First Impressions: Bontrager Bat Cage

First introduced in 1997, the Bat Cage is one of Bontrager‘s longest running products. For the past 22 years, Trek has manufactured hundreds of thousands of Bat Cages in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, 30 miles from the company’s Waterloo headquarters. Thanks to a partnership with NextWave and Bureo, Trek now manufactures Bat Cages from recycled materials made from reclaimed fishing nets. According to Justin Henkel, Trek’s Director of Product for Saddles and Essentials, it’s estimated that one year’s production will put 44,000 square feet (3,850 pounds) of discarded fishing nets to good use.

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First Impressions: microSHIFT ADVENT Components

If you purchased a bicycle in the past two decades there’s a very good chance that it came equipped with a Shimano or SRAM drivetrain. While microSHIFT may not be as well known as Shimano and SRAM, the Taiwanese company has been designing and manufacturing shifters, derailleurs, and cassettes since 1999. With a product range spanning city, road, and mountain bikes, microSHIFT’s latest addition–ADVENT–is a versatile, affordable 1×9 system designed for maximum durability with minimal maintenance.

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2019 Sea Otter Classic Roundup (Part-II)

Gravel Wheel & Tire Trends

After spending three days perusing booths at the 2019 Sea Otter Classic, I can say without hesitation that it’s a very good time to be a (gravel) tire nerd. Nearly every tire manufacturer–both big and small–now offers (or will be offering) dedicated gravel tires. But it’s not just tire companies that are sliding into the gravel space. Rim and wheel vendors are responding to gravel riders’ needs with dedicated models designed for mixed-surface use.

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2019 Sea Otter Classic Roundup (Part-I)

Gravel–The New, Old Hotness

California’s Sea Otter Classic (SOC) has long been a major source of new product announcements (at least for North America). But with the demise of the Interbike trade show, Sea Otter can now claim the crown for the premiere cycling event in the United States. In previous years, the gravel segment was represented by a relatively small group of companies. This year’s event, however, saw a major increase in gravel offerings. And as gravel matures, we’re seeing more diversification in the types of bikes being offered. The traditional, road-inspired gravel bike continues to dominate, but specialized models such as dedicated gravel racing machines and bikepacking-influenced rigs are gaining traction.

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2019 Flat Pedal Roundup

Based on the popularity of last year’s flat pedal roundup, it’s safe to say that more and more gravel/adventure riders are making the switch from clipless to flat pedals. Why? There are many reasons, but as I mentioned in Part-I of the 2018 roundup, modern flats are bigger, grippier, and offer support that rivals–and in some cases, exceeds–clipless pedals’ performance. OK, but what makes one pedal better than another? The answer is, it depends. Some riders want maximum grip, others favor light weight, while some place more value on ground clearance. Whatever your criterion, though, you’re bound to find at least one flat pedal that meets your particular needs.

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