First Impressions: Spurcycle Compact Bell

When Spurcycle introduced their original bell in 2013, the tiny company permanently raised the bar for sonic warning devices. The bell’s distinctive tone and no-expense-spared construction earned it several best-of awards and countless recommendations. So how do you improve on what many consider to be the finest bicycle bell? If you’re Spurcycle, you design a completely new model–the Compact bell–and make it smaller, lighter, and less costly than the $49 (and up) Original bell.

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First Impressions: Silca Bar Tape (Guest Review)

I never thought of bar tape in terms other than thicker, plusher, fatter or maybe more or less likely to tear when I dump a bike and the handlebars–along with various body parts–get dragged through crushed rock. Since I never plan to crash, I honestly thought the point was to get tape as cushy as possible, and I certainly never encountered tape that performed differently based on the direction it’s wrapped.

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First Impressions: Topeak Nano TorqBar X

My first bicycle-specific torque wrench was a large, beam-style model. With a length of nearly eleven inches, it was fine for home use, but wasn’t practical for in-the-field adjustments. Handheld, clicker-style torque wrenches were more compact, but still too bulky for my bikes’ tool rolls or seat packs. Weighing in at less than 120 grams, and not much longer than a tire lever, the Topeak Nano TorqBar X ($54.95 MSRP) is ideal for workshop or trailside use.

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First Impressions: Bontrager Adventure Top Tube Bag (Guest Review)

I Like Gas Tanks

Or Do I?

The Bontrager Adventure Top Tube Bag ($39.99 MSRP), or gas tank, is great. Is it great for every single person? Purt near! So thank you to GRAVELBIKE for facilitating this review, because I was very happy to check out another version of this type of bag. I was especially pleased to see that it sports reinforced openings and screws for securely attaching to your top tube, because my only complaint about gas tank bags (in general) is that they doesn’t stay in place.

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First Impressions: Ortlieb Gravel-Pack Panniers

A staple among cyclo-tourists and commuters, Ortlieb’s products are famous for their durability and functionality. While the storied German brand might not be the first marque that comes to mind for bikepacking or gravel touring, the Ortlieb Gravel-Pack panniers ($180 MSRP) deliver added storage for the times when frame packs and handlebar rolls come up short on capacity.

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