Hello there gravel riding folks and anyone else out there that loves a bit of off-pavement adventure. The time of year when gift giving is on our minds is right around the corner. We have a list here of items which might make you happy to unwrap, or you know……..to give to someone else who rides gravel like you. To those ends, here our some good ideas for gifts that might make the gravel traveler happy.
The socks I wore most often were the Mini-Crew ones as that’s the length I most prefer for cycling. I have to admit that I am not a fan of the No Show Tab size, as that size shows nothing above the shoe line and rocks, dust, and debris are easily allowed entry into my shoes.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Muc-Off products and the high functionality of the solutions for cleaning, protecting, and lubrication. There isn’t a clunker in the group here and the fact that Muc-Off does try to take consideration for the environment is impressive.
With its massive 30 degree flare and 35 degrees of sweep, the new Discover Big Flare handlebar from PRO Bike Gear is one of the more radical gravel drop bars available today. Guitar Ted and I received early samples for testing, and here are our impressions of the bar after two months of riding.
I could feel that I was a bit more “connected” to the bike, if that makes any sense. You cannot roll your foot laterally without pressing the pedal platform whereas on an SPD pedal, there is some free movement there. The cleat had some float, so this felt similar to the SPD’s I was so used to, but in terms of control laterally, the Cyclo 6 was a more secure feeling pedal.
Put these tires on if you have a lot of paved road in your gravel loops, or if the bike you have needs to do double duty as a commuter, or touring bike. Give the Strada USH smooth, dry, dirt of finer crushed rock to run on and you won’t be disappointed. In these scenarios the USH is at home. Plus, with the choice of a tan sidewall, it can class up the look of just about any bike.
The Recon HL 1600 is in a hotly contested category in the bike lighting market place. New contenders are out there with similar, and sometimes better, feature sets. As always, ‘caveat emptor’ when looking at this category, but the Recon HL 1600 is a solidly built, reliable light. While it has a basic feature set, (unless you own the proprietary Giant computer which opens up more features), it holds its own at the asking price of $126.00USD.
Now then…the ride quality. It is smoother under sharp impacts than any alloy bar I have used. It is noticeable.
We’ve been talking about Shimano’s new GRX components for nearly five months now. Back in September, we introduced you to our review of the GRX 800 mechanical (2x) group. Now, it’s time to give you the first installment of our GRX Di2 groupset review, which we have installed on our 2020 GT Grade Carbon Pro test bike.
As is often said, the best apparel and components simply “disappear” while riding, leaving you to enjoy the ride. The RX8 shoes from Shimano are the definition of such an apparel item. While either walking a gnarly, muddy dirt road or riding up and down hill and vale, the RX8 just got out of my way and let me do my thing.