Posts in the category Reviews

Just In: Bontrager Jackalope Wheels and Hodag Tires Add Tubeless Fat Bike Options

Bontrager Hodag Jackalope fat bike tubeless wheel tire system  (3)

Just like your typical mountain bike, when it comes to fat bikes tubeless tires have a lot to offer. Eliminating (or close to) flats is a pretty big deal, especially given the fact that your typical fat bike inner tube will usually run at least double the cost of a standard tube. In many circumstances, dropping the tubes will also result in a significant weight loss – sometimes more than a pound. In our experience, the lack of an inner tube has also resulted in a better handling that will conform to the trail for improved traction.

In spite of all the advantages, going tubeless on a fattie still presents some challenges. Getting a large volume of sealant into a floppy tire and still being able to get that tire to seat on the rim can be tricky. That’s why products like Bontrager’s new fat bike TLR system get us excited. There are a number of tubeless systems available already from HED, Foundry/45NRTH, Turnagain, Sun Ringle, and more, but options are always good for the consumer. And while there are more than a few rims available, the choices for true tubeless fat bike tires are still fairly limited.

Like a lot of the big brands, Trek and Bontrager aren’t putting forth a huge product line for fat bikes, but what they do have looks promising. Get the details on the new Bontrager Jackalope wheels and Hodag fat bike tires next…


Long Term Review: Trek Domane Classics Edition

Trek Domane Classics edition review (3)

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time I’ve ever been sent a bike for review that was originally purpose built for a pro race team. Right down to the frame sizing, the Trek Domane Classics edition is the same frame that was under the mighty Cancellara as he tackled the cobbles.

As it turns out, not that I needed any reminding, but I am not a pro. That was made clear during my time on the Domane but maybe not in the ways you would expect. Increasing my love of the Domane platform and at the same time making me think I should be on a different bike, the Classics edition is an amazing bike – if you have the legs….


Review: Giro Alpineduro winter cycling boots (updated)

Giro Alpineduro winter cycling booth with hiking inspired looks

The Giro Alpineduro shoes borrow the brand’s lace-up style from their Empire road and mountain bike shoes, but use it to close up a fantastic looking winter cycling boot disguised as a legit hiker. Our first look ran through the technical details and actual weight, so this one’s focused on their performance out on the trail, in the cold and through the water.

I’ve worn them for the past couple months on rides as low as 40ºF (4.4ºC) 28ºF (-2.2ºC), with either standard cycling socks or medium-thick wool socks from Defeet. The rides carried me across streams, over log crossings and up and down mountains and through a few cyclocross training rides. Like a good hiking boot, they handled it all and seem to be getting more comfortable the more I wear them…

UPDATE: Zach corrected my low temp figure, he led the ride where these photos were taken and it was indeed below freezing. I’ve updated the rest of the article accordingly. So, yes, they’ll comfortably take you down below freezing.


Hands On with the Beaver Guard Fat Bike Fender for Bluto

Beaver Guard fat bike bluto suspension fork fender (1)

After seeing the Beaver Guard fender and the D.Fender around the same time, I knew I needed one for my bike. Out of the entire fleet, my fatbike is the most likely candidate to encounter mud, slush, salt water, and lately – a lot of dog poo. Having something to keep the spray out of my eyes and off the stanchions and seals seems like a great idea, especially when the trade offs are few and far between.

As the first RockShox Bluto fat bike fender available to us for review, we tied on a Beaver Guard and hit the trails for some not-so-muddy but telling riding…


First Ride: Schwalbe’s Superlight Jumbo Jim 4.8″ Wide Fat Bike Tires


Photo Credit: Ryan Krueger

One of the biggest pieces of news from Eurobike this year for fat bikers was that Schwalbe was finally coming to market with a fat bike tire. And not just a single tire, but a 4.0″ and 4.8″ tire in Liteskin (lightweight) and Snakeskin (tubeless easy). The excitement was because of a large player entering the game and bringing tire technology and experience to these large tires, where the weight of a single tire can sometimes be more than the frame they are mounted to.

The actual weights are only a few grams heavier than claimed, which were pretty impressive. We tested the 4.8″ Liteskin version on a Surly Ice Cream Truck, and ripped around the amazing boreal forests of northern Wisconsin on a day with a fresh dusting of 3″ of snow, and more continuously coming down.

Check out our thoughts on this highly anticipated tire after the jump…


Just In: Battle the Cold with the Lake MXZ303 Winter Cycling Boots

Lake 303 winter boot bike spd clipless (1)

Winter has officially started, the New Year is about to be rung in, and for a lot of us – it’s cold. For me, a good pair of winter boots has always been one of the most important pieces of Winter equipment. If your feet are cold, you’ll be cold. Not to mention that even when our trails are frozen, the stream crossings are often still wet. Keeping your feet dry and warm is critical for end of the ride comfort.

No stranger to winter boots, Lake has been making SPD compatible shoes to handle the cold for years. Stepping in at the latest and greatest, the MXZ303 is Lake’s true Winter boot. Rated to temperatures below zero (f), water resistant, and fitted with a chunky Vibram outsole, the MXZ303 looks ready for snow business.


Review: The mountain taming Fox 36 29er suspension fork

2015 Fox 36

For 2015, the Fox 36 became their flagship fork, imbued with all of their latest technology to deliver new levels of control, adjustability, smoothness and light weight.

Having ridden a number of Fox forks over the years and feeling the ups and downs of their internals from model to model, the new 36 had quite a bit resting on its shoulders. After all, not only did it need to live up to the hype, but its technology would be paving the way for Fox’s future forks, too.

Everything about the 36 is new. The outer casting and thru axle system, the seals, bushings and sliding parts, the oil, the air cartridge and even the Kashima coating. The goal was to create a world class fork for the burgeoning enduro market that led its category in stiffness, weight, adjustability and functionality. For a deep dive on all of its tech, we’ve covered the product launch here, ran through the seal and damping tech here, and took a look at the new FLOAT air system here. In this review, I’ll recap the highlights, put it on a scale and let you know how it handled itself on Western North Carolina’s mountains…


Review: Inno Racks’ versatile Tire Hold hitch mount bike rack

Inno Racks Tire Hold hitch mount bicycle rack review

As far as I’m concerned, the only proper way to transport a bike on the back of a car is with tray-style, hitch mounted bike rack that allows for the whole bike to be placed on it intact. No removing wheels or strapping the frame to anything. Just set it on there and clamp something down and off ya go.

There are a number of ways brands like Yakima, Thule and others accomplish this, but those generally use a single arm clamp on either the front wheel or top tube, sometimes (usually) coupled with a wheel strap for the rear. Where Inno Racks differentiate themselves is by containing both wheels in closed loops, keeping the bike stable without ever touching the frame, or even the rims for that matter. There are plenty more nice features and adjustability built in, too, making it a versatile option for hauling all manner of bikes -even some fat bikes- straight outta the box…


Hands On: Sarma Naran 29+ Carbon Fiber Mid-Fat Wheelset


By way of Siberia, Sarma continues to push the envelope for fat and mid-fat products. One of the first carbon 29+ rims, the Naran 29+ is double-walled, 50mm wide, and made for the big beastly traction of a 29″x3″ tire.

Zach saw them at Interbike, and now we have a set for testing. There are very few 29+ specific bikes on the market, so many riders are resorting to running the tires in a fat bike frame, since they fit in most. Doing exactly this, our test wheels are built to Sarma’s fat bike hubs, and we will be testing them on the Shaman fat bike we have on long-term test.

Click past the jump for our first thoughts on their construction, as well as actual weights…