Recent News & Reviews
Oddly, the Vulpine isn’t as fast a rolling tire on gravel which is loose, chunky, and deep as other tires with similar width. However; once you get out of situations where the terrain is loose and deep, the Vulpine begins to show up as a fast, controllable tire.
Just what the heck is this thing? It has straps like a frame bag, but it isn’t really a frame bag, or a bag at all. It has elements of a tool roll, but it doesn’t go under your saddle. It is shaped like an overgrown wallet, but the permanently attached front strap kind of takes it out of that category.
Maybe what we want is a wheel to cross a county on. Or a continent on. Or a world. And so flash is second to longevity, value, and solid, long days in the saddle. And I do think that the Wanderlusts hit that mark.
The recycled fabric seems tough, stretchy, and washes well in the laundry. I have no issues with the fabric and the recycled element to it makes me feel good about my impact on the environment.
It is the bar for those who don’t like the weird, laid-out levers look, and for those who don’t want a lot of flare to the drops. It’s the flared drop bar that looks ‘normal’. It’s the drop bar that takes advantage of what carbon fiber can bring to the table where other carbon handle bars have not. It’s got great ergonomic features, and it rides really well. What more could you ask for in a drop handle bar for gravel riding?
Moving on with our light review round-up, we have the light from Bontrager. As we mentioned in the intro post, what I received from Trek was the Ion Elite R which is one step down from the top of the line light.
Remembering that these are $35.00 tires (each) means that we probably should not be looking at the American Classic offerings as being equal to, or better than tires costing more, despite what “direct-to-consumer” marketing may seem to indicate here.
Every time I did this I felt like I could not feel as much- or any- vibrations coming through the saddle like I was through my hands and my feet. It did not seem to matter if I had a chamois on or if I was in my street clothes, this seemed to me to be the case. That Infinergy® stuff really seems to knock down the higher frequency stuff really well.
The VIS Trail Pro is my choice of the test for a light that is mostly used in the dirt and at speeds under 30mph. The warm color tint and the useful UI; the quality build with high levels of water resistance…it’s a very nice light.
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Guitar Ted is flying solo in this…
The unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley happened again on October 10th and by all accounts, it was a rousing success, with a big turnout and lots of happy faces.
I give the CZR wheels a ‘highly recommended’ score here. While certain singular features on competitor’s products may seem more appealing, the CZR wheels have a complete feature set, are a part of a systemic tubeless range, which not many other choices in wheels can lay claim to, and a wheel set which performs at a very high level in very demanding conditions.
ealant is a lot like tires are when it comes to opinions. What is legend and what is fact gets lost in the passionate takes some folks have concerning which one is ‘best’. So, as far as this opening introduction goes for this new sealant from WTB, many of you may, no doubt, dismiss it out of hand because of your choices. That’s fine. This review is not being done to evangelize anyone. But those who have a more open mind to new ideas should read on.
The most recent news for the gravel and back road rider is here. Sea Otter has come and gone, the first to be held since the pandemic struck in 2020, and a few things came out of that show/festival. We also have a couple of news items from recent press releases. Let’s check it out!
Lizard Skins was kind enough to supply a couple of the new offerings for 2021 in their cycling glove line. One pair is long fingered and one pair is short fingered and both are what I would call a light weight glove as far as warmth/fabric. I have used them for a bit now, one pair much more than the others…see below about that…and here are my thoughts.
The Craft Cadence Recycled Performance Jersey comes to us with a responsibly sourced material used to make a racy-snug fitting jersey which promises to have a performance to match its cut.
Thank you for joining me for Part 2 of this Round-Up. Hit that link above if you need to read Part 1 yet. Now then, let’s get back to the lights at hand. I am just doing a quick overview for now. When I look at these one at a time I will fill in more details.
It’s almost Fall. Of course in So Cal that does not mean much except that the days get shorter and it is not 105 degrees. No leaves will fall as they have all died of drought and have already fallen or they have burned up in some forest fire.
Today Fezzari Bikes, the direct to rider company, announces their take on a gravel bike, the Shafer. It is a carbon fiber frame and fork gravel bike with a lot of nice details and a forward-thinking geometry which pushes the boundaries of what gravel bike geometry can be going forward.
The Grepp tape is based on a synthetically produced, plant based fiber called TENCEL™ which comes from trees. The wood pulp is made into a base from which the fibers are then woven into threads. This is what faces your hands with the Grepp tape.
One of my longest rides this year was done on the SR Allroad Core. It was a 112 mile gravel ride with a little pavement mixed in here and there with towns passed through. The ride was 10.5 hours long and I experienced no saddle discomfort at all…
You just knew this was going to happen one day, didn’t you? The UCI- that big, evil, fun-ruining organization was going to come in and destroy everything you loved about the gravel event scene.
The bars were easy to set up and no more difficult to wrap than a standard handle bar, in my opinion. Once everything was set, I set my hands into the drops and pushed down. Whoa! These bars have some noticeable give.
The over-all shape of this bag is unusual, being that it sets on the bike flatter against the head tube and reaches downward toward the front wheel, rather than setting outward, or lengthwise, as many other bar bags do. It is more like a handbag in that way than anything I’ve seen for a bicycle.
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Guitar Ted and Andy chat about some…
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel The guys are joined by Dan Roberts…
In today’s Gravel Grinder News we have a new Ride With GPS feature debuting and news about review items from Craft cadence. Plus we have information regarding a new gravel grinder to be held in Southwestern Texas in November. Let’s jump in!
There have been a lot of recent reports and discussions on how much of a difference ‘better’ wheels make on a bicycle and if they are worth the cost of the upgrade. Do lighter wheels actually matter? Is aero everything? Are red hubs really faster?
Our look at the new Dura-Ace and Ultegra 12 speed and what- if any- implications it may have for a future GRX offering, and gravel tech in general.
Finish Line’s new FiberLink sealant is a latex based sealant that acts a lot like what you would expect. Initial set up remind me very much of how the competion’s latex selant formula sets up tires, and that is a good thing.
With plenty of miles on each of the tool rolls here, I am ready to give my thoughts on what each one does best and what they don’t do so well. As a bonus, I will also have a quick look at KOM’s “Tube Strap”, which is even more minimalist than a tool roll!
The CZR range will include trail bike wheels and these gravel/road wheels which we have in for testing. Focusing then on the gravel side, the WTB CZR wheels will feature an internal rim width of 23mm, reinforced spoke hole beds, and WTB’s “4D” spoke holes which aim each nipple and spoke out to the hub at an angle which removes stress on the spokes which typical straight holes in rims cannot do.
Today in Gravel Grinder News we have views on the new SRAM XPLR group, news of a carbon drop bar from Easton, and a new sealant from Finish Line. Let’s go!
Tool rolls- Those minimalist storage ‘bags’ which snuggle up under your saddle. You may have seen a few in the past. Well, we at RidingGravel.com have decided to check out three offerings. The SILCA Seat Roll Asymmetrico, the KOM Cycling Saddle Tool Roll, and the Topeak Burrito Pack.
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted are joined by…
While it’s true everyone has different needs in a saddle, I’ve found the Terra Argo X.3 to be remarkably comfortable and smooth-riding. It also offers a generous fit range, so it can meet the needs of a wide variety of riders’ needs.
Now I often ride pure roadie wear on my gravel rides if they are long and fast over mixed surfaces…a typical gravel experience for around here. But for less of a ‘pace’ or for stuff like light bikepacking, I would grab the Explore stuff every time
I liked the overall feel and tacky grip, (when it was dry), of this tape. It does damp out some vibration – not all of them – so you end up with a nicer experience in regard to hand comfort. I liked how the cross-section allowed for the tape to have that soft-ribbed grip which aids in situations that might be a bit rowdier than your typical road surface.
Showers Pass, probably best known for rain gear, does have a new pair of shorts out called the “Gravel Shorts”. Of course, this distinction is the ‘buzzword du jour’ these days, but it does differentiate this pair of shorts from the similarly plainly named “Cross Country Shorts” which we reviewed back in 2018.
In today’s Gravel Grinder News we have a new handle bar tape offering from Wolf Tooth and some new on-bike storage solutions from KOM Cycling. Let’s dig in…..
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted get a chance…
So who is this tire for…..They are the kind of rider that wants a bullet-proof, easy tubeless set up, a tire that doesn’t require baby-sitting in terms of air pressure retention, and a tire that wears well. That is a tough combination to get right, but I believe that Pirelli did get this right with the Cinturato Gravel H tires.
HED Wheels, the Minnesota U.S.A. based maker of wheels, perhaps best known for their aerodynamic qualities, has released a new wheel in their Emporia range today. Dubbed the Emporia GC3, it features design cues from HED’s Vanquish RC Pro and Vanquish RC Pro Performance Series wheels and has a 30mm rim depth.
So, who is this tire best suited for? I believe that the way Panaracer has made this tire and the way that they market it as the “strongest version of the GravelKing SK..”speaks to a cyclist who craves a reliable tire with volume for rougher surfaces and/or heavy loads.
GORE has been winning with me of late with clothing that really has been working well. This, after some other items that were real misses, has been a great surprise and has filled out my go-to list of staple clothing quite nicely.
Riding with the thicker DSP V2 tape was nice in that there was a bit of a reduction in buzz and the tape had a very noticeable give. It should be noted, however, that thicker tape means that your handlebar grip diameter will be larger. This may or may not be a positive for you.
Today Roval announces two new wheel sets based off their flagship Terra CLX wheels. The goal was to bring carbon fiber wheels and Roval’s design ethos down to price ranges which should be a bit easier on the budget for many more riders than the range topping CLX wheels. Additionally, Roval has a new flared drop bar made in carbon fiber to talk about.
The final video in our “Get Off The Couch And Ride!” series is all about bike fit and why you need one. In this episode, Pat Casey of Peak State Fit walks Salty and Stupid Cycling’s Bobby Kennedy through a bike fit. Meanwhile, Pat shares why a bike fit is not just for racers. Anyone can benefit from being professionally fitted.
I’m pretty impressed by the Cinturato. It does ride well, handles well, especially for a tire with not much tread, and it is almost a ‘set it and forget it’ tire in terms of width and air pressure retention.
Oh, and by the way, it cleans up out of your bottles really well. Just thought I should mention that before closing out here, because I hate it when something nasty starts growing in my favorite water bottles! Roctane- Check it out. I think it works well and it may help you get those big miles in this Summer and for the future.
“Episodes #80 & #81 – Dave Pryor of the unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley and Tim Tucker of Gravel Unravel”
EPISODE #81 – TIM TUCKER OF GRAVEL UNRAVEL Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted are joined…
The Gravel King SK+ tires have decent roll, are seemingly quite resistant to punctures, and have copious volume for their size. In fact, you had better have room for 50mm tires on your bike if you want to try out these 650B tires.
The overall design of each aspect of the system has a pretty wide appeal, in my opinion. So, yes- it isn’t for everyone. But if you are looking for a way to gain a bit more control, better ride comfort, and more versatility in your gravel/adventure riding, then the Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebars, Cruise Control grips, and Really Long Bar Tape are well worth looking into. I highly recommend the system.
unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley 2021 Announced – by Guitar Ted The shindig in Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River Valley area is going to happen again…
The Ravemen range of front and rear lights is intriguing and some of the models have some pretty unique features promising some nice user experiences. At the asking prices, it would appear that these lights are a great value as well. Stay tuned as I get these into use and we’ll find out where Ravemen lights hit and where they miss.
There are several sizes of the Gravel King SK+ tires in the range, we happen to have the 650B X 48mm versions. The tires we have are the blackwall versions, but Panaracer lists a skin wall version as well. None of the funky colors as with other Gravel King variants here though, which you don’t get with the SK+. Just plain black tread.
The control part is what I wasn’t expecting. When things get rowdy, rough, and sketchy, the Drop Grips especially come into play and make controlling the bike a much easier task. I felt a lot more secure while holding these grips when I hit loose gravel in a turn, for instance.
Spring is here and so are a few items in the Riding Gravel storage area. It’s been a while since we have had any t-shirts available, so we have fixed that now with two designs. One is a Riding Gravel classic and the other one is a new version of a shirt we offered last time we had shirts.
THIS EPISODE IS SPONSORED BY BIKE RAGS Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted get right into…
The tubeless ‘dance’ isn’t hard to do once you get the hang of it. That said- it isn’t for everybody. Using tubes is definitely a lot easier and comes with less maintenance issues. Of course, they do fail when punctured, there is no free lunch. You’ll just have to decide which suits you better, and if all this maintenance is worth the benefits for your riding.
The news of a new power measuring pedal product from Garmin is out now and our own MG attended the ‘virtual’ press release event. Following are the details and comments on this new pedal system for power measurement from Garmin called “Rally”.
The WTB Proterra i23 wheels are a subtle looking, value priced wheel set at $649.00 for the pair. You get smooth EZO sealed bearings, easily serviced parts, and WTB’s proven tubeless rims. Nothing ‘shouty‘ going on here, just a workingman-like wheel set. Plus, they pass the critical ‘wobble/oscillation test’ which means they will handle well on sketchy gravel. Better than most other value priced and stock wheel sets.
Today Riding Gravel continues the series of videos which will focus on how anyone can get from ‘zero to race day shape‘. Realizing that COVID-19 may have caused many of you to take up couch surfing and that your riding time may have suffered from a lack of focus,
Salsa Cycles has announced the 2021 versions of their popular Warbird and Stormchaser models. These models reflect color and spec changes only. The designs remain the same as the 2020 models.
The Redshift Sports Kitchen Sink Handlebar, Cruise Control Grips, and Really Long Bar Tape combine to make a system that is intriguing for the gravel and back road cyclist. Add in the loop bar section and it becomes more versatile with an added possibility for cargo bag attachment, accessories attachment points, and obviously as an aero position for riding into winds. There is a lot going on here.
So, if you can get past the fact that the GXX is not going to win any lightweight wheel contests, the GXX wheels will give your bike a smoother, more controlled ride with less energy wasted trying to herd the bike down a rougher road. That’s worth a lot right there, in my opinion.
Today Riding Gravel continues the series of videos which will focus on how anyone can get from ‘zero to race day shape‘. Realizing that COVID-19 may have caused many of you to take up couch surfing and that your riding time may have suffered from a lack of focus, Bobby Kennedy of Salty and Stupid Cycling has created a series of videos to help anyone get off the couch and ride.
Spring is showing signs of kicking into gear and you know what that means, right? Gravel and back road riding season, that’s what! But is your bike ready? If you shoved your bike into the corner and didn’t do any maintenance, it will need doing now.
The WTB Proterra i23 wheels are a subtle looking, value priced wheel set at $649.00 for the pair. You get smooth EZO sealed bearings, easily serviced parts, and WTB’s proven tubeless rims. Nothing ‘shouty’ going on here, just a workingman-like wheel set.
Winter is hitting the Riding Gravel headquarters hard, but that doesn’t mean that things are not happening. Today we have news on some upcoming products from WTB, Redshift Sports, and Finish Line which are due to arrive soon, or already have, which we will be reviewing.
Today in “Gravel Grinder News” we have a new rear derailleur and cassette from SRAM plus news of a versatile water bottle cage system from Granite Design.
For my uses, the cell phone, money, and card functionality makes this case an essential part of my kit now. I can pop out my cell phone easily, and I can stow money in there instead of floating it around in a sandwich baggie.
The Cloudburst is a fully seam-sealed rain jacket made with a new fabric called eliteAIR™. This new fabric has the characteristic of being stretchable and very breathable. The jacket also is packable with less bulk than many seam sealed rain jackets.
This tool would definitely cover a lot of needs on a long, self-supported type ride where you may need to do some repair work to keep you going. It’s got a few things in there that are pretty iffy, (the tire lever, the 8mm hex key) , but for the common repairs I think its a winner.
Today we have new wheel sets to tell you about from WTB and Spinergy. Plus a new tubeless plug tool from Dynaplug is also in the news this week.
HED Wheels announces today that they have a limited edition polished Emporia GA Pro wheel set on offer. These wheels feature HED’s newest rim design for gravel with an internal width of 25mm.
he Pakgo Gearpack is a great way to keep organized – be that at home or on the go. It’s a nice item one could keep ready and whether you ride from home or grab the bag to hit a trail head, or a destination to cycle from, the Pakgo will make sure you have what you need to hand.
Classic design wasn’t compromised where it matters most with the Silca Pista Plus. The ‘guts’ of this pump are just like those of the past pumps Silca is famous for. That means that parts are available to repair this pump, when that time comes, but I know that occasional maintenance will put that day off for years- maybe over a decade.
One of the first real rides I did on the Trailblazer wheels was a 50 mile mixed surface loop running the Touareg tires. Now I got a bit suckered into this one. You know that friend that says that “it’s a 30 mile ride with a couple of hills” and it never is? Yeah. That friend. I have one of those.
Of course, high price cannot be forgotten, and if their is anything that makes these bars hard to consider it would be that barrier. However; try to find a competing product and it becomes apparent that if this idea is something that you’ve always wanted to see become available, well, here you go
The Challenge Tire Getaway model is a welcomed addition to the range of fast, light, 38-42mm range of tires for gravel. It seems that this type and size range of gravel tires is not seeing a lot of new development lately with many companies focusing on larger tires not really focused on speed.
ABOUT EPISODE #68 Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted do a little regular discussion and then…
The Pirate Cycling League has added a new event to Gravel Worlds 2021. The 300-mile Long Voyage joins the existing 150-mile, 75-mile and 50km events.
As the system stands for the flat bar user, I think it presents a good value when you stack it against what is available for flat bar electronic shifting. The drop bar market will be another level altogether. Let’s see what happens, but this bears watching.
The holidays are upon us, and with them comes the challenge of choosing the right gifts for friends and family. Not many folks have unlimited budgets, so selecting a great gift that’s also affordable is the goal. With that in mind, here are some gifts we’d be stoked to find under the tree this year, and all come in at $60 or less.
WTB has some really good non-puncture protected gravel/all road tires in their line, but there was no puncture protected version, until now. The SG2 gravel tires seem to be a good addition to the range as long as you understand that the width indicated on the side wall may not match the width of the tire in reality.
“an ocean of sweat
a delta of spirit
a barn full of sparrows
about to explode into the night.”
–from Ben Weaver, “The DAMn”
Gloves for cycling have not typically kept up with the advancements in technology and new knowledge applied to cycling short inserts and that for shoes and pedals. We seem to be missing similar comfort and performance features for cycling gloves. But no more with the Q 36.5 Unique Gloves which bring a scientific, performance based design to these gloves which seems to have great promise for the gravel and back road cyclist.
Spinergy has been famous for using an alternative to stainless steel spokes for years. Their spoke is based upon a use of a special fiber. Specifically a spoke with “over 30,000 strands of polyphenylene bensobisoxazole fiber”. These fibers are then coated with a chemical, water, and UV resistant material which can be colored. The PBO spokes also have three times the strength of stainless steel, according to Spinergy, at half the weight of stainless steel spokes.
The Archer Components D1x has been easy to use after the somewhat confusing instructions were navigated upon set up. I loved that I had an easy to operate system which could be tweaked in the field. Shifting is great, maybe not as fast as some premier electronic systems, but as good as any fresh mechanical system and this with old, tired parts.
Had we told you in 2019 that an event with these protocols could be called a ‘success’, you may have sneered at such draconian measures being seen in that light. However; the unPAved of the Susquehanna River Valley ended up being one of the very few high profile gravel events happening at all in 2020.
The Roval Terra Carbon Post is another device which has been designed to help with rider comfort. A seat post with some ‘give’, if you will. That is nothing new, of course, but Roval feels that their design does it better, so let’s see what it is that makes this seat post tic.
ABOUT EPISODE #65 Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel In this episode, Guitar Ted and Andy chat about the usual…
The calling card for this wheel set is the promise of a smoother ride. In that the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel delivers upon that promise. The Berd spokes are unique and their qualities are what gives this otherwise fairly plain wheel set its appeal.
For some cyclists, the threat of rain is suitable cause to postpone or cancel a ride. For the rest of us, there’s rain gear. And while for a lot of folks, cycling-specific waterproof outerwear is a good option, I often prefer the more flexible fit and increased versatility of a hiking/backpacking jacket.
This tire isn’t a ‘bad’ tire, but for the MidWest it isn’t a tire that lights a fire underneath me when I ride it. It does the job well enough, sure, but with its slightly harsher ride quality and lack of volume, it isn’t on the same plane as the Resolute or the Byway, both of which we are testing in this series of SG2 reviews.
This was the model I was most concerned about going into this review. Since the standard Resolute is still my #1 gravel tire, I was really hopeful that the SG2 model would at least approximate what I liked about this tire.
So, what we have here is an interesting sales model and a fine bike for those who crave the ultimate in efficiency that carbon fiber can bring to the table. As a straight-up road bike, we’d have no issues with the Viathon G1.
ABOUT EPISODE #64 Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted bring you this weeks episode of The…
Basically, I likely would have moved on to another tire by now. But I have not. And that has actually been just fine with me, because although the heat and the smoke from multiple fires around California kept my miles low overall, the times I did ride the Touregs have been just really good to live with.
ABOUT EPISODE #63 Get 10% off from Andy’s Bike Shop – Use code RidingGravel Andy and Guitar Ted give you a review roundup heavy episode….
In the Northern Hemisphere, things are taking a colder turn in terms of the weather. That means as cyclists we will be reaching for our cold weather gear to extend our riding season into Fall and Winter. We recently received a kit from GORE featuring a few items that can make cold weather cycling more fun and more comfortable. Let’s take a look.
ABOUT EPISODE #62 The guys are back with guest, Dangerous Dan, to discuss his event, The Sterile Iowan. Listen in to the full story about…
Using the D1x is simple. To start, you depress the button on the side of the shifter box for about a second. The LED indicator will turn green, and then you depress either button on the remote until the LED flashes and you are good to go. Shifts are what you would expect from a well tuned cable operated system.
The inaugural Salty Lizard 100 by Salty & Stupid Cycling happened on Saturday, Oct. 3, against all the odds, in the teeth of a global pandemic, and in defiance of a relentless recession in Wendover, UT/West Wendover, NV. But it happened – it happened – and when the dust settled, a new gravel destination emerged, emptied the moon-dust out of its shoes, and passed out in a lawn chair with an unopened Coke in hand.
Recently I was tipped off to a couple of carbon fiber handle bars that Whiskey Parts was about to unleash upon the world. Whiskey Parts kindly sent them over for evaluation and review, and since now the curtain has been lifted on these, I can freely talk about them now.
The Rocketman is a bit of a mystery tire from Vee Tire Company which we hope to clear up soon. Not just in terms of specs but also in terms of on-road performance. Gravel roads, that is. Andy T will be handling the 650B side of things while I (Guitar Ted) will be testing the 700c versions.