It was a love at first sight when I first saw the Pearl Izumi Versa Barrier Jacket. I love the beige/camo/pastel green color combo with just a hint of orange highlights on the zipper. Me like.
As gorgeous looking of a piece of cycling kit as it is, the best part of the Versa Barrier jacket is that it looks like a typical softshell jacket from REI and honestly, I’ve been wearing mine like a regular jacket more than when I’m on the bike.
Its tapered back panel is nicely tailored so that my rear end remains covered for times like riding to the post office and teaching my son how to ride his balance bike. Strategically-placed reflective accents also provide visibility in low lights. The DWR water-resistant finish on the soft Versa-Barrier fabric also keeps me dry from the elements during the morning fog drizzle around town or while dodging rain during a recent work trip in Seattle. The button closures on the pockets never unhinge on their own and their generous angled entry ways make access while riding a much-easier task.
Speaking of traveling, I also found the Versa Barrier Jacket to be a great companion to take on trips. It doesn’t take up much space in a backpack and it’s a decent layering piece in such that all I need is a thin thermo component underneath when the temperature drops. The flexible drawstring hood can be worn beneath a helmet and there’s even a built-in mitt on each sleeve for when I am stupid enough to forget my gloves.
It’s the perfect anti-cycling cycling jacket, if you know what I mean.
InterBike has come and gone and it has just been about a month since the show’s last Las Vegas hurrah. A lot has happened since then but I finally got a chance to take one last look at the accessories. Here are a few of the stand outs.
I made a point to visit the booths from Asia this year because A.) they’re there year after year B.) it just seems like they don’t get much traffic and C.) there’s always a nice surprise or two… I found Airfit on my last day chilling next to the Honjo fender booth and the Kyoto-based company was there to sell one thing: A reusable sensor pad and conductive gel that sticks to your body with a medical adhesive tape to function as your heart rate monitor strap. Airfit is compatible with most heart rate monitor transmitter units. No more loose heart rate straps to deal with in the middle of a ride. An Airfit kit starts at ¥4000, or $36.
Silca has been on a tear since former Zipp technical director Josh Poertner took over the helm a few years ago and their latest pump offering, the Tattico, is upping the pump game with Bluetooth connectivity that turns a phone into a wireless pump gauge (Apple iOS and Google Android). It’s got an aluminum body with a built-in heatsink to dissipate all that heat generated from your furious pump action, a hose compatible for both schrader and presta valves, and it’s capable of inflating to 120psi within two percent accuracy down to 0.5 psi increments. The Tattico can be yours for $120. Overkill? Maybe. Want? Definitely.
There is always an abundance of locks on display at InterBike and they can be a bit boring to cover, as the bike lock business just doesn’t see a lot of dramatic/disruptive changes. The TiGr Lock caught my eye with its unconventional shape (how is that going to fit my bike?) and hey it’s actually pretty cool.
While walking over to the booth I thought they’d weigh like a pig. I was dead wrong. They’re made out of titanium so both locks weighs about a pound. It’s also wrapped in a clear plastic sleeve so rest assured, your babied e-commute bike won’t be dinged and it still offers plenty of protection against attacks.
The rotating disc lock mechanism is housed within a stainless steel cylinder and the U.S. made lock is conveniently clipped onto a water bottle cage-mounted bracket when it’s not used. The Mini can be yours for $99 while the larger Mini+ will go for $135.
I haven’t paid much attention to arm warmers since I discovered DeFeet ArmSkins years ago and more recently the GripGrab Arm Warmers Light, but I think I might have found the perfect pair for this fall/winter. Pearl Izumi is said to be the largest maker of arm warmers in the world (there are stats for that?) and their new Elite Thermal Arm Warmer with it’s fleece interior will most definitely be a welcoming addition when the temperature drops. The biggest story about this warmer, however, is the use of hydrophobic PI Dry technology for water repellency.
Unlike the popular DWR coating found on many brands where the coating is applied onto the surface of the garment, PI Dry is permanently coated onto individual fibers to increase performance and durability for the life of the garment. We just received our test set and will be back soon with our verdict. The Elite Thermal Arm Warmer loaded with all that technology is available now for a cool $35.
Skin repair was probably the last thing I was expecting to find at InterBike but there I was listening to a pitch about this WD-40 of skin repair.
The La Jolla-based medical startup BLDG Active is dropping in with their FDA-approved, cutting-edge, antibiotic-free formula utilizing hypochlorous, a natural acid produced by white blood cells to quickly kill 99.9% of bacteria within 15 seconds. It doesn’t sting, is 100% natural and so non-toxic that one of the founders took a display bottle and sprayed it into his mouth as if it was a shot of Patron.
BLDG is delivering the product in two forms: A spray that’s light and easy to apply and a hydrogel that also helps to moisturize busted skin. The spray is $24.99 while the hydrogel is $29.99.
Inventor Tomo Ichikawa is back after his trick tire levers that sync together to form a portable chain link plier. This time, it’s a chain tool called the Chain Barrel. It’s small enough to fit inside the handlebar yet versatile enough to work with chains from 6-12 speeds. To operate the tool, you’ll need a 5mm allen key (which most multitools will have) to drive the pin while using one of the aforementioned tire levers, or a 15mm wrench to stabilize the barrel. The Chain Barrel is $20.
Platform hitch racks are great because they’re just so easy to use, but they take up way too much space when they’re off the car. Not so with the EasyFold XT. The EasyFold XT folds into a size of a regular suitcase thanks to its foldable trays that are so compact they can fit two bikes like a 20″ to 29er/700c, as well as fat bike with 4.7″ tires. Each tray is rated to handle up to 66 lbs so it’s totally eBike friendly. And as a friendly gesture to your back, the rack comes standard with a stowable loading ramp so you can just roll your bike up while rocking out to Drop It Like It’s Hot. The EasyFold XT will available March 2018 for $749.99.
San Franciso’s Spurcycle makes arguably one of the best cycle bells money can buy, and their attention to detail is pretty darn evident in their latest venture: A multipurpose pouch. Now, a zipper pouch is normally not something to be excited about, but what makes Spurcycle’s different are the materials used and the shape-shaping design.
The translucent, fiber-ish looking pouch is made of lightweight Cuben Fiber commonly used in high-performance yacht sails for strength against the elements and it is sewn with an equally waterproof YKK zipper to keep the content dry. The most unique feature, however, are the four low-profile polymer snaps at each corner. These allow you to divide the pouch into two separate accessible compartments, or a slim pouch long enough for pens and longer items. You can even snap two of these U.S. made pouches together to satisfy your ultimate OCD. The Multi Pouch is available now for $29.
Sunglasses juggernaut Oakley is venturing into the populous helmet business and their $180 Aro 3 emphasizes on weight and ventilation. The Aro 3, like its brethren in the line, is equipped with MIPS to reduce rotational damage on the brain, a Boa TX1 retention system that uses a thin braided lace that hugs the shape of your head without interfering with your sunglasses, and large vents to quickly dissipate any heat. The Aro 3 will be available this February.
Australia’s Fumpa Pumps made quite a splash at the show and while we can debate for days on the need of a battery-powered inflator, there’s no denying that these Fumpa pumps are tiny. The bigger of the two, the 380-gram Fumpa, is said to be able to inflate six 700×23 tires to 120psi via a convertible valve head with a claimed 3% accuracy on an integrated digital readout in psi, bar or kpa. The lithium-powered brushless motor will inflate a 23c tire to 100psi in about 20-25 seconds.
The miniature version, the 190-gram miniFumpa, forgoes the digital read out and is capable of inflating two 25c tires to 100psi on a single charge. The process will take about 40-50 seconds per tire.
Charge time for the Mini is approximately one hour while the larger Fumpa will take about two hours via an included micro-USB cable. The batteries are also replaceable.
With all those impressive specs, it’s not a surprise that attendees tried ridiculously hard to get a free one, like this one gentleman who whipped out a giant trophy from his backpack to prove that he runs a successful junior program and was hoping for a few unit donations/sponsorships/reviews/all of the above. It was a sight to behold.
Anyway, the Fumpa is available now for $179 and the smaller MiniFumpa retails for $139.