Pedal On, Summer 1998
All the right stuff for biking
By Gordon Black
When you head out to the trail you'll ideally want a bike that has 24 wide-spaced gears, a responsive frame, and a front shock for enhanced handling on the descents. The Specialized Rockhopper FS ($599), built from Nitanium, a new alloy that's lighter than steel, is a veritable bargain for a trail-ready bike. It comes with a Shimano
Alivio/STX 24-gear drivetrain and Rock Shox Indy C fork for controlled downhills. For those who prefer the beefy look of an aluminum frame, the Schwinn Moab 3 ($749) delivers a cushy ride for the money. Like the Rockhopper, it's outfitted with the proven Rock Shox Indy C fork. It's tough to find comparably equipped kids' bikes, but the Raleigh Mountain Scout ($220) comes close. Built around a no-nonsense steel frame, the Scout has steel hubs with alloy rims and 18-speed Shimano gearing good enough for off-roading.
Trek 520 with a Burley Piccolo
For road trips, look for true touring steeds that have longer wheelbases than performance bikes, and lots of places to hang doodads like pumps, bottles, and racks. The Cannondale T500 ($699) has a handmade aluminum frame and a 21-speed Shimano STX drivetrain controlled from traditional down-tube levers. Spend a few hundred bucks more and you'll
get an equally gracious Chrome-moly Trek 520 ($999) with a higher level of Shimano componentry married to convenient Shimano Ultegra bar-end shifters. The Giant Farrago ($340) is a great entry-level touring bike for kids five feet tall and over. A cross-bike designed to be ridden on- or off-road, it comes with an
adjustable-angle stem and 21-speed Shimano Alivio derailleurs. The Burley Piccolo ($350) is ideal for when kids are too big for a trailer but not quite ready to manage a whole day's riding on their own. Kids can pedal when they feel like it and get towed along behind an adult bike when they don't.
Pearl Izumi's Vagabond Jacket ($110) is a versatile answer to changing riding conditions: Zip it up for a lightweight windbreaker or unzip the sleeves to create a vest. For the fabric next to your skin, you'll want a wicking synthetic; go for REI's Classic Short Sleeve Jersey ($35) with traditional styling,
two rear pockets, and a generous front zip. When it comes to shorts, look for good padding and no seams in the crotch. Dirt Designs' More Core shorts ($65) are two in one: an inner padded Lycra short and an outer made from tough-wearing brushed Cordura. The Zoic Women's Vixen Shorts ($55) are fitted with an
antimicrobial anatomical liner and styled with two cargo pockets. Kids who ride are finally getting some recognition from apparel companies. Sugoi's Jr. Cascade Short ($26; for ages 3-12), a scaled-down version of an adult six-panel biking short, comes in six colors. From Cannondale, there's the stretch C-Tech
polyester Kids' Team Jersey ($35), with three rear pockets and front zip, and the Kids' Flagship Shorts ($20), made from four panels of matte-black Spandex. All hands enjoy a little babying. Size extra small in Pearl Izumi's White Line Glove ($20) will fit most children.
Pearl Izumi Vagabond Jacket
Purists will call Specialized's El Gato ($60) a mountain-biking shoe. In truth, the lugged soles and heels make for easier navigation on any bike, road or fat-tire. This shoe has the additional appeal of fitting petite feet down to size 4. Shimano's Megagam (MO35) shoes ($80) are stitched from
polyurethane-coated leather and breathable nylon to handle the worst touring weather. Laces tuck behind a hook-and-loop strap for chain-defying safety.
Whether on trail or road, wearing a helmet is nonnegotiable. The Forza ($55) continues Bell's tradition of producing lightweight and well-ventilated head-coverings for a modest price. The Forza has 14 air vents and an upgraded retention strap for a secure fit. Ever since revolutionizing the helmet industry in the
mid-eighties, Giro has consistently offered innovative designs and a great fit.
The Alturus ($80) offers 16 ventilation slots and a rear retention strap, and comes in three sizes. Precise fit is a big feature on the GT Machete ($75), which has two adjustable silver-dollar discs on the rear strap. Bolder colors and wild graphics distinguish kids' helmets such as Bell's Jumpstart Pro ($30) and the Giro Mudshaker ($35). For peewee riders (three years and under) the Specialized Bike Bug ($35) offers hard-shell protection with eight vents and a rear strap to prevent slippage.
Cannondale Kids' Team Jersey, Pearl Izumi White Line Gloves, Cannondale Kids' Flagship Shorts
Hands-free sipping is the beauty of hydration packs. But smaller bodies can be overwhelmed by large-capacity sizes. The CamelBak Go-Be ($50) has a modest 50-ounce reservoir in a pint-sized package that snaps nicely around youthful waists. Adults who eschew any kind of pack on their backs will appreciate the Bike Pro USA
CoolBack Mainstream ($90). It suspends the weighted part of the pack containing the 90-ounce bladder away from your body for a more comfortable ride. Tools and snacks can be zipped into its two compartments.
With a cavernous 6,850 cubic inches of space plus a side pocket on each bag, Jandd Mountaineering's Large Mountain Panniers ($149) are the carriers of choice for long road trips. For shorter expeditions, Overland's Little Butte panniers ($140) are big enough (1,800 cubic inches) for all the family essentials and more.
Side mesh pockets are great for hauling wet laundry or leak-prone bottles. As the name implies, L.L. Bean's Day Tripper Rack Pack ($35) is perfect for stashing tools, food, and a wallet during short outings. For sheer convenience, Topeak's Tour Guide Handlebar Bag ($60) features a large main compartment and top,
front, and side pockets as well as a transparent map-flap.
Photographs by Clay Ellis
Copyright 1998, Outside magazine