Gear Guy

Is it true Marin bikes are not as good as they used to be?

Is it true Marin bikes are not as good as they used to be?

Last year I bought a Specialized Sirrus Sport hybrid for road biking, with which I'm very happy. My brother's looking for a new bike, so how does something like the Marin ALP line of bikes, particularly their Highway One, stand up against the likes of my Specialized Sirrus? A bike mechanic told me that Marin's star is waning, and that you are paying for their ne. Thanks for your insight. I've actually set up my Internet browser to open your column as my personal homepage, and have used your advice more times than I can remember! Patrick Chicago, Illinois

What's the best ultralight jacket for the money?

What's the best ultralight jacket for the money?

So everyone I know agrees the Marmot Oracle is a fantastic storm protection jacket. But sometimes you have to take the advice of longtime friends... and throw it away because they are not the Gear Guy. I want an ultralight jacket to throw in my pack while hiking. I bought my wife the Marmot Oracle, which she loves, but what do you think about products using PacLite such as the GoLite Phantom Jacket, or the Marmot Osprey? I already have an Arc'teryx Beta AR, but is that light enough, or would PacLite be worth it? Jeremiah Eugene, Oregon

Do lighter camera components detract from performance?

Do lighter camera components detract from performance?

I do quite a lot of bushwalking in the Japan Alps and have been carrying my Canon SLR with standard lens, and occasionally an extra telephoto lens—all told, a hefty load. I'm not such a serious photographer to need all that extra weight, but I would like better photos than a disposable or compact can produce. After some research I had decided to splurge on a Contax T3, but then I saw a new Pentax SLR—the "*ist"—that weighs only 335 grs (presumably that's the body only). So, with a matching lens, it still comes in at about half the weight of my current camera. I presume the optics are plastic, hence the low weight. Which would you choose? Excellent fixed lens or zoomable plastic? Dian Tokyo, Japan

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