SKS Spaero Alu Pump
SKS is the leading supplier of cycling pumps in Europe and its extensive range of inflation devices includes the Spaero Alu mini-pump. The Spaero caught my attention because I often joggle the valve stems of tubeless tires while inflating them with a mini pump - an action that caused me grief once when I snapped a stem in half and another few times when I loosened the seal and caused a small leak. The Spaero mini-pump features a short section of hose that extends from the business end of the pump that protects the valve stem from being hammered by an enthusiastic pumper. The dual-head screws onto either Presta or Schrader valve and remains securely in place, allowing the user to flail away, worry free, on the beautifully-crafted aluminum pump. When stowed, the head and hose retract into the pump and are retained by a rubber flap. A twist-lock device prevents the pump from opening when not in use and SKS includes a handy frame mount that screws into existing water bottle bosses. The Spaero Alu weighs 160 grams and costs $39.99 USD. SKS
SKS Spaero Alu pump showing the frame-mounting accessory, screwing on the dual-sided pump head and inflating the tire. The pump hose also allows the pump to be braced against the ground for easier pumping action.
|SKS is a quality German manufacturer and the Spaero Alu pump reflects this in both its construction and finish. Its 160-gram weight seems a bit excessive for something that is going to be part of your bike or hydration pack, but it might be an even trade for such smooth pumping action. Open the pump with a twist and then flip the rubber flap over to release the short hose. The head screws onto the valve stem, which is a breeze for Schrader valves, but can be a leak-fest if you don't know ahead of time to depress the slim Presta valve against the head's O-ring seal while you screw or unscrew the pump head. The pump inflated a big, 2.3-inch tire in about half the number of strokes that most mini pumps require, which almost made me want to keep it. Unfortunately, the more I used the Spaero Alu pump, the less I liked the fact that two out of three times when I attached the head to fill a tire, I ended up losing a bunch of air. I did, however, appreciate that I never had to worry about stressing a valve stem while I was inflating a tire. A little air loss is a lot easier to deal with than snapping a valve stem in half - and the fountain of Stan's that is sure to follow. - RC|
One Industries Interval Jersey
One Industries has been killing it in the Moto clothing and accessory biz, and now has focused upon cycling. The Interval jersey is a simple T-shirt cut in a breathable fabric that feels light upon the body and cool when the sun is blazing hot. Interval Jerseys are made from anti-microbial, UV treated polyester material in chartreuse (pictured), gray, black and white - and in small, medium, large, X-large and XX-large. A goggle/sunglass wipe is sewn into the hem. MSRP is $50 USD. One Industries
Lindsay Currier wears the One Industries Interval Jersey while testing the Norco Range.
|One Industries surprised me with the comfort of the Interval jersey. I figured that it was going to be an oven to wear in the summer like many Moto-inspired jerseys that I have used in the past, but such was not the case. The Interval, with its loose fit and technical fabric, is one of my go-to items now that the sun is high in th sky and temps are nearing one hundred degrees. Those who want a more loose fitting kit for trail and XC, or a lighter weight addition to their DH kit should enjoy sporting the One Industries' Interval jersey. - RC|
Uvex XPCC Helmet
Uvex sells a lot of helmets in the USA, although it is not the first name that comes to mind as a top-drawer protection company. Uvex should be though, because the German-made helmets pass both European and US test standards and are among the lightest lids made. What I found appealing about the Uvex XPCC helmet was its array of useful features. The head-form comes in two sizes, and it is co-molded with a plastic skeleton that keeps the protective foam shell in place should the first impact of a succession crack the EPS material. A bug net protects the front and the headband has '3-D' adjustments for height as well as circumference. Once the helmet straps are set, a push-button chin-strap buckle can be used to loosen it on the fly - or to make adjustments when necessary. All the padding, including the headband is anti microbial and breathable, and the entire assembly can be removed for cleaning. The Uvex XPCC helmet weighs 260 grams, and comes in three colorways: black or white matte, or black with red accents for $99 USD. Uvex
Uvex XPCC helmet, showing the 3-D headband height adjustment, the tension adjustment dial and one-touch chin-strap button.
|Uvex gets high marks for not overdoing the styling of this very comfortable XC/trail helmet. The headband is comfortable and its tension knob has enough range of adjustment to ensure that your head is not either one click loose, or one click anaconda tight. The headband's 3-D height-adjust is sweet, as the helmet height can be tuned to put the visor exactly where you need it in relation to your line of vision (or the helmet's height can be de-dorked to look good on your head like so many lids absolutely don't). I originally thought that the one-touch chin-strap button was going to be another gimmick, but discovered that I liked the feature because I could firm up the fit for technical descents and then loosen it for hot climbs where the pace did not warrant the minor constriction. Well constructed, comfortable in the heat, and pretty good looking, The Uvex XPCC helmet is becoming my new favorite for trail riding. - RC|