Posts in the category Clothing-Gear-Tools

Solargenome Hydracharge, Solar Power on Your Back – Hands On & Thoughts on the Tech


Two and a half years back we did a intro article about this photovoltaic-packing hydration bag that promised to charge your gadgets on the go, and we kind of left it at that. See then, most of us had a mobile phone that held a charge for a couple of days with limited other functionality and only some of us had a GPS on every ride. In any case, personal electronics hadn’t really taken over cycling so much and so there really wasn’t a constant need for more power. Now almost every ride gets tracked with a GPS or smartphone to upload to Strava, gotta get pics up on Instagram or it didn’t happen, why not upload some sick edits from the GoPro to Youtube, and surely we need to notify the world on Facebook and Twitter; and with all that comes a constant drain on our devices. Sure it’s fine on a 2hr ride, but what about that all day epic? Our followers don’t want to miss that, right?

OK, well thankfully it isn’t as crazy as that for most of us. But I can personally attest to finishing a ride on the last legs of an iPhone battery after using mobile maps to chart an alternate way home after an overnighter when my Garmin’s battery drained. This solar powered backpack from Solargenome seems like a pretty solid alternate to keep the electronics going as long as your adventures do.

Come past the break to see our first impressions of riding with the bag, powering our devices, and see its current discount…


Aribike Offers Oval or Round Chainring Options for XTR Cranks

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You can’t put a square peg in a round hole, but you can put oval chainrings on a bike. It’s a topic of great debate, but there are enough believers out there for companies like Italy’s Aribike to produce complete lines of oval (and round) chain rings for road, cyclocross and MTB applications.

Aribike offers a particularly wide selection of aftermarket chain rings, including rear adapter cogs and replacement cogs in non-stock sizes. After participating in a bio-mechanical study, their engineers finalized a shape for two complimentary styles of oval rings that they believe will provide the best training benefits, and now they have round or oval, single and double ring kits for Shimano’s 2015 XTR M9000 cranks…


SOC15: Sneak Peek – Abbey Bike Tools’ Suspension Top Cap Sockets

Abbey bike tools suspension top cap sockets (3)

I’ve said it before, but I think it’s safe to say I have a thing for tools. When I heard from Jason Quade that Abbey had something new to show me at Sea Otter, it was one of my very first stops. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. What tool could Jason possibly have worked up that would yet again prove to be a better mousetrap?

The answer is sockets. But not just any sockets – suspension sockets. At this point you are either saying ‘yes!’ or scratching your head wondering what makes a suspension socket different than any of the sockets you’ll find in your tool box right now. The answer lies in the chamfer around the edge, or more appropriately, the lack of chamfer. Almost every standard socket uses a chamfered edge to make locating the socket over the bolt easier. In the suspension world though, that chamfer causes the socket to lack proper engagement with the super short wrench flats on the top of your fork. Using a chamfered socket will usually result in damage to the top cap of your fork which certainly isn’t good.

Better mechanics have ground down their own sockets for years or sought out pre-ground sockets from various tool suppliers, but per usual, Abbey is stepping up with a better way…


SOC15: Lake Adds Floating Boa for Enduro, More Coverage, Updates MXZ 303, and New Flat Soled Boots

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You probably know Lake as more of a road or XC shoe company, but over the years they have done it all. While the new MX 180 and MX 168 launch the brand back into the more gravity oriented side of things, both shoes represent modern incarnations of past models. Between the DH 150 and the MX 165, Lake is no stranger to additional coverage and support but for their latest shoes they didn’t want to jump in without a specific advantage.

Lake puts a lot of emphasis on fit which is why so many of their shoes use head moldable sections, but for the MX 168, they had to invent a new approach to the Boa…


SOC15: Inno Racks adds slick new locking aero roof trays, simplifies wheel size adjustments


Inno Racks has introduced new fork mounts for their roof trays and aero base rack system that slot and lock directly into the base bars for a clean, smooth appearance.

The nose of the system is a little longer and more aerodynamic than before, too, and the locking and release mechanism is fairly clever. For their hitch mount and full upright roof racks, the wheel hoops have received a welcome update to the adapters, making it much easier to switch between wheel sizes. Mount up and check the pics and details below…


Berliner 2015: Clean Designs from Schindelhauer City Bikes and Fixies


With the more approachable urban cycling nature of the Berlin Bike Show, there really is no bike company that fits the bill more than German brand Schindelhauer. They specialize in bikes with a simple classic look, based around polished, TIG-welded triple butted, aero-shaped aluminum tubed frames with unique detailing and plenty of polished aluminum. The Ludwig bike is a great example as a lightweight touring/commuting platform, and like all of their bikes is either set up as a singlespeed or with hub gearing, no derailleurs here. Also like all of Schindelhauer’s bikes (except one track-specific frameset) the Ludwig is equipped to take racks and fenders for more real-world versatility.

Follow us past the break to have a look at some of Schindelhauer’s slick details…


Super.natural’s Technical Base Layers Blend Fashion and Function

Climbing in supernatural's synthetic blend hoodie and t-shirt

For cooler days, riding in good quality base layers is a must. As a budget conscious rider, my previous cold weather tactic was layering a jersey or two inside a windbreaker. It was tolerable but not an ideal system, and now that my wardrobe includes some synthetic/merino wool technical garments I’m much more comfortable from start to finish on those cold rides.

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to test out super.natural’s synthetic blend Essential Full-Zip 220 hooded sweatshirt and Striped Sport 175 t-shirt. I’ve been quite pleased with both, particularly the hoodie which seems to come out on almost every ride these days…

Friday RoundUp – Bicycle Bits & Pieces


  • Allow Mountain Bikes in the Wilderness Study – Voice your opinion – 100,000 Signatures are needed by May 18th so visit to ask President Obama and the Forest Service to leave these remote areas open to mountain bikes. Do it!
  • 30-Year Old Bike Virgin – Safety concerns and access to a working bike are some of the main reasons why adults don’t ride. PeopleForBikes’ recent U.S. Bicycling Participation Study found that 60% of Americans aged 3-9 biked once a year, compared with 36% of adults ages 25-34. PeopleForBikes talked to two adults who each had their own stories to share about how they became bike riders later in life. Check out the blog post here!
  • ‘Wheels for Meals’ Fundraising Event – The Wheels for Meals Bike Challenge features three community bike rides and three sponsorship levels. Both riders and sponsors are needed to make the event a high-speed success. To be held rain or shine on Saturday, May 30th, this year’s event offers something for everyone with three race levels, a Bike Rodeo for kids and sponsorship opportunities for local businesses. For more information or to register for the Bike Challenge please visit


SOC15: Hands on with the Recon Jet Smart Glasses

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The future is a confusing place. Cars are still on the ground, I have to pour my own coffee in the morning, and a complete meal still isn’t able to fit inside a tiny pill. However, one bit of futuristic cycling technology is finally here. No, we’re not talking about the latest axle standard for the next generation of tires, but a cycling HUD.

Technicaly, you could view Google Glass or Recon’s own goggles as the first Heads Up Displays available to the cyclist, but the Recon Jet has been designed from the ground up for your athletic pursuits, no goggles required.

Packing an incredible amount of functions into a sleek but somehow awkward looking package, Recon is finally shipping their long awaited Jet smart glasses. The company is still in the process of fulfilling their preorders, but Jets will soon be available for sale if you can see past the price…