Recent News & Reviews
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.
The hits were definitely big here though. The standouts being the Gravel Shorts and the Orkaan Leisure Hoody. By the way, that Orkaan fabric does a great job of beading up and shedding water in misty conditions.
I really ended up enjoying the Cutline glasses with the Photochromic lenses over the mirrored ones. This Photochromic choice allows you to have one lens to use in most conditions. I could ride in the dark into daylight and vice versa.
So we have a set of wheels on the loading dock in SoCal fresh off the assembly line from Boyd Wheels. The Trailblazer line of carbon wheels is listed as both a gravel wheel and an MTB wheel. Interesting. It’s wide at 26mm internal, its hookless, which is the fashion of late, its adaptable, and it’s darn light.
So, let the ‘aero-wars’ rage on the forums, I don’t care a lick about the minutiae involved in those discussions. The FLO Cycling G700’s are worth every penny from a rider comfort standpoint and a bike handling standpoint alone.
WTB tire users on the mountain biking side may recognize the “SG” as being a reference to “Slash Guard”. That would be about the only similarity here though as “Slash Guard 2” is a new technology and is currently only offered on WTB’s gravel tire range.
From the first pedal stroke, it’s easy to feel the light weight of the Gulo wheels. At 1,296 grams for the set with tape and valves installed, the GRX-SL wheels are among the lightest wheels I’ve ridden, and they should be given their $2,625 asking price.
The Terra Carbon post looks like a standard carbon seat post, but this post has been designed with a special lay-up of carbon and has up to 18mm of vertical compliance, with the 20mm offset version, and is dependent upon the amount of seat post extension in a particular set up.
Recently we were contacted by an apparel company going by the name of Stolen Goat. being the curious type, I had to investigate this further. What I found out was that Stolen Goat was about helping people find happier and healthier lifestyles via sporting activities. Specifically cycling.
My thought is that a recovery product like Kyoku is a great way to not only reach your cycling goals faster, but it is just a better, cleaner way to eat for better health. In these times, going in this direction is understandably desirable, but leaving that behind, I felt the Kyoku product can be used as a daily enhancement to life as a cyclist.
HED Wheels today announced a new wheel to their gravel road wheel line and a name change for the range overall. The wheels formerly known as Eroica will now be known as ‘Emporia’ wheels, reflecting the grassroots beginnings of the USA’s gravel scene.
Recently Twin Six, the apparel company from Minneapolis, Minnesota, introduced their new update to the Standard Rando, a bike we have reviewed in the past. The company, known mostly for their fashionable threads, might not be on your radar for a bicycle, but after reading this review, you may change that viewpoint.
Handske Gloves was started because the company’s founders saw a “category that was being overlooked and taken for granted”. Started in 2018 with a Kickstarter campaign, Handske Gloves exists to “design and make high-performance cycling gloves to keep you cool, comfortable, and in control for any discipline while keeping you looking great on the bike.”
While there is a connection to Walmart, in corporate terms, that’s where the connection ends. These Viathon bikes are high quality, serious bicycles and the team that makes up the brand reflects this with their experience in the cycling industry.
The Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels are made with a somewhat familiar rim material, but laced with the unusual Berd spokes, which have claims of lighter weight, but more importantly, strength and damping qualities for the rider. At a starting price of $1700.00 for a wheel set and up, depending upon options spec’ed, the Atomik rims with these Berd spokes have some stiff competition, so the claims are important.
The FLO Cycling G700 wheel set is perhaps the only aero wheel set specifically for gravel riding/racing now. But I do not think that this will be the last you see of aero wheels for gravel riding. Not if what I am experiencing is a common result for most folks, that is.
Rudy Project continues to innovate in the cycling eyewear space and their Cutline model is one of their most recent efforts. Suggested for cycling and running sports, the Cutline has two basic ranges- mirrored lens or the Photochromic lens types. Both have various colors and combinations available.
Teravail Cannonball 700c X 47mm Tires: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted The Teravail Cannonball tires were the first product from Teravail I ever…
The collaboration with several custom frame builders resulted also in a fork with an interesting adjustable geometry, the aforementioned ‘three-pack’ bosses, and internally routed dynamo and brake line routing. Of course, the fork also uses the now ubiquitous 12mm through axle, tapered steer tube, and flat mount brake caliper mounting standard.
How have they been to use? Steady. They are still very true. I have not had to tension them or toss them in the truing stand. That has been as I expected based on my experience with the older MTB branded version. It’s a strong wheel for gravel use.
Last time we debuted some new riding kit from Bontrager that is very applicable to gravel or light MTB riding. It is warmer weather gear, so once spring hit in So Cal, we suited up and got riding. This is what we learned.
ABOUT EPISODE #54 Guitar Ted and Andy are joined by another guest this week. They are joined by Jon Thornham of FLO Cycling. You get…
The Ehline has impressive grip qualities, so if traction is a concern, this tire should have you covered. Gravel is handled well by the Ehline and it does everything else well enough that, in my opinion, it should be highly considered for those of you who use a mountain bike as a gravel bike and as a mountain bike.
The idea of a suspension stem is not a new one. There are many of you out there that will immediately remember the efforts to ‘suspend the rider’ back in the 1990’s. Well, now some thirty years later and here we are with what looks like something similar. Only it is not, really…
What I wanted was a smaller light form with as little weight as I could get, and with enough intensity front and rear to be worth using on open roads. I also wanted at least 8 hours of run time on a high level flash.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE RIDING GRAVEL RADIO RANCH: APPLE | GOOGLE ABOUT THE EPISODE Guitar Ted and Andy get together for something a little special. In…
Riding Gravel Radio Ranch | Episode #51 & #52 – Another 1-2 Punch: DK Name Change, Review Roundup, Press Releases, and More
ABOUT EPISODE #51 The guys get in another episode of the Riding Gravel Radio Ranch. Finally a name for the reviews section too! Listen in…
Getting the Ranger loaded was an exercise in deciding what not to take, because you can take so much stuff! I was finally down to a tool kit, tube, mini-pump, my camera, my iPhone, and a rolled up Endura rain jacket. I hadn’t even touched the capacity of the main compartment.
Out on the gravel, the Rutland showed again why it is a great tire for rough, course gravel. The roll-over abilities this tire exhibits grants the rider more control, more comfort, and less side-to-side vibrations.
“… if all I ever did was fun, adventure based, shorter rides, I would take a pass, most likely, on these Endura shorts. But I will tell you this: If a long ride in hot weather with a lot of gravel is on my radar to tackle, these will be the first shorts out of my drawer to ride in.”
ABOUT EPISODE #49 Guitar Ted and Andy give you some answers to listener feedback, chat about some recent gravel goods, and a little challenge for…
A great all-around tire here with good gravel potential. It does fall off a bit at the extreme end where gravel is loose and deep, but otherwise the Ehline seems to strike the best dirt-to-gravel balance of the three tires looked at here.
Helmets though, are seldom upgraded. I mean it’s still up there, right? Sitting on my head, doing it’s thing. It is not ugly and I have not crashed in it (well, not much anyway), and helmets are expensive. It’s not like they wear out anyway. Well, not so fast there Danger Dan…..
I liked these tires enough that I am probably going to run them out on this bike they are on. They aren’t as aggressively treaded as the other two models are that I am testing and with the varying conditions we see on gravel here, I feel the Terreno XC fits my needs best.
Where I was delighted with the Cannonball was on deteriorated gravel. finer gravel, or on dirt that was firm and fast. Here the Cannonball outright flew and was a blast to ride. The small, aggressive file tread bit into the harder dirt and found purchase on finer gravel which made cornering and climbing fun as well.
Right as winter was ending and a so far, quite warm spring, was hitting the balmy shores of So Cal, a big bag of mixed items from GORE showed up for review. Once we worked through some sizing issues, we got into the items enough to get a feel for the performance of each one and we can now report.
ABOUT EPISODE #48 Guitar Ted gives some more detailed of his Salsa Stormchaser after a long ride. What’s up with the gravel summits? A little…
The demand for aftermarket thru axles has grown steadily in recent years. Robert Axle Project has been at the forefront of this trend, and it offers a wide range of thru axle solutions in sizes to fit nearly any bicycle.
You have to see the value in the purpose of the Stormchaser to get the most out of this bike. Those who just don’t see riding in bad weather, cannot understand single speeding, or those who cannot buy into the unique characteristics of the Stormchaser should steer well clear of this bike.
Every year for the past several years, I have posted a “State of the Gravel Scene” series in January giving my personal opinions on where we’ve been and where we are going in terms of the gravel scene. When I opened up my look at the gravel scene in 2020 and beyond this past January, these were the first words I posted:
ABOUT THE EPISODE The guys get on it for another week. You get the usual format – a discussion of some of the recent news…
Gravel Grinder News: Cannondale Debuts ’21 Topstone Carbon Lefty- Carbon Gravel E-Bike – by Guitar Ted Just about a year ago, Cannondale upended the gravel…
Teravail has a wide range of gravel and mountain biking tires available, but these three represent some of their better choices for gravel travel, along with the narrower Rutlands already reviewed.
In the intro’s ‘First Impressions’ segment I shared that I thought these tires were very damped feeling. This is to say that the Kraken really feels smooth and helps to cut down on vibrations. That to me is the best quality of this tire yet.
If you have a larger head size, as I do, now you have something that will not only fit better, but takes no prisoners in terms of protection, which previous “big-headed’ helmet options often did compromise on. Plus, it doesn’t cost a small fortune to buy into WaveCel with the Starvos. Well done, Bontrager!
It’s amazing how good gravel tires are today, and these new Continental tires are great examples of the progress we’ve made. They’re not much heavier than a road tire, yet are true 40c semi-knobbies that can confidently be ridden in nearly any gravel conditions.
<Back to Podcast Home | ABOUT EPISODE #43 Special Double Feature release of the Riding Gravel Radio Ranch. In the first episode, the guys contemplate…
Panaracer Gravelking tires have been some of the most popular tires used for gravel riding and racing for several years. The tires have been used to claim several important victories on the gravel racing circuit in the U.S. Panaracer now announces an addition to the Gravelking family of tires with the new Gravelking SS and SS+ models.
The tires feel light and pliable in the hand. The sidewalls on these are a bit more brown than tan, but the tires look handsome none the less. The resemblance to the Terreno Dry 40mm tires is unmistakable. This bodes well, in my opinion, because those tires are some of my favorites in that size class.
Teravail admits in its marketing that these are not the fastest rolling tires out there, but that they motor on though where those tires might fail. I think that summation of what the Rutland is about tells us all we need to know. The ride performance bears this out, in my opinion.
<Back to Podcast Home | ABOUT THE EPISODE Guitar Ted and Andy bring you an episode filled with some more in-depth and “behind the scenes”…
The Stormchaser’s mission is to perform well in the worst of conditions, and I think it has the characteristics to make a name for itself in those situations. But let’s face it- This bike also has to hold up as a gravel bike in normal situations as well. I feel that, besides a couple of quirks in the handling and fit departments, yes, this bike does gravel well.
<Back to Podcast Home | ABOUT THE EPISODE Big news in Iowa with RAGBRAI. Guitar Ted and Andy get to answering a question. The guys…
MG called the ShockStop seat post a ‘game changer’, and I would agree. It hits all points: Good looking, effective, and easily set up. If you’ve been shying away from riding gravel due to the roughness and vibrations, get the Redshift ShockStop post and match it with a ShockStop stem. You’ll be amazed at what control and comfort that set up will give you. Game changer indeed.
<Back to Podcast Home | ABOUT THE EPISODE Guitar Ted sits down Andy from Andy’s Bike Shop to get the second episode in the shop…
Hutchinson Kraken 29″ X 2.3″ Tires: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted The title of this review might cause you to look strangely at your…
If you are not a big fan of Lycra or you tend toward more casual options, then technical clothing like this Adventure line from Bontrager falls into the gap between hucking and crits. This approach of a snug fitting short, not loose like a full baggie, and good looking enough to wear around town, when combined with casual looking jerseys or shirts in high tech fabrics…well it reminds me a lot of what was called ‘Touring Clothing’ in days gone by.
Coronavirus Protection, With Notes for Gravel Riders – by John Ingham Note: This post is concerned with prevention and should not be taken as a…
<Back to Podcast Home | ABOUT THE EPISOD