Midweek Mini-Reviews: Goods from Topeak, Chrome & Giro
Topeak’s Ratchet Rocket Lite is a mini ratchet wrench that comes in its own little pouch with various common Allen wrench inserts and a phillips head and Torx 25 insert. It has swappable direction and holds the bits securely during use. The bits can also be inserted into the end of the handle to get them into tight spots. The bits are tucked into individual sleeves and covered with a labeled flap. The entire assortment is held securely in place when the case is closed, and it has a Velcro belt strap on the back. The RRL is great for getting into tight places, but it’s also an incredibly easy, lightweight way to carry the most common tools with you on any trip. It measures about 4.5″ x 2″ x .75″ closed. Retail is about $24.
More mini-reviews after the break…
Chrome’s Sherman tool bag backpack is a handy devil. I used to cart my tools and spare parts around to races and weekend trips in various tool boxes or duffels. The Sherman packs everything into a fairly organized fold-open pack that keeps items secure, dry and within easy reach. How? The interior is lined just like their messenger bags and it easily hangs from your bike stand, putting the tools and such right where you’re most likely to need them. It has zippered and Velcro pockets for things like clothes and shoes -I keep cleaning wipes and a first aid kit in mine- and it’s large enough to place a wheelset in it and fold it closed. For ‘cross or crits, this means you can easily bring your extra wheels, even riding to the race with everything you need on your back. One thing that could be improved is the direction of the buckle clip that lets it hang from the bike clamp arm…it positions the bag perpendicular to your bike and the pedals hit it when spinning the cranks during tuneups. The alternative is hanging it from the loop (above, left & bottom), but that faces the tools away from you when working on the bike. It’s only a minor grip, though. If you’re using a pop-up tent, you could always hang it from that, too. Or a bike rack on your car. You get the idea.
Materials and construction are up to Chrome’s usual durable standards. Being able to wear it securely on my back means both hands are free for wheeling a bike and carrying a workstand. For races where the parking lot is nowhere near the pit area, this means one trip instead of two. It could also double as a water bottle/food holder for 6-hour (or similar) races where you’re running without a support crew. Just hang it near the course somewhere. Retail is $190.
When Giro Aeon was unveiled this spring, it was their answer to cyclists wanting the lightweight of the ProLight but the adjustable fit of their other road helmets. While the European spec version comes in at a claimed 189g, our CPSC-approved model weighs in at 218g on our scale (size Medium, better than the 222g claimed). While I personally like the fit of the ProLight, the Aeon adds adjustable buckles on the straps and their Roc Loc 5 rear retention mech. It also has their thermoformed Roll Cage running throughout its structure to keep the helmet together in the event of major impact. Ventilation is excellent, fit is really good and it comes in a really, really wide range of colors, including their new fluorescent day glow yellow. If you want lightweight and adjustability, take a look. Retail is $250-$255.