Tag Archives: First Impressions

First Impressions: Showers Pass Syncline Jacket & Refuge Duffel

Men’s Syncline Jacket
When it comes to choosing biking gear, I place a premium on versatility. Sure, I want cycling-specific features, but something like a rain jacket should work well–and look good–on or off the bike. Recognizing the need for versatile, affordable outerwear, Showers Pass designed their new Syncline jacket ($125 MSRP) to work equally well for biking, hiking, or camping.

Continue reading

First Impressions: Ergon SMC4 Saddle

Scheduling (and publishing) reviews is always a bit of a balancing act. Manufacturers want to see their products reviewed the moment they’re released. Readers, on the other hand, want to know how products perform over the long haul. As luck would have it, Ergon’s SMC4 arrived just a few days after I posted GRAVELBIKE’s 2016 saddle roundup.

Since then, I’ve tested the SMC4 with a variety of gravel, mountain, and road bikes. The saddle has seen use with conventional rigid seatposts, as well as suspension and dropper-style posts. In typical Colorado fashion, Mother Nature provided a wide range of weather conditions during the test period.

SMC4-1

Continue reading

First Impressions: Smooth Operator Chain Lube

Shopping for chain lube can be daunting task. There are different formulas for wet and dry weather, road and off-road use, and even lubes that claim to lube and clean your chain at the same time. What if you just want one lube that performs well for any type of riding? Bucking the trend of hyper-specialized lubes, Smooth Operator offers a single chain lube that’s designed to excel in wet and dry conditions, on- or off-road.

Smooth Operator chain lube is available in four ounce bottles ($12), or a travel size (10 ml) three-pack ($9). Both bottles feature child-resistant caps and precision applicator tips. While I didn’t review the lubes’ safety data sheets, the company classifies their the lube as environmentally friendly and low-toxicity. My highly scientific sniff test revealed a light, sulfur-like scent, but any odor dissipated quickly after application.

Continue reading