Product Reviews


Product Review: Wren Inverted Fat Bike Suspension Fork with Extreme Winter Damper

I first came across Wren Inverted Suspension Forks before attending Interbike '17. I contacted Kevin Wren from Wren Sports before heading out to Las Vegas for the convention because I wanted to meet with him and learn more about his product.  Read more


Bike Jacket First Impressions 

Since getting my first tray rack bike rack (Saris SuperClamp) a couple of years ago, I have had the problem of road grime and salt getting all over my drivetrain, wheels and cables causing problems and corrosion. I would have to immediately rinse my bike down with warm water as soon as I got home to prevent further damage. There is now a new product called the Bike Jacket that eliminates this hassle and protects valuable wheels and components during winter driving.  Read more


Bontrager Gnarwhal Studdable Tire First Impressions

I had been waiting for over a year since I first heard about the Bontrager Gnarwhal studdable tires for Trek's new 27.5" wheel size that came stock on my Farley 9.6.  When they did become available earlier this Winter they sold out immediately and I was out of luck on getting a pair.  I would have to wait for another shipment to arrive which wasn't until the beginning of February.  Read more 


Lake MXZ 400 Winter Cycling Boot First Impressions

Almost a year after being shown a prototype of the new Lake MXZ 400 I finally got a chance to test them out a few times before Winter faded away.  This is Lake's warmest boot since the introduction of the MXZ 303.  Some of the features this boot provides set it apart from other winter cycling boots on the market.  Read more


Product Review: SKS Fatboard Fender Set

When I first saw the SKS Fatboard Fender Set at Interbike in 2015 I knew this was a product I had to do some field testing with.  So I contacted SKS-USA and requested a sample for a review and they were kind enough to send a set out, but with a warning on the package.  Read more


Product Review: 2016 45NRTH Wölvhammer Winter Cycling Boot

45NRTH introduced its newly redesigned Wölvhammer Winter cycling boot for 2016 late last Fall and the changes they made were a huge improvement on previous models.  Anyone who had a pair of these older models knew the problems with them such as sticky zippers and difficulty getting them on and off due to their double layer boot design.  Gone are all of those problems with this new single layer boot construction.  The outside of the boot now has a full grain leather and Ballistic Nylon Cordura shell for warmth and durability giving it the look and styling of a traditional mountaineering boot. Read more


45NRTH Makes Improvements on the Wölvhammer Winter Cycling Boot for 2016

45NRTH brings back its very successful Winter cycling boot, the Wölvhammer for 2016 with many improvements over the previous years' models.  The new design will make this boot easier to get on and off by doing away with the outer zipper/velcro for a gusseted tongue lace-up drawstring design.  For fatbikers and commuters it still maintains its 0°-25° F comfort rating making it a comfortable choice for Winter riding.  Read more


Product Review: CatEye Strada Smart Package

CatEye introduced the Strada Smart late last year as a cycling computer that connects to your smartphone with the CatEye Cycling App (iPhone & Android) and also to optional Bluetooth Smart sensors.  With the Strada Smart mounted on the bars a smartphone can be safely tucked away in a pocket or bag while recording your ride data.  Read more


GeigerRig Introduces Nano Technology to Their Pressurized Hydration Pack Engine

I was first introduced to GeigerRig's pressurized hydration packs two years ago at Interbike during a demonstration of how their Hydration Pack Engine works.  I wanted to put one of their hydration packs to the test and see how it performed so I contacted them and they sent me one to review.  I used it for an entire Summer on numerous gravel rides/races, mountain biking and commuting to work before writing my review.  Read more


Product Review: BackBottle

From Fix It Sticks creator Brian Davis comes the BackBottle, an innovative new design for the water bottle with a unique shape that cyclists will come to love.  It's not your standard bottle, but one that was carefully thought out and designed with an ergonomic shape that fits perfect in a jersey pocket.  After a successful KickStarter campaign that achieved its goal weeks before the deadline, the BackBottle is now available.  Read more


Product Review: Fix It Sticks Replaceable Edition & T-Way Wrench

I never go on a ride without being prepared for the unexpected and carrying a compact and versatile multi-tool that has leverage is a must for me.  I've used other multi-tools in the past but they didn't compare once Fix It Sticks came to the market.  Ever since finding out about them at Interbike 2013, they are all I carry and have come to the rescue on many occasions whether I was riding my mountain bike, fatbike or cyclocross bike.  Read more


Product Review: Scosche boomBOTTLE

Scosche introduced the boomBOTTLE last year at Interbike and it caught my attention right away.  It's a rugged IPX4 Splashproof/Weatherproof Bluetooth connectivity speaker designed to fit in a water bottle cage or cupholder.  I liked the idea of the boomBOTTLE so much that I included it as one of the 20 products in my 4-part series of posts Interbike 2013 Cool Bike Gear.  Read more


Product Reveiw: GeigerRig Rig 500 Ballistic

Staying hydrated while cycling, especially during long rides or hot weather, is very important and when I used water bottles I did not drink as much as I should have.  Taking my hands off the bars to grab the water bottle and drink was somewhat inconvenient especially when riding singletrack or hilly gravel roads.  This resulted in waiting until I was thirsty and gulping instead of continually sipping small amounts to remain hydrated.  A hydration pack definitely makes drinking during rides much easier and can be done while both hands are on the bars.  Read more


Product Review: Finish Line No Drip Chain Luber

Lubricating my bike's chain used to cause drips that either ended up on my garage floor or my wheels and chainstay.  After seeing the No Drip Chain Luber from Finish Line last year at Interbike I figured this may be a solution to that problem.  In theory it seemed like a good idea but how would it work with lubes of varying viscosity and would it coat the chain evenly without drips?  After receiving some of samples from Finish Line I decided to test it out and see if it would live up to its name.  Read more


Product Review: Trail Rail Adjustable Cell/GPS Cradle

I first came across the Trail Rail Adjustable Cell/GPS Cradle last year at Interbike and immediately thought of its application for mountain biking and adventure riding.  This mount is a solid way to secure your iPhone or Android device to handlebars for navigation, shooting photos/video and for easy access taking calls or messaging.  What makes this mount so stable and virtually indestructible is the cradle, platform and all components are machined from solid 6061-T6 Aluminum billet.  Read more


Product Review: Finish Line Super Bike Wash

I don't particularly enjoy cleaning my bikes and would often ride until they were really dirty before taking the time to get the dirt and grime off.  I ride a lot of gravel roads and singletrack mtb trails that will get a bike pretty dusty in between cleanings.  Until I started using Super Bike Wash from Finish Line, I would dread getting out the brushes, rags and soapy water bucket to wash my bikes.  Now it's quick and easy to get 'em clean and I don't mind washing them anymore.  Read more


Product Review: Lone Peak Pfeifferhorn Handlebar Pack

I first learned of Lone Peak Packs last year at Interbike in Las Vegas where I met owner Gary Hubbert.  He showed me his full line of cycling packs that are designed and made right here in the USA.  The one pack that caught my eye was the Pfeifferhorn Handlebar Pack.  For me, this pack would become a great dual service bag that I would use year-round on the fatbike and road bike.  Read more


Product Review: Banjo Brothers Waterproof Saddle Trunk

The Banjo Brothers Waterproof Saddle Trunk is a versatile bag that I have come to love.  I have put it to the test it in all types of weather on the fatbike and my road bike.  One of the things I like most is it gives me that extra carrying capacity without having to install a rack for a trunk bag.  This bag has a big 400 cubic inches (12.5” L x 7” H x 8.5” W) of space to carry what I need for those longer rides or commutes to work.  Read more


Product Review: Quad Lock Bike Kit

I take my smartphone along on all of my rides for navigation, ride tracking, taking photos and to listen to my favorite podcasts and music.  Usually I would stash it in my jersey pocket, but the problem with that was anytime I needed to check the map or change what I was listening to I would have to stop and grab it.  After seeing the Quad Lock Bike Kit on the web, I wanted to give it a try and see if it would do the trick to put my smartphone within easy view and hold it secure whether I was mountain biking or riding on the road.  Read more

Product Review: Wind Blox

Wind noise has long been an annoyance when riding a bike and can also be a safety issue when it comes to hearing approaching automobiles.  A new product called Wind Blox was designed to greatly reduce wind noise and allow a cyclist to hear better while riding.  After a successful Kickstarter campaign in the Fall of 2013, this product is now available to everyone. Read more


Product Review: New & Improved CamelBak Podium Bottles

CamelBak took the innovative design features of their Podium water bottles and made them even better this year with a few new improvements.  Each bottle is still made with CamelBak's BPA-Free TruTaste™ polypropylene with HydroGuard™ to let you taste the water and not the bottle.  The new improvements make hydrating on the bike even easier.  Read more


Product Review: All Mountain Style Frame Guard

The All Mountain Style Frame Guard is a product I came across last fall that offers protection for a bike's frame and paint.  It is made from high impact and rub resistance honeycomb 380 microns semi-rigid PVC and stays in place with an automotive-grade adhesive.  Its simple design and ease of installation peaked my curiosity and I wanted to put it to the test on a fatbike during a harsh Minnesota winter and spring.  This would give me an idea of its frame protection performance and how it stands up to the elements year round.  Read more


Product Review: PDW Dave's Mud Shovels

During the seasonal transition periods in the Spring and Fall, riding a fatbike can get a little messy.  Mud, sand, slush and puddles can get a rider all wet.  To combat this and keep riding dry and comfortable, Portland Design Works has made Dave's Mud Shovels.  These lightweight, quick-install fenders are wide enough to keep water, mud and muck from being flung all over your legs and backside from those big fatbike tires.  Read more


Product Review: Gup Gum Gear Bottle Cage Coozie

Winter cycling requires a rider to hydrate just as much as during warm weather rides, so slushy or frozen water bottles can be a nuisance.  To help extend the amount of time it takes to freeze up a water bottle, Gup Gum Gear handcrafts the newly redesigned Bottle Cage Coozie right here in the Twin Cites.  This product is fashioned to fit around standard water bottle cages and uses 3/8" thick closed cell foam for insulation to significantly extend the time it takes water to freeze.  Read more


Product Reveiw: Hydrapak SoftFlask

Hydrapack debuted its new additions to the SoftFlask line at Interbike 2013 now offering 3 new sizes.  These new sizes expand on its original two (5 & 8 oz) that were primarily used for gels to be more water specific.  The three new sizes include the SF350 (12 oz), SF 500 (17 oz) and SF750 (25 oz).  They have a wide cap for easy filling, a shut-off for storage, a newly designed high-flow silicone bite valve with cap and a carry strap.  They are also BPA & PVC free, top-rack dishwasher safe and come with a No Leak Product Warranty.   Read more


Product Review: A'ME Ergo Tri Heated MTB Grips

On winter bike rides hands are usually the first to get cold.  Cold fingers reduce dexterity for shifting and braking and can cause a cyclist to cut a ride short.  There are many ways to avoid this fate through the use of gloves, lobster mitts, pogies and chemical hand warmers, but the most effective method I found is by using heated handlebar grips.  In combination with gloves, mitts or pogies, heated handlebar grips can keep your hands warm for hours in the coldest of weather.  Read more


Product Review: Columbia Bugaboot Plus II Omni-Heat 

When it came time to select a warm, lightweight boot at a reasonable price for winter biking, I did a little research and tried on pairs from several different manufacturers.  What I was looking for was a boot that could handle the varying conditions experienced riding during a Minnesota winter.  I chose the Columbia Bugaboot Plus II Omni-Heat because it is very lightweight (size 9, ½ pair = 24 oz), waterproof, flexible and has an outsole that would grip nicely on a good set of pinned, flat pedals.  Read more


Product Review: SlipNot Traction Systems

To achieve better traction for winter biking there are many different options to choose from including tires, studs, studded tires and chains.  Each of these has their pros and cons and the riding conditions determine what will work best.  SlipNot Traction Systems of Bayfield, CO has designed bicycle tire chains that are supposed to provide better traction on snow, ice and mud.  After seeing them at Interbike 2013 and talking with the owners of the company, I wanted to test them out in a variety of Minnesota winter conditions to see how well they would perform.  Read more

Product Review: ColdAvenger Pro Softshell 

I first heard of ColdAvenger from my friend and ColdAvenger Athlete Bonnie Moebeck, who raved about its performance in the coldest of weather.  She really put it to the test at one of the world's toughest ultra-endurance races, the Arrowhead 135, that takes place each year in the "Icebox of the Nation", International Falls, MN.  Bonnie tells me she couldn't compete having asthma without the protection that the ColdAvenger mask provides for her lungs.  With a testimonial like that, I had to try out the ColdAvenger myself.  The subzero temperatures we have been experiencing in Minnesota this winter would be perfect for testing its performance.   Read more

Light & Motion Rechargeable LED Lighting That Lights Up the Night

Light & Motion has been developing high quality lighting for cycling at their Monterey, California factory for over 20 years.  When it came time to choose what lighting I would like to test and use regularly, testimonials from other cyclists, Light & Motion's reputation and the fact they are designed and assembled here in the USA made their products a clear choice for me.  Read more


The Bar Fly Universal Adds Needed Space for Accessories

The Bar Fly Universal from Tate Labs is great idea for those that need a little extra space for accessories on their bars.  The design puts them out in front of the bars and is wide enough (50mm) to accommodate a light and gps/computer at the same time.  Other accessories such as GoPro cameras and smartphones that have a stock mounting bracket are also easily attached to the Bar Fly Universal.  Read more


Gaiters for the Winter Bike Commuter or Fatbike Adventurer

The winter bike commuter or fatbike adventure rider may want to invest in a good pair of gaiters to keep legs from the knees down warm, dry and boots from taking on snow.  I had some time to test out two gaiters recently and depending on what type of winter riding you do, one of these will do the trick.  Read more


Tire Gauges to Dial In the Right Pressure For Varying Riding Conditions

Keeping your tires properly inflated is key to speed, control, traction and avoiding pinch flats.  Colder temperatures can cause tire pressure to decrease as much as 2% for every 10° F drop, so checking your tires to ensure proper inflation should be done before each ride, especially in winter.  Fatbike tires with their large air volume are designed to run very low pressure and need to be adjusted depending on the riding conditions.  A change of as little as a pound or two of psi can make a huge difference to how a fatbike tire reacts to the conditions you are riding.  I had a chance to test two gauges recently that will do the trick for fatbike tires and one works with any bike tire.   Read more


Hiplok V1.50: The Wearable Bike Chain Lock

The Hiplok V1.50 is the first bike lock designed specifically to be worn around the waist while riding.  It has an 8 mm hardened steel chain, a 12 mm hardened steel shackle in the buckle and weighs about 4 pounds.  With a flat padded nylon sleeve over the chain to provide a comfortable fit, it also prevents scratches when locking your bike.  It's fully adjustable and one size fits all that should accommodate waist sizes from 24 to 44 inches.  Read more


Portable Battery Banks to Charge Devices During Rides

Anyone that has used a smartphone to navigate or track track their rides knows that using GPS and mobile data can run down a phone's battery fairly quickly.  A cyclist can find it running out mid-way through a long ride ending tracking and navigation functionality.  If there was only a way to recharge that phone battery while continuing a ride.  I have come across a couple of products that do just that without taking up a lot of space.  Both of them will take a phone battery that is almost dead and charge it to 100% extending the phone's use time by double.  Read more


Outdoor Tech Buckshot: Big Sound, Small Package

When I came across the Outdoor Tech booth at Interbike, a new product  called the Buckshot caught my eye and I had to take a closer look.  The Buckshot is a compact, rugged, water-resistant Bluetooth speaker that can be mounted to your handlebars or any other similar profile.  Read more


Fix It Sticks: A Compact Multi-Tool with Leverage & Torque

After hearing all of the buzz before and during Interbike about Fix It Sticks, I had to find out more about this innovative new multi-tool.  I found myself drawn to the smallest booth at Interbike to meet with Fix It Sticks inventor and founder Brian Davis.  He told me how this small tool went from an idea he had one day after having a front derailleur snap off of his trainer to becoming a Kickstarter funded reality. Then he demonstrated how the design will provide the leverage and torque needed that many multi-tools lack.  Read more


Detours "The Slice" Keeps Items Close at Hand

The Slice from Detours is a a great add-on for that gravel century, long ride or a short trip around town to keep items within easy reach.  It's a wedge shaped pack that mounts easily with Velcro to your top tube and has an elastic strap that goes around the stem to keep it securely in place.  With dimensions of  7" x 1.5" x 3.5" and 25 cubic inches of storage it's the perfect size to store snacks and gels for long rides.  The inside has enough room to fit a cell phone or wallet and features a clip for keys and a side pocket for money, credit cards or ID.  Read more 


Product Review: Sky Mounti Inclinometer

The Sky Mounti Inclinometer is basically a carpenters level that attaches to the handlebars helping a cyclist determine how steep a climb or descent really is.  I enjoy riding some pretty hilly terrain and this tool gives me a pretty good reading to satisfy my curiosity on the big hills. It may not give the most accurate reading all the time because of road vibration, acceleration/braking or suspension fork movement but will provide a pretty close degree of incline or decline.  Read more

Product Review: Chain-L High Milage Bicycle Chain Oil

I ride in a lot of dusty and dirty conditions that include miles of gravel roads and singletrack making frequent application of chain lubricant necessary.  I was constantly having to lube my chain to keep it quiet and shifting smoothly.  I decided to give Chain-L High Mileage Bicycle Chain Oil a try because I was looking for a product that could sustain miles of these conditions allowing more time for riding and less time on chain maintenance.  After hearing about Chain-L's high mileage claims and reading a few positive reviews I decided to put it through some of my own tough testing.  Read more



Product Reveiw: Gup Gum Gear Custom Frame Bag

With all of the long distance gravel rides I have been doing, being able to carry the necessary water and the self-support tools I need put me in the market for a quality frame bag.  I did some research and came in contact with Neil Cary, whose small Twin Cities based company Gup Gum Gear handcrafts some great custom frame bags.  Neil has competed in many gravel grinder centuries and and his creations have been used by cyclists in the Arrowhead 135, TransIowa, TripleD, Tuscobia and numerous other gravel century races.  He uses what he makes and comes highly recommended.  With a resume' like that, a frame bag from Gup Gum Gear would be able to withstand whatever terrain I could throw at it, not to mention it would be convenient for around town or commuting.  Read more


Product Review: Hydrapak Reversible Elite Reservoir w/ Shape Shift Technology

After seeing a video showing the unorthodox, real world testing of the Hydrapak Reversable Elite Reservoir with Shape Shift Technology, I had to try it out for myself.  Now I knew I would never put it through the rigorous testing that the Hydrapak guys did, but I figured with this kind of durability it would easily withstand the toughest mountain biking terrain without leaking.  Read more


App Review: Runtastic Road Bike Pro

I have spent a lot of time testing out all of the features of many cycling apps available for the Android platform and none of them have the functionality and ease of use that the Runtastic Road Bike Pro has.  This app is jam-packed with everything a cyclist needs to track his or her performance and aid in navigation.  It has an easy to read display and all ride data is synced up with the user's online Runtastic account.  What more could you ask for?  This is why it has become my go-to app for all of my rides.  Read more


Product Review: Banjo Brothers Bar-Top Phone Pack 

With all of the cycling apps available for gps enabled smartphones, navigating and tracking your rides has never been easier.  But who wants to fumble around trying to get that phone out of a pocket every time you need to access a map or check your progress?  With the Banjo Brothers Bar-Top Phone Pack you no longer have to, it is right in view and at your fingertips.  Now you can take a quick glance to see your location on a map, check your mileage or see if you are on course using your favorite cycling app.  Read more


Product Review: Finish Line Gear Floss Microfiber Ropes

Gear Floss Microfiber Ropes from Finish Line are a simple but very effective product that makes cleaning those hardest to reach places on your bike a breeze.  If you use a wet lube, ride a lot of gravel, dusty singletrack or just like to keep your bike clean and detailed, this is a must have product.  No more getting out the brush, degreaser and rags to clean your cassette, derailleurs and chain rings.  Using these will keep the mess to a minimum where brushes can splatter and scatter grease and grime all over the place.  They're like dental floss for your bike.   Read more


Product Review: Camelbak Podium Water Bottles

I've tried all kinds of water bottles over the last few years and after using the Camelbak Podium water bottle, I've learned that not all water bottles are created equally.  The complaints I've had about the standard cycling water bottle are that they leak, they affect the taste of the water and the minor inconvenience of opening and closing the valve cap.  Camelbak's Podium water bottle line eliminates all of these problems.  Read more


Handcrafted Pogies by Stellar Bags

Stellar Bags is a small Twin Cities based company making handmade quality gear "For bikes and their people".  I recently got a pair of Stellar Bags Pogies and put them to the test with the recent stretch of cold weather we have been having.  They far exceeded my expectations for comfort, quality and warmth.  I had a pair of Bar Mitts that I had been using earlier this winter but my hands still became cold, even when wearing gloves.  Not the case with the ones Jacob from Stellar Bags handcrafted for me.  Read more

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