First Impressions: LOOK X-Track Pedals

I must admit that I have a soft spot for LOOK‘s off-road pedals. In the mid-nineties, I chose the French company’s big red S2R Moab model over Shimano’s more popular SPD. Why? More float for one. But to be completely honest, the Moabs’ glossy red finish just looked cooler than the matte-black SPDs. So when I was invited to preview LOOK’s re-entry into the MTB clipless space at last year’s Interbike trade show, I was very curious to see which direction the company would take.

GRAVELBIKE gravel grinder LOOK SPD clipless pedal 5.10
LOOK’s X-Track is also available in a dark grey finish.

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First Impressions: Goodyear Transit Tour Tires

“We’re bringing a tire brand to market in a month,” read the PR agency’s email. “I have 700 x 50 mm tires available. Would you have any interest in getting on a set?” As a self-described tire nerd, I replied immediately with an emphatic, “Hell, yes!” Opening the package from the aforementioned PR agency, I was more than a little surprised by the sight of the Goodyear winged-foot logo on the tires’ sidewalls. Yes, that Goodyear.

GRAVELBIKE gravel bike grinder goodyear transit tour tire tubeless
Image courtesy of Logan Vonbokel

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2018 Pocket Tool Roundup

“Be prepared.” — The Girl Scout motto

Being prepared used to mean carrying a spare tube, pump, and a modicum of tools. In the age of smart phones, however, preparedness has taken on a somewhat different meaning. For many, being prepared now means having the latest rideshare app installed on their phone. Carrying a phone while riding is never a bad idea, but a spare tube and the necessary tools are cheap insurance when you’re in a remote area with poor–or no–cellphone coverage.

GRAVELBIKE gravel grinder tool topeak wolf tooth blackburn spurcycle silca tool
Topeak, Wolf Tooth, Blackburn, Spurcycle, Silca (L – R)

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One-Year Review: WTB Ranger Tires

My first experience with Wilderness Trail Bikes’ Ranger tire came shortly after the arrival of a Jeff Jones demo bike. Jones had spec’d the bike with Schwalbe Super Moto (29″ x 2.35″) tires, and while the stock rubber proved more than capable on dirt and gravel roads, I found myself wishing for something with a bigger footprint and more grip for the loose-over-hard trails that are prevalent on Colorado’s Front Range. And because my rides usually involve some pavement, I wanted a tread pattern that wouldn’t slow me down getting to the dirt and gravel. I shot an email to the folks at WTB, and they recommended I give their 29″ x 3.0″ Ranger a try.

GRAVELBIKE gravel grinder plus bike wtb ranger 29er

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First Impressions: Lizard Skins DSP Handlebar Tape

GRAVELBIKE gravel grinder jones loop bar lizard skins dsp bar tape wrap

New bar tape is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to freshen up a tired looking bike. Unlike back in the day, modern bar tape comes in a rainbow of color choices, multiple levels of padding, and different textures for different applications. With three different thickness and a myriad of colors, Lizard Skins‘ DSP bar wrap offers something for practically any rider.

Despite the company’s reptilian name, Lizard Skins DSP tape isn’t made from actual lizard skin. DSP stands for DuraSoft Polymer, which the company claims offers unmatched levels of comfort, control and responsiveness. Knowing that one thickness doesn’t necessarily work for all riders, Lizard Skins offers DSP tape in 1.8 mm, 2.5 mm, and 3.2 mm thicknesses ($41.99-$49.99 MSRP). Each thickness also features its own unique texture, further enhancing grip and comfort.

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