First Impressions: Nittany Mountain Works & Randi Jo Fabrications Bags

Widely praised for their comfort and versatility, Jeff Jones’ Loop handlebars are a favorite of many gravel and adventure riders (including yours truly). The bar’s unique design also lends itself to attaching accessories such as cycle-computers, navigational devices, and of course, luggage. While it’s perfectly acceptable to lash a dry bag to the loop section, purpose-built bags offer more convenient access to items like snacks and cell phones. If this sounds good, but you prefer a bag that’s as unique as your bike’s handlebars, fear not, because Nittany Mountain Works and Randi Jo Fabrications offer Jones-compatible bags in a wide range of colors and materials.

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First Impressions: Blackburn Core Mini-Pumps

Between tubeless tires and advances in puncture protection, cyclists generally suffer fewer flats these days. Nonetheless, if you ride long or far enough, you’re bound to experience a puncture eventually. While some riders favor CO2 cartridges for their compactness and convenience, there’s always the risk that you’ll run out of cartridges. Pumps, on the other hand, can be used over and over, which is must if you ride in remote areas (or have a tendency to forget to replace spent cartridges).

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First Impressions: Wolf Tooth B-RAD Double Bottle Adapter

Before hydration packs became the preferred method of carrying water and supplies, bikes had fittings for attaching water bottles. While bottle cages worked well on traditional diamond frames, cages became less practical as bicycle designs evolved over the years. When bikepacking and adventure riding became more popular, bottle cage fittings began reappearing on frames and even forks. Cool, right? Yup, until you wanted to use a frame bag and a bottle cage, or your frame was too small for high-capacity bottles. Thanks to Wolf Tooth Components’ B-RAD Double Bottle Adapter, you can satisfy your hydration and storage desires without resorting to hose clamps and duct tape.

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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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