Gadgets, Gizmos & Gear Upgrades
For most riders, whether amateur or professional, there’s no doubt there’s a draw to the finest equipment out there. Most riders will look to have the best gear they can afford, but this doesn’t mean you necessarily have to run out and buy a whole new bike every time the “new-gear itch” strikes. These are a few of our favorite little toys to keep you tided over till you decide to ante up for the next big bike purchase. The list includes a bit of everything—from camera mounts to nifty saddles to tools to keep your bike running in tip-top shape. Each one of these shares a bit of innovation and will whet the appetite for any self-proclaimed “bike nerd.”
SKS AIRBOY CO2 INFLATOR
Nerdy features: The Airboy CO2 mini pump works much like any other, except it packs the best of both worlds into one package. The pump works like any CO2 regulator for those times when you need a quick flat change. It also has an integrated standard mini pump for that oh-snap moment when you realize you ran out of cartridges. The pump is compact and light, and has found its way into our regular rotation for trailside fixes. Price: $32.
PRESTACYCLE PRESTAFLATOR ORIGINAL
Nerdy features: This is a necessity for any home mechanic who uses a compressor to seat tubeless tires. The Prestaflator has a trigger-actuated valve that pumps air quickly into the tire. We’ve yet to find a tubeless tire/rim combo this thing couldn’t seat. The one-handed operation is easy to use, and the gauge is accurate and easy to read. This is a huge step up from using the ghetto-buster compressors you’ll find at the local gas station. Price: $60.
SYNTACE 1-25 TORQUE WRENCH AND BIT SET
Nerdy features: A torque wrench should be one of the first gadgets purchased for any serious rider. With components getting lighter and higher performance, there’s little room for the ham-fist- ed mechanic these days. A torque wrench will prevent cracked carbon parts damage from over-torquing. The Syntace 1-25 has a range between 1 and 25 Newton meters, which will handle nearly everything on a bike. It’s easily adjustable via the handle and gauge, and has a satisfying “click” when the proper torque is reached. The perfect complement to the wrench is the matching bit set, which is designed to increase purchase on stubborn bolts and prevent stripping. The bit set also comes in a handy carrying case to make it a welcome addition to any toolbox. Price: $150 for the wrench, $50 for the bit set.
FOX DIGITAL SHOCK PUMP
Nerdy features: There are no more nerdy riders than the suspension tuners, and this is their Holy Grail. The Fox digital pump allows precise adjustment of suspension pressures in 1/2-psi increments all the way up to 300. This new version of the “Digi” pump also features a replaceable battery, which means when it finally wears down, it won’t become a paperweight. The action is smooth, and the digital readout gives you the ability to fine-tune your air pressures better than any other pump we’ve tried. Price: $70.
CDI TORQCONTROL ADJUSTABLE T-HANDLE WRENCH
Nerdy features: One of the easiest-to-use torque wrenches we’ve ever seen, the CDI TorqControl can be set to torque between 2 and 8 Newton meters with a twist of the orange sleeve. The wrench also comes with six bits, which makes it ready to use for nearly any bike component application right out of the package. CDI Torque is a division of Snap-On Tools, which is one of, if not the most, respected tool-makers in the world. We would trust our most delicate and light- weight parts to this precision instrument. Price: $80.
WTB HIGHTAIL SADDLE
Nerdy features: Pivot’s head designer, Chris Cocalis, approached WTB with an idea for a new saddle design, one that would accommodate longer-travel bikes and shorter chainstays without creating the dreaded “buzz” of a tire hitting the back of the seat at full compression. The Hightail is the product of that meeting. The Hightail features a trimmed-down rear portion to allow for more tire clearance on big-hit bikes but also saves weight. End result: a saddle that’s at home on any bike, from DH to XC. It’s available with three different rail setups: chromoly, titanium and carbon. Price: $120–$250 depending on rail material.
SCHWALBE TUBELESS AIRMAX AND EASY FIT SOLUTION
Nerdy features: Second to suspension pressure, tire pressure is the adjustment that will make the biggest difference in ride quality. The Schwalbe Airmax digital pressure gauge will give you a precise number to dial in tire pressure and is worlds more accurate than the “squeeze test” many riders rely on. The Easy Fit tire bead solution is a bead lubricant that allows tires to slide into their beads more easily and makes tubeless setup less of a chore. Use the Easy Fit to snap the tires in, and then use the gauge to fine-tune the pressure. Price: Airmax gauge, $25; Easy Fit solution, $8.
TRUCKERCO TITANIUM ROTOR BOLTS
Nerdy features: Nothing says high-performance machine more than titanium bolts. They’re used by nearly every top pro rider as an easy way to save precious grams without sacrificing any performance. The titanium is lighter and completely corrosion-proof, meaning they will not rust. The bolts are low-profile heads, which makes them suitable for brake rotors, water bottle cages and even some brake-lever perches. Each bolt goes for about 4 bucks, but they can be purchased in packs to save a bit in bulk. As a bonus, they’re available in five different colors to match any bike’s color scheme. Price: $4 individual, $20 for a six-pack.
Nerdy features: The Outbraker is a hydraulic braking device that’s designed to precisely limit the amount of stopping power delivered to any brake it’s installed on without affecting feel. The device is installed on the line and can limit braking power from 0- to 100-percent stopping power with the twist of an Allen wrench and could be a lifesaver for riders who are afraid of, or are just getting used to, the power of a hydraulic front brake. The system can also be tuned to eliminate the basically worthless “lock point” where either a front or rear wheel stops rotating altogether and begins to skid. The Outbraker weighs in at only 39 grams per brake and delivers a level of control that many riders, from beginners to experts, feel provides more control with their brakes. Price: To be announced.
PARK MT-40 MULTI-TOOL
Nerdy features: This is the multitool MacGyver would carry. It has nearly everything you need to fix your bike trailside, and the construction is second to none. The tool is built with aluminum side plates and a mix of the most-used tools you’d need. Most notably, the MT-40 features a chain tool that’s nearly on par with a shop-quality version and is remarkably easy to use. The MT-40 also features a nifty and super-simple CO2 cartridge inflator adapter, which could potentially replace your standard CO2 inflator or even your mini pump on shorter rides. Price: $50.
PRO MACHINED CNC CAMERA MOUNTS
Nerdy features: Originally designed for the Shimano action camera, these mounts use a standard three-prong mount that’s compatible with most action cameras out there. The CNC machining is precise and stable, and will not only look more streamlined, but is also easy to mount and very durable. The PRO mounts are available in several variations to catch the action from the stem top cap, the back of the seat rails or anywhere you can attach the more versatile bar-clamp mount. Each mount sells for between $20 and $35 and will help you capture your next “epic” video edit. Price: $20–$35 each.
LEZYNE SPEED DRIVE C02 INFLATOR
Nerdy features: The Lezyne Speed Drive 2 is a pretty standard CO2 inflator, except the inflator head only weighs 16 grams. The minimalist inflator uses a CNC dispenser with brass internals, and the Slip-Fit head will work on both presta and Schrader valves. As an added bonus, Lezyne includes a neoprene sleeve on the cartridge to keep your hand from freezing to the metal during use. Price: $15.
PUSH INDUSTRIES LOW-FRICTION MOUNTING KIT
Nerdy features: Push has designed a new mounting kit for your rear shock that reduces the amount of force it takes to activate your rear suspension. Push claims this “slippery” kit makes it easier for the bike to dive into its travel, and delivers better small-bump sensitivity, better traction, and better control. They also claim it’s longer lasting than the original-equipment mounting hardware found on most bikes. The kit will fit any Fox model shock from year 2000 to 2016 and is built from aluminum that’s machined in-house at their Loveland, Colorado, facility. Note: most shocks will need two mounting kits—one front and one rear—to reap the full benefits of the system. Price: $28 per mount.
TURBINE SPORTS BREATHING SYSTEM
Nerdy features: The Turbine nasal dilator works to increase airflow through your nose, especially when breathing gets tough in times of increased exertion. The small medical-grade polymer fits inside your nostrils to open up the airflow passages from the inside. Each Turbine can be used up to 10 times and is available in three different sizes to achieve a comfortable fit. Price: $20 for a two-pack.
VELEAU FRONT REAL HYDRATION CABLE
Nerdy features: The VelEau Front Real solves the problem many hydration pack users have: “Where’s the straw?!” The spring loaded reel attaches to the straps of your hydration pack, and keeps your pack’s tube close and easy to access. After taking a sip, the reel pulls back the straw to the same place without the rider having to worry about re-clipping anything. Easy breezy. Price: $12.
CAMPY CARBON HEADSET TOP CAP
Nerdy features: If you can find one of these, you have one of the coolest top caps in the bike world. These carbon/aluminum headset top caps are super lightweight and came with the Campy Record headset for many years. While Campy may not make a dedicated mountain bike group, they made this, which is about the most trick accessory out there for the roadie turned mountain biker. Price: Happy eBay hunting.
TOPEAK NINJA C BAR END PLUGS MULTI-TOOL
Nerdy features: The Ninja C multi-tool is a two-piece multi-tool set (including a chain tool) that fits inside the ends of your handlebar, just like a pair of bar-end plugs. The lightweight system is held in place with a nifty wedge system that uses an expanding rubber band to hold it in place. Should you ever break a chain or need to use one of the included Allen wrenches, all you need to do is unscrew your bar end plug and you’ll be back riding in no time. Price: $40.
PROGOLD LUBER PEN
Nerdy features: The ProGold Luber pen is a 1/4 ounce of gold, literally. The “pen” has a steel needle to deliver the lubricant as precisely as we’ve ever seen. Lubing cables or pivot points has never been so easy. The Luber pen is also refillable, so you can keep your cables and pivots running smooth for years to come with just a refill bottle of ProGold lubricant. The pocket clip makes this a must-have accessory for any apron-wearing shop mechanic worth his or her salt. Price: $10.
WOKIT CARABINER MULTI-TOOL
Nerdy features: Ever been on a ride where you need a quick adjustment but your multi-tool is buried deep in your pack? The WOKit seeks to solve that problem with a multi-tool that’s built right into a carabiner that can be attached to the out- side of a pair of riding shorts or pack, making it more easily accessible. The carabiner has a built-in ratchet that will fit any standard-sized bit, making it nearly universal for which tools can be used with it. The kit comes with several bits and sockets that will make most any on-the-trail mechanic happy. Price: $60
SUPACAZ GRIZIPS GLOW IN THE DARK GRIPS
Nerdy features: Yep, they glow in the dark. Supacaz makes some of the coolest lock-on grips in the business, but these ones are our favorites. They’re a simple lock-on grip with a half-waffle pattern and a thin profile. But, come on, they glow in the dark. Try a set. Price: $25.
ROKFORM RUGGED SMARTPHONE CASE
Nerdy features: The Rokform Rugged case delivers awesome protection for your super-expensive Strava-tracking device, also known as a smartphone. The RokForm system also comes with options for handlebar, stem and top-cap mounts, meaning even if you don’t want to carry your phone in your pocket, you can still keep it with you on any ride. As a bonus, the Rugged case also comes with a magnet embedded into the back of the case that allows you to stick it on almost anything made of steel. Price: $40 for the case, and the sky is the limit for accessories.
DUCK FLAP MUD GUARD
Nerdy features: The Duck Flap mud guard has been keeping the “Quap” off bikes worldwide. It’s basically a piece of black plastic, but it’s custom-formed to work with nearly any fork and is essential for anyone who rides in wet conditions regularly. The mini fender zip-ties to the underside of the fork bridge, and keeps mud and grit from spraying up and in front of the rider where it can get in your face. It’s a huge step up from the home-made ones we’ve seen fashioned from anything from old inner tubes to cut-up gallon-milk jugs. Price: $13.
ASTERISK AC SYSTEM
Nerdy features: Enduro riders, listen up. This is a system that uses magnets to keep your nostrils open for better airflow to improve performance. The AC system is a two- part system that works with magnets attached to the inside of your goggles and also to the outside of your nostrils to dilate them and allow better airflow. Asterisk’s athletes swear by this system, claiming that breathing through your nostrils rather than your mouth makes it easier to achieve peak performance. Price: $60
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