Geared Up: Fall Right In

Aug 27th, 2019
Shredly MTB Curvy mountain bike shorts

Shredly MTB Curvy, $105

It’s nice to have overshorts when you’re riding through towns, in foreign countries, and any time you don’t feel like rocking raw Lycra. But tight waistbands make me feel like I can’t breathe, and with idle hours on the road, it’s easy to obsess when you’re uncomfortable. Shredly’s MTB Curvy are the first shorts I can wear all day that are comfortable when I’m in the drops, walking around town, or even while hiking. The lightweight, recycled fabric has the perfect amount of stretch and a high-cut waist. The shorts stay in place, and they don’t slide down when you’re bent over or bag out. The leg length is mid-thigh. They never felt restrictive when pedaling, and they dried fast when I got caught in a rain storm. The MTB Curvy comes in eight playful prints in size 4–24. And they run true to size. –Berne Broudy

Myaderm Double Strength CBD Advanced Therapy Cream

Myaderm Double Strength CBD Advanced Therapy Cream $35

After a long day in the saddle, I’m sore, especially if I’m doing more miles than usual. When I rub some of this CBD cream into the area that’s giving me trouble right before bed — like a knee joint, neck muscles, or even a bruise, the pain seems to vanish by the time I wake up. Myaderm says it works so well because when you apply it, it’s absorbed quickly and directly into the sore spot, making it more effective than a CBD pill, which is metabolized in your gut and your liver before it gets to your muscles. The 0.5oz pump container is smaller than a sunscreen stick. I like the double strength for maximum pain relief. It has 700mg of pharmaceutical-grade, nonpsychoactive, THC-free cannabidiol per container, in a formula made by pharmacists. –BB

Five Ten Sleuth DLX Shoe

Five Ten Sleuth DLX Shoe, $120

Is it an Adidas shoe, or Five Ten? If you’re confused, I don’t blame you. Adidas bought Five Ten in 2011, and the Sleuth DLX is the first shoe I’ve seen to feature both brands’ logos. So it’s probably not a coincidence that the DLX shares a few design cues with the Samba, Adidas’s popular indoor soccer shoe.

Although it sports a sleeker look and narrower profile than most of Five Ten’s mountain bike offerings, the DLX is definitely not a soccer shoe. It’s got a medium-stiff sole and Five Ten’s super grippy Stealth rubber tread. If you slip a pedal, it’s not the shoe’s fault. The upper is suede, which Five Ten (or Adidas?) claims is weather resistant — I wore them in wet spring conditions and found that they’ll soak through fairly easily. Like many skate-style flat pedal shoes, once they’re wet, they take a while to dry out. I do like the look of the suede upper, though. They’re quite a bit more office and brewpub appropriate than a lot of mountain bike shoes out there. So if you want the grip of Five Ten and the style of Adidas, the Sleuth DLX could be the shoe for you. –Dan Meyer

Blackburn Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll and Dry Bag

Blackburn Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll and Dry Bag, $160

It wasn’t that long ago that bikepacking bag makers were few and far between (and mostly in Alaska and Canada). But in 2019, it seems that every Tom, Dick, and Sally has hung a sewing shingle. The downside for the consumer is choice overload. The upside? In order to be successful, all these companies are borrowing ideas and improving designs.

One of the innovations I’m particularly fond of is the bolt-on handlebar harness. Instead of strapping onto your handlebar and headtube, and using clumsy foam spacers to keep from pinching your cables, the bolt-on units offer better security for your load, less clutter on your bars, and more space for your cables. Salsa’s EXP Cradle is an excellent choice (see review here), but it only works for 31.8mm handlebars.

The Blackburn Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll, on the other hand, can accommodate both 31.8mm and 35mm bars, the latter of which is quickly becoming the standard for mountain bikes. Its aluminum face plate can be adjusted to suit exactly where you want your load to sit, which makes it a great system for both flat and dropbars. The included drybag is big and made of heavy-duty waterproof material, and it smartly includes a purge valve for easier packing. To keep your load from going anywhere, the Outpost system uses a couple of straps that wrap around your handlebar and hook onto two other straps that are fixed to the harness.

I’ve used the Outpost system on my gravel, hardtail, and full-suspension bikes, and for the most part I’ve found it to be a reliable, durable setup. But it has a few quirks, though. If you fill the drybag near to bursting, you’ll have a hard time getting the straps hooked around it. They need to be just a couple of inches longer. Also, the strap hooks are made of very soft metal, and I managed to bend one while cinching the load down. The system is a tad heavy as well, which I don’t think is a big deal. But it does bother me that Blackburn doesn’t recommend using the Outpost Elite system on carbon handlebars. I did it anyway, clamping the Outpost to the carbon 35mm bar on my full-suspension bike. It seemed to work fine, but the clamp did leave behind superficial-looking marks. Maybe listen to Blackburn if you’re worried about carbon’s durability. 

Despite its issues, the Outpost Elite Handlebar Roll is worthy of your hard-earned dollars if you want a heavy-duty bolt-on system, and especially if you use 35mm bars. –DM

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