2018 Sea Otter Classic — The State of Gravel

“All about that personality crisis, you got it while it was hot” — New York Dolls

Who would have thought that a line from a 45-year-old song by a bunch of gender-bending glam rockers would so eloquently capture the state of gravel and adventure bikes in 2018? Gravel–and now, adventure–bikes have historically been difficult to define. Only a few short years ago, many gravel bikes were simply re-badged cyclocross rigs fitted with marginally wider tires and lower gears. While some companies did take chances and design their gravel/adventure bikes from the tires up, many were merely derivatives of someone else’s opinion of what a gravel bike was supposed to look like. Continue Reading “2018 Sea Otter Classic — The State of Gravel”

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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