Geared Up: Shoulder Season Shopping

By Nick Legan and Ally Mabry

Zipp Vuka Clip Above Aerobars, $140

Many touring cyclists regard aerobars as something made with racing cyclists and triathletes in mind, but the benefits of relieving hand pressure and punching a smaller hole through the air also apply to long-haul cyclists. Zipp’s Vuka Clip Above aerobars are offered with six different extensions and feature a wide range of adjustability. I’ve used the Alumina 70 Evo extensions and a set of 25mm risers for several thousand miles, and they won’t be leaving my bike anytime soon. After all those miles, the armrest padding hasn’t compressed and nothing has slipped, even when a few unforeseen holes in the road jolted me. Dialing in your position is straightforward too thanks to independent adjustment of the aerobar angle, extension length/rotation, and armrest positioning. –NL

Ritchey WCS Pave Bar Tape, $20

Throughout the 2018 ride season, I’ve come to love Ritchey’s WCS Pave handlebar tape. It has found a place on several of my bikes, and each time my hands reach for the bar, it feels like home thanks to the cushion and soft, textured feel of Ritchey’s tape. The black color doesn’t show grime, and the material used has held up nicely despite leaning it against countless walls, fences, and trees. I’ve used it alone and with a thin layer of other tape beneath it, and in both cases the WCS Pave tape feels great. –NL

Goodyear Connector 40mm Gravel Tires, $70

It’s no question that many of us at Adventure Cyclist are crazy about gravel riding, and tires like Goodyear’s new Connector are part of the reason why. The 40mm tire rolls quickly on paved roads thanks to tightly bunched center knobs but offers great control on dirt and gravel roads thanks to more widely spaced knobs at its side. Tubeless compatibility helps keep punctures to a minimum, and its large 40mm size provides comfort and confidence. If you’re looking for something a little faster and lighter, Goodyear’s County is a tubeless 35mm option with an even faster-rolling center section. –NL

Oveja Negra 1/2 Pack Frame Bag, $85–$90

Versatile, compact, well made, and streamlined: all qualities of the U.S.-made Oveja Negra ½ Pack framebag. Lately, as I’ve been packing to pedal out on longer backcountry adventures, I find myself reaching for my Oveja Negra ½ Pack. During these warmer months, I prefer to utilize my interior triangle space by prioritizing water storage — with this bag, I can run bottles/cages and carry an extra 1L bladder in addition to tools and snacks. Add two handlebar bags for another bottle and more snacks, and I’m set to go get lost in the woods. Constructed with abrasion-resistant Cordura and a rigid padding along your bike’s tubing, this bag holds its shape and keeps itself out of the way of pedaling knees. The ½ Pack features water-resistant zippers and X-pac water-resistant side panels. I’m impressed by the super functional strap system: a combination of adjustable/removable straps, one big, sturdy Velcro strap around the top tube, and a cam-lock buckle strap around the head tube that really allows you to crank it tight. ½ Packs come in sizes Small to XL and a variety of colors. –AM