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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First Impressions: Pearl Izumi X-Alp Launch Shoes

If you ride off-road and use clipless pedals, Pearl Izumi probably has a shoe for you. Boasting no less than a dozen SPD-compatible models, the Colorado-based company offers kicks to suit everyone from XC racers to Enduro wannabes. And now, with the introduction of the new X-Alp Launch model, flat pedal riders can get in on the action.

Judging by the Launch’s slim profile and understated appearance, you might mistake the X-Alp for another urban or recreational shoe. While the Launch certainly ticks those boxes, Pearl Izumi designed the X-Alp to handle the abuse of all-mountain riding. From the dual-density Vibram® sole to the seamless upper, the Launch delivers the comfort and support you need for all-day riding. gravel bike gravel grinder pearl izumi x alp launch
The X-Alp Launch shown in the black/shadow grey colorway.

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First Impressions: Terrene Honali Tires

Tire manufacturers often seem to fall into one of two camps–either they offer a dizzying array of models and variations, or they concentrate on a small number of core designs for specific use cases. With just six models in its current lineup, Terrene Tires finds itself ensconced in the latter camp. While initially making a name for themselves with knobby and mixed-terrain designs, Terrene recently added a dedicated touring model–the Honali–to its collection.

What differentiates Terrene’s Honali ($60.00 MSRP) from other touring tires? Tubeless compatibility, for one. While tubeless technology is a given in the MTB universe, true tubeless-compatible touring tires are relatively rare. And unlike most of Terrene’s other tires, the Honali forgoes the company’s Light (120 TPI casing) option in favor of Tough (60 TPI, TekShield) and DuraTough versions (60 TPI, TekShield+). Available in 700 x 40 and 700 x 50 (tested) sizes, both versions feature black sidewalls with reflective strips for added visibility.

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