A lot of gear comes across our desks here at Pinkbike. Check Out is an occasional round up of everything our tech editors have gotten their hands on. Sometimes it's products we're doing long-term tests on, other times it's stuff we're stoked on but don't have time to fully review. And, sometimes it's crazy shit someone sent us unsolicited and we're having a laugh.
• Works with Presta and Schrader valves • Weight: 56 grams • topeak.com
The Smart Gauge D2X is the latest addition Topeak's line of digital tire pressure gauges. It's light, compact, and does exactly what it's supposed to, measuring tire pressure up to 260 psi (18 bar). There's an easy-to-use lever at the top of the unit to switch between Presta and Schrader valves, the head rotates 360-degrees, and there's a pressure release valve to drop the air pressure to the desired pressure.
I have found that the display can be a little hard to read if you're looking at it from an angle. When viewed straight on the numbers are bright and easy to see, but when the device is tipped slightly the screen has a bit of a glare that makes it less readable. The D2X also needs to be firmly pushed onto the valve, otherwise a tiny bit of air will escape - Topeak's Shuttle Gauge does a better job of sealing against a valve. Other than those two quibbles the D2X is a handy little device for those pre-ride pressure checks.
• Stashes in its own pocket • 15,000mm waterproof / 30,000g/m2 breathability • Price: $195 USD • nukeproof.com
The last couple of months have been some of the wettest on record here in the Pacific Northwest, so I've had plenty of opportunities to pit Nukeproof's Blackline jacket against the endless stream of atmospheric rivers. Its packability is one of the reason's I keep grabbing it – it can be stuffed into the chest pocket, where a tiny carabiner can be used to attach it to a hip pack or backpack. Once it's all folded up it's about the side of a big sandwich, or a softball, depending on your preferred unit of measurement.
The DWR-coated fabric has a 15,000mm waterproof / 30,000g/m2 breathability rating, although on wet, humid days I did find that it got clammy pretty quickly – the underarm vents can only do so much to keep air flowing. Longer, zippered underarm vents could potentially help with this, or maybe vented chest pockets. Of course, those would add extra weight and complication.
As it is, the Blackline jacket works well for those days where the weather can't make up its mind, when its raining one moment and sunny the next. Toss it on to keep off a passing rain shower, and stash it when the storm subsides. The fit is comfortable, and isn't so cycling-specific that you'll feel funny wearing it for non-bike-related adventures. The cut leaves room for wearing a few layers underneath, but it's still form-fitting enough to keep it from flapping wildly in the breeze.
Specialized Eliminator Tire
• Grid Trail and Grid Gravity casing options • Sizes: 27.5 x 2.3” | 27.5 x 2.6” | 29 x 2.3” | 29 x 2.6”
• Black and tan-wall options • Price: $60 - $75 USD • More info: specialized.com
The Eliminator has been in Specialized's tire lineup for a few years, but I feel like it doesn't quite get the recognition it deserves. It's a great rear tire, suitable for everything from trail bikes to enduro or DH sleds, with a good mix of traction and rolling speed.
There are two casings available – the Grid Trail version, which weighs around 900 grams and uses Specialized's T7 rubber (the higher the number the stickier the rubber), and the Grid Gravity version that weighs around 1290 grams and uses a T7/ T9 rubber combination.
I've used both options on different bikes over that last year, and each time came away impressed with the predictability that the Eliminator delivers. Yes, in really wet, extra sloppy conditions it can start to get overwhelmed, but for all other conditions it holds its own. Tread wear has been even, and they haven't worn any faster than expected given the number of miles on them. I've been using the 2.3" versions, which actually measure closer to 2.4" when mounted on a 30mm internal width rim. That's a plus in my book, since all too often it's the other way around, where a tire manufacturer's 2.5” ends up only measuring 2.3”.
100% Brisker Gloves
• Insulated soft shell on top of hand • Single layer palm • Size: S - XL
I wear summer weight gloves almost all year round due to the fact that I can't stand how bulky and cumbersome most fall and winter gloves feel. However, once the temperature drops below a certain point that tactic doesn't really work as well – it turns out numb fingers don't function any better than ones that are encased in thick gloves. That's where the 100% Brisker comes in. A lightly insulated soft shell adds extra warmth, while a single layer Clarion palm helps maintain dexterity.
Now, these aren't going to be suitable for riders trying to ride in Arctic conditions, but they're a great option when temperatures are hovering around freezing. They don't feel that much different from a regular glove, but the extra warmth that insulation provides is noticeable, and welcome on chilly days. There are a whole bunch of colors, everything from bright pink to camouflage, and the $34.50 price tag is pretty reasonable considering the comfort and functionality they provide.
Evoc Hydro Pro 3 Hydration Pack
• Includes 1.5 liter bladder • Zippered chest pockets • Elastic mesh pockets for quick access
I've been on the hip pack / stash as much on the bike as possible program for years now - lugging around a massive pack on every ride is a thing of the past. However, there are still times when it makes sense to wear a pack, usually to have more room for water, an extra layer or two, and the snacks that a big ride requires. For those instances, I'm a fan of the latest crop of vest-style packs that are hitting the market.
Evoc's Hydro Pro 3 pack is the one I've been using lately. It's a lightweight, fairly minimalist option, with room for a 1.5-liter bladder, along with 3 liters of gear capacity. There's a double zippered pocket on the back of the pack, with another zippered pocket on the main flap. Each shoulder strap has an elastic mesh pouch and an additional zippered pocket for holding a phone, multi-tool, or other small accessories.
I do wish that the main back compartment had a few more pockets or gear loops for keeping things organized, but otherwise the layout works well – I typically carry my phone in the left shoulder strap, a multitool in the right, and a tube, pump, and extra layer in the back compartment. This isn't the type of pack to load up until it's bursting at the seams, but as long as you keep your inner hoarder in check it holds everything well, and is free of any unwanted shifting from side to side or up and down no matter how rough the trail.