Gear Guy

What mountain bike should I buy my ten-year-old?

What mountain bike should I buy my ten-year-old?

Gear Dude, I going crazy. I'm considering buying my soon-to-be ten-year-old son a $300 mountain bike—Specialized or a Trek; he likes the Specialized. He wanted a bike with gears on it and I plan to have him do some riding with me in the future. The reasonably priced department store bikes I looked at were simply junk. Are there any other similar-quality, yet less expensive bikes in other brands that I'm missing? I don't want to drop for a $300 garage ornent. Steve Arlington, Texas

Is a soft shell adequate as ski outerwear?

Is a soft shell adequate as ski outerwear?

I often ski in both the east, mostly Vermont, and the west at mountains in Colorado, Utah, and sometimes California. I've heard a soft shell, specifically Mountain Hardwear's Alchemy, is perfect for out west where it's fairly warm and wind is the only real concern. I was wondering if it would also work in the east where it can get much colder, wetter, and windier. If not, would a simple waterproof shell worn over it be enough? Brett Westchester, New York

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