Gear Break: Ritchey, Rudy Project, BiKase, Clement, Untapped & Ogio
The PEZ “Test Bench” is getting crowded – but the testing is on and here’s what you need to know about some cool gear that’s come our way, like the Ritchey Superlogic Carbon C260 stem, Rudy Project Sensor glasses, BiKase Phone cases, UnTapped Maple Syrup Shots, and Ogio’s new X-Train backpack.
Some 30 years ago Tom Ritchey pioneered the explosion in cycling we now call ‘mountain bikes’, but he was a cyclist even before that, riding on the road long before he helped transform how we enjoy two wheels. As one of cycling’s true innovators, he’s continued to push technical development in all forms of cycling. His official company name is Ritchey Logic, which says more than most brands these days. Virtually everything he develops comes with an “of course it should be that way” or “that makes perfect sense” attached to it.
The Superlogic Carbon C260 Stem fits into both categories. The 260 in the name stands for the number of degrees of contact that the stem has where it wraps around the handlebar – effectively clamping around 260 degrees of the bar itself. This enables the stem body to perform more of the anchoring than traditional 180 degree wrap stem clamps, relieving the face plate and anchor bolts of that high-stress job. The handlebar bolts are reversed and mount into an aluminum face plate to anchor them, and even with the 260 degree wrap, bars can be swapped without removing levers.
Originally developed for Andre (The Gorilla) Greipel who wanted track stem strength with road stem weight, this is Ritchey’s strongest, and most torsionally stiff stem yet. The stem body is fully carbon, with no metal anchors bonded into it, which saves weight and comes in around 120 grams total (for the 100mm length).
Another logical idea is at the steerer tube clamp, which uses an S-bend slot to more evenly distributes clamping stress across the steerer tube. It bolts with three x 3mm screws, to shave a few more grams, and bolts use an angular washer to create a self seating nest to best anchor the bolts. Logical indeed.
Lengths: 80 – 130mm
Angle: 84/6 degree
Steerer Height: 42mm
Faceplate width: 42mm
Steerer: 1-1/8″ or 1-1/4″ (International only)
Brand new from the cool eye guys at Rudy Project are the SENSOR Casual Glasses. Lightweight and durable, I road (& pool) tested these on the PEZ family winter holiday in Mexico. I subjected them to everything the all-inclusive could muster: sun, wind, surf, SPF 15, 30, & 60, countless Modelo Especials, tequilas, and dunkings in salt & clorinated water. Conditions like these were ideal for the Polar 3FX Gray Laser polarized lens which is designed to work with cellphone screens an eliminate glare – like that from the pool so I could keep at least one eye on the kiddies and the other on Mrs. Pez. The lenses allow only 12% of light through, but are an excellent balance between light & dark. The polarized neutral lens lets colors appear naturally as your eye sees them, and these are also offered with Rudy Project’s Rx custom lens program which handles virtually all subscription ranges. They’re available in a bunch of frame and lens colors.
• See the Rudy Project website
BIKASE IPHONE CASES – $25 – $40
I can still remember spending too much time in my formative years as a road cyclist hunting for the perfect saddle bag – it had to be small and discreet, easy to tuck away under my saddle, big enough to carry spare tube, levers & air cartridge. The internet was but a dot on the horizon, so I was at the mercy of whatever local shops deemed ‘easy to sell’. My, how the world has changed in the past 10-15 years: manufacturing & distribution are now available to anyone with a good idea, and that means we’ve got choices folks – like never before!
Enter the guys at BIKASE.com, who shared my disgruntlement at the lack of decent bike mounted storage systems, but unlike moi, went a few steps further to design, source, and offer to you lucky readers quality items at prices that will fit any budget.
The GOKASE iPhone 6 case (in my hand) doubles as a protective case (it’s made of soft but durable rubber) that mounts up securely to your handlebars with by simply twisting to lock into the secure one-bolt clamp. It fits snug to keep out light moisture, and will protect your phone if it drops. You can also get a cool incar mount that clips into an air vent, allowing you to mount the phone on your car dashboard.
The HANDY ANDY is a different take on the same problem – how to securely mount your phone in a useful spot on the bike. It’s a special nylon-like case with a clear plastic front face, that mounts to your bars or stem via two beefy Velcro straps (the BiKase website calls ’em: “two military grade straps made of hypalon and will never break”) . The beefy 2-way zip makes for easy access in both directions, and inside is padded to protect your phone on rough rides. The straps come off so you can even use it as a wallet, it’s roomy enough to use with an existing phone case, and there’s even a removable credit card holder.
Their website even lists shops in your area, so you can find em close by, or at least harangue the shop owner into bringing some in. Maybe the best part is that the BiKase crew hails from Milwaukee WI – so you know they’re solid.
“Born from a pairing of Vermont’s Slopeside Syrup and the professional cyclist, Ted King. UnTapped launched with a successful crowdfunding effort in the summer and fall of 2014 and a simple mission: Bring maple to the masses.” So says the Untapped.cc website, and when the product is as simple and straight forward as maple syrup – what else can I add? Even the website is simple – a one pager with that line above, a couple videos, and some contact info. Pro riders launching food/coffee/nutritional brands is nothing new… but this is the first time I’ve seen good ol’ fashioned maple syrup served up outside my weekend morning pancakes. The shots are almost a full ounce of the sticky stuff, and look and pack just like the gel you’re using now. Inside the easy-tear pack is sweet energy that goes down more like a drink thanks to the not-too-heavy consistency of the syrup. They’re 100% pure organic maple syrup from Vermont, and each shot packs 100 calories, and 0% fat.
Maple syrup has long been a healthy alternative to processed sugars, and as you can see, has a few more applications than just a riding shot. Pancakes are a no-brainer – but also think drinks, marinades, or anything else you think needs a tasty kick.
• Website: Untapped.cc
You’ll be familiar with primo bag-make Ogio if you are 1. a golfer, or 2. read my review of their Endurance 9.0 bag. Ogio is most well known for their golf bags, but have wisely applied this vast wealth of knowledge gained from designing bags that are regularly beaten with the metal sticks they’re designed to carry, get chucked into trunks, onto carts, and even into course-side water hazards and bunkers, to their growing range of athletic and sports bags.
The newest is the X-Train – a mid-sized backpack aimed at anyone transitioning from work day to work out, or vice versa, who needs a bag to carry both athletic gear, and work items. There’s a very secure laptop storage compartment that adds both structure and protection, but like other Ogio bags I’ve seen it’s packed with lots of convenient storage options. The main compartment features a removable velcro divider to keep items separated.
But that’s not all. Ogio has expand their “vault” storage on the top of the bag to hold anything delicate (or scratch able) like eyewear, extra lenses, phones, watches etc. The rest of the bag features a host of storage options – compartments and pouches, straps and pockets, there’s even an internal hook for a hydration pack.
• See the website at Ogio.com
I first saw these treads in our December 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, and having never ridden anything wider than a 23mm skin, decided further investigation was needed. So I’ve been on a set of their 25mm rubbers for the last few weeks, and as a recent convert to the bigger girth, I am pretty much ready to settle in for the long haul.
Most wheel makers are going to wider rims across the board, which allows for better strength to weight ratios, and options for tubeless tires as well. The wider rim bed allows tires to sit more openly and therefore seat in better, which improves overall ride because the tire can respond to road forces in a way it was designed to, reducing pinch flats, and most importantly, reducing contact patch size, lowering rolling resistance, and improving cornering grip. Those are some big steps forward when you want to go fast, stick in the corners, and with a wider tire like the 25mms or even the 28mms, feel more comfortable doing it.
The extra width vs the 23mm version is barely noticeable to my eye, but ride quality seems better for sure. I run em between 85-90 psi, which is the right amount of comfort for my 135lbs. There’s no mush, just solid, grippy connection to the road, without the sharper edge I feel on 23mm tires. Of course there’s the underlying feeling of better resistance to punctures and flats, and I regularly ride these across a 500m dirt road/trail section on one of my local rides where the extra width just makes me feel more confident to push the speed a little higher. No flats yet.
Clement named the LGG after the airport code for Liege, Belgium, in the heart of the Ardennes and home of the oldest of the classics, Liège–Bastogne–Liège. It’s a classic road tire with the traditional Clement chevron pattern which has gripped well in both wet or dry conditions during my rides. The LGG provides a supple ride, durable and lightweight construction, and puncture-protection belt under the tread. Available in 23, 25, or 28 mm widths, and 60 or 120 TPI clincher. Tubular version in 25mm only.