The Coolest Bike Tools of 2017
After days spent walking the aisles of Interbike, these were the 10 most intriguing new bits and pieces we found.
From a new helmet design to smart luggage, here's the gear we're most excited to test.
Giordana’s A+V Extreme Winter Jacket ($500)
Warmer than a down puffy, courtesy of the Polartec Alpha 60 insulation; highly breathable, thanks to the eVent DVAlpine exterior; and thinner than your average fleece, this jacket looks like the ultimate cold-weather piece.
Giro Prolight Techlace ($400)
File these road cleats under totally outrageous. Thanks to the new Velcro-lace hybrid fastening system introduced on the Factor Techlace, an almost nonexistent mesh upper, and a carbon sole that’s even thinner and wispier than Giro’s standard Easton variety, these shoes tip the scales at 300 grams or less (size 42). The pair on display was 272 grams, which is less than a tube and a full-size multitool combined.
Oveja Negra Packs ($45 to $130)
Bikepacking gear was everywhere at this show, and some of the nicest I saw was from this small operation based in Salida, Colorado. The frame bags should fit a wide range of designs, the seat bags use a single post attachment point, and the top tube bags have great structure. Best of all, the pricing is reasonable.
Topeak Bikamper ($260)
Speaking of bikepacking, Topeak launched a new version of its one-man cycling tent, which erects using the handlebars on one end and a wheel on the other. It plays well with any wheel size, and though it’s a bit heavy (three pounds), the Bikamper provides a huge amount of living space. Topeak also offers a full line of bike packs to complement the tent.
Bell Zephyr ($230)
This new high-end road offering from Bell is the slickest MIPS integration I’ve ever seen, with the concussion-reducing plastic liner trimmed down to a bare skeleton and melded straight into the retention system. The helmet also features a dual-density foam shell that's hard on the outside and softer on the inside. The company can’t make any safety claims (damn lawyers!), but they noted this design is the best way they’ve come up with to manage energy in a crash.
Thule Subterra Luggage 55cm/22″ ($320)
Adding to the company’s Gear of the Year-winning luggage offerings, Thule’s new Subterra line combines smart functionality with clean designs. There’s a broad range of sizes and styles, but the convertible Luggage 55cm/22″* is the cleverest, with a zip-off front portion that becomes a separate shoulder bag so you can easily stow the roller portion in the overhead, but keep your computer and personal items at your seat.
Stages Dash ($400)
Fed up with troubleshooting issues with other manufacturer’s head units, the Colorado-based power meter company decided to create its own cycling computer that’s tailored toward training with power. It’s Bluetooth and ANT+ compatible, has built-in GPS functionality, works in both portrait and landscape views, and introduces a host of new power metrics and functions not available elsewhere. Best of all, it will sync with the new Stages Link, a cloud-based management tool that will allow for coaching pushed right to your device that is customized based on your training.
Velotoze Tall Shoe Cover ($18)
Forget the bulky, expensive shoe covers that often leak and wick into your socks anyway. These latex-like waterproof and windproof booties form a clean seal around your leg and fit so snugly that it’s almost impossible for water to get in. They are also small enough to tuck into a rear jersey pocket and forget about until you need them.
CamelBak Quick Stow Flask ($20-28)
Combining the excellent design of its bladders with the bite-valve lid and insulation of the awesome Podium Chill, Camelbak has created the best soft-sided water bottle I’ve ever seen. It will be perfect for stowing in a rear jersey pocket on days you need extra water capacity or for filling with bourbon and tucking inside a frame bag. Comes in both standard and insulated versions.
7Mesh Oro Jacket ($300)
Gore Bikewear and Castelli are already making ridiculously lightweight jackets from the new Gore Active fabric, which is fully waterproof and even more breathable than previous versions. But at under 100 grams, the Oro makes those two pieces look almost portly. Full rain protection for less weight than three Stroop waffles? Good lord!
Ortlieb Rack-Box ($140)
This food-grade expanded-polypropylene cooler easily clicks onto any standard rack for all your mobile food and beverage needs. The Germans say it’s good for grocery shopping, but all I could imagine were picnics with an ice-cold six-pack.