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As anyone who has ridden with me knows: I am not easy on my bike gear. It’s not that I’m abusive or anything… I try to take care of what I own so that it will last as long as possible.However, I actually use my gear–and on a regular basis… and for extended periods of time. I expect it to perform, and perform well.

So what’s even more demanding than testing gear on my average weekly rides? Answer: heading out on the road and riding in the Rocky Mountains for two months–day in and day out–that’s what! Without further ado, here are a few of the pieces of gear that I have in for review that are fixing to be royally punished as I travel the nation and ride hundreds of miles (if not well over a thousand–we’ll see how much my legs protest) of challenging singletrack this summer.

Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro

I had the opportunity to test ride the Dakar SixFifty B Pro at the Southeast Bike Expo and I was seriously impressed. Now I’ll have the opportunity to really put this bike through its paces over the course of two months in the Rocky Mountains! During my initial test I had a couple of minor handling and cockpit complaints. Taking the time over the last couple of days to really dial in the setup on my personal test rig indicates that the issues I was experiencing at the bike expo may have just been an awkward bar angle. So far, the Dakar has been rocking it!

Yakima Doubledown Ace 4

Rack heavily-loaded down for testing purposes.

Carrying our bikes this summer is the Yakima Doubledown Ace 4 hanging rack. This hitch-mounted rack adapts to hang four different bikes from the rack. But as you can see from this picture, actually fitting four bikes on the rack is more difficult than it sounds. Based on my testing so far, it handles 2-3 bikes easily.

Gravity Dropper Turbo Seatpost

A dropper seatpost offers you an exponentially larger range of motion over the bike so it’s basically guaranteed to improve your bike handling! I’ve been testing the Gravity Dropper Turbo for a couple of months already, and I’m excited to put it on the Jamis Dakar SixFifty B Pro as well.

Pearl Izumi Rev Short

I’ve already been wearing the Pearl Izumi Rev Shorts for a month or two and I have been loving them! They are a casual pair of XC/AM shorts that offer amazing comfort and great performance. Look for a review of these soon.

Pearl Izumi Octane SL II Shoes

I also have Pearl iZumi’s high-end carbon-soled XC race shoe in for review. Just got my first ride in with them recently (5/24/12) and so far my only complaint is that at $300 MSRP they don’t have a ratchet strap on top. Perhaps that was left off to save weight, as these kicks tip the scales at a wispy 335 grams (weight for size 43, I’m testing a size 42). Wait for my full review for the final verdict.

Hydrapak Big Sur Hydration Pack

The Big Sur is a large-size hydration pack that sports 3 liters of water storage and plenty of room to pack enough gear for an all-day epic ride. Basically, this is the perfect pack for my expedition this summer, as I have plenty of 30+ mile rides planned!

Runtastic Mountain Bike App

After only one ride with the Runtastic Mountainbike app (as of 5/27/12), I have to say that this is one on the best GPS apps for mountain biking I’ve ever used! With all sorts of statistics that you may or may not use, accurate GPS logging, and the ability to download custom-selected trail maps for offline navigation, this app deserves a full review at some point in the future.

Be sure to stay tuned for all of these reviews later this summer!

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# Comments

  • maddslacker

    Wait, that hydration pack is 3L and you still ran out at Buff Creek?

    At Lair o’ the Bear Greg let me take a spin on the Dakar 650. It’s a total blast to ride, but unfortunately he made me give it back. 🙁

  • barrygxnz

    Is the Runtastic app the free one?
    I just downloaded it, will try it later. Not sure the elevation aspect is much use here in South Florida – Hah! 🙂
    Looking forward to your road trip blog.
    Cheers
    Barry

  • Bubblehead10MM

    Sure looking forward to the reviews. @Maddslacker I’ve got a Lobo 100 oz and run dry often on lesser rides, and still have hydrating to do after the fact.
    I’ll have a go at the tracker myself I think if it’s Android.
    I’m especially interested in the Gravity dropper, and would love to see a buyers guide.

  • abegold

    I will never buy shoes with a ratchet strap again. I had to destroy one friend’s ratchet mechanism after riding beautiful McKenzie River Trail (OR) as it got clogged with mud and wouldn’t open, and I had my full box of tools. On a pair of shoes I owned my Specialized ratchet strap had to be replaced and soon after replacing the strap the ratchet mechanism failed. Velcro ONLY for my shoes.

  • mtbgreg1

    @maddslacker, I ran out on Kenosha pass too!

    The runtastic app is the free one and I think they have an android version but I am not sure. Let me know if you find out!

  • Jared13

    Two months testing gear in the Rockies…Greg, you have my sympathy, that must be TOUGH. 😛

  • grandlakejames

    @mtbgreg – that is a rough life, 2 months on the bike, several 30+ mile rides planned. Looking forward to all the write ups. Where else are you riding in CO?

  • mtbgreg1

    Going to be riding in salida and fruita and then we are Utah and California bound!!

  • Bubblehead10MM

    In Android store I’m seeing lots of Runtastic but not MTB. If I were to shoot from the hip I’d say there’s a good chance it’ll come along presently.

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