 4130 CrMo steel frame and fork features three bottle mounts, rack and fender eyelets, lowrider fork mounts, and clearance for 29″ x 2.0″ tires. With an MSRP of $1099, you’ll have money left over for a mid-ride corn dog.

Stay tuned…

First Impressions: Jeff Jones Diamond Frame Bicycle (Part-I)

Is there such a thing as a truly do-it-all bicycle? Gravel bikes–which are often praised for their versatility–come pretty darn close. Despite their flexibility, however, gravel rigs still share many of the design traits and limitations associated with conventional road bikes. Last summer those limitations became abundantly clear when I began including more technical off-road sections in my mixed-terrain rides. Despite the gravel bike’s wider tires and lower gears, its road-based design placed more emphasis on aerodynamics and smooth surface efficiency than off-road capabilities.

Around the time of my existential off-road crisis, a press release from Oregon-based bike wizard Jeff Jones found its way into my inbox. The press release announced that Jones was now offering a carbon version of his popular Loop handlebar. Having previously testedand liked–the aluminum Loop bar, I figured the new carbon version might be just what I needed to improve my gravel bike’s off-road capabilities. After a series of email exchanges, Jeff suggested that I give him a call.

The Jones in its natural habitat.

Continue reading