ROKA – GP-1X Cycling Sunglasses Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The ROKA GP-1X is a larger version of the ROKA GP-1 made for full coverage and demands of long sunny and heated days on two wheels.  With features like rubberized customization nose pieces and ribbed ear pieces, the light weight glasses are meant to stay in place even under the rigors of all day rides.  The sunglasses are ultra light weight, have full spectrum coverage, and look pretty good too. The ear pieces and under-rim provide stability and structure to the glasses while the wide angle lens provide eye protection from both the sun and rouge debris.

ROKA – GP-1X Lens

The lens of the GP-1x cycling sunglasses are coated on both the back and front of the glasses. Coatings are applied to build up performance and transmission.  A hydroleophobic coating helps keeps moisture off the lens. Additionally, an anti-scratch protective layer, an anti-reflective layer, anti-fog and mirror or polarization layers are added depending on which of the 4 lens options you choose.

For a smaller fitting lens be sure to check out the ROKA GP-1.

ROKA GP-1X Fit

The over-sized fit is something I have grown to love in riding glasses, from keeping the wind and dust out of my eyes to preventing blinding sunlight from odd angles.  With a full 140mm width and 57mm height the coverage is huge, just the way I like it.   At only 26 Grams (confirmed actual weight), they feel great on the face even after wearing them all day.

The GP-1X ear pieces are made from a titanium core wire and wrapped in what ROKA calls GEKO(TM) retention for keeping the glasses in place for all sports.

ROKA GP-1X Nose Piece

There are 3 optional sizes for the Removable GEKO Nose pad.  The GEKO tech offers a custom fit that secures the nose glasses to most face shapes.

 

Here is more on the ROKA GEKO Patented Fit system

ROKA Guarantee

As well as a two year limited warranty against material defects or workmanship.  ROKA also offers 100% satisfaction guarantee for 30 days if returned in new, unused condition for a refund or like-for-like exchange. You will have to pay the shipping for returns. Even better, is the Home Try-On program they offer. You can have 4 pair of their sunglasses sent to you for 7 days. Keep what you want, and the shipping cost is applied to the glasses.

Conclusion

Having tried hundres of sunglasses, and at least 30+ cycling glasses the ROKA GP-1x are very near the top of my list as my favorites.  I really like the look of them, the oversized coverage, the GEKO grip, and just how light weight, flexible and comfortable they are.  The lens are very much premium quality with both clarity and protection.  These are a priemum cycling sunglass, and not everyone is going to spend $220 for a pare of cycling glasses, but if you are looking for the best, in performance, coverage, and weight. It’s worth checking out the ROKA GP-1x.

Otterbox Venture 65 45 25 Coolers Reviewed

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Otterbox has entered the game of premium coolers that was once dominated by the name Yeti. It seems now that there are a large amount of options for premium coolers that claim to keep ice for weeks.  If your going to spend hundreds of dollars on a cooler, you should be expecting the best.  A name notorious for phone protection has stepped up to the plate and hit a home run with their Otterbox Venture coolers.  They are a beautiful looking cooler, with the Otterbox feeling to them.  The construction is extremely rugged and solid.  In addition to the cooler looks it also offers a modular design for adding on cutting boards, drink holders, bottle openers and dry storage.

Otterbox has the Venture series coolers as well as the Trooper a soft-sided cooler option. You can view their coolers here

Otterbox Venture Design and Features

The Venture cooler series from Otterbox has to be one of our favorite premium coolers to look at. It’s design features clean rugged look with eye catching details like the mountains on the underside of the lid, and molded handles.  The color choice of white and blue are optimal for cooling and look great, but offered in a variety of colors and prints. The cooler seals tight thanks to the giant rubber ring around the lid that seals water and ice in the chest.

The inside of the Venture coolers are slightly tapered, and angled for draining water from the large drain plug.  The cooler features two inches of refrigerated grade insulation foam through the cooler. There are literally hundreds of videos on youtube comparing these coolers and true ice retention, so we won’t bore you with another. If you want to spend the next 24 hours watching them you can see them all here.

One of our favorite design features is the latches on the Otterbox Venture coolers.  If you have used other coolers, you know how awkward it can be to latch coolers when they are on the ground.  Because the latches on the Venture coolers latch up, its much easier to open and close the cooler.  They are easy enough for kids to use them, and provide a solid feel to them when closed.

There is also a small hole that continues through the latch. This provides a location to install a long lock to secure the cooler, and enhance its bear resistance.

The latch lay flat when not used to keep the cooler closed.  They remain out of the way unless you have the bottle opener or another accessory installed under them. In that case the latch will rest on the accessory installed below.

It has durable rubber feet that keep it from sliding around in a boat or back of a truck.  If that is not enough, Otterbox sales a retention strap (basically a tie-down) to further secure the cooler for transportation.

The handles on the Venture cooler are burly, but can get in the way when packing. Because the handles are molded into the cooler they don’t lay flat and it makes packing the cooler tight next to other objects a bit harder.  Some coolers handles store away flat to the side of the cooler. If you are planning to pack the cooler tight in the back of a truck keep this in mind.

The Venture coolers are big and bulky.  They usually take two people to move them.  The fixed handles do make it easier and more secure when swinging the cooler in or out of a boat.

Otterbox Venture Cooler Sizes and Capacity

The Venture cooler comes in three sizes, the 25, 45 and 65 quart.  These are true measurements, unlike some of the claims made by competitors.  We recently saw a price drop of about $50 on the Otterbox coolers. Additionally, they have been seen on sale on GearChase.com from retailers like REI.com and CampSaver.com

Otterbox Venture Bear Resistant

A growing concern in the backcountry is bear, they smell food and come looking for it.  Otterbox like other cooler brands claim the bear resistent. Having put their coolers through the test they earned the IGBC Certification No. 5155 in June 2017.  You can read more about the bear testing done here.

Otterbox Cooler Accessories

Otterbox has a variety of accessories, that can be added to the cooler for modularizing the use of it.  Although the accessories can be expensive, it offers a lot more variety a side from other coolers.

Side table and drink holder ($70)

Double cup drink holder ($30)

Dry Storage Tray ($20)

Cutting Board ($30) or included with the Side table for ($70), Cooler Separator ($25)

Bottle opener ($20)

Here you can see the accessories all working together on the Otterbox cooler.  The cutting board can be used inside the cooler or stored on the side table. The table and drink holder simply drops into the handle. It’s not super sturdy and I could see a little kid pulling on it and breaking off the mounting brackets.

Here is a list of all the accessories Otterbox offers for their coolers

Otterbox vs Yeti Coolers

It’s hard not to compare the Otterbox Venture coolers to the Yeti Tundra Coolers. They both claim keeping ice for 14 days, have great build quality, and keep stuff cold for a really long time.  Both the Otterbox and Yeti coolers are bear resistant and they cost about the same.  I think the Otterbox edges the Yeti out with the closure system, and overall look and design of the cooler.  Honestly, they are both really great coolers, and you would be happy to have either cooler on a long trek to keep your food cold.

Otterbox Warranty and Manufacturing

Limited Lifetime Warranty

Covers defects in manufacturing, material and/or workmanship under normal use and service for the lifetime of the product.

Manufacturing

Otterbox Coolers are manufactures in the USA. Designed in Fort Collins, CO. Made in Detroit, MI. You know this is one tough cooler.

Otterbox Venture Cooler Conclusion

The new Venture series coolers offered by Otterbox are just what we were looking for in a cooler.  Not everyone needs a $300 cooler, but if you spend long over a week away from the ice box in the direct heat of the sun, it can be easy to justify the cost.  We love heading to Lake Powell in Utah where we spend many days away from ice. The Otterbox Venture is exactly what we need to keep food and liquids cold for over a week while we are camping or on a house boat.  The build quality is top notch, and with all the accessories the Venture is out goto cooler for longer treks.  There are a few down sides to the the Otterbox a side from the price point worth noting.  The Venture 45 and Venture 65 coolers are almost always a two man job to move.  The Venture 65 weighs almost 30 lb with nothing in it, add ice, drinks, and food, and it’s easily over 100 lb.  Also worth noting, if you order your cooler from Otterbox.com, you can get free shipping.

You can always check GearChase.com for deals on Otterbox Coolers and Accessories here.

XX2i Optics France2 Sport Sunglasses Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

XX2i Optics has been know as a great value sunglasses company catering to outdoor enthusiast who enjoy running, cycling, angling, and more. We have been using the France2 sunglasses for cycling over the last couple months and really enjoyed them, but had some complaints. too.  Above, you can see what is included in the box,

  • 3 sets of lenses
  • 3 sets of nose pieces and temple rubbers
  • Cleaning cloth and storage pouch for lens and glasses
  • Tool for changing nose piece
  • Hard Case

The sunglasses are very adjustable with the ear pieces and nose adjustment.  You can bend and shape them to fit your face.  I have a larger face, so i was able to open the nose piece up more to get the glasses centered around my eye. This is something I’ve always hard a hard time with glasses that don’t offer adjustability.  The frames are made from hard light weight plastic that are flexible enough to easily pop the lens in and out.

The lens were very easy to swap out and felt very secure once a new set was “clicked” in. I didn’t anticipate how often I would be swapping out the lenses.  I end up riding a lot around dusk and typically bring a light with me.  I will take all three sets of lens with me. Riding the darker lens when I start my ride, switching to the medium lens at dusk, then the clear lens for night.

The nose piece is attached by two small screws. Even with the small tool provided, it took longer than expected to switch the nose piece color. It’s not something I plan on doing very often so it wasn’t a huge complaint.  The lens were high quality and offered a clear view and protection from the sun.

My biggest complaint about the glasses comes around the size. These are considered a larger frame set of sunglasses, but they are still too small for my face.  I like to have my sunglasses provide a substantial amount of wind and sun blocking.  The glasses while adjustable still allowed for a lot of air to enter under the lens into my eyes.  Additionally, riding at dusk parallel to the sun I noticed that the glasses didn’t extend far enough to the outside of my face, and the sun shone directly into the corner of my eye.

The case is another great value for these sunglasses.  Its something I can throw in a bike bag, or even the back pocket of a jersey.  Sunglasses costing twice as much don’t come with cases this nice.

I think the number one most stand our feature of these sunglasses is their warranty.  “Lifetime Warranty! No questions asked, you break or scratch them, send them back to be replaced for a nominal shipping and handling fee! ” and their return policy “XX2i orders have a 365 day return policy! If you are not happy for any reason, simply send your order back with a copy of the invoice and we’ll credit you in full. (less any shipping and handling fees, please note you would like full credit on your invoice)”

Conclusion

Overall these are an exceptional value for the price. With their return policy, you can try them out for just the cost of shipping and handling. If you can’t swallow paying over $200 for a set of sunglasses that always seem to end up getting scratched, broken, or lost then XX2i are a great option for you.

 

GORE® C5 All Mountain Shorts

Travis Gneiting Apparel, Review, Reviews

I have been riding the Gore Wear all mountain short about 10 times over the last month. They are a unique style not commonly seen in the states with a long slender Euro cut to them, and a high waist ut took some getting use to. An all mountain biking short from a name like Gore, you know is going to be a quality build with all the bells and whistles. While this bike short doesn’t come with a chamois, it’s fairly reasonably priced at about $150 retail for what you are getting.

Features:

  • 2 Way front zipper vent
  • Tough enough for laps in the park, but comfortable enough for all day rides
  • Long 14 inch inseam for better coverage
  • Zipper pockets on both sides
  • Ventilation zippers for heat management and room for pads
  • Stretch panel in hips and rear for comfort
  • Adjustable waistband with velcro

The front of the short takes some innovation from the top of the line road kits with a multi panel construction. The dark black close to the inside hip is a breathable mesh that still is holding up strong. The inner legs have a silky smooth abrasion resistant feel to them. The material slides very smoothly when peddling. The grey panels of the shorts have a semi stretch to them in a material similar to a tough swim suit, and overall feel very durable.

The back side of the C5 mountain bike shorts are made of an abrasive resistant material that has been standing up well to the 50+ hours I’ve had them against the saddle.

There is a unique venting zipper that can be opened from the top or bottom of the zipper. Also, shown is a oversize pocket on the side, big enough to hold even large cell phones.

When opening from the top it keeps the shorts tight against the leg while allowing venting to the rest of the shorts. The dark black you see through the mesh is my chamois.

When opening the shorts from the bottom you get a bit more flair out of the shorts. I like to ride knee pads most of the time and have found that I need to leave a couple inches unzipped just to get the shorts over my pads, because of the long slender fit.

There is a waist Velcro adjustment and show are the other zippers on the shorts.  These are defiantly a premium short made with 95% Polyamide and 5% Elastane on the outer shell.  The internal is soft Polyester.  They are machine washable, and have held up well in the washer and dryer.

You can check out all the colors and sizes from GORE Wear website here: https://www.gorewear.com/us/en-us/gore-c5-all-mountain-shorts-100147.html

Or Check GearChase.com for Sales and Deals on all GORE Wear Cycling and Outdoor Clothing here.

XX2i Brazil1 Polarized Sunglasses Review

Travis Gneiting Review, Reviews

We had a chance to try out the Brazil Matt Tortoise sunglasses with polarized lens from XX2i recently and wanted to share our take on this classic design.

XX2i offers some really great glasses at a great value. They are miles a head of the cheap gas station sunglasses you buy, but are paying the huge premium for some of the big names in the optics industry. With all the same features including polarized lenses, UVA and UVB blocking, color popping view, and a really nice semi-hard case, these are a really good value for the price.

In the photo, you can see how the lens really add a dramatic effect to the view. The leaves look greener, and colors pop.

The glasses are a medium fit. I have a bigger head, and like a bigger set of sunglasses. These were a little right behind the ears for me. The fixed nose piece was very comfortable, and they stayed in place, even with sunscreen and sweat on the nose.

The lens are really great on these glasses if you like that sort of faux reality. Hiking seems to come life, behind these lens. They also look great with the tortoise color frames and blue mirror lenses.

XX2i offers a no question asked warranty. Seriously, scratch them, sit on them, just pay shipping and handling to get a replacement!

Additionally, they offer 365 days to try them out. Again, seriously take a year to try them in all conditions if you dont like them send them back for a full refund minus shipping and handling.

These are on sale right now for $34.99, really good value for that price.

https://www.xx2i.com/collections/brazil1/products/brazil1-matte-tortoise-with-polar-brown-lenses

Gore-Review-Featured-Image

GORE® C5 GORE-TEX® ACTIVE Hooded Jacket Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

GORE® C5 GORE-TEX® ACTIVE Overview

The hooded waterproof jacket is made for all outdoor activities you might get caught in the rain, or need some quick protection. The Gore-Tex material offers superior waterproofing and breathability while still providing wind blocking. Gore Wear offers top of the line waterproofing for athletes that need a strong, breathable, functional all around jacket.

There is a front pocket that looks small, but held our oversizeds smartphone without issue. The pocket is also mesh on the inside so you don’t end up fogged up camera.  This is the only pocket on the jacket.

As you can see the jacket doesn’t sit as low on the back as a cycling specific jacket, but offers just enough protection to keep your top half dry.  The wrist are highlighted with yellow reflective strips. I was riding a size large jacket and like the extra room to move around in the jacket. The Gore Active Jacket has also become my mountain bike go to jacket. It packs down so small, I can throw it in a waist pack and take it with me whenever dark clouds are in the sky.

The selves are nice and long and I didn’t feel any pulling in the shoulders or across the back.

The jacket fits tight around the waist and did ride up on the waist a little when peddling, this is just a sacrifice for having a dual purpose jacket.  There is a slight drop in the tail but very minimal.

Waterproofing

The Gore Gore-tex (I know it’s confusing) keeps you dry. In our testing we went out in full on downpour. Shoes were filled with water, chamois, knee warmers and socks were soaked, but everything under the jacket was dry and protected.  The Gore C5 Active hood jacket is very thin, but still provides some protection from the wind.  By the end of an hour ride in the heavy rain and about 60 degree Fahrenheit weather was pretty cold with just a jersey on underneath. The Gore-Tex kept my jersey, phone, wallet all dry.

You can really see just how well the water beads up on the Gore-Tex fabric. The outer fabric is treated with DWR for waterproof and windproofing. Also, the inside of the jacket is coated with a Gore-Tex membrane for additional protection.

It’s worth pointing out if you are buying this for a biking specific jacket, it barely covered the back of our jersey.  It however works very well as an all around waterproof jacket for multiple sports.

GORE C5 Hood

It’s worth pointing out is the hood on the C5 Active jacket is not meant to fit over helmets. However, it can be worn under a helmet in an emergency.

After a ride with the helmet on top of the hood, you can see it kind of pushes water into the fabric and through the DWR Gore-Tex coating. However, on the underside the jacket stayed dry.

Conclusion

It’s not a cheap jacket at $279 retail price but as for superior waterproof and breathable jacket for both cycling and running, it’s hard to beat. It’s super light weight, easily packable to bring along if rain is in the forecast.  I’ve tested quite a few waterproof jackets over the years, and as for weight, waterproofing and breathability it’s hard to beat the Gore Active Jacket.  Some of the downsides are the lack of pockets. I feel like I need to wear a jersey everytime I ride with this jacket just for additional pockets. The slightly dropped tail in the back could be just a tiny bit longer.  You really are paying for the best of the best, in craftsmanship, durability, and waterproofing. It’s an investment, but should last you for many years to come, just keep your wheels upright, and stay away from sharp tree branches.  To view more information about Gore Jackets, you can visit their site here. Or feel free to jump over to GearChase.com and see what deals we might have found on Gore Gear.

BlendTec-Featured-Review

Blendtec® Designer 725™ Blender – Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Blendtec Blenders are some of the strongest and toughest blenders on the market today. There are three categories of Blendtec blenders.  The Classic Series, blenders that have made Blendtec a household name, and often sold in stores like Costco and online.  They are the simple all in one blenders. The Designer Series offers more power and additional features than the Classic Series, and  beautiful designed elements.  Lastly, The Professional Series combines commercial power, new innovation and sound control. In addition to the three categories of blenders, Blendtec also offers a variety of jars and accessories for each.

We have been using the Blendtec Designer 725 for many months now, it is by far the most powerful blender we have ever used. In addition to the overload of power, it is loaded with features, and has a super solid and stable feel. Blending and food prep time is reduced with this advanced blender.

We used the classic stainless steel model that blends (no pun intended) into most kitchens, and is designed to fit under most cabinets.

Blendtec blenders have been the goto blender for athletes and shake enthusiast. They fit right into our lifestyle for both healthy eating and quick smoothies on the go. At GearChase.com we also LOVE awesome deals on gear, so when we heard that you can get Blendtec blenders refurbished at a nice discount as well, see the pricing below.

We have always loved watching the “Will it Blend” videos too, so we were ready to put this blender to the test. 

Nutrition

  • 1-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 2-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 3-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 4-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 5-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 6-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 7-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 8-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 9-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase
  • 10-BlendTec-Nutrition-Green-Smoothie-GearChase

We at GearChase are passionate about the outdoors, gear, deals, and feeding our body to keep doing what we love as long as we can. Blendtec promises to make it easier to do this.

For some hard data, we looked to research that has been done on the topic rather than just regurgitating what others simply hear or read from a non-research method. A study was done in 2014 and published in the US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4103735/) on the effectiveness of blending vs juicing on the phytochemical (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phytochemical) and antioxidants (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antioxidant). The results were as expected, juice products containing fruit peels, seeds, etc. contained higher total antioxidants that the juiced fruit. Additionally, the research suggest that the blended fruit contained larger amounts of phenolic compounds and ascorbic acid. The phytochemical content of the fruit were significantly affected by the juicing method as opposed to the blending method.

Feeding our bodies after destroying them on the trail, snow, mountains, pavement, etc. is necessary for survival. Our bodies need recovery, and there really isn’t a better way that consuming a blended shake or smoothie to get the essential nutrients in the quantity and speed that our bodies need.

Another positive we experienced during our use was the reduction in stomach irritability. Typically after a hard workout, food tends to upset our stomach. By blending these fruits and vegetables together, we were able to get the nutrients that we had starved from our body back to it, without feeling the sickness of eating a meal after a workout. It’s the perfect way to mix up a recovery shake.

The Deal with Refurbished Blenders

You have all seen the amazing “Will It Blend” videos that made Blendtec a household name. But they are expensive! There is a great option, the refurbished models offer a great savings over the retail version, and are often even more reliable than the retail version.

The majority of the blenders that are sent back to Blendtec are from Sam’s Club or Costco. Because of the many Blendtec blenders that are sold from these warehouse stores and their lenient return policy. Most blenders returned have less that 15 blends on the blender and rarely because there was an issue with the blender itself.

These refurbished blenders have been used, but don’t expect to see green smoothie stuck in the buttons or corner of the wildside jar? Everything from a returned and refurbished blender is replaced. The jars are not reused, they are sent back for recycling as well as the base of the blender. Really, the only part of the blender that is reused is some circuitry, the motor, and the power cable. Everything else is brand new. You will get a new base, new blender jar, so there are no concerns that you might be reusing someone else’s dirty blender.

BlendTec-Motor-GearChaseThe blenders go through a series of vigorous test both physical cycles and electronic analysis to ensure that the blender is working properly before it leaves packaged up. The packaging of a refurbished blender is basically the same that would be expected from the retail version. Included is the jar, base, recipe, other instructions as well as packing material.

you are basically getting a new blender with a motor that may have a few dozen blends on it. It’s definitely worth noting that while a new Blendtec blender comes with an 8 year warrantee, the refurbished blenders still come with a 7 year warrantee! That’s a huge piece of mind to feel covered in the case of a failure.

Available Refurbished Models

Classic 575

$319

Reg. $400
  • 3.0 Peak Horsepower Motor
  • Touchpad Interface
  • 7-Year Warranty
Buy Now!

Designer 625

$400

Reg. $480
  • 3.0 Peak Horsepower Motor
  • Illuminated Touch Interface
  • 7-Year Warranty
Buy Now!

Designer 725

$550

Reg. $650
  • 3.8 HP Peak
  • 100 Speed Touch Slider
  • Rewards
Buy Now!

Professional 800

$770

Reg. $1000
  • 3.8 HP Peak
  • Sound Cover
  • 11-Speed manual touch slider
Buy Now!

Our Experience with the Blendtec Designer 725

In full disclosure, Blendtec sent us the Designer 725 unit to try out for a few months and provide our feedback on the unit. Although Blendtec sent us the blender it in no way influenced our reviews or outlook on the unit.

If you can afford the upgrade to the Designer 725 it’s well worth the extra money. It’s clean look, and touch digital buttons make cleaning it and looking at it a lot easier. We tend to think the other blenders like the Classic 575 or the Total Blender tend to look too industrial sitting on the counter. However, the Designer 625 and 725 have a beautiful appearance.

The Designer 725 is really in a league of it’s own as far as speed, power and capacity. With it’s 100 touch point blending control, 3.8 peak horsepower motor at 1,725 watts it can handle anything you can shove in there. The sliding control is very useful to just place your finger on and slide up and down as you hear the blender start chopping, or when the presets aren’t quite doing their job.

The user interface was very friendly and easy to use. With five preset blending cycles as well as a cleaning cycle there is just about everything you need to create Smoothies, Juices, Soups, Salsa, Ice Cream, and don’t forget the self clean option that works pretty good for normal uses.

In addition to the 100 Speed touch sensor, there is also a multi-speed pulse button that you can hold down and let go to pulse the blender blade as desired.

On of our favorite designs of the 725 was the sleek modern touchscreen. It’s flat and smooth and cleans off with one wipe. No more using the corner of a rag to scrub around little buttons on the blender.

  • 3.8 peak horsepower motor

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • Illuminated Touch Screen

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • 6 Pre-Programmed Cycles

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • 100 Speed Touch Slider

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • Add 10 Seconds

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • Die-cast Finish

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

  • 7 Year Refurbished Warranty

    This is where the text for your Feature List Item should go. It's best to keep it short and sweet.

Jar

  • BlendTec-Designer-725-Refurbished-GearChase
  • BlendTec-Designer-725-GearChase

The BlendTec wildside 5 sided jar is dishwasher safe and allows for higher volumes and a lower counter height. The “Wild Side” a fifth sided corner helps to turn the contents and redirect them back to the blade. The jar is impact-resistant, and BPA-free copolyester. These jars are all dishwasher safe. The height of the jars is also specifically designed to fit under your cabinet.

There are also smaller 2 qt (64 OZ) containers as well as a Twist Jaw that is used for creating ultra thick recipes like peanut butter.

Twist Jar

  • BlendTec-Twist-Jar-Almond-Step1-GearChase
  • BlendTec-Twist-Jar-Almond-Step2-GearChase
  • BlendTec-Twist-Jar-Almond-Step3-GearChase
  • BlendTec-Twist-Jar-Almond-Step4-GearChase

The Twister jar works really well to agitate the ingredients and help insure a smooth blend of something so difficult like almonds or peanuts.

Below we were using it to make a chocolate almond butter. It starts off slowly smashing and grinding the almonds. We weren’t too careful while using the twist lid and made a bit of a mess, so be sure to hold the lid down tight as you are turning counter-clockwise. It’s incredible how much heat is created when girding the almonds, just touching the side of the twist jar it was fairly hot.

You can also see by the photos, using the Spectacula™ spatula it’s very easy to get the entire contents out of the jar not wasting any of those expensive almonds. It’s not as easy to clean the large jar by just running a cycle of soapy water. We did have to get out the scrub brush and clean well around the blade. The scraper comes completely apart which made cleaning it very easy. Even the top cap pops in and out for cleaning.

One complaint we had with the twister jar is that it seemed to fit more loosely on the base, so we felt like we needed to babysit it more that the other jars. It wasn’t too big of a deal since you are holding and twisting the jar during use. Another complaint was that after a few uses of the twist jar, it began to show signs of use on the bottom gasket. Not sure how long these would hold up, but it’s good to know the jars are covered by a 3 year warranty. It’s also worth mentioning, the customer service with Blendtec is above and beyond. As we had questions about the blender, and the jars we sent emails and called into Blendtec to get quick answers. They were always very polite responded very quickly, and made sure I had exactly the information I needed. I’ve heard of many others with the exact same experience so I can’t assume they were just being nice to us.

It’s nice to see some real world photos, and not just the cleaned up manufacture photos of what it actually looks like to blend nuts. As you can see it’s pretty clean and does the trick. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results. By the way, if you like Nutella, you have to try the chocolate almond butter from one of these twister jars.

Blade

  • BlendTec-Blade-Base-GearChase
  • BlendTec-Blade--GearChase

The blade is very unique on the BlendTec blenders jars. It’s not sharp like you might expect. It’s somewhat blunt edge however pulverizes by ripping and shredding it’s contents with it’s hardened steel. I was told that there is quite a process that goes into making the blades to keep them somewhat flexible on one side and strong and hard on the other for the perfect crushing machine.

Lid

BlendTec-Blade-Lid-GearChaseThe lid was far better than any other lid we have used as far as sealing the top of the jar. However it did leave us with some concerns and wishes. The lid seals amazingly well if you have it pressed tightly around all sides of the jar. The vented top was a little hard to remove when trying to add contents during blending, but not too bad. Washing the lid can be a little tricky, or you might just feel spoiled that the Jar is so easy to clean, and you might actually have to scrub the lid.

Performance

While the videos of the Blendtec always seemed to be perfect we did have a few issues with contents getting stuck in the top and sides of the blender. If we tossed in a half apples, it sometimes would just float around in the jar. We learned what can and can’t get away with using the Blender. For example just tossing in entire celery stalks didn’t always get caught by the blade, and we had to cut them up into smaller pieces. Basically, just cut or keep your contents small enough to be moved around in the blender from the start. Also, make sure you have enough liquid for the blending purpose, and you will be fine.

Juicing, Soups, Ice Cream

Juicing
Juicing with the blenders huge motor was amazing. It was fun to just throw whole fruit into the machine and let it do it’s magic. It literally pulverized everything and anything we put in it. It was easy to drink more fruits and vegetables knowing that you were going to be left with a gritty fibery mess. It blended everything from frozen strawberries and pineapple to broccoli and celery.

Soups
It’s incredible to think that you can warm up soup with a blender. But the 3.8 horsepower motor had no problems warming up a soup using just the blender. There are a bunch of healthy and not so healthy soups listed on blendtec website, one of our favorite was teh creamy taco soup.

Ice Cream
One of our favorite treats was blending frozen bananas. It matches the consistency of ice cream and with a little chocolate syrup it even taste similar.

Clean Up

A super nice feature of Blndtec blenders is the clean up. Just add a small drop of dish soap to the jar, and a cup of water and touch the “Clean” cycle. It does a really good job after making something like a smoothy to clean the jar up.

Rewards

The Designer 725 comes with blending rewards (https://www.blendtec.com/rewards) built into the blender. The program is designed to reward you for eating healthy. There are certain milestones build into the blender that display a code when reached. You can then redeem your codes for recipe books, gift cards, product discounts, kitchen supplies and more.

For example, we hit 100 blends and got a Spoonula. Of course you will still need to pay for the shipping, but still a great benefit. Additionally, we hit 100 blends relatively fast. Also, we noticed you get blend rewards for cleaning too.

Loud

While there were a few nitpicky issue we had with the blender, the one that really stands out is just how loud the blender is. If you can opt for the commercial grade blender with the cover it’s very quite. But without this cover this thing is loud. Not just kinda loud, like wake up the kids the house is on fire loud. It’s amazing, running the blender without the jar on this’ fairly quiet. But you load up the blender and turn it on, the sound is very loud. Luckily it’s short, and once the large bulky items in the blender are broken down it does get a little quieter.

Final Thoughts

If you have been brought down by cheap, under powered blenders for years and years (like we have been) Blendtec blenders are like experiencing what you expected blenders to do when you were a little kid. Anything edible we dared to throw in the blender was handled with little to know agitation. These blenders are expensive, and the refurbished models help a little. We can honestly say, these blenders can change your life. Over our time testing, we ate much healthier meals, and consumed more fruits and vegetables than prior eating habits. It’s easy to drink these healthy smoothies, and feel full throughout the day.

The build quality is top notch. A lot of detail that goes into each part, from machining little caps inside the jars to meticulously testing each and every motor.

Check out the link below to view all the refurbished deals on Blendtec Blenders today.

View All BlendTec Deals
Topeak Joeblow Review

TOPEAK JOEBLOW™ BOOSTER Pump Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

JoeBlow Specs and Functions

Do you really need a $160 pump to be able to mount your tubless tires anywhere? There are currently about 10 different pumps or DIY methods for inflating a tubless tire on the go without electricity or the use of a compressor.  They range in price from the cheap 2 litter bottle hack. The pumps range in price from about $70 USD to $180 USD.  One of the favorites we have used is the Topeak Joeblow.  The pump can be used like a regular floor pump when the switch is turned to “Inflate”, or charged like an air compressor when switched to “Charge” mode.  The pump can store upto 160 PSI (11 BAR).  Dealing with a compressor in addition to presta valves and the other obvious inconvenience make having a portable tubeless pump almost a necessity with most high end bikes being set up tubeless.  The topeak pump also includes a super long hose that nicely stores securely around the pump.  It includes two air release or bleed buttons for letting reducing pressure in the tire or charger.

 

Preparing the Tire for Use of the Topeak JoeBlow Pump

In our testing and use over the last few months with the Topeak JoeBlow pump and our initial review of the pump we replaced a rear tire.  After removing the old tire. Sealant should be refreshed every few months in tires, and it’s easy to just break the bead, and add a couple ounces to keep it blocking flats.  There is the option to remove the valve core, and add sealent through the valve, but we found it just as easy if not easier to just pop the bead add the sealant and use the JoeBlow pump to reseat the bead and inflate the tire.

Here we have the new tire already installed back on the rim.  We cleaned up any dirt and residue with a quick wipe down before placing the new tire on.

The Maxxis DHR 2.4 was tubless ready tire, the Stans recommendation was to add about 3 or 4 oz for a new tire.

With the tire completely seated inside the rim with only a small opening at the bottom we added the sealant and pushed the rest of the tire into the rim without spilling any of the sealant out.

 

Charging the Topeak JoeBlow Pump

With the tire installed with sealant to the rim, we charged the pump by rotating the top nob to “Charge” and taking about 50 strokes of the pump to reach 160 PSI.  The pump consistently took 50 full strokes of the pump to reach full charge.  We could have gotten away with less than 160 PSI to seat the tire, but always went to 160 just in case.

Topeak Smart Head

One of our favorite features about the JoeBlow and other Topeak floor pumps is the smart head. The smart head works with presta and schrader valves the long lever on the head makes it easy to lock on to the valve.  It has a convenient bleed button on the head to reduce pressure in the tire during filling.  It has been one of the best multi use heads I have ever used.  It’s easy to know when it’s seated properly on the valve, and the long leverage on the locking lever makes it easy to secure without busing a knuckle on a spoke, or breaking a valve stem.

The additional bleed valve is located on the charge tank to discharge the floor pump.

Conclusion

This pump couldn’t be any easier to use, It’s heavy duty, and heavy, which I like for it’s use it gives it a solid platform for pumping.  It’s still portable enough to bring to the trail and on trips.  We have had a 100% success rate with the pump, as long as you take a few minutes to check the tire and valve are property prepared. Using the pump as a standard pump works well, however not as fast as other larger volume pumps.  Even with a compressor in the garage, I reach for the JoeBlow pump to seat my tubeless tires.

 

 

You can find the Topeak JoeBlow on GearChase.com from many online retailers. To check the current prices, click here.

 

Fenix UC52 Review

FENIX UC52 Rechargeable Smart Flashlight Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

A good quality flashlight is something everyone needs. They are useful when camping, power-outages, emergencies and just around the house. One of the biggest complaints I’ve had about flashlights is never knowing what kind of charge the battery has.  This means I usually end of bringing an extra set of batteries every time I go out.  The just released Fenix UC52 feature on board battery status.  A digital display of the estimated run-time for the battery.  Additionally, the light charges via micro-USB so if I need to quickly top it off I can do so from a solar panel, power pack, car charger, or phone charger.

The light is wrapped in a solid and ridged metal construction that fits very well in hand with it’s contoured shape. You can carry the flashlight with the lanyard, or the included holster.

A lanyard can be attached to the back of the flashlight to wraparound your wrist when walking with the flashlight in hand.  The unique shape of the Fenix UC52 fits feels very comfortable when toting around or balanced in hand.  The two flat sides make it easy to rest on an uneven surface without it rolling away.

Out of the Box

A standard nylon case, belt loop, D-ring, and Velcro closure holds the Fenix UC52. With the wrist strap on, it’s a little cumbersome to get in and out of the case, but still usable. Pushing buttons out of the box, revelied that the top button displays the current percent of battery remaining for a couple seconds and turns off.  The bottom button did nothing until I held it down for a few second or so.  Next pushing and holding both buttons displayed a lock icon in the LCD, and flashed the light a couple times.  This seemed to lock the light from turning on.  One really nice feature is that when the light is locked, if you push a button it flashes a couple times and displays the lock icon, to indicate the light is locked. I’ve used other lights that lock and you have no idea why it’s not turning on until you remember the secret button combination to unlock it.  For the UC52, to unlock the light you hold both buttons together for a couple seconds, the light comes on and displays the run-time.  I really like that feature.

Light Function

Once the light is on there are many functions, the top button will cycle from strobe to SOS. The bottom button cycles through 5 brightness settings.  Run-time is from around 82 hours to 42 min depending on the setting.  The throw is from 253 meters on high to 18 meters on low. Meets many FL 1 Standards for 3100 Lumens, 1 Meter drop, and 2 Meter submersion in water.

Below are the different brightness’s taken with the same aperture and exposure to get a feeling of the intensity between levels.  The flashlight was pointed at a wall about 4 feet away.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Daily Use

This has become my go to light. It’s capable for all situations.  The light isn’t so large it’s cumbersome, but packs enough power to meet long times between charging and high output in emergency use.  Around the house and campsite I find myself using Level 1 and Level 2 as indicated on the LCD.  Running temperatures stay low, there is plenty of light for small projects, and battery impact is minimal.  On Level 5, the light does get pretty hot to the touch.

As an avid biker and explorer, it’s nice to have the option to light up the place with 3100 Lumans just for the fun of it.  I tried mounting the light with a few different options when hiking and biking.  With velcro straps, and two flat sides, the light is much more capiable of being mounted to a bike frame, or other surface.  The light is well balanced, and stayed in place fairly well.  With the larger batteries, the light wants to move around a bit, but could be used in a crunch as a bike light.

Aside from the weight of the larger batteries, the light feels comfortable in hand. When running the light on Level 5 (3100 Lumans) it gets pretty warm really quick.

Charging

Charging the light couldn’t be easier, a micro USB can be plugged into many sources and charged a lot faster that expected from a good power source.

  • Max output of 3100 Lumens (Blinding)
  • OLED Screen display battery run-time and mode
  • Micro USB Charging
  • Heavy duty construction
  • 15 (82 hours) to 3100 (40 Minutes) Lumen Range
  • Drop protection
  • Waterproof up to two meters (IP68 Rated))
  • 6″ x 1.7 ” x 1″
  • 9.7 oz with battery

The UC52 by Fenix uses a XHP70 Cree LED light to deliver it’s maximum range of light output.  The battery is a 7.2 V/3500mAh Li-ion battery that is sealed inside. Fenix also offers a 2 year free repair.

What’s included

  • UC52 Flashlight
  • Micro USB Charging Cable
  • Instruction Manual
  • Warranty Card

Head over to Fenix to see the entire line-up of Flashlights, Tactical Flashlights, Headlamps, Bike Lights and Lanterns.

Biolite’s SolarHome 620 Kit Power System, Lights, Power, and Radio

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The new Biolite SolarHome 620 is a Solar station for small scale, emergency preparation, comfort camping, van life or small house or cabin electronics kit. It includes a radio, MP3 (do people still refer to them as MP3’s) player, USB device charger, living individual switched daisy chained lighting, all powered by a small solar panel, and on-board battery.  BioLite is a company based out of Brooklyn New York and has been providing alternative products for creating power and light in the outdoors.  Their products are distributed all over the world to help aid those regions that may not have direct access to electricity.  The new SolarHome 620 is a huge leap for these homes that often time don’t have access to light or power.

The kit includes a base station that can be mounted to the wall permanently or hung temporarily. It contains a 6V 3,3300mAh battery that is charged by the solar panel and is enough to last through the night when fully charged. It has a long antennae for the internal radio that can be strung around for better reception. The base station also has a speaker and buttons for functions.

There are three lights with switches that can also be mounted permanently or hung temporarily.  The light can be mounted by connecting one to another for further reach from the base station.  Lastly, there is the 6W solar panel which provides the power input to charge the base station.  It also can be mounted permanently or propped up for temporary use.

The package is affordable at just $150. The three overhead lights offer 100 lumens each.

The base unit has it’s own light on top, and a lite LED panel for display.  There is a tiny shelf under the base unit.  It hardly holds a phone, or is much use other than tiny storage.

The control box includes battery reading that shows the available power, as well as charging information.  It displays radio stations, and can play your own mp3 via the SD card.  One of the lights is motion sensor activated.

A tiny SD card slot is located on the left side of the base unit of the Solar Home 620.  You can play your own music from the SD card.  The speaker is not anything to even mention other than it works. Don’t expect any superior sound quality from it.

On the right side of the base unit there are two USB charging ports.  They can be used as standard USB to charge phones, flashlights, etc. There is also a DIN port that lets you charge the base unit from an external source that is compatible.

There are many uses for the SolarHome 620.  Using it for a camper van, in a small cabin, on a back porch, even at the camp site.  The 4 total lights chained together provide a lot of light and reduce the need for headlamps and flashlights.  We found it particularly handy when cooking in the dark.

The mounting option from the dome lights offer a hook that can easily be attached to a number of objects.  We found it easiest to string a line where we planned to temporally mount the lights. Then just hang the lights where we needed them and could easily adjust them.

The switches can be attached to a wall with a couple screws, they are easy to push and feel for in the dark.  However, we never really found a good way to work with the switches in a temporary mounting situation.

The Polycrystalline solar panel offers 6W max output power.  It’s a rigid panel that can be mounted, or just propped up facing the sun to collect power.  It’s not the most efficient solar panel I’ve used, it’s on the smaller side, and in partial sunlight never charged the battery fully during the day. However, in optimal conditions, and direct sunlight I think it could charge the unit in a single day.  A nice feature on the base station is the charging status to see how long until the unit is charged.  It’s also worth pointing out that the base station did not need to be fully charged to be used during the evening and typically the power we collected during the day was enough to use that evening.

The solar panel is weather proof for permanent installations. The overall design of the SolarHome 620 is simple and offers enough features to please most users, at a very affordable price.  In the backcountry, small cabins, campsites, or vans it’s a great option that is light weight and easy to install.

Check prices, sales and discounts on GearChase.com for BioLite SolarHome

KLYMIT STATIC V2 REVIEW

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Build and Durability

The Static V2 is built with welded seams and a welded in large air valve.  The air valve is pretty similar to most we have used on a lot of pads.  It requires a twist to close and open.  The sleeping pad is 72 inches long and 23 inches wide.  It comes with a small patch kit in the storage bag so it’s always with you.

Klymit has used a unique desire for the majority of their sleeping pads. There are large baffles angled that provide a soft sleep, for back or belly sleepers. It’s one of the better side sleeping pads I have used. It also has smaller baffle around the exterior. This give a little more support around the edge and prevents the rolling off effect.

Klymit Static V2 Review Baffle

Backpacking

The sleeping pad is light weight and offers a lot of comfort for the size and weight (about 1lb). It packs down into a small pouch about 6 inch by 4 inch.

Klymit Static V2 Review Pillow

 

Inflating

The V2 inflates fairly quickly, we could do it with our mouth in about a minute (without passing out) took us 12 breaths.  It stays inflated through the night, but we typically would top it off before each night.

Klymit Static V2 Review Valve

Sleeping

It is a comfortable pad, with the larger baffles, I liked it better than some of the flat more compact pads. It kept me elevated off the ground and while not an insulated pad, still provides some warmth against the cold ground.  The baffles seem to provide a softer sleep, and isolation from roots and rocks underneath.  The pad stayed in place very well too. I think this is due to the design of the higher more firm baffles around the exterior of the Klymit V2.  The V2 is fairly quiet to sleep on as well.

Klymit Static V2 Review Logo

What is different from the Klymit Static V2 and Static V?

The Static V2 uses a new 30D polyester top layer and a 75D (stronger) layer on the bottom. This cut down on the weight of the V2.  It weighs about 2 oz less than the V.  Also, the Static V is about $10 cheaper at $55. Both great options.

You can view all the Klymit products and sales on GearChase.com 



OXBOW Bike Light Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Reviews

Oxbow recently sent up a bike light to try out and review on GearChase. We spend a lot of time riding with bike lights both on and off the trail.  The Oxbow may look very familiar to other lights you may have seen on other websites.  The value add from Oxbow is that it comes with GoPro mounts and a new caring case. As well as a domestic support system and warranty.  The GoPro mount work a whole lot better than the standard included elastic band.  If you plan on doing any riding off road this is a must. The Oxbow light claimed 2300 lumens for under $75 bucks. When you compare that to other headlamps on the market for the same form factor and lumens they cost upwards of $300. There are some differences, I think are worth pointing out, but for the average weekend warrior the Oxbow headlamp is a really good value to extend your play time.

The light has three Cree lights in side of it, with a single screw to swap out the GoPro or handlebar mount, some venting to keep it cool, and a green button/light on the back to cycle through the beam (low, medium, high, strobe, off).  I could not locate anywhere where these lights are manufactured, but I would assume china as a lot of the parts look similar to other lights sold from China.

Using the Light

I have been using the Oxbow light now for a few months. I taken it biking, snowboarding, and used as a flashlight around the house.

The light claims to be 2300 lumens, while I don’t have a way of testing that claim, I did compare it to a expensive bike of a 2000 lumen headlamp. The expensive headlamp was brighter, but I paid almost $400 for it a few years ago. The Oxbow light wasn’t too far off, and still provided plenty of light for night rides.

The peripheral and throw of the light again were not as good as my $400 light. And there was a bit of a hot spot in the center of the light path, however most wouldn’t complain for a light that cost $70.

One of my complaints that has been resolved was that there are a lot of pieces that come with the light, and when it was shipped, it came in a cardboard box. Oxbow now includes a zipper pouch to hold all the pieces like the charger, extra mounts etc.

The light isn’t to bad for wearing on your head.  It’s not too heavy and doesn’t cause the helmet to shift around as much as other bulkier lights.

Beam

The light has four settings, low, medium, high, and strobe.  I like to use the low and medium settings when peddling up in the dark. Then saving the battery for the high setting for descending. The beam has a definable hot spot as you can see in the photos below.  When on a bike it’s not as noticeable as it is using the light close up.  The throw and peripheral are adequate and pretty comparable to more expensive lights in the market.  Plenty of light off the side as well as in front of you to run this as your only light.  This is nice, as dealing with multiple lights on handle bars and helmets with wires gets pretty old.

Charging

Charging the battery consistently took just over 7.5 hours. There is a red LED light on the back of the charger that turns green once the charge is completed. The charger connects to the battery by a simple plug. This is a little different that what we have seen with the smaller rechargeable head lamps and lights. They seem to be moving to a USB type charging. It’s not a big deal, but you do need to remember to bring the charging cord with you, as you can’t use another cord to charge in an emergency. This also means you can’t charge from resources like a power bank, car charger, or solar pack.

You may have heard the comments about these cheaper lights catching fire.  In the Oxbow included instructions there are some precautions and warnings.  When I was testing the light and battery, I never noticed the battery pack getting hot when charging, or in use.  Some pointers are when the battery pack is discharged completely, it should be charged again shortly after.   The pack should be charged above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery should not be exposed to water, especially salt water. Do not try to charge a damaged battery. Only use the specific charger included.

The battery should be charged in a fire-safe area, and at a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  You should inspect the battery for any damage or bulging before trying to charge it.  If the battery ever gets hot, discontinue using it.

Lastly to improve the life of the battery, it should be stored at room temperature or around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Whenever possible store the battery charged at 40 to 70% charged for long periods of time.

Mounting

The primary mounting option for the light is using a GoPro mount. The light comes with an additional option to mount to a handle bar with some elastic bands, and by removing the GoPro bracket. In my opinion, it’s worth the money to just buy a GoPro handlebar mount for the light if that is the way you intend to use it. The rubber band mounts work OXif the terrain is not to bad, for example road cycling. But for mountain biking I would a GoPro handlebar mount or even better mount it to a helmet. Oxbow recommends using lock tight on screws when riding in rough terrain to prevent the light from loosening.

When mounting to your handlebars the cord must be run to the battery pack that you will likely have to find a spot on your frame to attach it to. The battery is fairly small when compared to other lights in similar class. Its pretty easy to find a spot with the Velcro pouch (included) to attach it to a bike. My favorite way of wearing the light is to mount it to a helmet, and have the battery in a back or waist pack. The cord can run behind your helmet and down your back staying out of the way.

Seth Bike Hack has a pretty good video on these style of lights. Although this is not the same light, a lot of the comparisons are very similar. And as you can tell by the battery pack they look almost identical.

Run Time for the Oxbow Apache 2400 Helmet

Light on High: 2:50 Hours
Light on Medium: 4:45 Hours
Light on Low: 14 Hours
Light on Flash: 3:40 Hours

Charging the light almost always took 7 and a half hours.

Warranty

Oxbow offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, if you are not satisfied for any reason you can return it within 30 days.  The light and battery are covered from manufacturing defect forever.

Conclusion

Oxbow real value is in their included GoPro mounts and travel case. These are cheaper inexpensive lights but provide great value. For someone looking to do a few night rides a year these are perfect. The light provides plenty of light for most riding styles. The battery last long enough for most any trail we ride after work, or on a weekend adventure.

To check out Oxbow light head over to Oxbowgear.com. They currently have two lights, the Apache (shown above) and the Voyager which is a little brighter and marketed more toward dirt bike riders.

TOPEAK – D-Torq Wrench Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Finding a great present for a cyclist is hard to do.  Beginner cyclist are somewhat easier to shop for, but their garage and tool bag quickly fill up with their new love of the sport.  Seasoned bike riders are even harder to shop for.  They seem to have 2 or 3 of the essentials, bikes included and at least 1 of the non-essentials.  So how do you shop for someone that loves bicycling?  Here is a great gift that likely any experienced cyclist wants, but typically won’t buy for themselves.  Because a torque wrench is not a necessity it often get’s passed up by other more fun bike tools and toys.  Also, bicyclist can get by with the “that feels about right” torque.  I know because I’ve been doing it for years.  It wasn’t until I had a real torque wrench that I realized how off my “feeling” was.

Torque wrenches are used to ensure that a bolt is tightened just enough to hold the part, but not so hard that you damage a carbon part or bike frame.  Typical use are to tighten down headset caps, handle bar stems, seat post, pivot bearings.  Here is a quick video to show you one in action.

The D-Torq wrench range from 1Nm to 20Nm.  This will cover most of the parts on your bike.  However, there are some high torque bolts that you may need the larger torque wrench for, these may include suspension bolts and larger bearings.

The wrench has a direction lever, however it should not be used as a regular wrench.  To use you should hand tighten the bolt and only use the torque wrench to fine tune the tighness. There are some simple functions with the digital wrench to fine tune the torque spec.  Also, there are adjustments to save the torque when the beep is reached. Another important point when using the wrench is to hold the handle in the middle to get an accurate reading.  Once you have used the wrench a few times it becomes second nature.  It runs off a single AAA battery that is included. So far mine has last me many months with average use.  Using the menu button, you can cycle through Nm, In-lb, Ft-lb, and kg-cm.  Most specs on my bikes are in Nm so I just leave my wrench in that setting most of the time, however in other countries you may see the need to change this more frequently.  To set the max torque simply use the up arrow to increase the torque value.  The wrench will go to sleep after no buttons are pressed for 2 minutes.

With a new wrench, the bits get stuck in pretty tight, but after repeated use they come in and out much easier.  Overall it’s a pretty nice tool to have and easy to use.  I prefer the digital readout and beep much more than the click and manual adjustments

Included:

  • Torque Wrench
  • Carrying case
  • Battery
  • Philip #2, T25, 6mm hex, 5mm hex, 4mm hex, 3mm hex, 2.5 hex, 2mm hex
  • Instructions
  • Calibration test
  • Two Year Warranty Card

A great present for any time of year, check prices from many online bike retailers on GearChase.com or Click Here

 

OnGuard Brute U Lock Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Each year we hate hearing about the more and more bike that are being stolen.  Every type of cyclist seems to suffer from the potential of a bike gone missing.  From childrens bikes left in the front yard and commuter bikes in a down town setting to mountain bikes and dare I say eBikes on racks attached to vehicles.  With professional bike thieves out there and tools just for beating bike locks, it’s not so much about if they can get through a lock, but how hard can you make it on them.  There are more and more extremely durable locks coming out on the market that slow down these bike thieves, hopefully enough to detour them from stealing your precious bicycle.

Recently, Bike Radar did the most extensive lock testing ever done in a head to head test across hundreds of locks. This is well worth your time to watch and really fascinating.

One of our favorite locks that we use daily is the OnGuard 8000.  We opted for the larger U lock because of the different lock applications. The Brute Series from OnGuard is their toughest locks with the highest security rating.  These locks are heavy, but great for locking bikes up in a garage, or on a rack if you get creative.  The OnGuard 8000 LS measures 4.5 inches wide and 10.2 inches long.  Comes with 4 standard keys and 1 key with a light, which is nice, but I didn’t care for the added bulk of the key size.  I suppose a nightly commuter could really benefit from this key, on the dark streets not fumbling around with feeling for the key hole.  Some additional features of this lock are the added rubber bumpers around the U shape.  It’s a little softer plastic that reduces the chatter against a bike frame.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

We found ourself getting pretty creative trying to lock a road bike up to a Kuat rack.  This defiantly isn’t secure, but it would have slowed down someone enough that we had time to run into a store to grab some food.  These locks are pretty intimidating looking as well, which I would hope would scare off some of thiefs.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

We used the lock primarily to lock the bike up in a garage, and don’t carry it around much.  It was great piece of mind when the garage door is open knowing that someone isn’t going to walk away very easily with the bike from my garage.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

The video below is another great review on YouTube that talks a bit more about the lock, and it’s features.  It also talks about the benefits and downsides such as the cracked plastic casing.

The double rubber coatin gon the cross bar takes away some of the worry when constently rubbing up against a carbon frame.  It’s soft and giving to the touch but hard enough to last for years.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

The OnGuard U Lock comes with a mounting bracket, but this lock just seemed too heavy for it.  For someone that casually rides a beach cruiser it might be a good option, but I like to have too much fun when I ride bikes, which usually involves jumping a few curbs. Don’t put too much faith in it, or look at some of the Chrome bike packs and clothing that are designed to hold a U lock against the body.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

The design of the 8000 Brute U lock, and most other OnGuard U locks is that it has a “Quattro” bolt locking system.  The lock engages on 4 sides of the U lock.  This prevents a lot of the common attacks such as twisting with a crowbar, car jacks, etc.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

You can see below the lock engaged on the left and right side of the hole.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

Here is a better angle of how the lock engages on both sides of the U lock.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

With the lock open the two locking pins retract back into the lock.

OnGuard U-Lock Brute Lock

The OnGuard U locks are some of the best on the market.  While it’s scary leaving thousands of dollars of bikes strapped to the back of an RV when heading to Moab, Utah.  The use of a good lock provides some good piece of mind.  OnGuard also offers an Anti-Theft program where you can cover your bicycle up to $5001 for a nominal fee.  The keys also come with a code that you should keep in a safe spot.  They can send you new keys if you have the code in the event you ever loose all 5 keys.  Overall, one of the best U locks we have used, it’s easy to open and close, and offers some great piece of mind.

Have a look for deals on OnGuard locks at GearChase.com

KUIU-Review-Featured-Image

KUIU – Guide Glove Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

With hunting season in full effect, and temperatures dropping a good all around glove that can insulate and protect as well as articulate movement is a necessity.  There are so many options for gloves, we have see it all, from mechanic gloves to ski gloves.  It’s time to upgrade.  A technical glove with moisture wicking properties, grip, durability as well as flexibility are all worth keeping in mind when looking for a more advanced glove to meet your needs.

KUIU from the basis of Sitka is a direct to consumer ultra-light apparel company.  If you love Sitka clothing apparel and clothing, you are really going to like KUIU. The direct to consumer business model allows a superior products at a cheaper price, it’s simple math.

The Guide Glove from KUIU

We had the chance to reveiw the KUIU Guide glove for a couple months in temperatures from 70 degrees Fahrenheit to 20 degrees Fahrenheit, in damp and dry conditions.  Bottom line was that this is a great all around glove for fall and late fall outdoor activities.

KUIU Guide Glove - Shell

The KUIU Guide Glove has a tough soft shell that is much more comfortable that a simple shop glove, it’s also got an adjustable velcro strap and pull tab for getting them on and off easier when hands are sweaty.

KUIU Guide Glove - Palm

The palm of the KUIU Glove is similar to many of the other gloves like the Tiburon, Ykon and Northstar glove.  It’s very grippy and the grip dosen’t wear off quickly like we have seen with other gloves.  The material is called Pittards, it’s a leather that prevents moisture and repels perspiration. It’s almost like a durable grippy suede feeling.

KUIU Guide Glove - On Hand

The outside of the glove is extremely flexible thanks to a material called Primeflex from TORAY. It’s soft, stretchy, resistant to alkaline and acid, abrasion resistant, an overall comfortable fit and movement.

KUIU Guide Glove - inside

The inside of the gloves are a soft fleece material.  They work well at maintaining warmth when the glove is wet or damp.  The outside is treated with DWR, which allows the hand to breath. The inside soft low profile innards make the glove compact enough to do many outdoor task without removing the glove.

KUIU Guide Glove - inside fingers

On complaint we had about the glove is that we have smaller hands, and there is some larger stitching around the fingers. This created some bulk in the fingers because our fingers weren’t large enough to fill the hand print.

KUIU Guide Glove - inside Tag

A KUIU Glove with 100% polyester shell made of Primeflex by Toray.  Soft stretchy technical glove that works well it most hunting conditions.  Even snow filled days will love the Guide glove.  It fits high enough on the wrist to keep snow out while still allowing you to assemble a scope or bino without removing the glove.  Retailing for $69.99 but typically you can find a sale, or discount through signing up for KUIU newsletter.  Guaranteed to work better than the gloves you bought from your auto parts store.

 

Click here to view all KUIU products on GearChase.com

The Best Super Small Bicycle Mini Tools

Travis Gneiting Reviews

There are literally hundreds of mini tools that can be used for a bike.  You can get them anywhere from your grocery store to high end bike shops.  They cost any where from $1.99 at Harbor Freight (with a coupon) to $99+ for some of the Lezyne Carbon Tools.  We have owned a few too many mini tools in our life time.  It always seems that they get traded around with friends.  An new one appears in my truck from falling out of someones bag, then I loose one, and buy another only to find the lost one.  I have enough now to keep one in everyone of my riding bags, as well in all my vehicles.  These are a few of my favorites.

Topeak Mini 9 Mini Bike Tool (Retail $16.95)



The Topeak Mini 9 Bike tool has the perfect essentials and nothing more.  It is super compact while still large enough to get leverage on those stubborn bolts.

  • Allen Wrenches 2 / 2.5 / 3 / 4 /5 / 6 / 8 mm
  • Neoprene Bag
  • Extruded aluminum body
  • #2 Phillips
  • Size 6.6 x 3.1 x 2 cm / 2.6” x 1.2” x 0.8”
  • TORX® Wrench T 25
  • Weight 92 g / 3.24 oz

Topeak Mini 9 Pro Carbon Mini Bike Tool (Retail $44.95)


The Topeak Mini 9 in carbon ads tire lever ans sheds some weight.  It’s really nice having an attached tire lever.  They are always floating around in bags and falling out.  Having an emergency one attached to a tool it highly recommended.

  • #2 Phillips
  • Tire Levers
  • Allen Wrenches 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 mm
  • Air release button
  • Size 7.6 x 2.6 x 1.6 cm / 3” x 1” x 0.6”
  • WEIGHT 73 g / 2.57 oz
  • TORX® Wrench 25
  • Neoprene Bag
  • Carbon fiber body

Parks Tool I-Beam Mini Bike Tool (Retail $16.95)


The Park Tool IB-2 has a unique I shape handle with a mix of hex and Torx wrenches. It’s a great all around durable tool for the necessities.

  • 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8mm hex wrenches
  • T25 Torx® compatible driver
  • Flat blade screwdriver
  • Dimensions: 75mm x 40mm x 18mm (2.87″ x 1.57″ x 0.71″)
  • Weight: 108g (3.8 ounces)

 

Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool M10 (Retail $19.99)


For style points the Crank Brothers M10 come in a few different colors.  It features the necessities that the above offer as well as a phillips #2 head.  It weighs a little more, but it pretty bullet proof.

  • Hex wrenches: #2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8
  • Screwdrivers: phillips #2, flat #2
  • Torx: t-25
  • Length: 89mm, Weight: 124 grams

Crank Brothers Multi Bicycle Tool F10 (Retail $29.99)



A step of from the M10 is the F10 from Crank Brothers.  It’s a little more compact, and more attention to detail which is why it cost almost twice as much.  It also includes a spoke wrench that is missing from most compact tools.

  • Hex wrenches: 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8,
  • Screwdrivers: Phillips #2, flathead #1,
  • Spoke wrenches: 0, 1, 2, 3
  • Torx t-25

Lezyne RAP-6 Mini Bike Tool (Retail $14.99)


The Lezyne RAP-6 is 7075 aluminium, black anodized side plates with forged and drawn chrome vanadium tool bits.  It offers less tools that some of the others in a similar size, but still gets the basics done.

• Centre-pivot, wrapped bit design
• 3, 4, 5, 6mm Allen, Torx T25, and Philips bits
• Weight – 74g
• Size – 18mm x 27mm x 78mm

Lezyne Blox 23 Mini Bike Tool (Retail $34.99)


The Lezyne BLOX is steping almosts outside of the mini tool, featuing 23 tools, and weighing a lot more than other mini tools.  However, for the size, weight, and cost if you are looking for just a little bit more, the Lezyne BLOX is a great upgrade for a little more out of a tool.

  • Spoke wrench
  • Tire lever
  • Open-end 10mm, 8mm T25, T30
  • Phillips & flat heads
  • Hex 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 mm
  • l-allen 2, 2.5, 3 mm
  • Bottle opener
  • Disc-brake wedge
  • Chain breaker

A good multi-tool should give you just what you need for trail/street side repairs or in the workshop.  A good well made multi-tool should not flex, and have tightly machined edges to ensure your not rounding out bolts.

A multi-tool for bicycles should be with you on each ride, a small one like the tools listed above make it easier than ever to do that.  Also, it’s worth reviewing your bike and making sure the tools provided match the components on your bike.

Features to look for in a bicycle multi-tool:

  • Durability: The tools should be strong, there are many very cheap, plastic handled tools out there that will only let you down when you need them most. Spend a few extra dollars and get a tool that will work and last.
  • Versatile: We find our self using multi-tools to adjust seats, brakes, handle bars.  There is also the occasional peddle fix, or something else that needs repaired just to limp back to the car.  A good multi-tool should help you accomplish any of this.
  • Be Practical: Don’t buy the biggest multi-tool out there if most of the tools are never going to be used.  It will only get in the way, and weigh you down.  Find a good mix that will meet the majority of your bikes needs.

You can always search on GearChase.com for deals on hundreds of multi-tools just click below

View All Deals on Bicycle Mini-Tools on GearChase.com

 

Electric Knoxville – Sunglasses Look

Travis Gneiting Reviews

Electric snowboard goggles, sunglasses and lifestyle brand is a brand we grew up with fixated on snowboarding, surfing, skateboarding. Started back in 2000, there have been many chapters that have lead to Electric’s current offering. Now associated with music, motorcycles, and not caring, Electric is a brand that resonates with a broad audience of people.

We have owned many Electric sunglasses and snowboard goggles over the past decade. From skinny sunglasses in the nineties, and over sized glasses and goggles to now. Electric has always been on the front of innovative new styles, while maintaining and putting their own spin on modern classics. One of our favorites are The Knoxville.

The Knoxville come in a wide variety of options:

 

 

The Details of the Knoxville

We took a close look at the Knoxville XL S. Having a slightly larger face and head, we felt that the XL would fit our face better.  They have a slightly larger lens size (just a few millimeters) and the Sport upgrades.  We planed to wear the sunglasses while biking, and playing outdoors, so the added protection and rubber pieces on the glasses made sense.

The details of the Knoxville XL S are the rubber ear pieces that are very flexible and keep the glasses on your face.  In combination with the rubber nose pieces that keep them from sliding down your face when sweaty.

Lens

Featuring an OHM Plasma Chrome lens (Optical Health Through Melanin). Melanin infused lenses that block harmful UV & HEV blue light. This allows your eye to relax while providing stunning crisp, clear, vivid , haze free viewing.

The OHM Polar Blue lens

The Knoxville glasses come in a wide variety of lens options that alter the price of the glasses. The polarized blue lenses were our first choice.  They provide a vivid pop of color and clarity while not blocking out too much sun but enough to relax your eyes on a bright day.

Polarized Lens

Why choose polarized lens? Light reflecting off snow and water can create glare and reflection.  Without polarized lens, the light is not exiting the lens in the same direction, fatigue and headaches can happen. Polarized lens reduce the glare. You can see into the water, and across the snow.  Electric uses an injection process rather than a cheap laminated layer.

Electric Branding

The subtle branding on the hinge looks great, not too big and not to small.  The hinges on the Knoxville XL S are beefed up a bit, without looking overbearing.

The Fit

The XL version of the Knoxville measure 51mm tall, 147mm wide, and 158mm long.  This is in contrast to the Knoxville S that measure 49mm tall, 139mm wide, and 159mm long.  For a slightly larger look on the face, or for a little added protection the XL make a nice option.  Having a fairly large head, we prefer the XL S.  But you may choose the smaller Knoxville S for a smaller face.  They are a fairly flat sunglass.  There is room on the sides for air and breathability.  Never had a problem with them fogging when biking or running.

What is the Sports Upgrade?

Electric optics S-Line take the standard sunglasses models and add a few performance pieces to help them work better in active lifestyles. The main points are a plasticam hinge that is more durable yet reduces weight of a standard hinge. Rubber nose grips are added, yet still conscious that prevent the sunglasses from sliding down during sweating and rigors activities. Also, grips are added to the temple of the sunglasses for assistance in keeping them glued to your head. Overall, the S line has been constructed with a stronger and reinforced areas that might be more vulnerable to failure. The frame and temple ear pieces are flexible and light weight for long wear comfort. The S Line also features the OHM Lens for clarity, UV protection, and beautiful stunning optics.

Care

Cleaning the glasses should only be done with mile soap and water.  We usually wet the glasses first to let the mud and dirt soften up.  Then rinse off by hand, and use the micro fiber cloth to dry.  The glasses should be stored in the provided bag, to reduce the chance of scratching them.

Conclusion

The Electric Knoxville is one of our favorite all around glasses offered by Electric.  The stylish design as well as the many different option, frame colors, lens, make it a great all around option for anything from cycling and boating to every day drivers.  They are offered in a number of price points depending on the colors but typically around $120 to $220 USD.  You can view the entire Electric Sunglasses lineup here

 

Rokform Case Review Featured

Rokform Rugged Phone Case Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

I have been using the Rokform Rugged case on my Samsung Galaxy S8+ for the last couple months and wanted to share my thoughts an opinion on the rugged case that caters to the outdoor enthusiast and everyday users.

Rokform Case Review Plugs

The case is made of a hard plastic (polycarbonate) similar to other hard cases on the market for drop protection.  The edges are beefed up a bit more and raised to give the case more drop protection, but the sides remain minimal for a thin feel when the case is in hand.  The cut outs work well for all the headphone, and charging cables we used with the phone.  Speaker works great through the cutout as well as the microphone.

Rokform Case Review Edge

The buttons for power, volume up/down, and biskby all work well and maintain the “clickly” feeling after they are broken in a bit.  When the case was new, it was a little harder to know if you had actually clicked the button underneath.  But after a month of used, they have softened up a bit and feel much better.  Also the raised markings make it nice when feeling for the case buttons to know what direction it is in hand, and what button is being pressed.

Rokform Case Review Corners

You can see the magnetic backing on the phone, more on this later.  Also worth noting is the enlarged corners that keep the phone off the screen when placed screen down.  This is a nice feature even with the new beveled edge of the Galaxy S phones.

Rokform Case Review Power

The case has an opening for the camera, flash, fingerprint reader.  It’s open enough to work well when reading fingerprints, as well as using the heart rate monitor.  You can also see the cutout for the bicycle and other attachable mounts.

Rokform Case Review Magnet Outside

The two small incisions are for threading a lanyard to the phone case when it’s attached to a bike mount. It’s works well for what it’s for, but a little annoying to have to add and remove the lanyard all the time.  More on this below.

Rokform Case Magnet

Rokform Case Review Magnet Inside

The standout for the Rokform is definatly the magnet.  It sets their case apart from the huge competition out there.  A super strong magnet can be added or removed from the inside of the case.  It’s used to attach to a few different mounts like the vent mount in a car.

Rokform Case Review Magnet

Rokform Case Review Magnetic

The magnet is removable if not wanted.  There are many times when I find my pocket has picked up paperclips or it’s being sucked to my car door when in my pocket.  I’ve actually found myself using this all the time around the garage.  When working on bikes or cars I’ll attach my phone to a metal cabinet to keep it visible or accessible.

Rokform Car Vent Mount

Rokform Case Review Magnetic Car Mount Solo

The vent mount has to be one of our favorites.  It’s got a duck beak that clips on most vents.  Obviously the downside is warm days it blocks the cold air.  This means you either move it to a vent less used, but may be less visibility.  However, for cooler days when your not running air out of the vent it’s a great option.

Rokform Case Review Magnetic Car Mount Vent

Rokform Case Review Magnetic Car Mount

The mount always come out when you remove the phone, and it’s a bit of a bugger to get clipped back into the vent some times, but still our favorite mount.  The mount is high quality metal, and rubber coated that keeps it from slipping around in the vent.

Rokform Bike Mount

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount Adjustment

We had mixed feelings about the bike mount.  There is a low profile minimalist mount that didn’t work with our medium rise stem.  Additionally, it requires you to drop your bars enough to stack it on top.  I anticipate the mount would work on a large number of bikes, so just be sure you check to know it will work with your bike first.

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount Stem

The alternate was an adjustable mount.  These things are built high quality and really adjustable.  It mounts directly to your stem cap, and allows for adjustable angles.

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount Top

Having used many bike computers and phone mounts, I really loved the adjustable and quality of the mount.  The downside I had with it is that it’s only about 1/8 turn to attach the phone.  However, the magnet adds some reassurance, as well as being able to add a lanyard to the case to ensure you won’t be dumping your phone on the ground when you hit the first set of cobblestone.

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount Safety

The lanyard offers piece of mind, but is annoying to always be taking off and on when riding the bike.

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount On

Once mounted, the phone case works great and is easily adjustable to get the right angle.

Rokform Case Review Bike Mount

You can see in the photo above that, it only takes a slight turn to remove the phone.  I wish this was a quarter turn, I would feel a lot more comfortable on rugged rides that my phone is going to stay with me.  The magnet does help provide some additional security.

Rokform Case Review Lanyard

The lanyard attaches to the back of the phone for keeping the phone case with you.  However, it’s a little annoying adding and removing it when unneeded.  We do like the added security and comfort of having it.

Conclusion

Overall, the Rokform Rugged case is a great value at $49.99 then add on a few accessories for and a screen protector and you are pretty well covered. Rokform has a ton of other accessories for their cases for motorcycles, belts, golf shooter, and many more. You can see the entire list of accessories here or you can view all the cases and phones they fit here.

Review-Featured-Image

Brush Hero Review – Water Powered Bike and Wheel Cleaner

Travis Gneiting Review, Reviews

From first site of the Brush Hero, I knew I had to do a review on it. As a avid biker and car washer, it looked really promising to cut down on the time I was spending detailing bikes and cars.

Brush Hero Review

If you are new to the Brush Hero, it’s a magic wand that attaches to the end of a garden hose. The water pressure drives some internal gears and makes the Brush spin. The brush tips are replaceable, and come in a variety of stiffness. There is a trigger lever that controlled the amount of water and direction the brush spins. It’s pretty simple, and can be disassembled pretty easy, except for the gear box. There are also some accessories to extend the functionality of the Brush, like soap reservoir and extender. But the basics get you the majority of the benefit.

First impression

When you first attach the brush to the hose and turn it on it sounds like grinding plastic, and you’ll think it’s rotating too slowly. The sound is normal, and the rotational speed is accurate. When I started scrubbing the bike I liked how much water was being used to displace the dirt and grime. I also liked how the brush head was a good size for getting into 90% of the areas on my Pivot Firebird. The bike has a lot of linkage, so it’s nice to be able to get in there and let the spinning brush do the work.

Brush Hero Review

With the Hero Brush, I found myself spending longer washing my bikes. But this was because I was really detailing them, instead of just removing the bulk of mud or dirt that I might have been doing before. I started paying attention to each bearing in the linkage, and really cleaning out every inset.

I liked how simple the concept was, and really how well it cleaned. Sure I could have used one of my many other brushes, but the Hero Brush replaced a lot of them.

Months of use

After months of use, still no issues with the Hero Brush. I am more impressed with the tourqe of the Brush. It hasn’t ever given up on me, and just keeps spinning. I find myself using it for more and more applications around the house than just bikes and car wheels.

The brush head has gotten pretty dirty, and it’s probably time for a replacement. Once grease get on the bristles, it’s hard to get off, so careful cleaning your chains with it.  Below is a video review I did.

Final thoughts

For the price, it really can’t be beat. It cleans much better that standard car or bike washing brushes. It gets into hard to reach places with ease, like bike hubs and complex linkages. It does a great job on cleaning car and truck wheels. However, in very small details, it still had a problem removing the grime. It’s a little slower to clean a bike or car, but it does a lot better job than a manual brush.

You can view all of the products and accessories at brushhero.com

 

New Hydro Flask 10 oz Wine Tumbler and 25 oz Bottle

Travis Gneiting First Look, Review

There is not much to complain about when it comes to a Hydro Flask bottles. The vacuum sealed bottle keeps the elements out while keeping the beverages consistent. Recently Hydro Flask released a new 10 oz tumbler cup slightly different from their 10 oz Rocks cup.  The new tumbler resembles a classic wine glass tumbler.  The new wine tumbler takes a standard Hydro Flask bottle and blings it up with a silicone base, and a stainless steel lid.

The new 25 oz Hydro Flask Vacuum Wine Bottle

This is the new premium wine bottle from Hydro Flask. It features a stainless steel screw on lid. The bottom of the bottle is also covered with a rubber padding. It’ reduces the clank of setting the stainless steel bottle on your granite countertop, or granite rock.

The 25 oz bottle will hold a standard bottle of wine, and is designed to pour without dribbles.  Also, the bottle is guaranteed to be leak free. We found it also a great size for daily use water bottle, not too big and not to small.  Also the narrow mouth makes drinking directly from the bottle more pleasant.  You can also use a standard narrow lid in the bottle.  Works great with hot or cold beverages.

The new 10 oz Hydro Flask Vacuum Tumbler

The new Hydro Flask Wine Tumbler is a hand full of greatness. The weight and balance of the cup in your hand is comfortable. Pair it with the insulated lid, and it maintains temperatures for hours. While the shape may not be ideal for camping, it’s great for backyard barbecues and front porch lounging.

The cup is vacuum sealed just like Hydro Flask bottles. The thermal lid helps to maintain the beverage for hours. The lid press fits into the top while the bottom is beveled to rest comfortably in a normal sized hand. Additionally, like the other Hydro Flask products the tumbler is made of 18/8 stainless steel for great tasting flavors.

They are best bought in pairs and for sharing. It is a bit of a premium cup but it will impress your friends and start a conversation with new ones.

All Hydro Flask products come with a lifetime warranty.  That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to throw it in the freezer, it can still expand and damage the vacuum.

If you would like to view all the Hydro Flask Beer, Wine, and tumblers click here

Five Ten – Freerider Pro Mountain Bike Shoe Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Review

The newly designed Freerider Pro mountain bike shoe built upon the popular Five Ten Freerider with an upgraded look and a few feature changes. Few shoes are as popular or as seen on the trail as the Five Ten Freeriders, and now we have even more options!  The Pro’s come in a new handful of colors like Night Navy, EQT Blue, Light Granite, Black/Red and will cost you around $150 USD retail, if you can’t find a deal on them with GearChase.com

My current go to mountain biking shoe for flat peddles is the Five Ten Freerider Contact. It’s a great all around shoe that offers some protection with a semi-solid platform for peddling efficiency and a great looking package. The new look of the Five Ten Freerider Pro had me questioning if I had found my new replacement for the Contact. I will try to compare the Five Ten Freerider Pro with the Freerider Contact, because I feel that there are a lot of people that would be interested to know the difference between the two, and also like to see a comparison between the Freerider Pro and the Freerider Contact.

Shoe Uppers

The uppers are constructed of a synthetic material that is light weight and holds up pretty well.  You can see in the some of the images below after we work the shoe for a few months and had about 150 miles on it we wiped off the dust and you can see some creasing in the toe, but overall the synthetic is pretty resilient.  There was also a little wear around the collar, we often loosed them tight and slip them on and off, I’m sure this is where that wear came from. The uppers are also treated with a weather resistant coating.  If you get splashed, they are not going to soak it up like a sponge.  However, like most mountain bike shoes, if you get caught in a downpour, there isn’t a hope for them.

Midsole

Added from the Freerider is a compression-molded EVA midsole.  It’s much more supple than the Freerider or the Contact, and felt to break in a little faster.  For someone that rides clipless, you may feel that the overall sole stiffness is too soft.  It is fairly flexible, and will make some riders happy, but leave others asking for a more solid platform.  For someone coming from a non-mountain bike shoe these would be the perfect upgrade.

The Freerider Pro is built solid carrying over the stitched toe from the original, but moving back the mid-sole is glued instead of fully stitched. The shoe has a lighter feel than the more downhill or gravity shoes like the XVI and Hellcat, and should appeal to trail/all-mountain/enduro crowd.

Insole

The insole for the Five Ten Freerider Pro is a removable Ortholite.  It’s not the highest quality insert, but Ortholite makes a decent product.  You can see from the photo it’s simple molded insole the quickly breaks in within a few rides.

Front to Back

The toe and heel of the shoe have a protective coating over them. It’s almost like a thin rhino pinning they spray in truck beds. This provides a little added abrasion resistance with out the bulk of wrapping the rubber all the way over the toe or up the heel, also keeping the shoe weight down. The toe box has the classic Five Ten feel to it. I’ve always felt like it was a little too roomy for me, but maybe I have small toes? The toe box is also ventilated with holes in the top, this won’t resolve the sweaty feet you might be use to but it helps. In comparison to the Freerider Contact that has a woven top they both seem to breath about the same. One dislike on the Contact is the rubber on the sides seems to store moisture. After long hot days, we can see moisture trapped in the side of the shoe. The Freerider Pro overall seems to breath a little better. The thin tongue and ventilation holes help with that.

Weatherproof

The shoe dries out fairly quickly. The collar of the shoe is the most absorbent, but because it’s easy to get air flow around the collar, it dries pretty quick. The tongue likes to soak up water but drys really quickly. Also, loosening up the laces and allowing some air over the shoe they quickly dry out overnight in the right settings. The outters are treated with a waterproof coating and unless your walking through rivers or caught is a near monsune, your not likely to feel your feet getting wet.

Foot to Peddle

I like to ride a long sharp pin peddle, currently on the Specialized Bennies. With the Freerider Pro, there are no micro adjustments once the foot is on the peddle. Velcro would be the best description, you almost have to peel your foot off the peddle to make adjustments. Then set it back down to become one again. I was excited to see that Five Ten went with a little tougher rubber with the Stealth S1. The Contact uses the less durable but even more sticky Stealth MI6 rubber, and after a year of riding, you can see pin patterns on the bottom of the shoe. I don’t have a year on the Freerider Pro shoes, but I’m hopping they last a little longer.  Also worth pointing out is that the Contact has a full flat rubber under the ball of the foot, while the Freerider Pro has a dotted pattern.  There is a very slight difference as you may notice it’s a little easier to make adjustments and peel your foot off the pedal.  Depending on the pedals you are running, some pins may not attach to the rubber as securely as they do with the Contacts.

Pedaling in the Freerider Pro is nice, the stiffness of the sole and the adhesion to the peddle create an almost clipplest peddle feel. A side from pulling on an upstroke you might think you were riding a clipless version of a Five Ten shoe. I think this is why you still see a few DH racers still opting for running flats on race day.

Weight

We rode size 10.5 US and they weigh 377 grams, or 12.34 oz.

Protection

These shoes are not built for protection like the Five Ten Impacts are, they are low cut, and leave the ankle fully exposed. They do have a slight addition to the toe and heel to help with wear and offer a little protection. The sole of the shoe is pretty tough. Overshooting a landing or taking some drops to flats are dampened by the stiffer sole and rubber.

Shoe Fit

The shoe fits true to size, we normally wear a 10.5 US, and wear the same size in Five Ten Mountain Bike shoes.  You may notice the larger toe box, but going down a half size made the shoe too small for us.

Conclusion

Overall, I’ve been very happy with the Freerider Pro, I’m excited to get more time on them this year. They are a great looking shoe, and a nice visual upgrade from the Freerider. I think the original Freerider might hold up longer in durability, but I prefer the looks of the Pro.  They would be a huge step up from riding in your Vans or Nike shoes.  You really notice the difference the second you put on a “True” mountain bike shoe.  The Freerider Pro would be one of my top recommendations to a friend.

Click here to view all Five Ten discounted shoes on GearChase.com

AbsoluteBlack-Review-Featured-Image

AbsoluteBlack Oval Chainring – Real World Use – Review

Travis Gneiting Bikes, Review

I am going to take a little different approach on this article on the AbsoluteBlack oval chainrings.  There are hundreds of articles and videos online that talk about the gains of an oval chainring. They make claims or arguments about how the peddling efficiency in +/- or that Wattage is improved.  There are scientific explanations behind the design of oval chainrings.  Enough information out there to make anyone question if an oval chainring is worth the cost of replacing an existing chainring.  I’ve heard on the trail people swear by them and others accuse them of not adding any value for the investment.

 

I wanted to try an oval chainring for the one main purpose, to smooth out my pedals stroke.  I’ve been suffering from all sorts of knee pain coming from many different locations around my left knee.  This usually occurred when really mashing or pedaling hard on the pedals.  After an MRI I was diagnosed with IT Band syndrome and patella tracking problems.  These diagnoses usually point to outer knee pain along with front knee cap pain.  However I was getting pain in all sorts of places.  After seeing cycling specialist Massimo Testa it was decided the best thing I could do was to increase my cadence and focus on keeping my pedaling smooth.

An oval chainring from AbsoluteBlack was going to be my savior.  I installed the chainring on my Pivot Firebird.  It’s a direct mount with 3mm offset on the chainring to compensate for the boost spacing.  I’m also running the SRAM eagle 1×12.

After the chainring was installed, I went for a quick peddal up the street, and initially was bouncing all over the place.  I felt the difference especially in a higher cadence.  It took just a couple minutes of pedaling around on the street to adjust to the different feeling.  While my initial introduction to an oval chainring was pretty dramatic, after my first ride on dirt, I’d almost forgotten that I’d installed it and peddled as usual.

I started paying more attention to steady climbs and quick burst that would leave me in tears in the past.  They did feel smoother, it almost felt like I’d dropped a tooth off the size, climbs were not as harsh as they were before.  This is when I began to be sold on the idea of an oval chainring. The grinding and mashing all the sudden didn’t seem so harsh on my legs and knees.  It also felt like it took the tension out of the chain on the bigger climbs.

The AbsoluteBlack chainring uses a narrow wide tooth profile, so far I have yet to drop a chain with the system, and I am riding a 170mm bike who likes to get rowdy!  However, AbsoluteBlack does offer a few chain guides that offer a little insurance if you were racing, I would defiantly add one. The weight is nominal and devastation of dropping a chain during a race just isn’t worth it.

As I mentioned above I’m running SRAM Eagle on my current bike.  With all the design work and adjustments that went into making the 1X12 cassette and chain work together I was a little worried there may be some issues.  I’ve found that the AbsoluteBlack chainring performed pretty much the same as the SRAM X-SYNC chainring.  Once I had about a hundred miles on the chainring I noticed it gets a little noisy if you ride it dirty.  Cleaning the drive train keeps everything nice and quiet.

 

Conclusion

For about the same cost of a replacement good quality chainring the AbsoluteBlack oval chainring would be highly recommended as a replacement, or as a second chainring if you are looking to go up/down tooth size on to adjust you’re riding style/location.  For someone that just bought a brand new bike, it might be a hard sell to go spend the additional money just to try a new chainring.  If you need a larger or smaller chainring defiantly go for it.  Do what you can to try a friends bike that has an oval chainring already installed.  The difference might not be as dramatic as you might think, but it’s undeniably there.

I was really hoping that the oval chainring would smooth out the pedal stroke and help the knee pain I’ve been experiencing.  I feel like it did exactly what I was hoping for.  While it may not be as striking of an experience as you may expect or think. I really wanted to offer a subjective realistic point of view that other articles about oval chainrings often overlook.  Most people I talk to who ride them love them.  I know on my next bike, it will be the first upgrade I make, but it might wait until I need to replace a a worn chainring, or going up or down a size.

Check out all the AbsoluteBlack products on GearChase from a bunch of different online retailers

 

STIO’s Biggest Sale of the Year

Travis Gneiting Deals

STIO is having the biggest sale of the year!  Check out a screen shot from their website.  Look at those discounts.  They have up to 70% off Men’s Women’s and Kid clothing.  Also, check out their gear sections!  Don’t want to miss this sale!

 

 

 

Click here to check out the sale!

 

Outdoor Gear – Memorial Day Sales

Travis Gneiting Deals, News

AppOutdoors.com

 

Backcountry.com

25% Off Select Camp Gear from The North Face

Campmor

30% Off Select Patagonia Styles. Offer Valid 5/19-5/29.
30% Off Prana at Campmor. Offer Valid 5/19-5/29.
Shop the Memorial Day Sale at Campmor! Deals on Columbia, Patagonia, Prana and More! Offers Valid for a Limited Time.
25% Off ExOfficio at Campmor. Offer Valid 5/19-5/29.
25% Off Select Osprey Products. Offer Valid 5/19-5/29.

Diamondback Bikes

Bikes up to 50% off plus free shipping to the lower 48! diamondback.com

Easter Mountain Sport

Get 20% Off on any One Full Priced Item at EMS When You Use the Code ‘GEAR’! Shop Now During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale! Coupon Code: GEAR

Get 20% off on Any One Clearance Item at EMS During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale! Shop Now and Use the Code GEAR! Coupon Code: GEAR

Get 25% Off on All HydroFlask Bottles and Drinkware at EMS! Shop Now and Save!

Get 25% Off on All JetBoil Camp Products During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale! Shop Now at ems.com!

Get 25% Off on Select Osprey Backpacks at EMS! Shop Today During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale!

Get 25-30% Off on All Camelbak Hydration Systems at EMS During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale! Shop Today and Save!

Get up to 30% Off on EMS Camping Gear During the Upgrade Your Gear Sale! Shop Now at ems.com!

GU Energy

Keen Footwear (Expires 5/25)

20% Off all Keen sandals

Kelty

Leisure Pro

Shop our Weekly Special! Get the Akona Snorkeling Bag Only $19.95 at Leisure Pro this week!

Shop our Monthly Special! Get the Scubapro Jet Sport Full Foot Fins. Only $21.95 at Leisure Pro!

LeftLane Sports

Save 50%-70% On All Name Brand Outdoor Gear! See The Sales Now At LeftLaneSports.com!

Mountain Steals.com

Smartwool: New Arrivals up to 55% Off; Socks, Boxers, Base Layers
Dates: 5/21-5/27
Exclusive Affiliate Code: SHIPSMART
Free Economy Shipping on all Smartwool Product. Coupon Code: SHIPSMART

Running Shoes up to 55% Off; Road & Trail Running Shoes
Dates: 5/21-5/27

Mountain Hardwear up to 60% Off; Insulated, Shells, Fleece & More
Dates: 5/21-5/27

Camp Essentials up to 65% off; Gear up for Summer Camping
Dates: 5/21-5/27

Nashbar

5/20 Flash Sale at Nashbar.com! 150+ Cycling Items are at Least 70% Off!

NRS.com

Water Gloves Now Up To 50% Off! NRS.com

Water Shoes Now Up To 50% Off! NRS.com!

Spring Sale on Paddling Layers! Up to 70% OFF H2Core and more! NRS.com

Winter Clearance on Mens Wetsuits and Hydroskin! Up to 60% Off! NRS.com

Performance Bicycle

5/19 – 5/29 PerformanceBike.com Anniversary Sale! Over 3,500 Cycling Products on Sale, Triple Member Points on 35 Products, 3,500 Bonus Member Points on 35 Bicycles, and All Bicycles on Sale!

ProBoardShop.com

REI

• 25% Off All REI Co-op Quarter Dome Tents & Footprints
• 15% Off All Co-op Cycles, Diamondback and Electra Bikes
• 20% Off All Hydro Flask Products
• 20% Off All KEEN Footwear for Women, Men & Kids
• 25% Off All ENO Hammocks
• 30% Off Patagonia Lightweight Synchilla Snap-T Fleece for Women & Men $68.99, Was $99
• 15% Off All Kayaks, Paddle Boards and Canoes (Hurry, Wilderness Systems Kayaks on Sale 5/19–21 only)
• 25% Off Osprey Aura 65 AG & Atmos 65 AG Packs, $193.99 Was $260
• $49.99 REI Co-op Flex Chairs, Was $79.95
• 25% Off Selected REI Co-op Down Sleeping Bags & Flash Packs
• 25% Off All Oboz Sawtooth Hiking Boots and Shoes for Women & Men
• 50% Off All REI Co-op Sahara Clothing for Women, Men & Kids excludes hats

RockyMountainTrail.com

Rocky Mountain Trail Memorial Day Sale – 25% Off

25% Off Salomon Shoes and Boots

25% Off prAna Tops and Bottoms

Memorial Day Sale – 25% Off Mountain Hardwear Jackets

25% Off Patagonia Fleece Jackets

25% Off Outdoor Research Shirts, Pants, Hats, Gloves

25% Off Osprey Backpacks

Road Runner Sports

Limited Time! 25% off Men’s Under Armour Tech Short Sleeve T + Free Shipping! Offer ends 5/29! Coupon Code: C7X1B330

25% off Nike + Free Shipping! Use offer code 25NIKE at checkout! Offer ends 5/25! Coupon Code: 25NIKE

New Customers! Save $20 on Shoes + Free Shipping! Use offer code 1STTIME17 at checkout. Some exclusions may apply, see site for details. Coupon Code: 1STTIME17

Skis.com

Sierra Designs

Slumber Jack

SummitSports.com

Sunny Sports

Shop and SAVE up to 50% off Sunny Sports current specals + free shipping over $49!

Shop our Weekly Special! Get the CamelBak Arete 70 oz Hydration Pack for only $36.95 this week at Sunny Sports!

Shop our Monthly Special! Get the
Camelbak Blowfish 70 oz. Hydration Pack for only $49.95 this month at Sunny Sports!

The House

Limited Time Only! Save 20% off select 2017 items from our top outdoor brands at The-House.com! Free Shipping on orders above $50! Valid through 5/29

Sunglasses Sale! Get your stylish shades at The-House.com! Free Shipping on orders above $50!

Under Armour

25% Off Select Styles at Under Armour

TriVillage.com

Use coupon code MEMORIAL20 and save 20% on Regularly Priced Items Storewide and Free Shipping on $75 Orders. Coupon Code: MEMORIAL20

Use coupon code MEMORIAL5 and save an additional 5% on all Sale & Clearance Items Storewide. Total Savings up to 60% plus Free Shipping on $75 Orders. Coupon Code: MEMORIAL5

Save 25% and Free Ground Shipping on the Brooks Ghost 9 for men and women.

Save 20% and Free Ground Shipping on the Brooks Glycerin 14 for men and women.

Save 20% on Regularly Priced Favorites for Dad, including popular swimwear, running shoes and fitness clothing. Use coupon code FATHERSDAY20. Coupon Code: FATHERSDAY20

Save an Additional 5% on Already Discounted Items During Our Fathers’ Day Sale! Total Savings Up to 60%. Use coupon code FATHERSDAY5. Coupon Code: FATHERSDAY5

TriVillage.com celebrates Fourth of July by offering a 20% discount on all regularly priced items storewide. Use Coupon Code FOURTH20. Coupon Code: FOURTH20

TriVillage.com celebrates Fourth of July by offering an additional 5% discount on already discounted items storewide. Total Savings Up to 60%. Use Coupon Code FOURTH5. Coupon Code: FOURTH5

WaterOutfitters.com

 

Don’t forget to like us on Facebook we post daily deals there we find from 100’s of Outdoor Retailers:

If you want even more deals now, head over to GearChase.com

Complete Comparison of Biolite CampStove 2 Review

Travis Gneiting News

Overview

Biolite has recently released a new version of the world famous Biolite stove.  It can cook your food, boil your water, charge your phone and other electronics all from a little portable camp stove you can carry around with you in a backpack and fuel with things you can find laying around your yard.  The upgrades to the CampStove 2 defiantly made it a more useful tool in the outdoors for relying on cooking and power.

One of our favorite upgrades to the CampStove 2 was the LED indicator lights

Construction of the CampStove

The new BioLite 2 Stove is constructed very similar to the original. It has a metal container with a heat shield around the outside to calm down the inferno that ignites inside. The lighted legs of the stove fold up under the stove for compact storage. The fan port and heat sink port remain in about the same location. While the previous version of the power unit will loosely fit in the new metal stove, the new unit will not fit in the old because of the larger heat port.

The power unit was a huge upgraded, with indicator lights, a battery, double sized heat sync. All without adding too much weight, and still remains an viable option for a backpacking stove. The built in fan is more powerful that the previous version and makes it a lot easier to start the fire. There was not a significant weight increase of for the added features.

Overall the build quality is very durable while keeping the weight down making it still a viable option for backpacking.

The power unit is noticeably larger, but packed with many more features.

New lights on the front of the unit indicate how much power the fire is giving off, fan speed, and battery charge.

To produce double the charging power, Biolite basically doubled the size of the heat sync.

Not much noticeable difference between the original CampStove (Right) vs. the new stove on the left side other than the removed cross links on the legs.

Not much changed other than a larger hole for the heat sync and the position of the fan port changed slightly.

Biolite CampStove 1 vs 2 Weight

Weight of the CampStove 1 and 2 are always a great discussion.  Some argue that because you are not caring fuel the the increased weight of the BioLite CampStove over a smaller lighter weight stove are nullable.  I suppose it is a personal preference or may depend on the location and availability of fuel.  For the first version of the CampStove, we usually would opt for a traditional camping stove like a JetBoil or MSR stove.  However, with the updates to the CampStove 2 we find it in out pack most often.

The original Biolite CampStove Power Unit weighs 415 grams

The new BioLite CampStove 2 power unit weighs 462 grams, just slightly more than the CampStove 1, not bad for a large battery, LED lights, and more powerful fan.

BioLite managed to shave a little weight off the fire bucket. 21 grams lighter than the previous version, weighing just 500 grams.

Biolite CampStove 1 container weighs 521 grams

The total weight of the CampStove 2 is 962 grams, just 24 grams more than the CampStove 1.

The original CampStove 1 weighs 936 grams

Biolite CampStove 1 vs 2 Power Output

The first version of the CampStove was really unusable as a charger.  We always though of it as in the case of an extreme emergency we could use it to possibly charge your phone enough to make an emergency call.  The updates to the CampStove 2 have changed our frame of thinking.  Now we may leave our solar panel back if we know we will be using the stove.  The build in battery made a huge change to the stove as well.  I never liked having my phone tethered to anything on fire.  With the CampStove 2, you can just go about your cooking and slowly charge the on board battery, then charge your phone from that later.

With the battery and larger heat probe it was pretty easy to get to 1A output

The stove will put out power at a lower heat output, however for a full 1 amp charge you really need to stoke the fire.  BioLite advertises that you can get up to 3 A output from the stove.  During our testing burning twigs and branches from around the yard, we never got much more than 1 A output using the Ampeg android app.  I find it hard to believe one could get 3 A output even under perfect conditions with this type of fuel.

Keeping the CampStove 2 output at 1A for very long was a chore of contently adding fuel to the fire

It needs to be pointed out that while it’s really cool that you can charge your phone from fire, it requires a lot of fuel to keep it charging at a realistic rate.  We stuffed full the fuel container and let it burn, we got 1A output for about 5 min. or so before we had to add additional fuel.  If you were truly trying to charge a phone from 5% to 100% it would take a lot of fuel.  But for bumping up a charge while you are boiling some water it makes a really easy way of doing this.

Even with the fire raging, the fire LED indicating full output, it was still up and down charging. Here we were only measuring about .25A output

Just because the fire was burning didn’t mean you were getting full power output. The new Fire output indicator is really helpful when compared to the previous version.

You can see that just because the flame looks full, the fire LED shows it’s only outputting about half power.  This was one of the best additions to the stove.  There was a lot of guessing going on with the CampStove 1.  Now you can monitor when you need to add fuel more carefully.

As we mentioned in our first review of the CampStove 1, charging a phone was always an issue. Here we had a strong fire going but still couldn’t create a positive power input

A huge improvement for a charging over the previous CampStove.  As you can see we have a hot fire going and still are not charging the phone with the CampStove 1.

We couldn’t even generate enough power to get the light to turn on

These stoves are really cool to watch when the fan is going, the amount of burn power is incredible

Just because the BioLite CampStove is marketed as “smoke free” doesn’t mean they never smoke, just keep the flame going to avoid this problem

The CampStove 1 internal temperature averaged around 700 degrees Fahrenheit after a hot burn

The CampStove 1 outside temperature averaged around 150 degrees Fahrenheit after a hot burn

The CampStove 2 seemed to burn a bit hotter, I think due to the fan improvements

The outside also seemed to stay cooler, we tested this a few times and always seemed to be cooler than the CampStove 1

CampStove Charging

It was easy to get a positive charge from the stove

Charging the onboard battery and phone at the same time

Love the LED indicator lights

Biolite Campstove 2 Accessories

The new Campstove 2 comes with a USB light which is great for checking water or food at night.  There is now on or off button, just plug it in and it turns on if the stove is generating enough output.  The goose neck it not super helpful because it’s just tall enough to reach the top of the grill, and not tall enough to see inside the kettle.

The kettle and grill from the previous version work well with the new CampStove.  In fact the new CampStove boils water a little quicker according to our test than the previous version.

Conclusion

If you own the CampStove 1 and have been frustrated with the charging capabilities then the BioLite 2 is a huge improvement over the previous.  If you have been thinking about buying the CampStove now is the time.  The included light is a nice to have, but don’t place too much value in it.  The biggest benefit is having a stove that can boil water is just a few minutes from things found just about anywhere.  It’s more expensive that some smaller lighter stoves.  However, it can charge your phone or USB devices.  You also don’t have to buy additional fuel cells, you can justify the additional cost by not having to buy fuel.

It takes up a lot more room in a pack than a traditional stove.  If you are packing the kettle (which the stove fits inside of) it takes up a lot more room.  Overall, I feel like the features and benefits out weight the downsides of the stove and would not hesitate to recommend the stove to someone as their only stove.

We are an affiliate of BioLite and offer their products on GearChase.com, Have a look here to see the current prices and deals.

Topeak Nano TorqBar DX Review

Travis Gneiting Reviews

The Topeak Nano TorqBar review starts with us installing some new bottle cages onto a carbon road bike frame.  Frustration sets in that we don’t know what to torque the bolts to for a water bottle cage.  Unlike stems and seat collars that often have inscribed indications of what the torque spec should be the bolt cages were lacking.  A quick google search led us to a guesstimate of about 2 or 3Nm.  Again frustration sets in, the Nano TorqBar only came with 4,5 & 6Nm preset tokens.  OK, so where do we start now?

We move up to the stem as we were just replacing a 100mm with a shorter 90mm after a bike fit we had done last week recommended some of the knee pain I have been fighting is likely caused by the far reach putting my knee over my toe.  The Ritchey stem had torque specks stamped on it. It stated 5Nm max, so to start out we put on the 4Nm token.  It’s very important to mention that you should not have the torque head on for common removal and install of bolts.  It should only be used as the final step for checking the torque as it can become uncalibrated if used to remove bolts.  And while more expensive larger torque wrenches are able to be calibrated, these tokens are not.

We used the allen key to lightly tighten down the stem.  Next, we used the Nano TorqBar to finish up the job.  I was surprised at how much tighter I was tightening the bolt that I would have if I was just doing it by feel.

Fast forward a few months now and we have been using the pocket size torque wrench for a while now.  There were a couple things that didn’t immediately stand out when we first started using it.  The nano torqbar can be used as a regular bike tool if you leave the torque heads off and just install the bit.  Also, you can store two bits inside the handle making it super small and compact tool on the go.  Although you can only take two bits with you, you’ll have to decide whats going to need to need adjusting during your ride and hope you didn’t bring the torx bit when you needed the allen bit. It can also hold one torque key in the end of the handle. It’s not much more room to bring the entire kit with you and it doesn’t weigh much more that a regular multi tool.

Features:

  • 15 Functions
  • Torque Value: 4, 5 & 6Nm
  • Allen bits: 3,4 & 5mm
  • Torx bits: T20 & T25
  • Body: Aluminium / Engineering grade plastic
  • Integrated compartment for two bits
  • Carry case
  • Size (LxWxH): 12×1.6×1.6cm / 4.7”x0.6”x0.6”
  • Weight: 62g / 2.19oz (Tool w/ 1 Torqbit & 2 bits)

At the end of the day, your going to pay close to $60 usd for this tool.  It’s much more expensive that a lot of other bike tools in your gear bag, but it comes with piece of mind.  Additionally, it can be used as a multi-tool in a pinch, so you get some added value with that in mind.  The build quality it top notch, its a hard metal outer case and a durable hard plastic body. It locks closed with a button and has magnets to keep the bits in place.  It’s locks closed with a button to release.  We found that while it’s missing a 2 or 3Nm key, 4, 5, and 6Nm are the most common on our mountain bikes and road bikes.  A couple down sides are that you do not know if your tension setting get off with the different heads, so keep that in mind if you feel like you are cranking down a little harder that you think you should.

We often find discounts from the many hundred of retailer we search for Topeak tools.  Have a look on GearChase.com and see what Topeak Tools on sale are currently available.

Or Check out the Topeak NanoTorqBar DX on Amazon