First Impressions: MSW Airlift 220 Pump

When I began leading group rides a couple years ago I thought it would be wise to carry extra spares for those just in case scenarios. What I didn’t anticipate, though, was needing a pump that worked with Presta and Schrader valves. My personal bikes all have Presta valves, so I was used to carrying a Presta-only pump. But more than once, we found ourselves in search of a Schrader-compatible pump. Since then I’ve been on the lookout for a pump that performed equally well with both types of valves. Recently MSW’s Airlift 220 pump ($27.99 MSRP) popped up on the new arrivals page of my favorite retailer’s website, so I decided to give it a try.

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First Impressions: Teravail Cannonball Tires

When I reviewed Teravail’s Rampart road-plus tires last summer, I didn’t anticipate that they would become my go-to tire for mixed surface riding. The 650B x 47 tires’ ample volume offered plenty of flotation (and comfort), but with much of my commute now taking place in the dark, I found myself wanting more traction and control than the Ramparts’ minimal tread could provide. As luck would have it, however, Teravail began offering their Cannonball gravel tire in 650B sizes, so I decided it was time to give them a try.

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First Impressions: 45NRTH Ragnarök Shoes

Originally making a name for themselves with extreme-weather gear, Minnesota-based 45NRTH’s lineup now includes items for use in milder conditions. One of the recent additions is the company’s Ragnarök shoe for clipless pedal use. Available in reflective ($235 MSRP) and black ($195 MSRP) colorways, the Ragnarök is designed to keep you riding in comfort during fall/spring and mild winter weather.

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First Impressions: Dark Realm, PTAP Designs & Troutmoose Bags

Basket bags in GRAVELBIKE? Let me explain. If you’re like me, your gravel rig probably does double duty as a commuter. And whether you commute two or twenty-two miles, you need a way to carry your stuff. But a basket? Bikepacking-style handlebar rolls may be lighter, and panniers might offer more capacity, but when it comes to versatility and simplicity, it’s hard to beat a basket. And although it can be tempting–and perfectly acceptable–to toss items directly into your basket, a purpose-built bag keeps your stuff clean, dry, and organized (and can double as a handy tote or grocery bag).

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First Impressions: Silca & Topeak Cages

Even with the popularity of hydration packs and cycling-specific luggage, it’s hard to beat the convenience of a bottle cage. Whether used for storing beverages or cargo, the venerable bottle cage is one accessory that no rider should be without. And with cages enjoying renewed popularity, more and more companies are developing new and improved designs that satisfy the needs of recreational and utility cyclists.

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