Testing MTB Gear on the Road this Summer: Jamis 650b, Yakima Doubledown, Pearl Izumi Gear, and More

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!