Perfect Tune: Bike Season Roundup
Published on 08/22/2012
By Peter Reese
Even off-the-showroom floor, well-prepped bikes need some love to roll fast and long. When the paint’s chipped and the miles are adding up, its time to maintain mountain, road, cross or commuter bikes – and think about ride-enhancing accessories that add even more passion into the sport.
Feedback Sports PRO-ELITE REPAIR STAND is, in fact, the choice of race mechanics across the U.S. and beyond. Active Junky verified this while attending local, regional and national events and checking out team tents and pits. Testers loved the 85 lb. capacity and the ability to clamp up to 2.6” tubing at nearly every conceivable angle. Hard to believe, but this beast collapses for travel without compromising stability or strength. Recent bottom bracket, brake and shifter chores were faster, easier and cleaner than working on other lightweight or homemade stands. Spend a few extra dollars to add the Tool Tray to keep your act together during and between sessions. If now is the time to get serious about bike performance, the optional Wheel Truing Station takes wheel alignment where it needs to be. As in, accurate and readily accessible. Feedback is the real deal, started by high-performance riders including one of the original founders of CHROME bags.
More life saving than ride enhancing, CycleAware’s Roadie, Wingman and Urbie Bar End Mirrors are superior to many we’ve tried. Quick installation, quality imaging and durable pivots make using them a no-brainer. In addition, they carry enough style to get respect from other riders (or at least avoid cynical comments along the road or trail). They’ve got even more models, have been around 20 years and the owners we’ve met are, like Feedback, the genuine article.
GIRO is making an even more inclusive name for the brand with affordable mountain biking safety products (i.e., helmets) as well as shoes. Active Junky gravitated to the Giro Feature Helmet in the matte olive evil colorway. With enough venting to do the job and bonus points for style, this well-fitting offering outperforms others in the same price category. Ditto for the Carbide shoes, one of the best models we’ve ridden in the $100 range. Durable uppers, solid construction and a moderately stiff sole offer control for cross-country and reasonable downhill ripping. Spring for the Supernatural Footbed X-Static to improve comfort and fit for a semi-custom ride at a fraction of other options.
SKS is making life better for cyclists of all stripes. Testers, thrilled with their SKS AirChecker Digital Air Gauge previous reviewed by Active Junky, installed the X-Blade Rear Fender on a much-used cyclocross bike. Despite jarring training rides on dirt, single track, cobble road and desert flats, X-BLADE stayed put to keep mud and debris out of the mix. Road cyclists will want to evaluate the Raceblade for narrower tires. Watch for more from Germany-based SKS as they translate precision engineering into practical products.